Methodology. Insurance Study Part 1: The Changing Path to Purchase. Highlights

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1 Insurance Study Part 1: The Changing Path to Purchase Today, consumers especially Millennials increasingly prefer selfdirected approaches over traditional ones when engaging with insurance carriers throughout the auto insurance path to purchase. Regardless of which purchase stage these consumers are in, our research shows a shift in preference from traditional engagement channels, such as personal recommendations and in-person meetings at insurance agencies, to Methodology Rocket Fuel surveyed 1,020 consumers in June. Respondents were asked a series of questions about auto insurance ranging from their top-of-mind awareness to life stage questions. In this report, we focus primarily on exploring our respondents path to purchase, and how using life stage data has the potential to increase the effectiveness of reaching new consumers in their path to purchase. digital ones, such as online advertising and insurance websites. Highlights In this report, we ll also explore the relationship between life stages and Consumers who have become aware of their eventual auto insurance provider through TV or digital ads increased by 50%, over the last year One in four consumers requests a quote directly on the insurer s website, up from A child who has reached driving age is the top life event and most effective predictor for a consumer s likelihood to change auto insurers preferred insurance providers. Whether it s the influence of parents on their children or individuals reaching retirement age, there are numerous moments that are predictive of insurance shopping behavior that can be used by a digital marketing platform to identify prospects likely to be inmarket for new auto insurance providers. Savvy insurance marketers will use digital marketing solutions to poach these valuable consumers away from the competition and preemptively attempt to retain their own at-risk customers with engagement offers. 1 Rocket Fuel Insurance Study, Part 1

2 Path to Purchase: Auto Insurance Traditionally, and as we ve seen over the past two years of our study, friends, parents, and colleagues are considered among the most influential sources of awareness for new auto insurance providers. This is still the case, but our survey results over the past two years show an interesting trend: Nearly one in four consumers (2) said they first became aware of their current auto insurance provider because of a recommendation from a friend, parent, or colleague. This number is down 10% from last year s results. Similarly, the percentage of consumers first becoming aware of their eventual auto insurance provider through ads, either on TV or digital, increased by 50% from one year ago. We also noticed an increase in the number of consumers who became aware of their current insurer based on their website, most likely through search channels. Ostensibly, this means that there is now more opportunity for marketers to influence consumers via digital channels which, as we ll see, ultimately leads to more awareness and activation throughout the purchase funnel. Path to Purchase: Awareness Recommendation from a friend, parent or colleague Advertisement on TV Not sure/don't remember Search engine Other Information on insurer's website Advertisement online Saw/heard an ad elsewhere Social network Consumer reviews on the internet Newsletter Blogs and forums 0% % 2 After the initial awareness moment, consumers considering a new auto insurance provider typically move on to conducting research, and will most likely research the providers of which they are already aware. Here, depth of the research can vary, being as simple as consulting with a friend, parent, or colleague (2), though this habit also appears to be losing popularity down from over a third of respondents (3) a year ago. In its place, digital research habits have increased, with one in four consumers (2) opting to research new auto insurance providers through a digital source. Regarding digital engagement, search activity is up from the previous year, with nearly two-thirds (6) leveraging digital channels for conducting their research. Among these, reliance on search (2), insurer websites (20%), and online advertising (10%) all increased compared to one year ago. Path to Purchase: Research Friends, parents, or colleagues Search engine Information on insurer's website Product or price comparison websites None of the above Advertisement online Consumer reviews online Not sure/don't remember 10% 8% 10% % 18% 15% 1 20% 18% Social network An offer in the mail Blogs or forums 2 Rocket Fuel Insurance Study, Part 1

3 Path to Purchase: Request Quote By submitting a form on the insurer's website 1 2 By meeting in-person with a local insurance agent 2 3 By calling a number on the insurer's website 1 2 I did not request a quote prior to purchase 1 15% By submitting a form on a 3rd party aggregator website Other, free form By calling a number on a 3rd party aggregator website Requesting a quote has also changed. One in four (2) consumers now request a quote directly on the insurer s website, up from. As a consequence, the percentage of consumers opting to meet with an agent in person to request a quote dropped by 1, down 2 compared to. Across the board, consumers are heavily influenced through digital mediums and look to them more and more for their research needs and quote requests. Path to Purchase: Apply While applying for insurance online has not yet become more common than in-person applications, this too may be changing. One in three consumers in the study (3) are now applying for auto insurance online, up from. In-person at an agency Online % It s evident that consumers increasingly prefer digital channels to research and apply for insurance products. As such, auto insurers need to be looking for ways to deliver a consistent and personalized customer experience across paid media such as search and display, as well as owned media such as landing pages and chat. Additionally, if auto insurers are also able to leverage their first-party data to optimize media buys across the entire funnel, they could more efficiently drive new customer acquisitions and, in turn, add serious value. Over the phone Rocket Fuel Insurance Study, Part 1

4 Path to Purchase: Millennials Part of driving new customer acquisition is understanding who your new customers are and their path to purchase. At first glance, we see that one in three (3) Millennials first became aware of their current auto insurer based on a recommendation from a friend, parent, or colleague. While this seems to suggest that Millennials might be more conservative in the way they shop for auto insurance, the more likely reason for the increased reliance on familial recommendations is a lack of confidence and experience shopping for an insurance provider. There is a high degree of correspondence between a parent s auto insurer and who their children ultimately choose. Nearly half (45%) of all State Farm consumers have the same auto insurance provider as their parents,10% more than the closest competitor, Allstate. Additionally, almost a third (3) of consumers, Millennial or otherwise, have been with their current auto insurance provider for ten or more years. So, not only are consumers most likely to choose the same insurer as their parents when making an initial purchase, but it is also rare for a consumer to switch providers, making it difficult to break the familial cycle. Does this mean that it s impossible for auto insurers to reach and convert Millennials? We believe that the answer is no. But to do so, auto insurers seeking to reach Millennials must consider these challenges and the roles they play in the Millennial purchase cycle. In many cases, marketing to key influencers around Millennials (e.g. parents, colleagues) may provide significant (although more difficult to measure) ROI for Millennial-focused auto insurance advertising. Millennials Path to Purchase: Awareness Millennials (18-34) Millennials (18-34) Recommendation from a friend, parent, or colleague Advertisement on TV Not sure/don't remember Search engine Other 1 28% Information on insurer's website Advertisement online Social network Consumer reviews on the internet Saw/heard an ad elsewhere Blogs and forums Newsletter 0% 0% 4 Rocket Fuel Insurance Study, Part 1

5 Millennial Online Activity and Research Millennials Path to Purchase: Research Millennials (18-34) Millennials (18-34) It appears that Millennials are becoming savvier in their research methods, as they are turning less to friends, family, and colleagues in favor of a more direct approach. Looking at our Millennial survey respondents, we see that friends, parents, and colleagues remain a large part of the research process, with one in three Millennials (35%) looking to these sources for research, though this was less common compared to a year ago (40% in ). One in five Millennials (2) head directly to pricecomparison websites for research, up from our survey. Compared to, Millennials were much less likely to turn to search as a method for researching auto insurers, down 8% from to 2 this year. Friends, parents, or colleagues Search engine Product or price comparison websites Information on insurer s website Advertisement online Not sure/don't remember Consumer reviews online Social network None of the above An offer in the mail Blogs or forums 10% 1 8% 8% 15% % 40% 35% Respondents in our study were segmented into two groups: Millennials (Ages 18-34) and Non-Millennials (Ages 35+). We were able to examine the sites visited by each and study how differences in the groups might reveal differences in the ways that each group researched insurance providers and might be influenced during the research process. Overall, Millennials in our sample were 28% more likely to visit a comparison-shopping site, such as BankRate.com, than Non-Millennials, underlining the generational differences in how consumers conduct research before making an auto insurance purchase. Millennials Path to Purchase: Quote Millennials (18-34) Millennials (18-34) Submitted a form on the insurer's website Called a number on the insurer's website Met in-person with a local insurance agent I did not request a quote prior to purchase % 20% This change in research methods is particularly evident when we look at how Millennials request a quote. Nearly one in three Millennials (2) request a quote by submitting a form on the insurer s website up from our results one year ago. Other, free form Submitted form on 3rd party aggregator website Called a number on a 3rd party aggregator website Millennials application process is similar to that of the general population, with about a third of Millennials applying through each of the three most common application routes. Millennials Path to Purchase: Apply Millennials (18-34) Millennials (18-34) In-person at an agency Over the phone Online % 35% Rocket Fuel Insurance Study, Part 1

6 Breaking Familial Cycles in Auto Insurance Auto Insurance Crosstab Current Auto Insurance vs, Parents Current Auto Insurer CURRENT AUTO INSURANCE Allstate State Farm Geico Progresive USAA Farmer s Nationwide Allstate 3 5% 8% PARENTS CURRENT AUTO INSURANCE State Farm Geico Progressive USAA Farmer s 45% 8% 1 10% 30% 18% 0% 0% 0% 3 0% 0% 1 Nationwide 0% 0% 1 Consumer relationships with auto insurers tend to be long-standing (over one-third of consumers polled (38%) had had their current auto insurer for ten or more years). As such, it s important to identify the moments where consumers are most likely to consider changing providers, and market effectively within those moments. In our analysis, we looked at a variety of major life events and how those events affected a consumer s likelihood to change auto insurance providers within the following six months. We also looked at how we could predict if a consumer had just experienced or was about to experience one of those events. 6 Rocket Fuel Insurance Study, Part 1

7 Using Major Life Events to Predict Consumers Switching Insurance Providers Likelihood of Switching Auto Insurance Insurance Study, Q2 Significant features Non-significant features A child of yours became of driving age Graduated from high school Retired Male Bought a new car Received a promotion or raise Married significant other Started a new job Graduated college Moved/relocated Divorced/separated from significant other % % 42.8% % 3. Bought a new house Had a child Had a car accident Was issued first US driver's license of the consumers in our study indicated that they would either Definitely or Probably be shopping for a new auto insurance provider in the next six months, with 30% indicating that price was the main reason they chose their current provider. The reasons for their desire to change providers were less clear, though likely to be correlated with a major life event. In our study, consumers were asked to identify whether they had experienced any of a series of life events in the past year so we could look at how those might have affected (or predicted) their likelihood to change insurance providers. In our study, having a child reach driving age was the most effective predictor for a consumer s likelihood to change auto insurers in the next six months (+11), followed closely by retirement (+10). A new-car purchase (+6) and a promotion (+4) were also more likely to change insurers. Additionally, men were generally significantly more likely to change providers than women (+6). This last factor falls in line with our observed results, which show that 7 of insurance conversions recorded by Rocket Fuel are for men. Life events such as these, though strongly correlated with age, are often difficult to identify with specific online data segments that may only track the age of the consumer, HHI, or the age of their children. Additionally, it may not include a consumer quickly enough to reach them effectively before a decision is made. As we ve seen in prior years (and which continues to be the case), insurance shoppers are likely to research options they are already aware of. For this reason, in-market segment data based on online research activity (such as sites visited) may help auto insurers drive quotes, but might be less effective at driving consideration or inclusion in a consumer s research set. To effectively identify consumers who are, or soon will be, inmarket for a new auto insurance provider, insurers should seek a reliable way of predicting which consumers are most likely to experience, or have experienced in the past six months, one of these life events. Two potential ways to accomplish this are: 1. Leverage existing customer data stored in a DMP to identify which customers have experienced specific life events recently, then build a model around those customers for reaching consumers through a DSP. 2. Use existing data to predict the likelihood that a given online consumer has experienced, or will experience, one of these key life events each time that consumer is observed online. Ultimately, the goal is to factor this information into the decision to serve a consumer an auto insurance ad with the highest likelihood of creating a positive response. 7 Rocket Fuel Insurance Study, Part 1

8 Conclusion Consumers, especially Millennials, are gradually shifting their paths to purchase from traditional channels to digital channels. As consumers increasingly prefer more self-directed approaches to buying insurance products, it will be up to insurance marketers to use more data-driven digital solutions to reach these prospective new customers at the right moments. Those marketers that leverage these powerful new approaches will reap the rewards of a growing customer base and new policies written, while those that do not risk stagnating and losing market share. 8 Rocket Fuel Insurance Study, Part 1

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