Health Insurance Highly Competitive in Paid Search Advertising

In our latest report AdGooroo looks at the Health Insurance category and Paid Search advertising. Specifically, we examined U.S. Google AdWords activity for desktop and tablet on 6,003 health insurance-related keywords in the first half of the year, from January to June 2014.

(Mobile search was not included.)

In total, AdGooroo found nearly 28,000 advertisers spent $103 million sponsoring those 6,003 health insurance-related keywords on desktop and tablet during the first half of 2014, at an average Cost Per Click of $3.16 and an average Clickthrough Rate of 3.86%.

In an indication of the highly competitive nature of the Health Insurance category on Google AdWords, AdGooroo saw an average of 171 advertisers bidding on each keyword in the Top 20 Keywords by Spend. See full details below.

(Note: the results in this report are limited to activity on the aforementioned 6,003 health insurance-related keywords; all advertisers discussed may also use additional keywords in their Paid Search advertising that, if measured, would alter the total spending amounts cited in this report.)

Top Advertisers – A Healthy Mix

The Top 20 advertisers by spend on health insurance-related keywords comprise a variety of different subcategories, including health insurance providers, a health insurance agency, government-sponsored exchange sites, an online health insurance seller, a dental network provider and lead aggregator sites, which collect contact information from consumers seeking health insurance quotes and sell that data to various insurance agencies and providers.

Health Insurance Top AdvertisersThe top individual site in the ranking is lead aggregator IndividualHealthQuotes.com, which spent more than $4.4 million during the first half of the year on the keywords examined. Its subdomain, UHC.IndividualHealthQuotes.com, which advertised “United Health Care Plans” during the period, added an additional $1.26 million, bringing the two sites total to $5.66 million during the period.

However, when combining the paid search expenditure of the three sites in the Top 20 from UnitedHealthcare and its long-term distribution partner AARP (GoLong.com, AARPmedicareplans.com and AARPhealthcare.com) UnitedHealthcare/AARP edge out IndividualHealthQuotes.com as leaders in the category, spending more than $5.69 million in the first sixth months of 2014. (Note: at this time it is undetermined what the relationship is, if any, between UnitedHealthcare and IndividualHealthQuotes.com regarding the UHC.IndividualHealthQuotes.com site.)

Other insurance providers in the ranking include Humana.com ($4.1 million), WellPoint’s Blue Cross Blue Shield-licensed site, Anthem.com ($1.5 million), Aetna.com ($1.2 million), Cigna.com ($1.1 million), and EmpireBlue.com, another BCBS licensee ($707,000).

There were two government-sponsored health insurance exchange sites in the ranking, the much-discussed national site, Healthcare.gov ($1.6 million) and Delaware’s ChooseHealthDE.com, a new entrant to the paid search landscape in the first half of 2014, which spent $748,000.

The publicly traded national insurance seller, eHealthInsurance.com, ranked #4 based on nearly $2.7 million in spend during the period. Another lead aggregator site, HealthPlans.com, ranked #5 with nearly $2 million in spend.

Top Keywords + Performance

Health Insurance Top Keywords

The Top 20 Keywords by Spend include a mix of general terms such as ‘healthcare insurance’ (#1 at $8.2 million), specific terms such as ‘medicare’ (#2 at $5.5 million) and branded terms such as ‘blue cross blue shield’ (#3 at $4.4 million). Notably, 4 of the Top 20 Keywords were related to the Affordable Care Act (‘obamacare’, ‘affordable care act’, ‘healthcare.gov’ and ‘obama care’) while 5 were related to Medicare (‘medicare’, ‘medicare.gov’, ‘medicare part d’, ‘medicare part b’ and ‘www medicare gov’).

In terms of performance, the average Clickthrough Rate for the Top 20 keywords was 3.78%, slightly lower than the 3.86% CTR averaged across all keywords. However, the average Cost Per Click for the Top 20 keywords was higher—$4.86 versus a $3.16 average CPC for all keywords examined. The keyword ‘aetna’ had both the highest clickthrough rate at 10.45% and the lowest Cost Per Click at $0.92. The keyword with the lowest CTR was ‘medicare’ at 2.05%, while the most expensive keyword in the Top 20 was ‘aarp insurance’ at $13.07.

Heated Competition

As mentioned above, competition was particularly heated for the Top 20 keywords, averaging a whopping 171 advertisers per keyword.

General terms had the highest number of competitors, including ‘healthcare insurance’, which had 358 advertisers bidding on it during the period, ‘health insurance quotes’ (346 advertisers), ‘affordable health insurance’ (326 advertisers) and ‘cheap health insurance’ (311 advertisers).

Even branded terms saw dozens of advertisers competing in an attempt to divert traffic to their own sites from the original brand searched—including ‘blue cross blue shield’ (142 advertisers), ‘united healthcare’ (91 advertisers), ‘humana’ (57 advertisers), ‘aetna’ (33 advertisers), ‘aarp insurance’ (157 advertisers) and ‘blue cross blue shield nc’ (72 advertisers).

Download the full report

CORRECTION APPENDED: An earlier version of this blog post incorrectly attributed the spend of the site UHC.IndividualHealthQuotes.com to UnitedHealthcare; the site is owned by IndividualHealthQuotes.com. 

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