ClickCease Shocking Case Study Proves Just How Fiercely Competitive Digital Marketing Is For The $500m Insurance Company iSelect - King Kong

Shocking Case Study Proves Just How Fiercely Competitive Digital Marketing Is For The $500m Insurance Company iSelect

iSelect Market Review

Insurance is the most brutally competitive industry on the planet.

Especially when it comes to digital marketing.

Insurance companies spend more on digital marketing than any other industry, and because of this, they are plagued by:

  • The highest average Cost Per Clicks
  • The fiercest competition on SEO
  • Tough regulations on what you can and can’t say
  • Ever increasing competition across all channels

So, what better place to look than this most fiercely competitive landscape in digital marketing, than insurance – to find out what the top players are doing to choke out their competition and make them ‘tap out’.

There is no industry on planet earth where the stakes are so high and the competition so fierce than insurance.

Nobody wants it, but everyone needs it. So how do we choose which one suits us best?

Simple. We compare.

But instead of looking at one particular insurer – that perhaps specialises – or is more aggressive in the marketing – on one particular vertical, we want a site that compares and competes in all sectors…..Enters iSelect.

I’m sure you’re familiar with them. They had a slew of memorable TVC spots, Billboards, Print Ads and are aggressive with the digital marketing spend.

iSelect have been leading the Australian insurance comparison market for almost two decades, but since UK Insurance comparison powerhouse Compare The Market entered the country in 2012 the competition has been fierce.

Suddenly, iSelect needed to step up their game if they were to keep their throne on top of the insurance comparison hill. Marketing the brand in the right way became more important than ever.

That’s why they have rebranded their offline marketing strategies, getting rid of Mr. iSelect and strengthening their ties with Melbourne FC.

However, as we will see in this review, the company struggles to keep up with the evolving trends of online marketing and needs to improve many aspects of their online presence to increase their digital footprint. The company needs to build on their strong organic traffic and improve user experience and engagement with their audience in order to really get a foothold on this market.

iSelect are looking to “become Australia’s life admin store”. To do that, they have to be present in every aspect of our lives, especially online.

In this review, I will have a look at their website and analyse online channels such as User Experience, SEO, Paid Marketing and Social Media pages. I will pin point things that iSelect are doing well, and provide recommendations to improve all aspects of their overall strategy.

Disclaimer: I do not have access to any of the internal information at iSelect. I have not been in contact with any of the iSelect staff or have had access to analytics from inside the company. This analysis has been conducted using 3rd party tools and data along with what I can see online. Recommendations and analysis are based on knowledge and how I would optimize their website.

To set the picture, let’s have a look at some of iSelect’s stats from 2016.

  • Revenue of $172 million (9% increase)
  • Over 600 employees
  • 397,000 sales
  • 9 million unique visitors
  • 18 million 1:1 emails sent
  • 100 partner companies (7 new in 2016)
  • 12.5K product
  • Marketing spend of approx. $40 million (estimation)

And now let’s get started with a channel-by-channel analysis.

UX

The Home Page

This is an exciting time for iSelect. Last week, the website changed its home page to introduce their new partnership with Nest, the home automation producer of security systems that’s backed by Google and Alphabet.

This allows us to compare the new home page to the old one (that we can still access thanks to our beloved Wayback Machine)

This is what the old home page looked like above the fold:

Old homepage

And here’s the new home page:

New homepage

In terms of design and user experience, the old home page was better. It focuses on the task at hand with only two options available on the page:

– Choose what type of insurance I want to compare.
– If I already know I want to compare health insurance, I have a direct call-to-action button for it at the bottom of the page.

The new home page gets confusing because iSelect is adding one extra possibility to the page with the sale of security cameras. This splits our attention to different tasks and loses the focus of the initial goal.

Another thing that I don’t like about the new home page is the slider. I’m sorry but I am just not a big fan of sliders. They have proven to reduce conversion rates and cause banner blindness. They’re supposed to allow people to see different things and products, but the real result is that they see nothing and lose concentration on what they were doing.

Let’s look at their respective attention maps and heat maps side by side:

Old homepage attention mapNew homepage attention map

Homepage old heat mapnew homepage heat map

The two pages are quite similar, with one major difference. The old page attracts the user towards the text at the bottom to compare health insurance while the new page draws the attention towards the middle of the page to buy security cameras.

What was I doing here again?

To be fair, both these home pages could use some improvements. Even though I like the dark background, a better use of colors could attract the users to some more important parts of the page such as the call-to-action buttons or the dropdown menu in the center.

The main purpose of this page is for people to click on the dropdown menu to get started with their insurance comparisons. However, the attention of the user is not at all drawn towards this feature.

Dropdown menu

Dropdown menu illustration

Here are four points that need to be worked on to upgrade this home page:

– Make the dropdown menu stand out more. The images, features and colors surrounding the menu should help draw attention towards it.
– The Title isn’t catchy enough. “Always get it right with iSelect”. What does that even mean?
– The text inside the dropdown menu should be improved as well. I like that they are asking a question, prompting the user to respond by clicking on the menu. However, there’s nothing about insurance or comparisons, which is what we are here for right? It feels like iSelect are assuming that every user landing on this page already know what they’re here for. They’re wrong.
– It’s great to give a phone number for people to call in case they prefer using that communication medium. But I can barely see it. It’s almost like iSelect are hiding the fact that they have a phone number. They should make it stand out more and prompt the user to call and engage with their staff.

Let’s support these points by comparing this home page with two other businesses who have a similar page.

First, let’s look at compare.com, one of the biggest insurance comparison websites in the US.

Compare.com homepage heat map

And our second example will be iSelect’s main competitor, comparethemarket.com.au.

Compare The Market Homepage Heat Map

See how both these websites are clearly attracting the attention of the user towards the center of the page? They’re prompting the user to take action and get started with their insurance comparisons.

It’s interesting to see that the primary CTA for iSelect is to get people in their comparison sales funnel and to let technology do the job of a sales person, whereas Compare The Market place a huge emphasis on getting people to call their likely 500+ strong sales call centre by putting the primary focus on their phone number.

Research shows that phone call leads are 10-15x more valuable than web based enquiries and I’m sure Compare The Market are fully aware of their close rates when they get a prospect on the phone.

The contrast in colors serves a great purpose for both Compare The Market and Compare.com. But to be fair to iSelect, their choice of colors serves one great purpose, which I can illustrate with the following images.

Old home page –

Clarity Score Old HomePage

New home page –

Clarity Score New Homepage

A clarity score of 88 is very high. That’s a very positive point for the new home page.

iSelect understands that people need to be in a clear and calm mood to compare insurance. Comparing insurance is not an easy, quick or exciting thing to do. These colours are preparing the users to spend some time on the website, to remain calm and to make sure that everything is clear.

An excitingness score of 54 is decent, but a loss compared to the previous homepages’s score of 46.

Compare The Market is not as good in this area, as we can see here.

Clarity Score CTM

The Top Menu

Let’s have a quick look at the menu at the top of the page, which I think is really good.

Top Menu iSelect

The call-to-action button is very clear and easy to navigate, even though we would recommend split testing a brighter colour than the logo – nit picking here.

There are many informative links that I can click on to get information on whatever question I may have (which is great for internal linking, by the way), and I can schedule a call to talk with an expert…do take note how this isn’t the primary CTA and is trumped by once again getting people in the comparison sales funnel.

The Compare insurance page

Compare Insurance Page

The compare insurance page is much better than the home page at making sure the user now enters the world of insurance comparison.

The goal of this page is very clear, the user needs to enter some basic personal information to get started. Everything is centred around this goal.

Compare Insurance Page Attention Map

Compare Insurance Page Heat Map

iSelect has done a good job here to keep the attention of the user on the task at hand to avoid them bouncing or even scrolling down the page.

Forms

Forms Page

Alright, we’re getting to the difficult part. Now is the time where I have to spend 5-10 minutes entering my private information to assure I get the most relevant insurance comparisons. Remember the colours aiming at keeping you calm and clear? It all makes sense now.

iSelect has probably tested different types of forms over and over again to make sure they have the best chance of retaining the user’s attention until the end of the process. It’s a very thoughtout layout, and I’m going to break down some of the features that make this form really good.

The Breadcrumb

Breadcrumb

It’s not a coincidence that iSelect have made their breadcrumb stand out. Because the process of entering personal information is long and constraining, the page needs to constantly remind us of where we’re at in the process .

This step-by-step timeline gives a clear vision of where we are and where we’re going. It also gives us the feeling of getting closer to the goal every time we move to a new page, providing us with some instant gratification.

Your summary

The Your Summary box helps us keep track of the information that we’ve entered. This box evolves from one page to another as we provide more and more information.

It serves a very important purpose: reminding people of what information they have entered without having them press the “back” button.

It also allows to constantly check if any mistakes have been made. Notice the little Edit button in the lower right corner. It allows you to change any entered information directly in the box, without having to go back to the previous page.

This box serves to help people going forward in the process. iSelect doesn’t want people to stop or go back. It wants people to reach the end of the form process.

The Review

Classic. Well known and effective tactic: The Review.

People value other people’s opinion. Adding a review on the page keeps their trust up. They can now stay assured that other people have done this before and have been satisfied with the result.

The chosen review is no coincidence. “Easy site to navigate and clear instructions” has the goal of making people think this page is much better than any other form.

The Guarantee

The Guarantee serves a similar purpose to The Review. It reassures people that this is the place where they will find best prices. Heck, they’ll even give you double the difference if you find cheaper! That’s a very powerful guarantee right there.

If I scroll down a little bit, The Guarantee is followed by a similar box (not shown on the screenshot), the “Did You Know?” box.

This box has 2 purposes:
– For the third time, to keep people’s trust up during the process
– To urge people to sign up for health insurance before a certain point in time. This is called the FOMO tactic, “Fear Of Missing Out”.

The Phone number

At any point during the process, people may have questions or misunderstandings. It’s very important for iSelect to provide support to their users in any of these situations.

They’re doing a great job here by providing phone assistance and showing it off with big numbers at the top of the page.

The Form

I don’t have much to say about the form, except that it’s good. By breaking up the different parts of the form into sections, it makes the form clearer and user friendly.

The Final Comparison

Final Comparison Page

Finally, we get to compare the different insurances. On this page, we receive a lot of information about all the different insurance plans and everything that goes with it.

I’m not going to go to much into detail here. Feel free to play around with it for yourselves!

Mobile

Let’s compare how the Mobile website is built compare to the desktop website.

The Home Page

mobile home pageMobile Home Page Attention Map

The Home Page presents the same problems on Mobile as it did on Desktop. The user’s attention is drawn towards the text in the center instead of the call-to action button at the bottom or the dropdown menu at the top.

The Compare Insurance Page

Mobile Compare Insurance PageMobile Compare Insurance Page Attention Map

This page is very similar to its desktop counterpart: well set up for the users to stay focused on the task and enter their initial personal information.

The Form

Mobile Form Page

The Form has one cool upgrade in comparison to the Desktop website. The little phone logo at the top of the page allows to call directly to ask for help.

The App

Well, this one is easy. There is no app. Surprisingly, none of the insurance comparators seem to have one.

Even though apps are not the greatest source of traffic, it encourages brand loyalty and increases chances of people coming back. I would suggest that iSelect start working on an app to help people keep track of their insurance comparisons.

SEO

http vs. https

Because of the nature of insurance, iSelect has to be very careful with the data it collects. Obviously, no one would want their personal details to be shared with anyone else or worse, spread online.

That’s why most of iSelect’s domains are on the secure protocol https://. For some reason, the only one that isn’t is the root domain www.iselect.com.au.

This is not a good thing.

My first recommendation here is to switch their root domain to https. This will give them a boost in website quality and make sure their user’s information doesn’t get hacked by anyone.

Site Structure

One interesting thing to realise when looking at iSelect’s website is that there are many subdomains. First, we have the root domain www.iselect.com.au. This is the main website, where the journey starts for the new customers and they can look for what kind of insurance they want.

On this main domain, there are pages for two main reasons

  • To get started comparing insurances by entering postcode/suburb
  • To get information

All the information for each insurance type is available on the main website. This is their content, the pages they rank for and where they get their precious organic traffic from. These pages are very important because they give out information that people are looking
for, answering a plethora of questions.

 

When a user lands on the website, they first choose what type of insurance to compare.

If the user choses to compare Health insurance, he/she remains on the main website and goes on to http://www.iselect.com.au/CDSX.

Website Content

However, the main website ends as soon as a user enters a comparison request for any other category. In fact, the user gets redirected to one of the following subdomains:

– car.iselect.com.au
– life.iselect.com.au
– travelinsurance.iselect.com.au
– pet.iselect.com.au
– comms.iselect.com.au
– energy.iselect.com.au
– homeloan.iselect.com.au
– creditcard.iselect.com.au

Each of the domains are specifically tailored for their specific comparisons, and they are independent of each other. For security purposes, iSelect has blocked any robot from entering these websites and therefore, we cannot analyse their structure (which is a good thing).

You might notice that there are three categories missing: Home & Contents, Overseas Visitor Cover and Mobile phones & plans.

The reason is, that these comparisons are not directly made on iSelect. The first goes to a specific URL (iselect.disconline.com.au) where the user is connected with the Budget Direct tool, whom iSelect have partnered with.

Mobile phones & plans goes straight to the Optus website (not much of a comparison, it it?), while the Overseas visitor cover lets the user chose between 4 travel insurance companies, with a clear favour for Iman.

The following image gives you a visual that sums up roughly how the iSelect website is set up.

Website Structure

The result is that the iSelect root domain is quite simply structured, which is great for rankings. Just like humans, the Google bot doesn’t like to waste time finding pages. The easier it is to get to the desired page, the better.

As we can see on the Click Depth Chart below, iSelect are doing a great job keeping most of there pages not more than two clicks away from the Homepage.

With 0 being the Homepage (as no clicks are required to get there), we see on this chart that 89% of the pages are only two clicks away.

Page Speed

iSelect feels like a fairly quick website. When first landing on the home page, we can easily start our journey without waiting for too long.

However, in terms of SEO and Page Speed Optimization, some improvements can be made to save crawl budget and increase Google rankings.

A page size of 1.8MB is too high and should be reduced to under 1MB for better page speed. 146 requests is also too high and needs to be reduced.

These are some actions iSelect could take to optimise their loading time:

  • Lower the amount of images on the page (currently 57 image requests).
  • Make sure all images are compressed and reduced to the exact size of the space they take on the page.
  • Extend length of cache for images and other resources.
  • Combine External Javascript files into as few as possible.

Page Speed GTMetrix

Traffic & Organic Rankings

Let’s get this straight – iSelect are doing very well on the Australian market. The website had 9 unique million visitors in 2016 producing 397,000 sales.

There’s a reason why they are the #1 insurance comparison website down under.

In terms of traffic, they’ve had a very nice, constantly growing tendency for the last few months and even years.

SimilarWeb shows us how the company has grown from 470K to 730K visitors in the past 6 months, an increase of 55%. And that’s just 2017.

Visits SimilarWeb

SEMRush is showing us different numbers, but the main take-away remains the same: the graph has been growing fairly consistently since 2011.

Traffic SEMRush

In terms of rankings, they’re ranking #1 for very high quality keywords such as “car insurance”, “internet”, “life insurance” or “compare health insurance”. These are some of the most competitive keywords online.

From the total traffic they get to their website, an incredible 62.46% comes from organic traffic. That’s around four hundred THOUSAND visitors every month that come to their website for FREE and that haven’t specifically searched iSelect as a brand.

Traffic Sources

Talking about dream goals for your organic traffic? iSelect is pretty close.

Even though iSelect’s rankings are great, they’re far from perfect. They can still improve on a great number of keywords such as “travel insurance” (ranked #11), “pet insurance” (ranked #25) or “home insurance” (ranked #54).

These keywords have a combined Search volume of 140,200. That’s a big chunk of people that they are not yet reaching with their organic rankings.

That’s the beauty of SEO. You can ALWAYS improve.

Backlinks

In some industries, getting backlinks is really tough. Insurance is one of them.

There are not many bloggers who write in-depth articles about online insurance comparison websites (spotted…). It’s an industry many people regard as boring and no one really thinks of it as a fun thing to take care of.

However, insurance decisions can be some of the most important of our lives and good advertisement from insurance companies and comparators are key to their online success.

Several studies have shown that number and quality of backlinks are the #1 ranking factor for search engines. So, for insurance companies who are competing for some of the most highly competitive keywords available on the web, it’s absolutely essential to get people to talk about you (and link to you).

It’s as important to make sure that these backlinks are of good quality. That’s why companies like iSelect have to be very aware of who is talking about them online, and in what way.

Let’s have a look at the company’s backlink profile from Ahrefs:

Referring Domains

It is critical for iSelect to manage their backlink profile and make sure they are not hit by any kind of penalty. If the company were to be hit by Penguin, that would be a gigantic blow to their traffic and business as a whole.

Referring Pages

The referring pages graph in this case is very interesting. In October 2013, iSelect started to drastically reduce their number of referring pages. That same month, Google released their latest spam-filtering algorithm, Penguin 5 AKA Penguin 2.1.

In March 2014, iSelect tackled their number of referring pages even harder. That same month, Google were granted a patent for the Panda algorithm, ringing the alarm signal for a new update to come. Just a couple of months later in May 2014, Google released Panda 4.0.

The insurance comparator keeps a very close eye on Google updates to make sure they are complying with rules and avoiding penalties as all costs.

Backlink stats

As we can see, this doesn’t mean that iSelect keeps a low amount of Referring domains and backlinks. With 1.21K Referring domains, the company has a very strong backlink profile that allows them to stay ahead in organic research for highly competitive keywords.

Anchor text

For iSelect, this is going to be an interesting one. As we already explained in the HelloFresh review, Anchor text can have a significant impact on Google penalties.

As I just mentioned, iSelect have to play a safe game with their backlinks to avoid penalties at any cost. But on the other hand, hard anchored backlinks from authoritative websites is probably the best signal you can get for Google to boost up rankings.

So how do they keep that balance?

Let’s first have a look at their Anchor text distribution.

Anchor Text Distribution

The anchor text profile shows a large variety of anchor texts, 679 out of 1792 to be exact (38% unique anchors). A good variety of anchor text is a signal for Google that the backlinks are natural, and iSelect wants to keep this as varied as possible to avoid any penalties.

But what about distribution? Last time we were talking about keeping the following proportions:

70% Branded Anchor Text, 20% of Naked links, 5% Generic Anchors and 1% of Exact-Match text.

Except for the naked links being around 20% of the traffic, iSelect doesn’t follow these rules.

What’s interesting here are the Exact-match keywords that I have highlighted in the graph. Together, the anchor texts “car insurance”, “life insurance” and “private health insurance” take up almost 4% of the total Anchor text distribution.

That’s huge.

Remember how impressed I was by iSelect ranking #1 for highly competitive, high Search Volume keywords “car insurance”, “life insurance” and “compare health insurance”?

*wink*

I’m going to be sneaky here and have a look at exactly what iSelect have done. I’ll be perfectly honest and say that I don’t believe this is natural. AT ALL.

Let’s take a look at a couple of examples of where these backlinks come from.

Autosmart article

See how this article is perfectly built around the car insurance keyword?

That link to iSelect is the first of only two links available on this page. The website and article subjects are relevant, the anchor text is strong, the link brings directly to a “money page” and the link is reasonably well positioned within the content.

This is a good link. It will bring link juice and help iSelect rank for the “car insurance” keyword. Is it natural? Nah. This is link building.

Ibyang Article

Same thing can be said about this article.

This link isn’t as good though, as the website is not as relevant to car insurance as the previous one was.

But according to Moz’s Domain Authority (whatever you might think of it), this domain has higher authority than the previous one, which goes in iSelect’s favour.

Here’s a snapshot of what the Domain profile with the anchor text “car insurance” looks like:

Domain Profile Car Insurance

I’ve gone through most of these pages. Some of them look really bad.

Terrible Link Building

To be fair, most of these articles were written around 2009-2011. So this is probably some old link-building tactic that iSelect implemented at the time to increase rankings for car insurance. Seems like it worked.

Since then, other factors such as domain age might have taken over why the website is ranking so high for this keyword, but there is no doubt that these backlinks have their share of impact.

I would recommend that iSelect keep a close eye on this. These backlinks might come back and haunt them one day.

But for now, why fix something that isn’t broken? Removing the links might lower their rankings, resulting in lower traffic and ultimately, lower revenue.

However, instead of using these link building tactics in the future, I will show how iSelect could create a whole lot more links and interaction with this amazing strategy: Content Marketing.

Content Marketing

To build up their audience and increase the number of natural inbound links, iSelect should shift their focus to Content Marketing.

iSelect has a blog, it’s called Get Life Right. It took me a while to find out it even existed, and to realise that this page was actually a blog.

Blog HomePage

Even though iSelect has some interesting content, there is nothing that looks very appealing to the masses that would attract people linking or sharing the content. What I’m missing here is the “WOW” factor, the feeling that “I really have to share this with my friends and family” when I read it.

When scrolling down the blog, none of the titles make me feel like “Oh, I really want to read this” or “Wow, this could be really interesting for me”. It lacks engagement and interaction.

Instead of creating content that is fun to read and interesting, iSelect are keeping a boring subject, well… boring.

Blog Articles

iSelect would bring much more traffic to their blog if they wrote articles about things that people actually want to read. With the CTA buttons they have at the bottom of every blog post, these articles would be a great entry point for consumers to start comparing with their tool.

By entering the website through content that helps people, engages with them and solves their problems, users will be more inclined to start using iSelect’s services by clicking on the CTA button.

Blog CTA

In the past, huge media outlets such as Business Insider have written articles about insurance that have gone viral across the web. This article about celebrities insuring body parts has been spread around the internet and brought a great number of readers on their website.

I would encourage iSelect to write articles modelled of these and really focus their energy on writing great headlines that would increasing the way the content gets spread online i.e. “11 Shocking Body Parts You Won’t Believe Celebrities Are Insuring”.

For a company so focused on CTA buttons getting users into their sales funnel, iSelect needs to find better ways to attract users to their website.

A good Content Marketing strategy will not only accomplish this, but also increase brand awareness, increase engagement on the website (by adding a comments section) and on social media, increase customer retention and ultimately change their image from something boring to something fun and engaging.

In addition, they will likely attract super high-value links from authoritative sites linking to their ‘viral’ content pieces…rather than paying outdated link building techniques that could get them penalised.

E-mail Marketing

We were quite shocked to realise that iSelect isn’t asking us for our e-mail address in the sales funnel before the very last step of the process. iSelect doesn’t even mention anything about e-mail before we have clicked on the “Apply Now” button on the final comparison page.

Think about how many steps I need to get to that point.

E-mail Marketing Form

Even worse, on this page iSelect is asking me for my phone number before asking me for my e-mail. In what world is it easier for me to give away my phone number before my e-mail address?

We don’t have specific statistics of how many users actually reach this stage, but I’m 100% sure that percentage is very low compared to the number of people who reach the “About you” page.

E-mails are being considered as the new internet currency. They’re extremely valuable for any type of business because they allow to interact with potential customers in a very specific way.

Let me explain how.

When I enter iSelect’s sales funnel by giving away my postcode, that is a big step forward in my customer journey. I’m clearly looking to compare insurances and I surely have, in the back of my mind, the intention to buy the best type of cover for my health/car/life/home. I’m here for a reason and my intent is clear (and that’s big).

I go through the funnel giving away my personal information such as cover priorities, my home address and date of birth to finally reach the final comparison page. Great, now I can start comparing insurances and get what’s best for me.

Then my phone rings, baby starts crying or I click away to find out the shocking things Connor McGregor just said to Floyd Mayweather and leave the page, stop the process and never return again…

So, what am I now for iSelect? Nothing, I’m lost… FOREVER!

iSelect has no way of contacting me to prompt me to continue my insurance comparison. No e-mail, no phone number, no retargeting, Nothing.

How difficult would it have been for me to add my e-mail address to the information in the “About You” page? Or how great would it have been for me to receive my insurance quote by e-mail? I could’ve simply been asked to add my e-mail address just before the final comparison page to receive my personal quote in my mailbox, making it easier for me to get back to it later.

I understand that iSelect have had issues with people calling them out for phone spamming. But phone calls and e-mails are a very, very different thing. A reminder in my mailbox to continue my insurance comparison is very different from a person calling me in my private time.

The point is, iSelect need to retain their potential customers. They’re working so hard on bringing people to their website via TV ads, sponsorships, online advertisement and SEO, that they seem to forget what happens to their users once they’re inside the funnel.

In their annual report, iSelect mentioned that they sent 18 million 1:1 emails in 2016.

I guarantee that they could send 10-20x more emails by changing a very simple thing: asking the user to enter their e-mails before getting to the final comparison page.

Paid Marketing

Insurance keywords have some of the highest Cost Per Click on Google Australia, with costs sometimes reaching $195 for one single click.

Insurance KW Stats

This shows how important it is for insurance companies to make sure those clicks turn into conversions. Without it, advertising for these outrageously expensive keywords will result in them continuously bleed their money.

iSelect has a fair chunk of its traffic coming from Paid Search. According to Ahrefs, that number is up to around 100k monthly visitors coming in through Google Ads. I’ll let you imagine how much money that translates into.

Google Ads

With a random search on some important keywords for iSelect, here are some Ads that I came across.

Position 1-2

iselect google ad

Ad 2

Position 3-4

Ad 3

Ad 4

As we can see, iSelect isn’t doing anything creative with their Ad copy and leaves a lot to be desired for an exceptional CTR. Let’s break it down

1. Headline 1 contains a clear call-to-action: “Compare X”

2. Headline 2 has another call-to-action, “Compare Now”, followed by the website. But in the H2, something interesting happens as the URL of iSelect is shown.

Sometimes in Google Ads, Google adds the URL of the website at the end of the headline to make it look more appealing. It’s one of the “hidden Ad Extensions” that we cannot control as marketers.

However, in this case, I believe that iSelect have added their URL into the H2 themselves to make sure it always appears. How do I know this?

  • First, Google wouldn’t put a URL in capital letters. iSelect.com.au has a capital “S” in the headline.
  • Second, “Compare Now” is a very short H2. “Compare Now – iSelect.com.au” is 29 characters long. With the H2 limit set at 30 it fits nicely.

Why do they add the URL themselves in the Headline? There could be several reasons. It can be for branding purposes, or maybe they just didn’t have any better inspiration for their headlines.

Anyways, iSelect hopefully know what they’re doing here

3. The Description is fairly standard with the call-to-action “Compare” appearing once more

I would recommend that iSelect test different headlines. I would also urge them to use the full lengths of the Headlines and Description. “Compare Car Insurance” is a length of 21 characters only. That’s 9 wasted character spots that could improve their headlines quite dramatically.

At the end of the day your ad has one purpose, to get people to CLICK! Your ads should demand attention. Your ads should compel readers to click (not buy). So, that begs the question: What drives a click?

  • Curiosity
  • Shock
  • Direct Benefit
  • Implied Benefit
  • Fear
  • Vanity
  • Self Interest (Better, Richer, Stronger, Faster, Healthier, Happier, Sexier, Fitter, Smarter)

Click worthy ad examples:

Ad Example 1

Ad Example 2

Ad Example 3

Ad Example 4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’ve covered this in a lot more detail in the free report here.

Paid Keywords

Let’s have a look at the top 5 paid keywords iSelect are getting traffic from.

Top Paid Keywords

iSelect are using every trick they have in their bag to get the most amount of traffic. 3 out of the top 5 keywords contain other brand keywords. One of them (Telstra) being their partner.

Bidding on competitor’s keywords is a quite common AdWords strategy to increase traffic. Usually, bidding on a competitor’s brand will give the Ad a low Quality Score and it will not appear in the #1 position. But still, if it appears in the #2 or #3 position, that has a great chance of bringing traffic.

I’m not sure Telstra would be very happy about iSelect bidding on their keywords though. iSelect will most probably be asked to add the word “Telstra” to their negative keywords list in the future. Sneaky iSelect!

Paid Marketing Landing Page

Paid Marketing LP

All Google Ads related to health insurance direct users to this landing page, which is not reachable from the website.

I’m not sure why they send users coming through ads to a different landing page. Either they tested both pages and this one worked better, or they simply haven’t updated the landing page to the new health insurance page we saw in the UX section.

Remarketing

For a company that has received complaints in the past about “spammy telemarketing”, it seems obvious that they would target visitors with online remarketing.

Well, in the past weeks that I have been working on iSelect, I don’t seem to have been targeted by any remarketing campaigns at all. This is a shame for a website that relies heavily on people going through a funnel and completing forms to produce sales (which I haven’t).

Once again, it seems that iSelect are forgetting about users who have entered their sales funnel. They spend insane amounts of money on brand awareness by bidding on high-CPC keywords when they could spend a fraction of that by remarketing people who have already been on their website.

What’s so great about remarketing is that the target users have already been in your funnel. It’s not just a random ad popping up on a web page. They know you, and this greatly increases their chance of converting.

Remarketing is a great opportunity for iSelect and they should definitely start targeting their past visitors with display ads to have them come back. This would produce more leads and ultimately more sales for the company.

Social Media

Social Network Sources

As shown on the image above, iSelect communicates with their audience mainly through Facebook. They have had a Twitter account since 2011 that doesn’t bring too much attraction and a new Instagram account that was created just recently which could help them increase their social media coverage. Their Google+ account hasn’t been updated since March 2016.

But the company also has a strong Youtube account, where they show off their TV ads sometimes reaching over 500k views.

iSelect brags about their “7.9 million Australians reached via Social Media” in their Annual Report. However, their reach has not produced any strong engagement across their various platforms. Who cares about reaching people if they don’t interact with you?

Let’s have a look at their individual social media pages.

Facebook

  • The Facebook page is currently showing off their new partnership with Nest, but prior to that they had mostly pictures in line with their different TV campaigns.
  • iSelect currently has 90k likes, which could definitely be boosted to reach higher levels
  • “Typically replies within a day” is not good enough. Getting the green “very responsive to messages” is a great boost to the page and shows that they are interacting with their community
  • The About page lacks information, such as opening hours for phone calls, a Company Overview and a link to their Instagram page

The Facebook page lacks personality and has low engagement rates. iSelect should find new ways to interact with their audience, through different social media campaigns.

Here are a few ideas that iSelect could use to boost up their interaction on Facebook:

  • They have some great characters that they create through TV Ads. Use them to connect with the audience by making something boring, fun and amusing.
  • Create competitions and have people win goodies such as a free Nest security cameras or vouchers on various insurance plans.
  • Post more often. Current posting rate of one post every 1-4 days should be increased to 1-2 posts per day.
  • Ask people questions, create polls, engage with the audience by making them participate in the shared content.
  • Publish more pictures and videos

Twitter

Twitter Page

The Twitter account was created in 2011 and has a decent post-frequency. However, it has a very low follower base and engagement rate.

The engagement on Twitter could be increased via the same tactics as listed on Facebook. The trick here is to create engaging content, prompting users to follow, share and comment on their posts.

YouTube

Youtube Page

The YouTube account has almost 7 million views, but only 1,800 subscribers.

Their TV campaigns seem to be working quite well as these videos are by far the most viewed on their YouTube account.

Instagram

Instagram

iSelect’s Instagram account is very new with only 179 followers. This is a completely new channel for them that they really need to develop.

I like how they are creating landscape pictures. It looks very good when viewing the account. However, it is not the best in terms of engagement. In this format, individual pictures end up showing pretty much nothing.

Once again, they have to prompt engagement from their audience. Create fun content and interact with users to break the ice between something that seems boring and make it become something more accessible.

Social Media Summary

Overall, their social media presence needs some serious upgrading. iSelect should communicate with their audience more through social media and create interactions with users.

The company is spending huge amounts of money on TV campaigns and sponsorships. Spending more time optimizing social media and reaching their audience through fun content, great images, intriguing questions, contests and videos would greatly increase their presence online.

Conclusion

While iSelect is doing a lot of things right (especially with their offline strategy) there is a tonne of room for improvement with their digital presence. It feels as if they are struggling to keep up the pace with the changing marketing environment and increased competition are almost left scrambling as the stakes get higher to win the market.

They surely have some great offline marketing techniques that are growing their brand, but they need to take a more comprehensive approach to their digital marketing strategy to boost their presence and increase traffic and leads.

Low presence on social media, old link building tactics, an unsecure http protocole, low quality ads, non-existing remarketing and low quality home page are points that iSelect definitely needs to work on to improve their online presence.

In particular their overall sales and conversion funnel should be improved, to make sure all the (expensive) traffic they are filling up the top of their funnel with is being milked for every last drop of ROI possible.

Their organic traffic is very strong and the website has a great structure, so the company has a solid base to build on. With some time, great tactics and experienced online marketers, they will be able to dramatically increase their online traffic and lead generation.

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