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A Guide to Pay-Per-Click Advertising for Insurance Agents

Marketing Tips
Mar 10, 2022
minute read
Nectar Team
A Guide to Pay-Per-Click Advertising for Insurance Agents

Insurance agents are always working to grow their book of business. Competition is stiff, though, and you need to use a wide range of strategies to get your name out there.

Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising allows you to gain traction and help potential customers find you. It's an efficient way of doing paid advertising, as you can limit your costs and only pay when prospects are engaging with your ads. PPC is a great tool for insurance agents, but you need to know the best ways to use it. We'll cover some key methods in this article.

What Is Pay-Per-Click Advertising?

Pay-per-click advertising is where you buy ads that get displayed at the top or bottom of a search engine results page (Google or Bing) or in someone's social media feed, then pay a fee for each time one of the ads receives a click. Instead of merely relying on search engine optimization (SEO) to get good rankings in the search results, you're paying for direct exposure.

The difference between pay-per-click advertising and gaining visits to your website organically comes down to dollars and cents. You can earn organic visits to your site by creating content and attracting folks through social media posts, search engines, and so on. But this can take time to generate results. PPC advertising is a way to accelerate that process and drive more results for your agency.

PPC advertising is just one piece of the pie for your insurance marketing plans. Selling insurance will require you to tap into customers via leads you purchase, advertising campaigns like PPC, and other organic avenues.

Pros and Cons of Pay-Per-Click Ads

There's plenty of debate about the best way to generate online traffic for your insurance agency. Let's look at a few ways PPC advertising can help or hurt your business.

Benefits of PPC

Compared to organic traffic, Individual traffic to your site via a pay-per-click ad is 50% more likely to see conversion to a sale. According to Google, every $1 spent on AdWords advertising generates an average of $2 in revenue. These statistics help to justify the advertising spend, which can equate to sizable returns on insurance sales. PPC ads give you an opportunity to bring a potential customer to your insurance agency and convert that visit into a newly insured customer. 

Pay-per-click advertising does not need to be a one-and-done approach. You can have multiple advertising campaigns running on different search engines, social media platforms, and more. You also have the ability to set a budget for as much or as little spending as you would like, so your ad won't display anymore once you reach your maximum number of clicks. The more data you gain over time, the more you can weigh the success of each campaign.  

When setting up PPC advertising, you can make the ad as relevant and target-driven as you need it to be. If you start an ad campaign and find it's not working, you can easily change the target and content to increase your odds of success. Pay-per-click advertising offers a lot of versatility in its presentation.

Downsides of PPC

It is not all positive when it comes to pay-per-click advertising. Insurance agents are always thinking about their profit margins. With PPC advertising, you have to spend more to attract more clicks. The more you spend, the more it cuts into any potential profits along the way.

Pay-per-click advertising also requires a great deal of expertise. Even with a huge budget, you may be attracting clicks from individuals whom you have a very low chance of converting to a customer or insurance policyholder. You need to know how to put advertising together that will hit your target market. If you are just blindly spending for clicks, but not seeing a strong conversion rate, you're wasting advertising money.  

Pay-per-click advertising is only one of many options insurance agents have for promoting their business. One of the leading alternatives to pay-per-click advertising is buying leads. With pay-per-click advertising, you are casting a big net — but you also want to throw out smaller nets. With paid leads from Nectar, you know what you are buying. You have real-time leads who are ready to talk insurance with you and potentially purchase a policy. The target-driven approach of buying leads may put you in a better position to convert a sale.

PPC Tips for Insurance Agents

There are enough benefits to PPC advertising that it should be one tool in every insurance agent's tool bag. When you do it, though, it's important to know some of the best practices. Here are a few ways you can grow your insurance business with PPC advertising.

1. Determine your budget

Before you get into the weeds of PPC ad planning, you need to nail down a budget. In the vast world of digital advertising, there's no limit to what you can spend trying to target specific audience segments or win high-value keywords.

Google, for example, allows you to set caps in two different ways: bid limits and average daily budgets.

  • With bid limits, you set a maximum amount you're willing to pay to target a specific keyword (more on that later).
  • For average daily budgets, you're telling Google how much you're willing to spend each day. Once you hit that number of impressions or clicks (depending on what you've paid for), your ad no longer displays. If you have multiple campaigns running, you can set a shared budget among all of them.

When you start, it's important to set a limit and stick to it. You can always adjust this upwards later if you see that you're getting a higher ROI than expected.

2. Use landing pages

Landing pages are a critical component in any PPC ad strategy. Without them, it's much more difficult to measure how well your ads are working.

Don't just set your ads to send people to your home page. Create unique landing pages for different campaigns so you can see how much traffic each one is generating. You should also craft page content that's designed to convert different campaign audiences.

For instance, an ad campaign about whole life insurance should take prospects directly to a page with information about whole life, answers to common questions, and a direct call to action to reach out for a quote. You can then monitor how visitors interact with that specific landing page and make adjustments to improve conversions.

3. Cover all your insurance offerings

You want pay-per-click advertising to cover every type of insurance you have available. If you are selling automobile, home, and renters insurance, create advertising campaigns covering each of those areas. On top of that, have the landing page content from clicking those advertising links lead individuals to learn more about what you offer in that specific insurance category. 

In the insurance space, you will always have a bucket of individuals who want the basics when it comes to insurance policies. Having pay-per-click advertising campaigns to cover each insurance policy you offer is a great starting point to drive traffic your way.

4. Target advertisements to specific geographic locations

Anyone who knows anything about SEO will tell you to target keywords with a geographic or localized focus. Pay-per-click advertising works in the same way, where you should have geographic locations as part of your advertisements. This is especially true for a product like insurance with localized regulations and policy details.  

If you're selling automobile insurance, is there a certain region of the United States in which you specialize? Work this into the content of the advertisement and the web users for whom the ad displays. This should dramatically improve the quality of your impressions, and the clicks you get from the ad are far more likely to lead to conversions.

5. Seek out insurance customers in specific need areas

There are a variety of reasons why someone might be shopping for insurance coverage. Consider someone shopping for car insurance. What are a few reasons they might be looking? It could be they're:

  • Looking to lower the price of their automobile insurance policy
  • Searching for an automobile insurance policy with expanded coverages
  • A first-time car insurance buyer looking for quotes
  • Seeking automobile insurance for classic cars

All of these are scenarios that can drive forward specific customer bases, so you should consider how your ads speak to different types of potential clients. It may be that you want to target a specific area of the market with your insurance offering. Defining a target for your PPC advertising campaigns can yield higher results. Some examples of targeting a customer base may include:

  • Creating a pay-per-click ad that promotes a unique coverage offering
  • Touting a statistic on saving folks on their insurance premiums
  • Targeting someone who needs auto insurance and lives in a city, drives minimal miles, and has a garage spot for their automobile (in other words, low-cost car insurance)

6. Incorporate keywords for the advertisements

Pay-per-click advertising is only as good as the keywords behind the ad delivery. You want to work to build out a list of insurance industry keywords that will help you target specific customer areas. 

When you are thinking about keywords, it's important to start with your budget. What are you willing to spend to get traction with a specific keyword? Something general vs. more targeted could cost less, but you may get clicks that are more difficult to convert to customers. Something more targeted may yield a higher cost but give you better odds of success.

Think about your keywords in the areas of geo-targets as well as format. You want long-tail keywords that are specific. If you're seeking first-time automobile insurance buyers, for example, that string of content may be your long-tail keyword. The more specific you make the long-tail keyword, the better you can target individuals. The same can be said when taking the geo-target approach. Take the same long-tail keyword on first-time automobile insurance buyers and then add a city and state at the end of it. This geo-targeted location will help you zero in on target customers who are seeking the exact service you can offer.

7. Set your bidding strategy

This is where you set the details of how you want to spend your budget. Although your ultimate goal is to convert new insurance customers, there are a lot of ways to get there. Your bidding strategy helps you focus on those intermediate steps.

At the broader level, you can determine whether you want to pay primarily for clicks or impressions. In the latter case, you actually pay based on how many people see your ad rather than how many people click on it. This can be helpful (and less expensive) if broad exposure is your primary goal, but clicks are a better target for generating real leads and conversions.

On Google, you can take your bidding strategy a step further by specifying how you want to target keywords. Your options are:

  • Broad match: This exposes your ad to the most possible people by setting looser restrictions around the keywords and phrasing. It's also the least cost-efficient.
  • Phrase match: Tighter restrictions around phrasing will reduce your exposure but increase the chances that the right people see your ad.
  • Exact match: This option only shows your ad to people using your exact keyword phrase (or something very close to it). You're most likely to get high-value exposure here, but you may miss out on some impressions.

Again, you can tweak your bidding approach as you go along and evaluate results. What's important here is that you're strategic in how you spend your ad budget.

8. Focus on quality

It's important to note that PPC advertising isn't just about picking keywords and cobbling an ad together around them. Higher-quality ads will generate more results for your insurance business while minimizing your costs.

Google actually employs a quality scoring metric for your ads. It's based on:

  • Your ad's expected click-through rate: How likely are people to click on it when they see it?
  • Relevance: Does it not merely have the keyword you're targeting, but actually connect with the search intent of users who are entering it? Search intent is a critical part of your keyword research and ad targeting.
  • Landing page experience: Does your ad lead to a landing page with relevant content based on the user's search intent?

Other PPC ad networks use similar metrics for measuring quality. Ultimately, you'll get more value for your dollar by submitting only high-quality ads for your insurance PPC campaigns.

9. Track your results

Advertising is only worth the investment if you can tangibly demonstrate the results. PPC ads are no different. The good news is that, if you do what we've been discussing in this article, it's easy to track PPC ad metrics in great detail.  

Ad networks offer a wide range of data that you can use for tracking the effectiveness of your ad campaigns, and it's possible to get lost in the details. Here are the most helpful metrics to track for your ad campaigns (and how to do it):

  • Impression share: This measures how often your ad appears when users search your targeted keywords compared to how often it was eligible to appear. You can improve your impression share by boosting ad quality, raising your bids, or improving your targeting.
  • Cost per click (CPC): This is how much each ad click costs you. It's easy to measure if you're paying by the click.
  • Click-through ratio (CTR): Out of the total ad impressions, how many people are actually clicking on your ad? This shows you how effective your ad is at reaching interested prospects.
  • Cost per lead: Divide your total PPC marketing expenses by the number of leads you've generated from those ads. This will tell you how effective your marketing dollars are for generating new leads.
  • Conversion rate: Out of all those people who clicked on your ad, how many of them turned into paid customers? This is, of course, your ultimate goal and the final proof of whether your ad money has been well spent.

10. Optimize your ads

Tracking your results is only the first step toward maximizing how you spend your insurance marketing dollars. The real reason for the data is to help you improve your campaigns and get more for your money.

Your ads will inevitably be less effective when you start. You'll find that certain keyword targets generate better results than others, and some may just need minor tweaks. For example, you may find that "Medicare"  is too broad, while "best Medicare Advantage plans" proves much more fruitful. Or you might find a low-cost keyword more effective for your purposes than a pricier one. In many cases, it comes down to trial and error.

One thing you can do to optimize your PPC ad results is to add negative keywords. These are specific keywords for which you do not want your ad to display in search results. Say, for example, you want to ensure your life insurance ad is only displayed for potential customers, not competitors. You might add "life insurance sales" and "life insurance commission" as negative keywords. That way, someone investigating a career in life insurance sales won't see your ad.

Here's the big idea: Don't approach PPC advertising for your insurance agency with a "one and done" mindset.  Set your budget, choose your keywords, build your ads, and monitor your results. Tweak your campaigns as you go, and you're bound to see your results improve.

PPC Advertising Isn't the Only Way to Grow Your Business

Pay-per-click advertising is big business for search engines as well as social media giants. It's also an opportunity for insurance agents to target prospects and convert them into new policyholders. As you're considering PPC advertising, keep your budget top of mind, as this kind of advertising can get costly. It's a great tool, but it shouldn't be your only one. 

You may not be an expert in managing PPC campaigns. Even if you are knowledgeable, you may not have the time to put campaigns together and monitor their performance.  If you want even quicker results, consider buying insurance leads from Nectar.  Our real-time leads are even riper for conversion than someone who just clicked on your ad. 

This article reflects the features of Nectar as of the date of publication. Features are subject to change at any time. This article is meant for informational purposes only, it is not a guarantee that using Nectar will help you achieve specific business or financial results and is not intended to serve as the sole recommendation for any business financial decisions.


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