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Digital Display Advertising Nine Times More Effective Than TV for Auto Insurance Brands, According to Rocket Fuel Study

Cross-Channel Ad Spend More Effective Than TV Alone

REDWOOD CITY, CA -- (Marketwired) -- 08/20/14 -- Insurance companies face a bumpy road ahead when it comes to retaining customers and staying top-of-mind for consumers. According to a study released today by Rocket Fuel (NASDAQ: FUEL), a leading provider of artificial intelligence (AI) advertising solutions for digital marketers, 10 percent of consumers will change providers in the next six months, and companies that spent their advertising dollars on display advertising won top-of-mind brand awareness among consumers.

Rocket Fuel's "Insurance Top-of-Mind Awareness" study surveyed 1,026 consumers about insurers in the auto, life, and homeowner's insurance sectors. Key findings from the study include:

Top-of-Mind Awareness Forecasts Shifts in Market Share

  • Top-of-mind awareness is highly correlated with market share for both auto insurance (0.83) and homeowner's insurance (0.87), and modeling either as a function of ad spend yielded the same feature set.
  • In the auto insurance sector, GEICO (21%), State Farm (19%) and Allstate (16%) lead top-of-mind awareness.
  • Cross-channel ad spend was a key predictor of top-of-mind awareness for auto and life insurance providers, with digital display ad spend being nine times more effective at driving top-of-mind awareness than TV.
  • Nearly half (44%) of consumers only look at a single quote before making a purchase.

Digital Advertising Fuels Increases in Brand Awareness

  • Display advertising was the strongest positive feature in driving top-of-mind awareness for auto and life insurance providers, particularly against overcrowded TV channels.
  • For every $1 million an auto insurer spent on digital or display advertising, the brand was likely to see the biggest lift in top-of-mind awareness compared to the same spend in TV, print, search or radio. This difference is in part due to the oversaturation of TV advertising at the broadcast, cable, and local levels by auto insurance providers.

Shifting Market Share

  • 1 in 10 consumers are likely to change providers in the next six months, with price being the most likely factor (49%) in the decision to change providers, followed by reputation (17%). For consumers that begin their journey online, they are most likely to complete it online as well.
  • Consumers are more likely to sign up for new insurance or request a quote on Thursdays and in the evenings between 6 and 9 p.m. and are most likely to convert within eight hours of exposure to an ad.
  • Insurance advertisers can shift top-of-mind awareness by reigning in spending to competitive levels on traditional channels and increasing spend on newer and underserved channels, such as display, mobile, and video.

"Consumers are bombarded with a deluge of options when it comes to choosing an insurance provider -- and this competitive climate shows that top-of-mind awareness is key for insurers to win over the customer," said Robert Jones, Research Director at Rocket Fuel. "Due to the oversaturation of TV advertising, auto and life insurers can generate better ROI from their marketing programs by shifting budget from TV channels into digital, particularly digital display, which is currently under-utilized by most providers."

Key Digital Creative Attributes For Increased Performance

To get the best value from online display advertising, Rocket Fuel found five key attributes for increased performance of insurance marketing programs:

Animating ads does not improve conversion rates: While insurance ads see a 64 percent boost in click-through rates as a result of animation, it provides no discernible improvement in conversion rates.
Blue and red backgrounds perform best: Insurance ads with red or blue backgrounds tend to have conversion rates 20 percent higher than the average, while also producing better click-through rate performance.
Human faces improve conversion rates: Insurance ads featuring a person or human face generate conversion rates more than 177 percent higher than those without a human or face.
"Apply now" is the most effective call to action: Among calls to action, "apply now" had the highest conversion rates, outperforming "get a quote" by 80 percent.
Price-focused messaging doesn't matter: Insurance ads without pricing information perform as well as those that include it, possibly due to oversaturation of price-focused messaging in insurance ads already.

For more information and to review the full report, please visit

Join Rocket Fuel on August 21, 2014 at 11 a.m. PDT for new webinar, The webinar will also be available on-demand as of August 22, 2014.


The study surveyed 1,026 consumers in May 2014 on top-of-mind awareness for insurance providers in the auto, homeowner's and life insurance sectors, as well as general attitudinal questions about insurance. Study awareness results were compared to market-share data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners for auto, homeowner's and life insurance from 2012 and 2013 and channel-spend data for each brand from Kantar. Using this data, Rocket Fuel modeled awareness as a function of ad spend for each brand to determine how accurately spend in various channels could predict top-of-mind awareness and which channels produced the most efficient results.

About Rocket Fuel
Rocket Fuel delivers a leading programmatic media-buying platform at Big Data scale that harnesses the power of artificial intelligence (AI) to improve marketing ROI in digital media across web, mobile, video, and social channels. Rocket Fuel powers digital advertising and marketing programs globally for customers in North America, Europe, and Japan. Customers trust Rocket Fuel's Advertising That Learns® platform to achieve brand and direct-response objectives in diverse industries from luxury cars to financial services to retail. Rocket Fuel, a GSA approved vendor, currently operates in more than 20 offices worldwide and trades on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the ticker symbol "FUEL." For more information, please visit or call 1-888-717-8873.

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