site and the top sites there.
Our next slide – Nielsen Online demographic data for the top five personal lines carriers. On the left you’ll see that chart show that the Generation X group – the 25 to 44 year old group – dominates. And then on the right you’ll see a heavy mix of middle to high income consumer showing.
Nielsen also indicates a higher male shopping population than you would expect. So overall an attractive population of consumers shopping online for insurance companies.
Let me get on to some observations about where we’re going, what we’ve seen. You may recall two years ago, Lee and Paul, we talked about the Internet as being disruptive technology and changing much of how we interface with consumers throughout our industry. Well, the disruption continues. We’ve seen, as I mentioned, Lee, when we had our interview a few weeks ago, the evolution of individual carrier sites has taken place. Many are doing a pretty good job. It’s been slow but we’re seeing signs of Web 2.0 content being embedded in sites, which is very positive. You may recall from the 2006 conference we talked about Web 2.0 as basically being defined as the Web being an online community of family, friends and people who share a common interest and Web 2.0 content and technologies, such as blogs and wikis and messaging and social networks and applications that seem more like a conversation than filling out a form.
These Web technologies facilitate the social interactions and make the Web much more useful. A handful of carriers, such as Allstate, Nationwide and Progressive and others are employing Web 2.0 content to make their sites much more interesting and useful. So, very positive developments there. I expect to see that developing much faster going forward.
In fact, Lee, one of the E-Fusion award finalists is Progressive and it’s for Web 2.0 technology that they’ve embedded into their online applications. It’s very unique and ground breaking.
The next comment there – consumers will be the judge via what many are calling social annotations. Carriers should be ready for user-generated content on their sites whether they provide the mechanism to allow it or not. That’s a pretty bold statement and probably scares many. But user-generated content has traditionally been very effective on sites like Amazon and REI, where consumer reviews are king. Ninety-five percent of consumers prefer user generated content over expert reviews. So, that’s what consumers are looking for, that’s what consumers read. There are companies like Reframeit.com
that allow users to directly comment on the content of Web pages without the permission of the Website. So, it’s very interesting. I won’t go into the details of Reframeit.com
but I would encourage you to check it out.
Online marketing tactics, search engine optimization, search engine marketing, social marketing, social media marketing – what works now won’t work down the road. Today it’s still a fairly inefficient market when it comes to playing games and positioning your site such that the SEO activities that companies employ and resources are devoted to still work and will continue to work near term. But as we mentioned a few weeks ago when Lee and I spoke, the search engines such as Google and Yahoo – the algorithms that they employ are getting smarter and smarter – such that the content of a given site will be what really drives the placements. The same goes for the social media marketing – the way that’s developing. What we’ll see is rather than people going to the individual social networking site, seeing banner ads and what not, they will actually take social network content and use that across the Web. There’s an application that Google provides that’s called “friend connect.” It allows you to take your social network with you across other sites. So buying that half million dollar banner ad placement on social networks may not be as effective down the road as it is today. So, content will be king.
We talked a lot about individual agencies – how they’ve kind of been behind in the past. They’re playing catch-up with respect to online presence. Some do it better than others. There’s still quite a few that need to get in the game. So, we hope to see more agents participating on the Internet to capture the growing audience that they’re missing out on.
I think the carriers of many of the agency populations, captive and independent, are doing a lot today to help their agents gain online presence. So I hope to see more activity and resources employed at the carrier level to help facilitate their agents getting online.
Last bullet – fringe players. These are companies that I’ve seen develop over the past, literally, months, or this year that will help accelerate the effectiveness of online marketing. One of the panelists, Brian Ocheltree is with DoublePositive, that’s one of those companies that I see as helping take an existing business – online business – and making it more effective for the users. You can go check out the individual companies that I’ve listed there. But I think you’ll see continued development of companies who have employed useful technologies in other industries making the migration over to the insurance industry to utilize their solutions.
Just one example that shows how important that last sub bullet is about consumer contact and how important it is to quickly respond to a given lead that you may buy or come off your individual website. So, if a consumer comes to your website or goes to one of the marketplaces and they submit their information, they want a quote, this data that comes out of a study employed by MIT and Insidesales.com
shows how important to reach out as quickly as possible to that consumer. The left hand chart shows the
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