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Expectations vs. reality: Dispelling insurance marketing metrics & myths

There’s no mistaking that digital campaigns have their own terms of the trade. Do all marketing metrics create the same opportunities for my agency, and which ones should I care about? How do I know that the stats I’m hearing translate to more business written?

If you’ve found yourself asking similar questions about running ads in your agency, that’s perfectly understandable (and we’re no strangers to questions about metrics and performance ourselves!).

This guide defines important digital terms and breaks down common misconceptions, so you can make informed decisions to gain more leads.

The metrics that REALLY matter

Cost Per Quote Start (CPQS)

As you may have guessed, CPQS reflects how much it costs per quote lead created for your agency. This is calculated by taking your budget / total number of quotes started from your website leads.

Cost Per Good Phone Call (CPGC)

You may have heard the term “conversion,” which is a phone call that’s about a minute or longer.

CPGC shows how much it costs per phone call based on your agency’s conversion rate, except that, on average, a “good phone call” is about three minutes or more. Yes, you can track call length with your ads!

Like CPQS, to find CPGC, you take your budget / total number of good calls.

We value these statistics because they are invaluable for clear results and ROI that directly impact your agency. Both CPQS and CPGC should aim to be as low as possible in your given market.

Secondary metrics that kind of matter:

While these metrics are all important to your overall digital ad health, they are not going to tell you what your return-on-investment (ROI) is for your advertising campaigns.


What are they:

Impressions are the number of times your ad(s) appeared on a Google search results page or feed. Impressions also cannot guarantee each appearance was seen or read by someone 100% of the time. One impression = one appearance in results.

What they mean for your results:

How often you are potentially appearing in front of your audience is a good base metric, but that’s exactly what impressions are as a gauge: a starting block.

For measuring the amount of direct action taken with your ads, other metrics come into play alongside impressions.

In summary:

If you want your campaign(s) geared toward getting in front of many people, shifting your bidding toward impressions will likely yield a lot more awareness. Unfortunately, impressions don’t tell you much else on their own.


What are they:

How many interactions your ad(s) had after being viewed in search results.

What they mean for your results:

Clicks are a more definitive indicator than impressions (as they show more intent). Clicks can be attributed to the success (of lack thereof) of your keywords, ad copy, etc., but there may be more to your campaign’s full picture.

For example, one search user can click on an ad multiple times. In this instance, each click will 'count' as a separate click, not grouped together or filtered out by user.

In summary:

Keep in mind that more clicks do not automatically equal more quote starts or successful phone calls!

Click-through-rate (CTR)%

What it is:

CTR is the ratio of how often your ad was clicked on against how often it appeared in search (total clicks / impressions or views, then multiply by 100 for a %).

What they mean for your results:

On average, CTRs are lower percentages due to the nature of digital campaigning. You’ll often have ad(s) shown to many more people than there will be clicking on them. Like a sales funnel, not everyone is ready to buy now or start a quote.

In summary:

A higher click-through-rate is generally a good thing! It means the number of clicks are closer to the number of impressions. Higher CTRs may mean you have some good keywords in place and/or your ad copy is performing well.

Cost-per-click (CPC)

What is it:

CPC is the average cost you pay each time there’s a click on your ad. CPC is affected by multiple factors, including: how much you bid, what type of campaign you have, how competitive your market is, what keywords you use, etc.

What it means for your results:

Boiled down, it’s what it costs to ‘win’ the click(s) in the auction for your keyword(s).

Generally, a lower CPC is great to see, as you’d want to pay as little as possible for each keyword to obtain the click(s). However, CPC may, and sometimes even should, vary.

For example, it is entirely possible to have very low cost-per-clicks for keywords which may not yield the most results. This is true if you paint with a broad brush of keywords that don’t fully reflect your campaign goals (i.e., bidding for "insurance customer service" keywords when you actually want quote starts).

In summary:

CPC should be on the lower end; however, it should also reflect campaign success when combined with other metrics. It's a measure of the balancing act in your market and tells you how much you are bidding (or may need to bid) to get clicks for certain keywords.

Other common myths on insurance marketing campaigns:

Q: Can I filter to prevent from seeing other insurance agents’ ads?

A: It is not possible to block yourself from seeing other agents’ ads as a built-in feature of the Google platform, since that capability does not exist. If you are not seeing other particular ads at a given time, it is due to the auction system and/or what you searched.

Q: Can I guarantee myself in the top 1st / 2nd / 3rd spot of ad placement on Google all the time?

A: By and large, this isn’t feasible with Google Ads. To be continuously in the top three results would mean you'd have to ridiculously outbid your competitors by a vast amount and/or they’d have to stop bidding entirely.

Since it is an auction system, other bidders are likely to show up in the top results at some point, even if it is fractionally less.

Q: Does exclusivity really matter?

A: YES! Imagine you are in the SAME area wanting the SAME lead as another agent, and you are both using the same vendor. Only one of you can get that individual lead.

Whose ads will show up at the best times? Would you still want the other agent in your town to use the same vendor as you? Exclusivity matters to make sure you are not crowding your market under one umbrella.

Q: Can I prevent fraudulent clicks on my ads?

A: The short answer is no, unfortunately. IP blocking software can be used to cut down on the amount of fraud and reduce the chances of it occurring on your ads, but there aren’t many other measures available for completely avoiding fraudulent clicks.


We hope you’ve found this guide useful! At Direct Clicks Inc., our review calls and our exclusive campaigns are honed in on what really matters for you and your agency: Cost Per Quote Started, Cost Per Good Phone Call, and policies written.

Reach out with questions or for a second opinion on your campaign performance.

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