Company: Confused.com Role: Head of Product, Digital Marketing Director 2006 - 2010
Car Insurance Comparison
Before Confused.com the insurance-buying process involved a series of painful phone calls and filling out forms on multiple websites. Time consuming and frustrating, it was difficult to obtain more than a handful of quotes from different insurers. Consumers dreaded the experience and often settled for renewing with their existing insurer, even if that meant paying more each year.
Confused.com transformed the insurance shopping process, creating a simple eCommerce experience. Consumers completed one simple (if extensive) form on Confused.com, and could receive up to a hundred insurance prices.
Crucially, the prices were accurate, allowing a consumers to click-through and buy with confidence at any of the participating insurers (At the time, many other lead-gen websites existed, pretending to offer similar services but in effect, would simply sell on a consumers details to insurance brokers - delivering a horrendous customer experience).
Confused.com is one of the most highly-trafficked financial websites in the United Kingdom. Supported by vast advertising campaigns covering TV and digital, millions of users visit the site in search of cheaper financial services products. The reach of the company is so great that nearly all UK drivers have at some time or other, taken 15 minutes to complete the online form and obtain quotes via Confused.com.
At this scale, Confused.com can be thought of a massive financial services eCommerce play.
As in all eCommerce businesses who compete for their traffic, there is intense pressure to maximize conversion rates, revenue per visitors, cross-sell and retention.
At Confused.com, I created and headed the first Product Management teams the business has known.
In our early days the focus was on funnel optimization. In order to receive accurate quotes from dozens of different insurers who all require slightly different information, our customers needed to complete an 80 question webform. This exhaustive process took around 15 minutes for the average users, but obviously, with so many steps, many users dropped-off.
We studied the process intensely, through users groups and web analytics, and continuously refined the web journey. We made dozens of discoveries which helped drive conversion:
Ask me about the car, not my personal details
Users are weary of giving out their personal information, but happy to discuss the care they want to insure. By re-ordering our questions to start by asking users about their car, and only later capturing the users' personal information (like name, date of birth and profession), we won users trust.
Building common ground among insurers is the fastest way to shorten the journey
In many cases, we were able to work with insurers to find common ground between them, so that insurers could reduce the number so questions they asked of users. Each unique question we could cut, reduced the length of the overall process.
Make the return visit seamless
Users shop for insurance annually. Whilst a user's first visit to product might be a relatively painful 15 minutes of form filling, in successive years the process can be made incredibly quick. Drivers need only update their car details and add notes of any claims, and can quickly generate new, live prices. Making this sign-in and update process seamless dramatically boosts retention.
Defaults and help text are the users best friend
We religiously optimized our default settings to minimize the actions users would have to take. We crafted help text meticulously to help users overcome industry jargon.
These changes (and many others) helped increase conversion of the core product by 30%.
New Product Development
Maximizing revenue from visitors meant broadening the Confused.com product portfolio.
Car insurance is an attractive category to build a mass-market business on. 25 million drivers in the UK each need to renew their policies each year, creating an attractive market. Starting from this base, Confused.com built a database covering millions of users in the
Increasing share of wallet and expanding beyond pure car insurance became a strategic priority.
Over 4 years, we expanded the range to include home insurance, life insurance and other financial services products such as loans, credit cards and mortgages. Collectively new lines amounted to almost 30% of total business.
Integrated Digital Marketing
Insurance price comparison became an exceptionally competitive field. With the sector growing explosively, well-funded new entrants rushed to the field. By 2010, price comparison websites were spending almost $200M on advertising, drowning out larger insurance companies and banks.
It became essential to develop integrated marketing campaigns which worked across traditional media (TV, outdoor, press, radio, PR) and digital formats (display, SEM) and new in-bound formats (SEO, Content Marketing).
Not only did campaigns need to be creatively coherent across all formats, media buying needed to be optimized across a multi-channel strategy.
As Digital Marketing Director at Confused, I oversaw the development of holistic attribution models which tied together the investments in TV, digital performance ad spending and investment in SEO.
These steps enables us to better exploit our $15M digital advertising budget in tandem with $40M in traditional spend, tracking how channels interacted to capture new visitors and help return lapsed users to the site.