Health Insurance Marketing
in the Digital Age


The health insurance marketing landscape has changed rapidly, and the swift rise of social media, smart devices, big data and cloud computing has opened new opportunities for marketers.

Your customers are evolving as well, through demographic shifts, increased expectations and a greater sense of empowerment. There are now two basic truths we as marketers must believe and live by:

1. Today’s insurance consumers expect a personalized, engaging experience that spans multiple channels and is relevant to where they are in their healthcare journey.

2. Digital channels are now an integral part of their researching, contemplating, engaging and sharing activities.

User Centricity Is The Key To Thriving

Your job as a health insurance marketer is to convince your organization to become more customer-centric. This means engaging with customers on their terms, and adopting a true multichannel strategy that includes digital channels such as video, mobile, display and social media.


Most consumers start their research efforts online1. Regardless of age, they expect to find easily accessible and reliable information on health plans across a variety of devices.


People searching online for health-related info


People searching online for health-related info

People searching online for health-related information.

Women are likely to seek health information online

85% of women are likely to seek health information online (75% of men).

Married couples search online for health info

25-34 year-old married couples are 80% more likely to search online for health info.

Seniors search online for health info

70% of seniors with internet access have searched for health info.

Now that you’ve got the groundwork established, it’s time to put the building blocks in place.

Ready for your evolution? Let’s start here:


Data is critical to understanding your target segments of prospects and customers. Whether you’re targeting individuals turning 65 or young professionals looking for health insurance for the first time, start by taking a close look at your data.

Predictive modeling, through a combination of profiling and modeling, uncovers key insights into your current customers and allows you to identify the best candidates for future campaigns.

Build the DNA strand

Profile Your Customers

A Profile provides a “portrait” of your audience, including demographics, affluence factors and special interests.

Model Your Prospects

A model is created by analyzing hundreds of variables attributed to your customer file. It helps uncover look-alike households most likely to respond.

Social Media
Multiple devices
Direct Mail


Turning 26

Under 65


Small Group

  • Turning 26

    Your Key Channels:

    Digital Advertising & Social Media

    Refferals are key

    Referrals are Key

    • • Millennials are much more likely than any other generation to purchase insurance through the same company as a family member2
    • 50% of millennials3 turn to friends and family for referrals, and most take place online via social media

    What You Can Do

    • • Build loyalty with Generation Xers and Baby Boomers to improve millennial customer acquisition and retention
    • • Prioritize care of millennials in your product offerings and customer service, and communicate this to both millennials and their families
    Enhance the online experience

    Enhance the Online Experience

    • • Millennials are more than 2x as likely as other generations to purchase policies online rather than through an agent4
    • • Millennials are the least satisfied of any generation with the health insurance online experience5

    What You Can Do

    • • Improve online and mobile UX to strengthen relationships with millennial customers and prospects
    • • Convenience, functionality and speed are key; make it quick and easy for members to make changes to coverage online and find answers to common questions
  • Under 65

    Your Key Channels:

    Digital Advertising & Social Media

    Design a strong digital strategy

    Design a Strong Digital Strategy

    • 71% of consumers used some form of digital research before buying insurance (e.g. price comparison or social media)6
    • 26% of consumers bought their policies online (e.g. via web or mobile device)7

    What You Can Do

    • • Test audiences and creative to understand what resonates most with shoppers and optimize your digital campaigns accordingly
    • • Incorporate a smart retargeting strategy to stay in front of prospects that may not convert immediately
    • • Remember, users will shop around, take breaks and delay enrolling until the last minute
    Use social to build relationships

    Use Social to Build Relationships

    • 42% of consumers said they are likely to trust information provided by a health insurance company through social media8
    • • With 81% of the US population on social media,9 insurers must constantly hone their content strategy

    What You Can Do

    • • Use social media to establish your organization as a trusted source of wellness and healthcare information
    • • Pay attention to your customers’ social conversations and life events to create more personalized and relevant experiences and offers
    • • Engage with loyal customers to recruit brand ambassadors and encourage referrals
  • Medicare

    Your Key Channels:

    Direct Mail, Digital Advertising & Social Media

    Direct mail still rules

    Direct Mail is Still Relevant

    • 1/2 of seniors take time to read direct mail from insurers. And 1 in 4 read mailers even when not shopping for health insurance10
    • • When asked how they want to learn about Medicare options, 41% of age-ins said they prefer mail from their current insurer11

    What You Can Do

    • • Use direct mail to get prospects interested in offers or to search online for more info — then ease them into digital channels with landing pages, nurturing email and a tailored online experience
    • • Use messaging that avoids jargon and vague statements, and highlight low-cost advantages whenever possible
    Older adults are online too

    Older Adults are Online Too

    • • In 2016, internet shopping by seniors exceeded all other channels for the first time12
    • 59% of older adults (age 65+) use the internet13
    • 47% have a high-speed internet connection
    • 2/3 of the US population own smart phones and seniors make up 27% of ownership14

    What You Can Do

    • • Think beyond traditional tactics to incorporate digital display, mobile and social media into your Medicare marketing strategy
    • • Time your digital campaigns around open enrollment — vary messaging to “warm up” your prospects before, keep them engaged during, and heighten the sense of urgency near the end
  • Small Group

    Your Key Channels:

    Direct Mail, Digital Advertising & Social Media

    Know your audience

    Know Your Audience

    • • There are 5.7 million employer and over 20 million non-employer small businesses in the United States15
    • • The most severe problem facing small business is the cost of health insurance; a recent survey reveals it is a critical issue for 52% of small biz owners16

    What You Can Do

    • • Use print and online mediums to walk your tight-for-time, multi-tasking prospect through the decision making process and swiftly answer FAQs
    • • Demonstrate how you can help them attract and retain top employees
    • • Use situational personas, infographics and charts to put them at ease with the often-intimidating process of comparing options and choosing the right plan
    Get online

    Get Online

    • • Small-business owners are increasingly using online sources to shop for and purchase insurance coverage.17 Yet few traditional carriers are ready to capitalize on this
    • 25% of this emerging audience are shopping, primarily due to regular policy reviews or gradual price increases

    What You Can Do

    • • Your audience is considering 3.4 brands on average,18 so your website must offer ease of use, the guidance of an agent and establish high brand confidence
    • • Your brand could be among the 2.6 quoted by potential switchers;19 make getting a fast, simple and competitive quote your top priority online
    • • Publish authoritative, supportive content to ease the task of evaluating, renewing or switching


Much effort goes into building an engaged and fiscally sound member base. Deterring your hard-earned customers from switching to another insurance provider should remain top of mind among your sales and marketing teams.

audience members
Promotional materials

44% of Medicare beneficiaries cite that promotional materials from competing insurers prompt them to start shopping20

Exchange enrollees kept their plan

Only 33% of Exchange Enrollees in 2016 kept their same plan from 201521

Help from an agent

79% of 19-34 year olds who got help from an agent were more inclined to stay with their insurer22

The Dos & Don’ts of Avoiding Loss While Gaining Loyalty

It begins with an effective retention strategy. Without it, you are leaving a void that your competition can and will exploit.

Engaged insurance customers are less sensitive about pricing when selecting and retaining a primary insurance carrier.23


Do utilize the latest tools and resources to uncover most-likely-to-buy audiences See it in action

Do acquire customers with retention in mind: Use predictive modeling to optimize leads and identify the best-fit prospects See it in action

Do employ current member data to personalize the online experience and tailor customer service to the unique needs and life events of your members See it in action

Do use social media, email and content marketing to establish your organization as a trusted source of healthcare information

Do engage members with content to help them make informed decisions See it in action

Do tailor content based on age, gender, healthcare needs, engagement patterns, and more See it in action


Don’t underestimate the power of agents, even among younger prospects See example

Don’t overlook display advertising as a lead generating tactic for your sales and agent teams See example

Don’t settle for an outdated touchpoint strategy and schedule, resulting in lost conversions See example

Don’t miss out on building brand loyalty among HR decision makers by offering value-add conveniences and technology advancements See example

  2. Gallup, 2014 Insurance Panel Study
  3. Applied Systems and ORC International survey, 2014
  4. Gallup, 2014 Insurance Panel Study
  5. 5. Gallup, 2014 Insurance Panel Study
  6. PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Report: Insurance 2020: The digital prize – Taking customer connection to a new level
  7. PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Report: Insurance 2020: The digital prize – Taking customer connection to a new level
  8. PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Report: Social Media ‘Likes’ Healthcare
  10. Deft Research, 2015 Senior Shopping and Switching
  11. Deft Research, 2015 Senior Shopping and Switching
  12. Deft Research, 2016 Age-In Study
  13. Pew Research, Internet Project, July 18-Sept. 30, 2013
  17. McKinsey & Co. report
  20. Online Marketing Institute
  21. Avalere analysis
  22. Deft Research, LLC. 2016 Individual Market Member Experience Study
  23. Gallup, 2014 Insurance Panel Study