How do Insurance Comparison Sites Fare on Mobile vs. Desktop?

Ian O'Rourke Posted by Ian O'Rourke

Let’s take a look at how leading insurance companies are using mobile and desktop platforms differently.

The world of online insurance consists of two spaces: mobile and desktop. While some customers like to browse deals and buy their insurance via handheld devices, others find computers easier to navigate when generating quotes and purchasing coverage. Although mobile virtually dominates most other markets, there remains a definite place for PCs in online insurance comparison sites.

According to Smartinsights’ predictions for 2014, the use of mobile for online purchasing in its most general sense is set to surpass the 50% mark, compared to desktop. But how does this apply to insurance comparison sites?

In the insurance industry, advertising counts, as marketers go to great lengths to ensure their ads spring easily to the minds of potential customers. So how exactly do companies perform differently across the two platforms? This idea is best explored by looking at the activity of key players in the UK market.

Mobile Market Share


Of the four key players in the insurance comparison game, one competitor stood head and shoulders above the rest in terms of total mobile market share for the September to October 2014 period. Save a couple minor exceptions, remained on top throughout the month, retaining on average between 20% and 35% of the market.

In second place, comparethemarket maintained a much more even share and wavered between 20% and 25% throughout the month, with the exclusion of two occasions during which the company saw a sudden burst of activity and broke through the graph line of its main competitor.

The other two heavyweights were and, with the rest of the market split between those with 10% or less of the market share.

So what does this asymmetry suggest? That mobile is an extremely important market area and those who have the cash to do so are looking to conquer it.

Paid Impression Share


This data takes into account the percentage of impressions received by a company divided by the estimated number of impressions the company was eligible to receive. is credited with the greatest mobile paid impression at 24%, closely followed by at 22%, then and at 18% and 16% respectively.

Yet the Desktop Paid Impression Share data reveals that moneysupermarket shot up the ladder to 52%, while the other three performed similarly, each falling somewhere between the 30% and 35% mark.

Why Desktop?

On the one hand, this data could reflect that sites like moneysupermarket are committing more time and effort towards performing well on desktop. If so, it may be that the company has determined that desktop ads generate greater click through rates and enhanced performance when compared with mobile ads. Perhaps people simply find desktops easier to use than phones when it comes to buying insurance.

According to John Gagnan of Search Engine Watch, mobile users are more likely than desktop users to click on services based on location, but “PC users click on ads with heavyweight financial services involved, including ‘accounts’ and ‘loans’.”

Put simply, PCs are more practical when it comes to big online tasks like buying insurance. When you consider that generating quotes and purchasing insurance involves the filling out of detailed forms, it makes sense that desktop should be the more popular choice.

The keys are easier to press, the screens easier to read, and it flick between tabs to comparing different sites isn’t as much of a chore. Many users also associate desktops, sometimes even subconsciously, with work.

Why Mobile?

On the other hand, it may be that it is simply harder to get a handle on mobile paid impression shares because competition is stiff. If companies are fighting tooth and nail to take control of a platform where they recognise their customers are doing their research, they may not attain the best percentage of the impressions they are eligible to receive.

People carry their mobiles around with them most of the time. Seasoned users who feel comfortable enough to use mobile as their primary device will find it convenient to research and purchase insurance on the go, using email apps and mobile advertising to inform their decision.

It is important to make the most of mobile SEO. As Ryan Bradley points out in Inbound Boulder, “mobile is here to stay and it is only gaining market share as time goes on.” Making your site responsive to mobile devices and checking device functionality should be some of your top priorities in ensuring that your company is ready for mobile.

In summation, while mobile seems to dominate many markets, desktop retains a healthy position in insurance comparison, where those who are able to compete seriously can use the platform to hold down a significant segment of the market.

After all, everyone needs insurance, not just those who are savvy enough to purchase it on their smartphones. The best marketers make efficient use of both forums.

Both for computer and smartphone search, Adthena’s quality data can enlighten your business’ marketing strategy.

(Main image credit: Ars Electronica/Flickr)

About the author

Ian O'Rourke
Ian O'Rourke
Ian is the CEO and Founder of Adthena. He has been involved in technology businesses and start-ups for over 22 years and has built businesses across the globe including in Silicon Valley, London, Australia and Taiwan. Ian has grown Adthena since 2012 to its current position as the premier global provider of competitive intelligence. Ian likes to foster a culture of great products, getting things done, responsibility, freedom and continuous improvement.