No one likes to think of their brand as “cheap”, especially in auto insurance where it’s all about trust and confidence. Insurance consumers want to be in good hands, not “affordable” hands, right?

But sometimes you have to broaden your horizons a bit when it comes to search terms, ad copy, and even calls to action in order to win, and that means thinking more like a shopper and less like the brand police. 

When you do, you may be in for some surprises — and a surprising improvement in your search performance.

Follow the data

Your search term strategy should be based on hard data from your target audience, your specific competitive landscape, and location-specific characteristics that can influence performance. What’s more, you need to keep things fluid.

Just look at what happened to a cluster of major insurance brands when ValuePenguin came out of nowhere to snag 12% of their click share in less than two weeks. ValuePenguin did it by doubling down on low-brow terms like “cheap” and “affordable car insurance.” And the field didn’t offer any resistance  — not even from brands like Geico that promote a “saves you money” customer promise. 

Above: Adthena data shows ValuePenguin winning 12% click share in two weeks.

It’s possible those brands didn’t consider those terms to be relevant to them or to have value. Or maybe they simply weren’t paying attention as ValuePenguin crept up the SERP. Either way, a bit of competitive intelligence and a more flexible strategy might have changed the outcome.

Using intelligence to surface unexpected opportunities

By continually examining your competitors’ search spending and terms, query trends, gaps in your list, and even local patterns, you can discover high-potential terms that may be outside your usual lexicon.

What’s more, by monitoring your landscape, you’ll immediately know when an upstart like ValuePenguin is coming on the scene and, just as important, what terms are fueling their success.

Keep in mind that even if a term isn’t in your usual comfort zone, it may be exactly what your ideal consumer is typing in the search bar at this moment. In the PPC world, it’s not the query that matters, it’s what you do with it.

Keep your terms on track with Adthena

Continually monitoring and analyzing your landscape for term opportunities is vital to staying competitive in car insurance or any other vertical. Here are four ways to stay on top:

  • Fill your gaps:

    Adthena can show you all the terms your competitors appear on that you don’t, so you can spot gaps in your list and surface high-performing terms you hadn’t considered. 

  • Monitor for opportunities and threats:

    Did a rival just drop out of the market leaving terms you can scoop up? Is a newcomer making a move, and riding what terms? Protect and capture market share with Adthena’s automated monitoring tools. Smart Monitor lets you make decisions about terms faster and see insurance market movements in near real-time. 

  • Test out something new:

    Experiment with new terms, and use Adthena to precisely monitor the impact on your performance and your competitive position.

  • Think locally about your search terms:

    Auto insurance needs and market characteristics are highly regionalized, and Adthena Local View gives you the power to understand those factors and tailor your campaigns accordingly. With Local View, you can investigate four key indicators by location:

  1. Market trends: do certain competitors have a larger share of clicks?
  2. Movements: is there a new competitor who has entered the local market and is bidding more aggressively than you are?
  3. Search terms: are you missing a search term that competitors are using for a specific location?
  4. Ad copy: what offers, calls-to-action, and incentives in competitor ads are working in each location?

Apply Adthena Investment Intel, and you can also view and compare your Spend Efficiency (Share of Clicks to Share of Spend ratio) for a specific search term group by location. You may discover certain terms resonate well in one city and less in another. You can also see how efficient you are across search term groups compared to your competition.

Get started now

Reach out to me any time at, and I’ll give you a closer look at how Adthena can give you a competitive edge in search.