UK Health Insurance Providers - Digital Marketing Benchmark Report, Q1 2024

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The Q1 2024 benchmarking report for UK health insurance providers has just been published. Learn how the top 12 UK health insurance providers perform across the digital space.

The latest Q1 2024 benchmarking report for UK health insurance providers has just been published. It covers the largest 12 national health insurance providers, including Bupa, Circle Health Group, Spire Healthcare, Nuffield Health, AXA UK, Simplyhealth, WPA Healthcare, Benenden Health, BHSF, Sovereign Healthcare, Vitality, and Westfield Health.

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The research gives an inside track on who is winning the biggest share of voice online and quantifies the gaps, risks and missed opportunities for other health insurance providers to win brand exposure, increase online enquiries, and generate more policy sign-ups. The report highlights quick wins that will improve enquiries from your online strategy and will identify the barriers that may be reducing your ability to optimise digital performance. 

To see a preview and contents page of the Q1 report, click here. To get a copy of the full report and the key takeaways, please complete the enquiry form or schedule a call. HealthInsurance - COVER


For a glance into just 6 of the metrics we evaluated these top 12 health insurance providers on, check out our quick-look table below;

Health Insurance W&L Mar 24

Continue reading for further detail on this quarter's best and poorest-performing health insurance providers, or request a copy of the report for the full review.

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What The Industry Research Report Covers

The 70+ pages of research benchmarks each retailer based on 50+ metrics and indicators of successful digital strategy, including organic visibility, domain authority, paid media ads, conversion performance, technical performance, site speed, universal search, content, social ads, accessibility, and mobile performance.  

Driving Optimal ROAS from Paid Media Channels

Some of the leading players in the space are high spenders on paid media channels such as Google, Bing & Facebook - but have a poor or sub-optimal conversion improvement strategy. Without an optimised, sophisticated conversion strategy that maximises the conversion rate, the return on investment is unsustainable or will underperform. Scaling spend on paid media is not achievable unless the conversion rate delivers optimal performance in the sector. Some in the space have paid media spend levels from 30k+ per month but dedicate minimal resources and budgets to conversion testing.  Given the cost per clicks on ad networks will continue to rise, we recommend spending at least 10% of your paid media budget on ongoing conversion optimisation testing schedules to ensure your paid media ROI maintains long-term viability, competitive advantage, and sustainability.

Technical Website Compliance

Savvy digital marketers know that having a technically sound website is an essential component of a successful fully integrated digital strategy - plus a site capable of maximising conversion performance. Health insurance providers will want to ensure prospective customers can easily access key pages, such as pricing information, policy coverage details, and plan comparisons.

In our last report, Vitality had 488 4xx errors, which it’s reduced to 181 in this quarter. Bupa is the provider to watch, as it flagged 375 4xx errors in this quarter. It must fix any broken internal links to ensure that Search Engine crawlers can accurately index its site.

Site Speed & Conversion Rate Performance

When 62% of consumers are less likely to convert if they have a negative mobile site experience, ensuring that your site is quick and easy to load makes a significant improvement on your overall conversion rates. For health insurance providers, they'll want to provide an excellent customer experience at every touchpoint, giving the impression of quick service from the moment a user steps virtual foot on their site.

For Q1 2024, the mobile site speed ranged between 49 and 12, with BHSF reporting the lowest score. This health insurance provider should reduce its image sizes to cater to mobile users and assist with loading speeds.


Domain authority is an essential metric for measuring the effectiveness of SEO performance and helps create a reliable overall gauge of how effective your site is at achieving organic traffic, i.e. ‘free’ traffic that isn’t gained through sponsored ads. Health insurance companies should consider what topics they can cover that are most likely to be picked up by external sites and gain backlinks - something engaging with a digital PR specialist will help with.

A DA score above 60 is considered excellent. The DA range for this quarter ranged between 81 and 39, with only Sovereign Healthcare reporting a score below 40. This provider is also reporting the lowest number of backlinks, which it should look to increase (plus using a variety of sources) to help increase its DA rating by the next quarter.

Organic Performance – Mobile & Desktop

A strong organic performance is strategically important as it ensures your site ranks above competitors for key, transactional keywords. When 93% of your customers won’t go past the first page of Google, your absence or lack of targeting for essential keywords will cost you conversions. With growing concerns over NHS waiting times, and a need to access additional services, we'd expect to see some uplift within the private health insurance sector.

Eight of the 12 providers saw a loss in organic mobile traffic compared to the previous quarter. AXA UK experienced the biggest loss of 39%. Meanwhile, Circle Health Group reported a 16% increase in traffic.

Universal Search Opportunity

Google Universal Search Results is an evolving opportunity to make your pages visible on a SERP (Search Engine Results Page). Universal results often appear before traditional listings and are eye-catching for users. Universal search results refer to rankings on a SERP that are not the traditional ‘blue line’ Google link, and a retailer can appear for universal search results without being strong in standard rankings. Results such as 'people also ask' give health insurance providers the opportunity to answer queries from potential policyholders directly from the SERP, even if they aren't appearing in position one.

Once again, Bupa reported the most Universal Search appearances, with most of these coming from the ‘image’ category (38,500). By comparison, Sovereign Healthcare saw the lowest appearances for Universal Search results and should look to increase rankings in the ‘people also ask’ sector.

The Longtail Keyword Opportunity

Longtail keywords are often considered high intent and potentially more likely to convert as a searcher is being more specific. Optimising for longtail keywords also puts your content strategy in a strong position to rank for retailer new search terms as they enter Google’s index. For health insurance providers, they'll want to pay particular attention to phrases including high conversion intent terms, such as 'instant access', 'includes dentist', or potentially 'pre-existing condition coverage' (if this is something they can offer).

Bupa is at the top spot for overall appearances for longtail keywords across all positions. Spire Healthcare reported 5,734 results in positions 3 and 11,677 for positions 4–10. Having a large number of appearances for positions 4–10 is one of the quickest ways to increase your ranking for positions 3.

Facebook Adverts

With the number of Facebook users in the United Kingdom (UK) forecast to hit over 42 million users by 2022, it is not surprising that companies have jumped at the opportunity to advertise on the social media platform. Facebook’s UK digital advertising revenue has been estimated to have breached 2.6b GB pounds in 2019.

We’ve included three examples of Nuffield Health’s sponsored Facebook posts. This health insurance provider included the same text across all three posts, implying that it’s testing its engagement rates for visuals. Regarding visuals, it included an offer across either a static image of a video to help drive attention to its posts.

Home Improvement - Facebook

Top Social Shares & Content

When it comes to social media and on-site content strategies, it is important to release content that has a longer shelf life. An article is considered 'Evergreen' if it has maintained its relevancy to an audience for longer. It's great for your retailer engagement, but great for Google too, who will recognise content which achieves traffic over a long period of time. Health insurance providers can look to create content across the full breadth of health and lifestyle, a sector where content is widely shared as users turn to online sources to guide changes in eating, exercise, and other lifestyle habits.

Eleven of the 12 providers favour Facebook, and all brands reported a higher following on this platform compared to Instagram.

Website Readability & Accessibility

20% of people in the UK have a disability – 2 million of which are people living with sight loss. In addition, 1 in 12 men and 1 in 200 women have some degree of colour vision deficiency. When websites are not designed to meet these needs, brands lose customer interest as they turn elsewhere. Any website operating in the healthcare space must be particularly conscious of accessibility, from both a branding and potential customer perspective.

In our last audit, Westfield Health reported 170 accessibility alerts, which it’s increased further in this quarter to 180. Upon closer inspection, these alerts are mainly due to redundant title text, which it must address. Nuffield Health also has a high number of accessibility alerts — 164 — which it must make efforts to decrease to support those using a screen reader.


To get a copy of the full report, please complete the enquiry form. If you want to talk to us about accelerating your digital performance, please call us on 01543 410014 or schedule a call with Mike Movassaghi.

Photo by Esther Ann on Unsplash

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