UK Health Insurance Providers - Digital Marketing Benchmark Report, Q4 2023

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The Q4 2023 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 Q4 2023 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 Q4 report, click here. To get a copy of the full report and the key takeaways, please complete the enquiry form or schedule a call. Health Insurance - 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;

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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.

Throughout all our reports on the health insurance providers sector, we have found many brands to be struggling with maintaining their technical performance. In our last report, we found Vitality and AXA UK had the highest number of 4xx errors, with 273 and 313, respectively. In Q4, Vitality’s 4xx errors has increased to 488 while AXA UK has made improvements to its error codes with a score of 178. WPA Healthcare is at the top of the leader board with only two 4xx errors.

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.

Last quarter, we saw a range of 56 to 5, with Benenden scoring the highest. In Q4, the mobile page speed range was 55 to 3 with Westfield Health taking the lead. Benenden has dropped to 37. Hopefully, the next quarter will show BHSF’s current score of 3 increase thanks to mobile improvements.


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. Last quarter, 10 out of the 12 health insurance providers scored 61+, with Bupa scoring the highest at 81. This quarter, the scores are similar, but only 9 out of 12 scored 61+, while Bupa continues to hold the top spot at 81 again. Sovereign still holds the lowest DA at 39, which is considered below average. Hopefully, it’ll make some improvements, such as including more backlinks and focusing on quicker page loads to increase its DA.

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.

In our last report, Nuffield Health saw the biggest drop in desktop and mobile traffic performance, seeing a 39% decrease. Nuffield has since made improvements with a 19% decline in desktop traffic, seeing it overtake Axa’s 22% loss in traffic and tie with Bupa. Benenden has seen a 24% increase in desktop traffic and a 23% increase in mobile 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.

In our last report, Bupa retained the top spot for ‘people who ask’; while this quarter has seen a slight drop of figures (from 12,900 to 11,600), it still outperformed the other health insurance providers. Spire Healthcare had 4,800 FAQs in the last quarter, but this has since dropped to 18 this quarter.

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).

In our past report, we noted that Sovereign reported 28 longtail keywords in the top three positions. In this quarter, Sovereign saw a slight reduction of 27 longtail keywords for the top three rankings on search engine pages. Figures for the other health insurance providers remain fairly similar to our previous report.

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.

Below, we can see examples of Vitality’s Facebook ads from last quarter compared to this quarter. Vitality has continued to use a colour theme that’s in line with their branding. There’s a more simplified approach with a reduction of written content in the infographics and the Facebook description. This experimentation with varying the balance between visuals and words will help Vitality measure the impact and plan future campaigns accordingly.

Vitality UK Facebook Ads, July 2023 - 

Simply Health Facebook Ads July 2023

Vitality UK Facebook Ads, November 2023 - 

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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.

Engagement rates are important when analysing social media performance, as this indicates the number of people who are interacting with such posts. Spire Healthcare has received 25,981 total engagements this quarter, most of which have been gained through Facebook, which is more than double its engagement for the previous quarter. However, it’s only seen a 1.9% increase in Facebook Likes, which could suggest that consumers are seeing its posts but aren’t ready to commit to the Like button.

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.

Last quarter, we reported that Westfield Health and Nuffield Health’s flagged a concerning 163 alerts each for accessibility. This quarter, Nuffield Health’s quantity has slightly dropped to 161, while Westfield Health’s alerts has increased to 170. However, Benenden has seen the biggest percentage increase in alerts at 112% from 8 to 17, while the remaining eight health insurance providers has seen an improvement.


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 Jason Jarrach on Unsplash

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