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Nationwide Insurance Is Leading US Auto Insurance Social Media Efforts

Peter Claridge

Insurance companies have a notoriously hard sell. Insurance is far less glamorous than airlines and fast cars yet the US insurance companies are all making a valiant effort to reach out and engage people in the social media space. Of course, just like in any other sector, some companies are blazing a trail while others are playing catch up.

We have analyzed the social media efforts of eight of the largest and best known auto insurers in the US for the last 30 days using the Unmetric platform. What we wanted to find out was what is good and what benchmarks should these brands be aiming for in their social media efforts.

US Auto Insurance Grew 4% Last Month

US auto insurance companies added an average of 3,500 fans in the last 30 days which is an average growth rate of 4%. Out of the 8 companies we analyzed, State Farm and Esurance are charging ahead with growth rates of 12.80% and 13.90% respectively. Worryingly for 21st Century and Farmers Insurance, they are both losing fans and have negative growth rates of -0.70% and -0.30%.

facebook growth rates of us auto insurance companies

The decline in fan numbers for Farmers Insurance could be attributed to their earlier sponsorship of various Zynga games. In 2010 and 2011, Farmers Insurance offered virtual buildings and decorations in games like CityVille and FarmVille which earned them over 2.4m fans – more than the other seven competitors fans combined. The decline in fan numbers for 21st Century could also be attributed to a campaign run in early December 2011 that saw them add over 10,000 fans in a few days.

Engagement – 2% Is The Magic Number

While raw fan numbers can be something to boast about, as many social media gurus will tell you: it’s how you use it that counts. One method to benchmark yourself is to look at Facebook’s inconveniently named “number of people talking about this” metric which simply tallies the Posts, Likes, Shares and Comments generated by your fans. By turning this number in to a percentage we have a good number for comparisons. For the eight US auto insurance companies the average number of people engaging with a brand is 2% of the total fans. As you can see in the graph below, Esurance is leading the pack (again) with State Farm in a very respectable second place.

talking about this metric from facebook

At Unmetric, we don’t believe that Facebook’s Talking About This metric provides the full story and is an overly simplistic measure of engagement. For this reason we have created an algorithm that takes in to account the fact that a Like is not equal to a Comment which in turn is not equal to a Share. By applying this algorithm to the posts we give a better insight in to who is really engaging with fans. The average engagement score for the eight companies we analyzed was 19.

page admin posts

What is interesting to note is that although Geico have a lower than average talking about this percentage, they have high engagement. The reason for this is some massive fallout after they inadvertently advertised on a controversial radio show and customers were very vocal in what they thought about. It just goes to show though that all it takes is one or two posts to boost your engagement score. Esurance, for all the people talking about it, have not been able to translate it in to a leading engagement score primarily because people are not sharing their content. A like takes half a second, a share shows real trust in the brand. Nationwide Insurance are doing so well for exactly this reason: their posts get shared by fans.

Uncovering The Content Strategy

So far we have looked a lot at the numbers and not so much on how these numbers are being achieved. A Facebook page needs to drive engagement amongst fans by posting interesting information that compels people to engage with it. The chart below shows how prolific US auto insurance brands have been in the last 30 days with posting to their Facebook wall. On average, these brands are posting 27 posts per month, or around once a day.

page admin posts

One US auto insurance brand that is hitting the benchmark for number of posts per month is Nationwide Insurance who incidentally also have one of the highest engagement rates among the brands we monitored. Coincidence? It’s interesting to look at their content strategy in the last thirty days which has seen equal distribution between brand, sector and current affairs. One method that Nationwide Insurance are using to drive engagement is to provide photo albums of places that have been affected by natural disasters like tornadoes and floods along with some kind words and a note about how the company is helping the people affected by the disaster. These photo albums are generating lots of shares which in turn drives up the engagement.

content strategy of us auto insurance

Another auto insurance company that has an interesting content strategy and is engaging well with fans is Esurance. In the last 30 days their content has given preference to their brand, followed by current events then sector and finally ‘other’. Esurance are not driving engagement by photos and sharing but focuses on posting links and asking questions that resonate with car drivers such as asking about gas prices, asking about airbags for pedestrians and what podcasts are listened to during the commute. The content strategy looks pretty cool with brand related posts creating little engagement but when they post about gas prices the engagement soars.

content strategy for car insurance brands

After completing this social media analysis of the top US auto insurance companies you can see that the Unmetric platform has truly revealed which brands are setting the benchmarks for the industry. While some brands are doing better in certain areas, Esurance and Nationwide Insurance appear to be setting the standards for others to follow. Kudos to the social media teams of these two brands who are doing a terrific job with some fantastic posts that are really engaging with their respective communities.

All data has been compiled and analyzed from the Unmetric application which tracks dozens of metrics to enable brands to benchmark themselves against competitors and their industry sector. Gain access to all this data by claiming a 10 day free trial.