pet insurance industry
eCommerce Intelligence

7 Expert Tips to Win in the Pet Insurance Industry

by Emily Hunt , Market Research & eCommerce Specialist 6 Min.
August 30, 2021

Soaring pet ownership and adoptions have created a market opportunity for businesses in the pet insurance industry. Multiple startups, as well as generalists like Geico (which teamed up with Embrace, a long-standing pet insurance provider), have launched pet services in the past two years, making the space much more competitive as it increases in market size.

To help navigate this burgeoning industry, we used Similarweb Research Intelligence to analyze pet insurers in the U.S. Our competitive set includes Nationwide (under petinsurance.com), Pet Plan, Figo, Pet First, ASPCA Pet Insurance, Trupanion, Healthy Paws, Pets Best, Embrace, and newer providers like Pumpkin and Spot Pet Insurance.

pet insurance industry: change in segment traffic share

Declining traffic share to Nationwide (petinsurance.com) and other veterans shows the highly competitive insurance market

Dig into our seven tips to become the top dog in the pet insurance industry.

1. Move toward mobile

According to a recent study, Americans 18-34 years old are the most likely of all age groups to own a pet, and pet insurers need to cater to this highly mobile generation.

In the first seven months of 2021, the pet insurance industry growth of mobile device traffic exceeded that of desktop devices by nearly 20 percentage points (ppts) year-over-year (YoY) – a 61% growth vs. 42% in 2020.  

We suspect that the age and mobile affinity of the industry’s target audience contributed to the rapid growth of Lemonade’s pet insurance offering. Its overall web visitors’ demographics skew more toward a younger audience than veteran pet insurance companies like Nationwide, Trupanion, and Healthy Paws.

Pet Insurance Industry: Age Demographics

Lemonade has more web visitors in the 18-24 and 25-34 age ranges vs. veteran providers

Lemonade also has a top-performing mobile app. On June 1, 2020, around the time of its pet insurance launch, its Apple app store download ranking (86), surpassed that of leading insurance provider Nationwide (174).

Prior to launching pet insurance, the insurtech company was most known for Life and Renters insurance. Just over a year after launching its pet offering, the related subfolder (lemonade.com/pet) now attracts 8.9% of traffic share, which is more than Life (lemonade.com/life), at 5.27%, and Renters (lemonade.com/renters), at 0.12% – indicating that Lemonade’s demographics and mobile attributes helped seize pet insurance industry market share.

2.  Create paw-some content to drive organic traffic

Direct and organic channels nearly tie as top marketing channels to generate web traffic for the competitive set, accounting for 41.7% and 41.3% of their traffic share respectively, over the past year.

In 2020, traffic share to direct channels exceeded organic channels by 3 ppts. This year the gap is just 0.4 ppts, down 2.6 ppts, showing it’s crucial to create strategic organic content to generate visitors and build overall brand awareness

Therefore, allocate resources to your blog or knowledge center. Pumpkin, a pet insurance company, launched by large animal vaccine maker Zoetis, Inc., in spring 2020, appears to do this effectively – nine of its top organic pages drive traffic to its blog. Its homepage, ranked third, is the only exception. 

Pet insurance industry: marketing channels

Direct and organic channels nearly tie as top traffic sources for the pet insurance industry (via Research Intelligence)

3. Target new pet parent audiences

Targeting anticipatory pet parents is key to building brand awareness and lifetime loyalty (in both dog and human years). After all, who wants to switch insurance providers with a pre-existing condition? 

Also, those using breeders may take months to get off of waiting lists. Once born, consumers need to wait for another eight weeks for the puppy to be old enough to take home.

Pro tip: Leverage pet naming

Keywords relating to pet names comprise one theme very popular with this target audience. In the past year (August 2020 – July 2021) more than half of the top 10 organic, non-branded keywords based on traffic share in the U.S. related to pet names, including: 

  • Cat names (66.8K average monthly desktop searches)
  • Girl cat names (15.9K)
  • Female cat names (7.5K)
  • Dog names (109.8K)
  • Cat names for girls (9.2K)
  • Boy cat names (13.6K)

Pumpkin caters effectively to trending dog and cat name-related searches. Its care.pumpkin/best-dog-names ranked sixth among its highest-performing organic pages the past year while care.pumpkin/best-cat-names ranked ninth. 

4. Strategize per seasonal ailments 

Ensure your content strategy reflects seasonal medical ailments and allocate resources accordingly to promote relevant content at the appropriate time.

Here are some trending seasonal search terms related to medical conditions to integrate into your keyword strategy, according to our Research Intelligence Keyword Seasonality feature: 

  • Late spring/early summer allergies: Benadryl for dogs, Can I give my dog benadryl
  • May – July ticks: Tick on dog

5. Stomach unpleasant topics 

Most furballs, particularly while young, feast on anything. Therefore, make sure your keywords and organic pages relate to stomach ailments, a key pet parent concern.

For example, top-performing organic queries based on search traffic include:

  • Trupanion: Giardia in dogs (a reference to a common intestinal parasite), ranked third with 3.7K search volume (August 2020 – July 2021), bringing users to trupanion.com/pet-care/giardia, its eighth top-performing webpage.
  • Healthy Paws: Pepto bismol for dogs ranked ninth, with 3.2K searches, bringing users to blog.healthypawspetinsurance.com/pepto-bismol-for-dogs.
  • Nationwide (petinsurance.com):  Its tenth top-performing webpage is petinsurance.com/healthzone/pet-health/health-conditions/10-reasons-your-dog-has-diarrhea.
Trupanion: Pet Insurance blog

Trupanion’s top organic webpage capturing search traffic for “Giardia,” a common intestinal parasite

6. Rove to find the right referrals

Identify sites that are not competitors and get significant, quality referral traffic for high intent keywords. Reach out to them for affiliate partnerships.

Based on Research Intelligence data from the past year, consumersadvocate.org gets the third most traffic for pet insurance-related keyword searches. buyersguide.org ranks seventh and is the only other non-insurance provider in the top 10 list.

pet insurance industry: referral

Consumersadvocate.org and buyerguide.com rank among the top sites for keyword “pet insurance” traffic share

In addition to Consumers Advocate and Buyers Guide, pet insurance providers can also look at teaming up with veterinary networks, dog daycares, and pharmacies.

7. New to the market? Invest in display to build brand awareness 

Shortly after Pumpkin’s launch in May – July 2020, display advertising accounted for more than twice of the traffic to its website (4.8%) vs. the competitive set (1.8%). 

This investment in display advertising seemed to pay off as it helped to quickly boost Pumpkin’s brand awareness to effectively compete with longstanding pet insurance providers. This July, Pumpkin’s percentage traffic through direct and organic channels increased 744% and 2500% YoY, respectively.

Pet Insurance Industry: Pumpkin increase in Direct and Organic Traffic

YoY increase and direct and organic traffic suggests heightened brand awareness for new provider Pumpkin

Methodology

We used Research Intelligence to build our insights for this blog. Key features include:

Fetch unlimited insights 

We are big pet fans at Similarweb and are very excited that an industry has grown to help take care of them.  As the pet industry becomes more competitive, its offerings are growing to give the best medical care to our pets. If you’re aiming to break into or improve your performance in the sector, digital intelligence tools can help you break through the noise.

Pet Insurance Industry

Arya, Similarweb’s VP of Solutions’ labrador who is happy (and healthy) with pet insurance

Check out some more related blogs on competing in the dog food industry, the best marketplaces for online dog food sales and on the top pet supply brands. Also, sign up for a demo of Research Intelligence, so soon you can pull your own paw-fect insights. 

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