Health Insurance Marketing
in the Digital Age


Let’s face it, data runs today’s world. Always-on digital connectivity has rapidly changed the health insurance marketing landscape, creating both opportunities and challenges.

Your customers are evolving through demographic shifts, increased expectations and a greater sense of empowerment. There are now two basic truths we as marketers must believe and live by:

1. Today’s insurance consumers expect a personalized, direct-to-consumer experience that spans multiple channels and is relevant to where they are in their healthcare journey.

2. Digital channels are an integral part of their researching, contemplating, engaging and sharing activities.

User Centricity is the Key to Thriving

Your job as a health insurance marketer is to convince your organization to become more customer-centric. This means engaging with customers on their terms, and adopting a true omnichannel strategy that includes video, mobile, display, social media and content marketing.

Dismiss Digital at your Own Peril

Most consumers start their research efforts online. Regardless of age, they expect to find easily accessible and reliable information on health plans across a variety of devices.


People searching online for health-related info


People searching online for health-related info

People searching online for health-related information.

Seniors search online for health info

81% of Americans say they go online on a daily basis2

Married couples search online for health info

The share of Americans ages 50-64 who report they go online “almost constantly” has risen from 12% in 2015 to 19% in 20193

Internet users have search for health-related topics

5 percent of Google’s daily searches are health related4

Now that we’ve established the groundwork, it’s time to put the building blocks in place.

Ready for your evolution? Let’s start here:

Step One: Build the DNA Strand

Data is critical to understanding your target segments of prospects and customers. Whether you’re targeting individuals turning 65 or young professionals looking for health insurance for the first time, start by taking a close look at your data.

Predictive modeling, through a combination of profiling and modeling, uncovers key insights into your current customers and allows you to identify the best candidates for future campaigns.

Build the DNA strand

Profile Your Customers

A Profile provides a “portrait” of your audience, including demographics, affluence factors and special interests.

Model Your Prospects

A model is created by analyzing hundreds of variables attributed to your customer file. It helps uncover look-alike households most likely to respond.

Social Media
Multiple devices
Direct Mail

Step Two: Dominate the Strongest Channels

Turning 26

Under 65


Small Group

  • Turning 26

    Your Key Channels:

    Digital Advertising, Social Media & Content Marketing

    Refferals are key

    Lack of Confidence & Loyalty

    • Millennials don’t speak the language of insurance and feel more confused than other generations about how to understand their coverage and benefits5
    • With 55% focusing on cost when selecting a health insurance plan, Millennials are often less brand loyal and willing to switch plans to save money6

    What You Can Do

    • Develop a visual storytelling strategy to communicate your value proposition; employ image-driven social media sites such as Instagram and Snapchat
    • Use content marketing to build millennials’ healthcare knowledge and position insurance as part of their wellness-centered lifestyle; encourage user-generated content to build rapport and authenticity
    Enhance the online experience

    The Online Experience Matters

    • Millennials prefer to shop online for health insurance7
    • Accustomed to instant gratification online, Millennials demand speed, quality and personalized service; and their loyalties are based on current results, not historical brand affinity8

    What You Can Do

    • Improve online and mobile UX to appeal to millennial expectations
    • Convenience, functionality and speed are key. Make it quick and easy for members to make changes to coverage online and find answers to common questions
  • Under 65

    Your Key Channels:

    Digital Advertising & Social Media

    Design a strong digital strategy

    Shopping Begins Online

    • 71% of consumers used some form of digital research before buying insurance (e.g. price comparison)9
    • 26% of consumers bought their policies online (e.g. via web or mobile device)10

    What You Can Do

    • Test audiences and creative to understand what resonates most with shoppers and optimize your digital campaigns accordingly
    • Incorporate a smart retargeting strategy to stay in front of prospects that may not convert immediately
    • Remember, users will shop around, take breaks and delay enrolling until the last minute
    Use social to build relationships

    Social Media Builds Relationships

    • Social media usage is one of the most popular online activities, and 79% of the U.S. population has a social networking profile11
    • 42% of consumers said they are likely to trust information provided by a health insurance company through social media12

    What You Can Do

    • Use social media to establish your organization as a trusted source of wellness and healthcare information
    • Pay attention to your audiences’ social conversations and life events to create more personalized and relevant experiences and offers
    • Engage with loyal customers to recruit brand ambassadors and encourage referrals
  • Medicare

    Your Key Channels:

    Direct Mail, Digital Advertising & Social Media

    Direct mail still rules

    Direct Mail is Still Relevant

    • 1/2 of seniors take time to read direct mail from insurers. And 1 in 4 read mailers even when not shopping for health insurance13
    • When prompted by direct mail, nearly twice as many older adult consumers visited a website versus calling a phone number listed on a piece of direct mail14

    What You Can Do

    • Use direct mail to get prospects interested in offers or to search online for more info. Then ease them into digital channels with landing pages, nurturing email and a tailored online experience
    • Use messaging that avoids jargon and vague statements and highlight low-cost advantages whenever possible
    Older adults are online too

    Older Adults are Online Too

    • Older adults are surfing online more. 63% of ages 70+ are spending 11-30 hours a week online15
    • 40% of U.S. adults ages 65+ use at least one social media site16

    What You Can Do

    • Think beyond traditional tactics to incorporate digital display, mobile and social media into your Medicare marketing strategy
    • Time your digital campaigns around open enrollment — vary messaging to “warm up” your prospects before, keep them engaged during, and heighten the sense of urgency near the end
  • Small Group

    Your Key Channels:

    Direct Mail, Digital Advertising & Social Media

    Know your audience

    Know Your Audience

    • There are more than 30 million small businesses in the United States17
    • More than 6 in 10 small business owners say they offer health insurance coverage to help them hire and retain the best workers, but 80% are also worried about the cost of group health coverage18

    What You Can Do

    • Use print and online mediums to walk your tight-for-time, multi-tasking prospect through the decision-making process and swiftly answer FAQs
    • Demonstrate how you can help them attract and retain top employees
    • Use situational personas, infographics and charts to put them at ease with the often-intimidating process of comparing options and choosing the right plan
    Get online

    A Complex Buying Journey

    • Small-business owners are increasingly using digital sources to shop for and purchase insurance coverage19
    • Today’s marketers have less access and fewer opportunities to influence customer decisions. B2B buyers are largely channel-agnostic when seeking information to make a purchase and they spend only 17% of that time meeting with potential suppliers20

    What You Can Do

    • Support your B2B customers in the way they actually buy. Align your strategy, approach and messaging across in-person and digital channels
    • Make buying easier. Publish authoritative, supportive content to ease the task of evaluating, renewing or switching


Once you’ve built an engaged and fiscally sound member base, deterring your hard-earned customers from switching to another insurance provider should be a top priority for your sales and marketing teams.

audience members

The Dos & Don’ts of Avoiding Loss While Gaining Loyalty

It all starts with the customer. A holistic view of your customers and a personalization strategy, fueled by data, is the foundation for building ongoing customer engagement and loyalty.

It’s time to evolve your healthcare marketing approach. Follow these simple dos and don’ts – complete with real-life examples – to get started.


Do utilize the latest tools and resources to uncover most-likely-to-buy audiences See it in action

Do acquire customers with retention in mind: Use predictive modeling to optimize leads and identify the best-fit prospects See it in action

Do employ current member data to personalize the online experience and tailor customer service to the unique needs and life events of your members See it in action

Do use social media, email and content marketing to establish your organization as a trusted source of healthcare information

Do engage members with content to help them make informed decisions See it in action

Do tailor content based on age, gender, healthcare needs, engagement patterns and more See it in action


Don’t underestimate the power of a strong multichannel mix, especially for targeting small businesses See example

Don’t overlook display advertising as a lead generating tactic for your sales and agent teams See example

Don’t settle for an outdated touchpoint strategy and schedule, resulting in lost conversions See example

Don’t miss out on building brand loyalty among HR decision makers by offering value-add conveniences and technology advancements See example

  1. Nielsen, Q3 2018 Nielsen Total Audience Report, March 2019,
  2. Pew Research,
  3. Pew Research,
  4. Google,
  5. Barkley, A New Picture of Health,
  6. Forbes, Expectations Millennials Have for Their Healthcare, August 2019,
  7. Forbes, Expectations Millennials Have for Their Healthcare, August 2019,
  8. Salesforce, 6 Ways Millennials are Redefining Customer Service, August 2017,
  9. PwC, Insurance 2020: The digital prize – Taking customer connection to a new level,
  10. PwC, Insurance 2020: The digital prize – Taking customer connection to a new level,
  11. Statista, Share of U.S. population with a social media profile 2008-2019, August 2019,
  12. PricewaterhouseCoopers, Report: Social Media ‘Likes’ Healthcare
  13. Deft Research, Medicare Shopping and Switching Study,
  14. Deft Research, Medicare Shopping and Switching Study,
  15. “5 Practical Ways to Effectively Target Seniors in Digital Marketing.” Search Engine Journal, July 2019,
  16. Pew Research, Social Media Fact Sheet, June 2019,
  17. U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy, 2018 Small Business Profile,
  18. eHealth, Small Business Health Insurance – Costs, Trends and Insights 2017,
  19. Gartner, The New B2B Buying Journey, 2019,
  20. Gartner, The New B2B Buying Journey, 2019,