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Pet insurance agency finds Bing Ads is its best insurance

  Article , Customer story

PetInsuranceQuotes.com uses Bing Ads to improve its ROI

Helping pet owners get the right care

We love our pets. They’re family members, companions and best friends. If they ever get hurt or sick, we vow to do whatever it takes to help them get better. That is until the first bill trickles in, followed by another and another. Thousands of dollars later, with your bank account resembling a ghost town, a sinking feeling starts to build in the pit of your stomach. A decision looms ahead: broken heart or empty wallet?

Nick Braun thinks that’s a choice no pet owner should ever have to make. “There’s nothing sadder than having to put your pet down when you don’t want to,” said Braun. “You should be able to make the decisions that are right for them.” That’s why his company, PetInsuranceQuotes.com, grew to become a leading independent licensed pet insurance agency in the United States, brokering policies to help pet owners focus on quality-of-life care.

Based in Columbus, Ohio, Braun’s site concentrates on educating people about pet insurance and helping them choose the best policy among different carriers. Standard policies cover expensive procedures based on a percentage of the vet bill. “It’s really about risk management for unexpected accidents and illnesses,” said Braun. That not only saves you a lot of money and fear, but also lets you extend treatments for your pets and do right by them.
Our return on investment grew 25% in one month with Bing Ads.

— Nick Braun, Founder, PetInsuranceQuotes.com

Market opportunity for pet insurance

You’d think such an idea would take off like gangbusters, and it has, in many other places around the world. But in the United States, pet insurance is a relatively new concept. The first policy was only sold in 1982 by a veterinarian to TV star Lassie, apparently to protect her when saving Timmy in the well. Today, less than one percent of U.S. pet owners own a policy. They include Braun himself who used his own experience several years ago as the driving impetus to start his business.

At the time, Braun and his wife Melissa had a yellow lab mix dog named Beau. In researching policies, Braun noticed that there weren’t any easy ways to compare plans or learn about the subject matter. “You had to go to each individual site and compare policies on your own,” said Braun. “If you had questions there was no one there to answer them.”

Braun eventually settled on a policy, which proved invaluable when Beau got cancer. “You don't care about pet insurance in that moment,” said Braun. “But then you realize the freedom you have because every decision you make is only based on what’s best for Beau.”

Knowing there were many other pet owners out there in need of similar help, Braun started PetInsuranceQuotes.com in 2011. In retrospect, that was the easy part. The hard part was getting the word out on a Web-only business selling a product that most people don’t know about to an audience that doesn’t know his site exists.

Choosing paid search

 
To jump-start business, Braun figured there were two paths to follow. One was free organic searches, which while providing a valuable service, are also not as dependable. “It’s awesome but you don't know if you can count on it for consistency,” said Braun.

The second option was to use paid search ad channels. This was an entirely new realm for him. As the owner of a small business with a limited marketing budget, Braun didn’t have the money to waste investing in ineffective channels. He decided the best way to get the biggest return was to do a trial run with multiple companies and then invest in the one that performed best.

Diving in head first, he did buys with Google, Bing, Facebook, Twitter and general ad networks. Within weeks, he had settled on paid search with Bing Ads. “The cost per acquisition was much lower with Bing than the other channels,” said Braun. “I'm a financial person so it's all about the return and getting the best use of my money and time.”

Bing Ads delivers dramatic ROI results

When he crunched the numbers, he saw 10-percent conversion rates for banner ads on third-party networks versus a 40-percent conversion rate with Bing Ads. That made the choice easy. What hooked him even more were the tools that came with Bing Ads. It wasn’t so much that these were better tools than he was used to, as much as realizing that such sophisticated tools even existed.

Braun doesn’t consider himself a techy kind of guy in any sense of the word. At first, even the thought of using any analysis tools sounded like a daunting task. But then he remembered the advice he often gives to younger entrepreneurs. “I tell them there’s no excuse not to get out there and teach yourself, get good and gain a competitive edge,” said Braun.

One of the interesting things he discovered is the surprising stories that the numbers tell him. “We’ve learned about several missing pieces to our site,” said Braun. For example, long before mobile sites became common, his tracing of traffic led him to conclude that he needed to build a mobile-responsive site. He’s also adjusted bids in states where certain words test better and tinkered with mobile bids based on the conversion rates on different devices. By testing different ideas, he’s changed the look and feel of the site. “We’ve refined the message so that when you come to the site you know it's an independent comparison place and not an actual company,” said Braun.

Another interesting lesson was with negative keywords. It’s a resource provided by Bing Ads that he uses today to more accurately deliver the right audience to his site. If someone searches for well-being, vaccinations, routine care or dental cleaning with pet insurance, they won’t be directed to his site. That’s because pet insurance doesn’t cover those areas. The money he saves he redirects toward useful traffic that is looking for what his site offers. “The brand and landing page matter a lot but so does the quality of the traffic,” said Braun. “It improves our ROI.” Pet parents tend to be more affluent, highly educated and empty nesters. For Braun, he finds that the Bing audience matches exceedingly well with that demographic. He estimates his ROI grew to four times what he spends.

Over time it has become a backbone of our growth and stability in learning about the business.

— Nick Braun, founder, PetInsuranceQuotes.com

Bing Ads: a long-term partner

Today Bing Ads is a huge part of his business, providing a channel that’s grown traffic from 60 visitors a month to more than 5,000. “In the beginning I was pleasantly surprised by the ads,” said Braun. “Over time it has become a backbone of our growth and stability in learning about the business.”

Every day, he devotes a couple of minutes to track performance on his dashboard and make tweaks where needed. “Just my daily health check,” said Braun. As a small business owner, juggling multiple roles and responsibilities at once, that time commitment matches perfectly with his available window. After all, if he doesn’t stay productive, neither does his business. To make work even more efficient, he’s customized everything on his dashboard so that all the information he wants is in front of him.

Looking ahead, Braun intends to continue to follow the path he is on with his business and Bing. “I want to increase our budget and get better at paid search,” said Braun. “It’s been very profitable for us.”
 

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