AMP: The tyranny of Google

Insurance is not an exciting purchase, but it is an important one. Marketing channels for insurance products are also very expensive. For example, insurance is the most expensive Google keyword in the world.


The objective of this campaign was to promote AMP’s business and life insurance products, and in so doing:

  • Raise awareness and educate New Zealanders about the importance of life and trauma insurance;
  • Increase traffic to the website from new visitors – people who are not customers;
  • Achieve good quality sales inquiries.

Insurance is not an exciting purchase, but it is an important one. Marketing channels for insurance products are also very expensive. For example, insurance is the most expensive Google keyword in the world.

The nature of the product (viewed by many as a grudge purchase), and the effort required to buy it, posed a significant obstacle, particularly when it came to buying quality insurance. People just want to get it over with, so they will put convenience ahead of quality.


To capture interest and drive engagement, the content had to be relevant in the context of everyday life.

Google Adwords and other online advertising products are extremely expensive when it comes to ‘insurance’. Advertising competition is huge and big budget, with everybody in on the act – from the major banks like ANZ, Westpac and the ASB, and thousands of independent insurance and mortgage advisors, to the big insurance companies themselves, including IAG, Tower, Youi and AIA.

The messaging from the competition, however, tended to be generic and untimely in that most of the campaigns and creative could have appeared at any time in the last five years, and would not have been out of place.

To stand out, it was important to be relevant to today’s context – topical, current and newsworthy. We wanted to show how insurance is inextricably linked to quality of life and the decisions we make today, not yesterday.

To achieve this, a number of relevant and newsworthy problems and issues we identified (at the time), including:

  1. Rising house prices excluding young people from the market.

The story to tell: “Baby boomers hold on to your houses, kids coming home”.

  1. Disruption and the rise of the sharing economy through AirBnb, Uber and others.

The story to tell: “Keen to join the sharing economy? Watch out for these fishhooks”.

  1. The lack of Government funding around lifesaving drugs like Herceptin was a burning issue.

The story to tell: “Give-a-little, Pharmac and Herceptin: What do you do when there’s no money for drugs that will save your life?”

  1. The methamphetamine epidemic threatening landlords across New Zealand.

The story to tell: “How will you know if your tenants are using drugs on your property, and what can you do about it?”


In the interests of providing useful, valuable and credible information and education to the audience, Iron Road conduct a number of interviews with third party experts and influencers, as well as AMP experts.

The strategy was to offer topical, but useful information and education from independent, objective information and education on the problems and how to deal with them, while also demonstrating the expertise of AMP’s own thought leaders.

Content Examples
  1. Former General Manager Property Management at Harcourt’s Real Estate and consultant to the property management industry, Sandy Williams (no connection to AMP and independent), was interviewed on how landlords should carry out a routine inspection of a property, and how to identify signs of drug use.

AMP’s Head of General Insurance, Rob Dibley, provided advice on the insurance implications of not carrying out regular property inspections.

  1. Tenancy Practice Service director Scotney Williams LLB (no connection to AMP and independent), the legal counsel to landlords and property managers around New Zealand, was interviewed about lack of protection from drug usage in standard tenancy leases and current property law, and what to do about it.

Private Investigator Rod Moratti, of Moratti Associates, was interviewed for advice on background checks.

AMP’s Head of General Insurance, Rob Dibley, provided information and opinion on the insurance implications of not performing background checks, or making sure your lease is in order.

  1. Iron Road investigated the options, as well as the pros and cons, available to people in New Zealand who cannot get funding for drugs that might help save their lives.

Information on alternatives and the results of an AMP survey were combined into a hard-hitting opinion editorial from AMP managing director Blair Vernon. This formed the basis of the script for Blair Vernon’s appearance on the Paul Henry Show.

  • AMP’s own website
  • YouTube
  • Outbrain
  • The Paul Henry Show

Essentially a content recommendation platform, Outbrain budgets can start from as little as $10 or $20,000 a day on a cost per click basis. It is a cost-effective channel for buying space on high authority, high traffic sites such as Stuff and the New Zealand Herald.

At the time, we were seeing cost per clicks for banking and finance around .80 cents (CPC), plus. It is expensive for Outbrain, but nowhere near the dollar cost of Google Adwords.

On Outbrain, the articles have the advantage of an attention-grabbing headline and photograph, which then appear on various high authority, high traffic, local and international news sites. Outbrain is able to identify when a Kiwi visits an overseas site, such as the, and target them with the local New Zealand content.

Sample of Key Outcomes

The most viewed content, via Outbrain, was the Paul Henry video ‘Funding healthcare with trauma insurance’, with more than 30,000 visitors inside a month. The reason for this is largely due to it being the longest in market and the amount of traffic generated by Outbrain.

The length of time each article was viewed was excellent. The article “Priorities out of whack as Kiwis putting shopping ahead of family” earned an average view time of almost three minutes.

The majority of people reading the articles are new to the site (rather than returning visitors) due to them being sourced from Outbrain.

The article “Baby boomers hold on to your houses, kids coming home” and “Priorities out of whack as Kiwis putting shopping ahead of family” recorded the lowest bounce rates.

The article “Funding healthcare with trauma insurance’” was published through Outbrain and directly resulted in 12 people requesting personal quotes for insurance within a 14-day period after reading the content.

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