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Mary Meeker’s Internet Report and What It Means for Auto Insurers

Mary Meeker is legendary among tech writers, marketers, and digital enthusiasts for her Internet Trend Report. Packed with the latest digital statistics and exhaustive (this year’s report runs 294 pages), Meeker’s reports show us how the digital world is, what the latest trends are, and where we’re going. With more auto insurers investing in digital programs, we wanted to provide the highlights of Meeker’s report and what it means for insurers. (Watch Meeker’s presentation at the Code conference here and read the full report here.) There’s a lot here, so let’s jump right in.

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TL;DR – The world is on mobile. Consumers expect personalized experiences. You need driving data to deliver these experiences.

1. Consumers spend more time with digital media and most of it on their phone 

People spend 5.9 hours per day on average on digital media. They spend the majority of it – 3.3 hours (56%) – on their phones. Digital media usage rose 4% from 2016 to 2017.

Insurance take-away

Mobile is the foundation of the future. And, like everyone else, your customers are on mobile. You don’t just need to be on mobile – you need to thrive on mobile.


2. We’re in the data era

We’ve grown from the era of utility where the focus was on massive product selection to an era fueled by data. Today, consumers expect their product and content feeds to be personalized. It’s a me-first world and data allows companies to make the experience all about the consumer.

Insurance take-away

Pricing risk follows a similar path to the evolution of commerce drivers. Credit score was a revelation for pricing risk two decades ago. Today driving data is the next quantum leap. Smartphones are the missing link to scale driving data economically to deliver personalized experiences that meet customer expectations.



3. Data drives high customer satisfaction

Internet data leaders like Amazon, Google, Netflix, and surpass the US average for customer satisfaction index scores. Amazon is eight points above the average.

Insurance take-away

Driving data enables you to deliver personalized pricing, driving scores, safe driving rewards, loyalty programs, real-time alerts, crash identification, digital claims programs, and more. You can effectively “Amazon” the insurance experience with driving data and increase customer satisfaction.


4. Consumers will share data for clear benefits

According to Deloitte, 79% of consumers are willing to share personal data for a “clear personal benefit.” 66% are willing to share online data with friends and family.

Insurance take-away

Make it count. Consumers are willing to share their data with you if you provide a clear and compelling benefit for them. Some drivers will give you their driving data with usage-based insurance to get a discount. But, according to Bain, the five services insurance customers want most are roadside assistance, safe driving rewards, theft and damage alerts, discounted car maintenance, and safe driving alerts.



5. Amazing personalized experiences are powered by data

Spotify, Pinterest, Netflix, Waze and other tech behemoths power personalized experiences for hundreds of millions of people using data that’s both personal and collective.

Insurance take-away

Personal data reveals a customer’s driving behaviors, habits, and movements. Collective data provides insights into driving conditions, traffic, fastest routes, and more. You need both to deliver a superior customer experience. And to get collective data, you need to be able to scale driving data across your customer base.


6. Personalized experiences drive engagement and customer satisfaction

The number of mobile queries for search results “near me” increased 900% from 2015 – 2017.

Insurance take-away

Consumers want what’s relevant to them and their life. Driving data, like location data with Google’s “near me” results, makes it possible to deliver these experiences.



7. Preferences + data  drive engagement and customer satisfaction

Spotify increased its daily engagement 7% from 2014 – 2017 by fusing user preferences with data-driven personalization to develop a unique listening experience. The number of unique artists per listener almost doubled in that same timeframe.

Insurance take-away

This is another example of how big data companies are personalizing experiences and how it translates to higher engagement and customer satisfaction. The trend is clear: Consumers expect personalized, mobile experiences.


8. Simplicity is all the rage

As we learn more about consumer behavior and mobile product development, products are getting easier to use. Products that are easy to use retain more users. As a result, they’re becoming more pervasive.

Insurance take-away

Consumers spend 3.3 hours on mobile and use these simple products every day. These products are shaping expectations for what a mobile experience should be. Your mobile product needs to be simple, easy-to-use, and provide real value.


9. E-Commerce is personalized and convenient

Consumers use products like Instacart to get what they need when they need it – from their phone. With just a few taps, they can find what they want, purchase it, and have it delivered to them within minutes.

Insurance take-away

Consumers expect their experiences to be at the tips of their fingers on their phones. They don’t want to be forced to call or go to a website to find information. Make sure your apps deliver the critical experiences your customers expect.


10. Most financial transactions are digital

60% of financial transactions are digital, including online, buy buttons, and mobile payments. In-store purchases made up just 40% of financial transactions in surveys.

Insurance take-away

Consumers are becoming more comfortable spending money through digital channels and mobile. Take advantage of this with your mobile apps by enabling payment features. Make it easy for customers to complete claims process through digital channels. 



11. Consumers are shopping more on mobile

Mobile shopping apps increased over 50% in sessions from 2016 to 2017. Finance apps, like apps for banks and insurance companies, increased in sessions by 33%.

Insurance take-away

Consumers are using finance apps, where most insurance are categorized, more frequently. They expect their experiences to be digital and mobile.


12. Consumers start their product search on Amazon

Nearly half of consumers start their product search on Amazon. Another 36% start on Google or another search engine.

Insurance take-away

The way people find products is changing. It’s no longer enough to focus online discovery programs on Google search engine optimization. You may be wary of Amazon for good reason, but product integrations with the everything store could help increase your discoverability. 


13. Social media is driving product discovery and purchases

55% of people have bought a product after they’ve seen it on social media. 11% bought it immediately. Facebook dominates with 78% of people reporting they’ve found a product on the platform.

Insurance take-away

Product discovery on social media connects closely with word of mouth and viral marketing. Auto insurance may not inherently be a social product, but the stories of how insurance makes a customer’s life better are. There’s no better story for social media than a surprising, delightful, and genuine customer experience. Make it easy to share by building social sharing opportunities into your app.


14. Smartphones are getting more powerful with every generation

Smartphones continue to pack more computing power with more sensors. In the past two years, we’ve seen face tracking, wireless charging, and vision recognition introduced at mass scale. Technology is getting less expensive, making advanced tech available to more people.

Insurance take-away

Smartphones are powerful data collection devices. The technology is getting better and into the hands of more people every day. With all of their advanced sensors, smartphones can accurately capture driving data. You no longer need to rely on hardware like OBD devices.


15. Sensors are everywhere

Sensor shipments have increased steadily since 2012 and spiked in 2017. Sensors are everywhere, from thermostats, to fitness trackers, to cooking devices. Not to mention smartphones (see above). They’re collecting more data from more places. 

Insurance take-away

Raw sensor data can be powerful. For example, smartphone sensor data can reveal vehicle movement and human driving behavior. The challenge is making sense of the raw sensor data. Enlist machine learning experts to extract insights from the data. 


16. We’re buying fewer vehicles and maintaining them more

Vehicles stay on the road 12 years today compared to 8 years in 1995. More people are using public transportation (up 30% from 1995) and ride-sharing services (2X growth in 2017). We’re spending more on maintaining our vehicles today than the 1990s.

Insurance take-away

There are a couple takeaways here. First, the fleet turnover rate is increasing. This will extend the timeline for connected cars to take over the roads. If your strategy for driving data at scale is centered around connected cars, it’s going to take some time. Look at smartphones instead. Second, increases in vehicle operation and maintenance speaks to an opportunity for you to create rewards programs centered on services like roadside assistance for good driving. (Bain’s customer loyalty research shows these ecosystem plays drive up NPS scores.) These programs are predicated on collecting accurate driving data at scale – made possible by smartphone sensors.


17. Good luck trying to get consumer data without clear benefits

Consumers protect their data when there are no clear benefits. The most frequent and easiest action is to delete an app. 64% of respondents reported deleting an app that didn’t make its benefits from data collection clear. Consumers also adjust privacy settings, disable cookies, avoid certain websites, and don’t buy certain products.

Insurance take-away

The key to using consumer data is to develop compelling programs with clear benefits that can only be powered by their data. Lock down the benefits first. Then ask for your customers’ data. Otherwise, your app will get the long-press delete treatment. And it’s very difficult to come back from that.

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