Ignoring Mobile? You’re Ignoring Half Your Local Prospects

By December 6, 2013 March 3rd, 2022 3 Comments

[Ed. note: The following is a guest article written for Local U by Matt Marko of Progressive Insurance.]

smartphone-mobileMany local businesses aren’t sure where to focus first with their online marketing, and insurance agencies are no exception. New research suggests that mobile optimization should be near the top of every small business’ priority list.

A newly released consumer study by Nielsen, xAd and Telmetrics reveals that as of 2013, a whopping 50 percent of insurance shoppers start their research on their mobile device.

Further, according to a 2012 Google study:

Users will keep looking for a mobile-friendly site until they find one that works for them. That means your competitors will benefit if your site falls down on the job (and vice versa).

  • 61 percent of users said that if they didn’t find what they were looking for right away on a mobile site, they’d quickly move on to another site
  • 79 percent of people who don’t like what they find on one site will go back and search for another site
  • 50 percent of people said that even if they like a business, they will use them less often if the website isn’t mobile-friendly

Clearly, having a mobile-optimized website is essential for small businesses. So, how are insurance agencies doing when it comes to mobile-optimization of their websites?

At Progressive® Insurance, we recently surveyed 949 insurance agencies to better understand how they are doing with mobile. The data revealed that 77 percent of surveyed agencies have a website today and 64 percent of agencies with a website believe their website is optimized for mobile viewing. We decided to dig deeper with an additional audit and found from a sampling of 100 insurance agency websites, only about one in six insurance agencies (17 percent) actually have a mobile optimized website. This reveals a significant gap between understanding and reality; insurance agents are overestimating the capabilities of their websites.

Interestingly, only slightly more than half of agencies with websites say that they’ve actually visited their website on a smartphone — perhaps the most obvious place to start in understanding if a site is optimized or not.

But a larger issue may be a fundamental misunderstanding between what it means for a site to be mobile-compatible versus mobile-optimized. Most websites today are mobile-compatible, meaning that the site meets the basic standard of not containing Flash and therefore being viewable on a smartphone or tablet. In contrast, a mobile-optimized website is a website that is designed specifically for a smartphone or a tablet, not a desktop computer or laptop.


Some of the key differences between mobile-compatible and mobile-optimized sites include:

Mobile Compatible

Mobile Optimized

* Takes long time to load
* Viewable in one direction
* Small, difficult to click links
* Text is difficult to read
* Requires scrolling

* Optimized for mobile data speeds
* Viewable in landscape and portrait
* Big finger-friendly buttons
* Text is large and readable
* Fits screen dimensions

If you are an insurance agency or local small business looking to establish your online presence, there may be no better place to start than by ensuring you have a mobile-optimized website.

About Matt Marko

Matt Marko is a Product Manager at Progressive Insurance who has spent the last six years working to help Progressive’s more than 35,000 independent insurance appointed agencies grow their business using both online and offline marketing strategies.

(Top photo by Vernon Chan and used under Creative Commons license.)


  • Mike Wise says:

    Excellent data-points and thanks for sharing. Of course, the problem in the insurance space is that, often times, under the heading “Security,” blogs are still blocked as a matter of policy by the IT department. Further adding to the problem, a significant majority of insurance executives I speak with, so those that are making strategic decisions on critically important issues such as this relative to their Web properties, rarely read blogs like this, let alone access their (or other) Web sites on their mobile devices (sadly still Blackberries), and thus have very little understanding or empathy with their tech-savvy constituents. Curious if you or others resonate with these informal observations? Thanks again for sharing. Good stuff.

  • Matt Marko says:

    Thanks Mike, and yes, I would agree we’ve got some unique security challenges in the insurance industry, as well as some industry-specific regulatory concerns. You know that better than most!

    I’d also agree cutting through the clutter to this audience can be quite difficult. We’ve had some success getting these messages out in our industry via publications like IA Magazine, distribution of messaging through groups like ACT, and (today) via a Big I YAC webinar. As an example, we know that over 90% of Progressive-appointed agencies DO have access to YouTube in their offices, so we’re also being more aggressive getting online focused marketing training out to agencies through that channel. This information is only becoming more important and I’m encouraged to see more and more agents vocalizing these issues (and their solutions), as well as Project CAP.

  • Don Campbell says:

    Great article Matt!
    I like how you made a distinction between mobile compatible and mobile optimized – and showed an example.

    I think a lot of folks believe if their site is mobile compatible then they are good. But that’s not the case – the site has to be truly usable on a mobile device and this article does a great job of pointing that out.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.