Home Services Contact Info

Negative Point Of Action Assurances

Posted in: Conversion Optimisation by Richard Hearne on April 21, 2009
Internet Marketing Ireland

Following on from my recent GoCompare Link Building post, and the Conversion Rate Optimisation project I’m running here’s a quick post about an Irish insurance site I happened upon recently.

Irish Insurance Niche

The Irish insurance niche is no where near as competitive as the UK. That said, there obviously is value to the competitors in that niche, and I was recently doing some competitive research for a project. Here are the top 10 sites ranked for [insurance] on Google.ie:

insurance top 10 google.ie
Top 10 sites on Google.ie for [insurance]

PageRank Sculpting

In the above table figures in brackets (“(NF)”) represent the nofollow links a page. Both fbd.ei and quinn-direct.com are NoFollowing internal links, but a quick browse shows that FBD are far more aggressive. I believe FBD do their SEO in-house, and I have to say that their online marketing activities seem to be very impressive (check out their use of SM, twitter and responses to bloggers etc.). But this post isn’t about SEO, or about NoFollow.

Negative Point of Action Assurances

I work a lot now with conversion measurement and optimisation. I’m seriously fascinated by what people do and why they do it, and in an online context this area is truly mesmerising. (Should I worry about myself?)

Here’s a page that is an excellent example of what is likely a highly negative Point of Action reassurance:

Axa insurance homepage
Axa.ie Homepage

Now I quite like this page. It’s strong and instantly draws my attention to the main promo area (although I’m not convinced the hero should look directly at the viewer):

Axa main promo
Axa Main Promo Area

There’s a good headline and strap:

Axa main headline and strap
Axa Promo Headline and Strap

The main CTA is a bit weak in my opinion, and likely a great candidate for testing:

Axa Main All To Action
Axa Promo Call To Action (CTA)

But here’s where it really falls down:

Axa conditions acceptance error
Axa Conditions Error

In order to get to the quote page you have to accept the Terms and Conditions:

Axa negative point of action assurance
Axa Negative Point Of Action Assurance

Point of Action Assurances

POA assurances are usually published in order to assure users and induce desired behaviour. Good examples would be customer testimonials, satisfaction guarantees or free shipping details placed close to order or action buttons. In the Axa case I think the T&Cs are a negative POA assurance – they make me want to bail rather than go further.

A Question of Commitment

This really boils down to commitment. Right after I’ve landed on the Axa site I have limited commitment to this funnel. I have not spent any time filling forms or entering details. Think about it – if you’ve filled in all your car details you’ve committed time and energy. So why would Axa require me to agree to the following (which opens in the same window BTW):

Axa Terms & Conditions
Axa Terms & Conditions

I’ve shrunk that down to fit better on the page, and I’ve also cheated somewhat – the actual T&C text is hidden behind a show/hide JS function. But aside from this consider the following:

  1. T&Cs page opens in same window
  2. There is no obvious scent returning me to the homepage promo
  3. There’s no obvious path to continue along the funnel (this is part of the funnel IMO)

After viewing the T&Cs I’m honestly afraid. I think most people do not read terms and conditions, but I also understand that companies have legal obligations to ensure that customers agree to terms. So, as with most things in life, the solution is to find a good balance.

Possible Solutions?

I think this would make an excellent test. There are quite obvious page elements to test in the main promo. One element that could have a very large impact on conversions in my opinion is the T&Cs checkbox. Site analytics will give good insight to allow proper analysis of my hypothesis: Obligation to accept T&Cs with little or no commitment yet made will have a large negative impact on overall conversion rate of this promo.

To test this I’d consider a multi-page A/B test:

  1. Control Homepage (with T&C) and Control Form leading to Conversion Goal
  2. Test Homepage (no T&C) and Test Form (with T&C) leading to Conversion Goal

Then users can tell which version works best for them, and is therefore worth more to Axa. Quite an easy test to set up and run, and given this is likely the highest value online promo run by Axa quite likely to have high value to their lead pipeline.

If you agree or disagree with my hypothesis I’d be very interested to hear why in the comments.

You should subscribe to the RSS Feed here for updates.
Or subscribe to Email Updates now:


  1. Hi Richard,

    Funny I am looking around at car insurance at the moment, and not enjoying the online car insurance experience. From badly designed email layouts from 123.ie that led me to click into personal insurance to overly fussy quote pages across the board, to companies offering excellent deals, that just don’t tally with my final quote, and not showing what criteria these super deals are based on. I also had a quote whereby it was more expensive to insure my car if I ticked that it was stored in a garage.

    As for your point above, absolutely agree. You don’t ask anything of your visitors until they have engaged in the funnel and made enough of a time/effort investment to warrant them accepting the requests you put in front of them. I also think a ‘quick quote’ option on car insurance sites – whereby you put in a few stats (rather than the huge amount of info currently needed) to get a ball park figure – a from euro xx to euro xx type of quote. Obviously user can then finetune, if the ballpark quote sounds reasonable, and would be happier to take the time to fill in all the details.

    Comment by Martina — May 18, 2009 @ 10:37 am

  2. HI Martina

    Nice to hear from you. I know this is a tricky one for regulated businesses and legal folk will always weigh in. The curious thing for me is that Irish online firms seem to be so far behind the UK and even more so the US when it comes to lead gen. And then your point about deals that don’t tally with final prices – lack of campaign integration I’d imagine.

    Hopefully you found decent insurance in the end though.


    Comment by Richard Hearne — May 19, 2009 @ 4:24 am

  3. [...] equity”. I’ve written before about a very similar type of negative assurance – negative point of action assurances – which coincidentally was also based on an Irish insurance [...]

    Pingback by Car Insurance – How To Smother Your Prospects and Kill Your Leads - Red Cardinal — August 31, 2009 @ 8:48 am

  4. [...] a bit more quietly? I’ve written about conversion optimisation in the insurance niche and car insurance area a few times [...]

    Pingback by Pibasure.ie Caught Buying “Car Insurance” - Red Cardinal — September 19, 2009 @ 5:15 am

Comments Feed TrackBack

Leave a comment