Consumers who watched short disability awareness videos to the end were about twice as likely as other consumers to want more information about disability risk.
The Life and Health Insurance Foundation for Education (LIFE) collected that data by polling consumers exposed to its 2013 Disability Insurance Awareness Month campaign, which took place in May.
LIFE, a nonprofit group backed mainly by insurers, began organizing an annual life insurance awareness month program in 2004, and it added a separate disability awareness month campaign in 2007.
The disability awareness campaign has always been smaller than the life campaign, and disability campaign managers have made much less use of paid advertising.
Matt Derrick, a LIFE senior vice president, said the group decided to focus this year on the use of disability awareness videos on consumer news websites, such as Forbes.com.
The group made 15-second and 30-second versions of two videos from the its professionally produced realLIFEstories video library. One features Bill Reid, a man who suffered disabling short-term memory loss as a result of car accident, and Peter Zatir, who overcame thyroid cancer but suffered damage to larynx that kept him from continuing to work as a lawyer.
LIFE polled consumers who watched the videos to the end and also polled otherwise similar consumers who did not watch the videos.
About 20 percent of the consumers who watched the videos said they wanted more information about disability insurance, compared with just 10 percent of the consumers in the control group, Derrick said.
When consumers had the physicial ability to click on link in a LIFE ad to get to a LIFE website, the click-through rate was about 5 percent, compared with a typical Web click-through rate of about 1 percent or less, Derrick said.
When consumers start any Web video ad, the percentage of consumers who watch the video to the end averages about 70 percent. For the disability awareness videos, the completion rate was 87 percent, Derrick said.
Derrick said one advantage of the new digital focus has been getting more ability to analyze the effects of different approaches to reaching consumers.
"We can say, 'This is the impact of the ad,'" Derrick said.
LIFE found, for example, that the 15-second videos were about as effective as the 30-second videos at getting consumers interested in disability insurance.
But, at the same time, LIFE also learned about what the targeted consumers will tolerate.
On some sites, Derrick said, "they don't to watch a 30-second video."
LIFE plans to apply the lessons it's learned from the disability campaign in September, when it runs the 2013 life awareness campaign, Derrick said.
Marvin Feldman, the president of LIFE, said the effects of low interest rates on insurers' investment returns have squeezed insurers' ability to support the disability campaign and other awareness campaigns.
"The companies are looking for anything they can cut," Feldman said.
But the need for protection products is still strong, sales have been strong, and the insurers are saying they want to increase support for the campaigns in the future, Feldman said.
The digital strategy is one way to do a more efficient job of educating consumers about the need to take personal responsibility for their own finances, Feldman said.