1Life improves agility to gain an edge in the finance vertical

January 2019

As South Africa’s leading direct life insurer for eight years running, 1Life provides South Africans with affordable, simple, and convenient financial services. Its portfolio includes not only life insurance but also funeral insurance, dread disease insurance, disability insurance, income protection, investments, and personal loans. 1Life was looking for ways to gain an edge in the highly competitive financial services vertical, win market share, and contain marketing costs.

1Life uses automated search tools to cut cost per acquisition by 19% and boost conversion rate by 22%.

About 1Life

Financial services

Headquarters in Johannesburg, South Africa

Launched in 2006


Win market share in competitive financial services vertical

Contain marketing costs


Implemented responsive search ads


19% lower cost per click

11% better click-through rate

19% lower cost per acquisition

22% higher conversion rate

When 1Life learned about a new Google Ads offering – responsive search ads – that would allow the brand to easily and efficiently run multiple text ad assets simultaneously, the team jumped at the opportunity.

Previously, 1Life had found writing and testing ad copy to be a very manual process requiring constant reporting and optimisation. By adopting responsive search ads, the team could set up text ads with multiple headlines and descriptions, then allow Google to dynamically serve the combination most likely to achieve their goals. 1Life’s ad optimisation process instantly became more automated and effective.

“Responsive search ads also allowed us to focus on being more strategic and agile, while the system took care of showing the best possible ad in response to the user’s query.”

– Michael Oldfield, Paid Search Account Manager, 1Life

Compared to standard text ads, the new responsive search ads generated a 19% lower cost per click, 11% better click-through rate, 19% lower cost per acquisition, and 22% higher conversion rate.

Based on these successes, 1Life is exploring more automated solutions. For example, the team is testing standard banner ads against responsive display ads, and have also started to reap big wins using custom intent targeting.

“Being able to accurately measure the impact of these new products on overall campaign performance enables us to strengthen our foothold in one of the keystone channels within the greater marketing mix at 1Life”, explains Nompumelelo Ngcobo, 1Life Digital Marketing Manager.

Having seen the effectiveness that automation can bring to marketing, 1Life is geared up to continue experimenting in this area “Moving forward, we know a lot of emphasis will be placed on machine learning and artificial intelligence. It’s up to us to not only embrace and trust these technologies, but to educate those around us that this is the direction we should all be moving in.” - Michael Oldfield, Paid Search Account Manager, 1Life

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