Despite the dominance in fixed annuity sales over variable annuity sales, more online consumers queried search engines with the search string "variable annuity" rather than "fixed annuity," according to a recent study from Super Reports.

In its study of online searches of annuities, long term care and life insurance throughout the month of December, Super Reports found 14,614 individual requests for "variable annuity" and 12,638 requests for "fixed annuity."

However, variable annuities have consistently lost ground over the last three months, said Robert Davis, managing director of Super Reports. "In actual fact, if you had access to the last three months of data, you would see that seven months ago, some 54,000 people were interested in variable annuities."

Furthermore, if you include the search string "annuity rate," a term individuals looking for information on fixed annuities are most likely to use, the total fixed annuity-directed queries of 27,258 overshadows that of variables.

"If you added in the different types of annuities, you could make a solid claim that fixed annuities have actually surpassed the interest of variable annuities. But it was not like that six months ago," Davis said.

The most common search was for the word "annuity," with 103,572 queries. Also, the report discovered that, 62% of the time, searches used the plural "annuities" rather than the singular form of the word.

While Pacific Life topped the list of "Annuity Interest by Company," with 2,700 searches, no-load Vanguard Group came up most frequently associated specifically with variable annuity searches, with 631 searches, and an additional 468 searches as "vanguard annuity."

Closer scrutiny of consumer search patterns can help enhance a company’s online delivery of information and better understand how to use search engines as a marketing tool, Davis said.

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