Humana, Anthem, UnitedHealth lead the pack in online keyword ad spend

Humana (NYSE:HUM) led all health insurers on online health insurance advertising spending, shelling out $4.2 million for paid search ads in the first six months of 2014. 

The data is based on a new report from consultants AdGooroo that examined Google AdWords activity for desktop and tablet searches of more than 6,000 health insurance-related keywords from January to June 2014.

Among insurers who spent big this year, Anthem took second place, spending $1.5 million, UnitedHealth (NYSE:UNH) spent $1.3 million, Aetna (NYSE:AET) spent  $1.2 million and Cigna (NYSE:CI) came in fifth with $1.1 million. 

However, when you add UnitedHealth's online ad spend with that of its distribution partner AARP, the total comes to $6.9 million.

Cigna is focusing on advertising and marketing since it launched its new "Together, all the way" tagline, which it says it is using to create a sense of community and show how it is working with and advocating for members, as FierceHealthPayer previously reported.

All told, almost 28,000 advertisers spent $103 million sponsoring more than 6,000 health insurance-related keywords. The overall leader was aggregator, which spent more than $4.4 million.

Do a Google search for Anthem health insurance, and the health quote aggregation site comes up in paid search above Anthem's own website. 

Two health insurance exchange ($1.6 million) and Delaware's ($748,000)--also made the top 20 list of health insurance advertisers, AdGooroo found.

The top 20 keywords, which were particularly competitive and averaged 171 advertisers per keyword, included terms like healthcare insurance, Medicare and Blue Cross Blue Shield as well as healthcare reform-related terms like Obamacare, Affordable Care Act and

Last year, insurers, state exchanges and the federal government spent $194 million on local television advertising between Oct.1 and Nov. 10. And WellPoint (NYSE:WLP) spent as much as $100 million last year on multi-media ads focusing on young adults, FierceHealthPayer noted previously.

To learn more:
- here's the report