Bankrate boosts insurance biz with recent deals

Contact: Scott Denne

Though Bankrate’s dealmaking has slowed since its 2011 IPO, its recent acquisitions, including its latest purchase of LeadKarma, have been focused on a single strategic initiative – shifting from a quantity- to a quality-based approach to selling sales leads to insurance companies.

LeadKarma furthers this strategy by bringing search engine marketing savvy to Bankrate (as well as about $3m in quarterly revenue, according to the acquirer). Bankrate runs a variety of websites with financial content (,,, etc.) and generates cash mainly by selling leads to credit card and insurance firms. Its lead-generation business accounted for nearly three-quarters ($89m) of its $121m in revenue last quarter. Until recently, Bankrate had a volume-based approach to selling insurance leads, but it has been in the process of moving to lower-volume and higher-quality leads.

The company made a similar move toward quality in 2010, picking up for $143m to grow the size of its credit card lead-generation business and focusing on performance-based pricing for credit card leads. Bankrate’s last two purchases before LeadKarma (InsWeb in 2011 and last year) also focused on improving the quality of its insurance leads. The insurance portion of the business grew 30% sequentially in the most recent quarter, following a few down quarters as a result of the strategy shift.

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