Bankrate appoints new marketing VP
Online banking marketplace Bankrate just appointed two new executives, including a vice president of marketing, according to the company
The North Palm Beach, Fla.-based company announced the appointment of Donaldson M. Ross as senior vice president and chief revenue officer and Mike Ricciardelli as vice president of marketing, a newly created position.
Chief Executive Thomas Evans touted Ricciardelli’s Internet marketing background in announcing the appointment. Ricciardelli previously worked for Apartments.com/Classified Ventures.
“We have created a new consumer marketing position at Bankrate for Mike Ricciardelli," Evans said in a statement. “(He) will leverage his considerable talent and experience to broadening our consumer outreach across all of Bankrate's media properties.”
Ricciardelli served as vice president of marketing and media sales for Apartments.com, an online rental clearinghouse site. Earlier, Ricciardelli co-founded insurance.com, an insurance comparison Web site sold to Comparison Market in 2003.
While at Apartments.com, Ricciardelli developed a system to encourage users to return to the site.
The hiring of Ross appears to show a move toward leveraging Bankrate’s traffic into greater advertising revenue. Ross previously worked in advertising sales for both print and Internet companies.
bills itself as an online aggregator of a variety of financial products including mortgages, credit cards, new and used auto loans, money market accounts and CDs, checking and ATM fees and home equity loans. The company makes money by collecting fees from referrals for various services such as mortgage origination or credit cards. Many of the country's newspapers publish bankrate tables compiled by Bankrate.
We called Bankrate and spoke to Bruce Zanca, senior vice president of communications and marketing.
Zanca told us that Bankrate enjoys 4.5 million Web site hits per month. He said Bankrate's readers are “mission oriented” – searching for a mortgage, a loan or a savings product. Bankrate offers both graphic display ads and hyperlink ads attached to its tables of mortgage rates and other data.
Zanca said the type of customer that Bankrate can deliver allows the company to charge far more than other sites. Bankrate charges about $80 to $90 CPM (cost per thousand impressions) compared to $10 to $12 CPM for Yahoo! Finance, according to Zanca.
Last October, Bankrate changed its rate structure on its site to a cost-per-click model instead of a flat rate. The change boosted revenue and means that increased Web traffic now leads to greater ad revenue – under the old model, increased traffic had no impact on ad sales.
The company also recently acquired two other Web sites. Bankrate.com
Zanca said that Ricciardelli was hired to increase Web traffic to the Bankrate.com, Interest.com and FastFind.com sites.
“He’ll be concentrating on consumer efforts to help drive traffic to all of Bankrate’s properties,” Ricciardelli said. “Mike will be concentrating on opportunities to leverage our properties to increase consumer traffic.”
He said that Ricciardelli’s “Mission No. 1” will be to work on increasing Web traffic at FastFind.
He said that Ricciardelli would likely engage in some search engine optimization, keyword purchasing and perhaps other consumer media to drive traffic.
Zanca said that Bankrate doesn’t have any relationships with outside ad agencies and “frankly I’m not sure that we’re going to in the near-term.”
He pointed out that the company hasn’t had to focus much on consumer marketing in the past.
“We haven’t purchased consumer advertising in traditional outlets because we haven’t had to,” he said.
Bankrate did recently hire a company called Official Frontier to help with some search-engine optimization work.
Ross is working out of the New York office and Ricciardelli works out of the Chicago branch (contact info below.)
In their latest earnings report, Bankrate predicted revenue of $80 to $82 million for the fiscal year, up from $49 million last year. The company cited increasing Web traffic and higher publishing revenue for the increase.
Ricciardelli will clearly be concentrating on increasing Web traffic to the Bankrate family of sites. Zanca seemed a little cool on approaches from agencies, but interactive agencies with very specific ideas may want to give Ricciardelli a call. The FastFind site in particular could use a branding effort to help differentiate it from a crowded marketplace.
11760 U.S. Highway One
North Palm Beach, FL 33408 USA
New York Office
477 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10022
One North Wacker
Chicago, IL 60606
Vice President, Marketing
Donaldson M. Ross
Senior Vice President
Chief Revenue Officer
Senior Vice President
Communications and Marketing