Search engine giant will look to simplify the customer experience

Google is expected to shake up the price comparison market after buying BeatThatQuote for £37.7m.

The internet giant is unlikely to fund a TV advertising push, but use search engine optimisation and online advertising to drive customers to its new site, industry commentators predicted.

That could help BeatThatQuote become one of the top aggregators and take market share from GoCompare, Confused, Moneysupermaket and Comparethemarket.

The ‘big four’ spend heavily on TV and radio advertising to attract customers. Last year’s advertising spend was led by GoCompare.

Google will also look at simplifying the customer’s user experience. It believes price comparison sites distract customers with excessive email marketing and by forcing them to make too many clicks.

A source said: “They are really trying to shake up the market, and what they have to offer is massive internet advertising capability rather than TV advertising, which would be a waste of money.

“Also, they have great search engine optimisation capability, and that will mean that anybody making a search for ‘cheap car insurance’ may well go to BeatThatQuote.”

BeatThatQuote was founded in 2005 and its accounts to the year ending in January 2010 show a £8.5m turnover and £2m loss.

However, the source said: “I think when you look at what they paid for the company, and what they can potentially do with it, the price is a snip.”

The deal could spell trouble for BeatThatQuote’s white label deal to supply the technology behind Microsoft’s MSN Compare, which offers comparison on 20 financial and legal products. Microsoft is Google’s biggest rival, so it remains to be seen how long the partnership will continue.

The biggest beneficiary of BeatThatQuote’s sale will be 90% stakeholder John Paleomylites. In a statement, the site said: “We are confident that by combining BeatThatQuote expertise in UK financial products with Google’s technology, we’ll accelerate innovation in this field.”

Google declined to comment.