English Football Clubs - Digital Marketing Benchmark Report, Q2 2024

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The Q2 2024 benchmarking report for English football clubs has just been published. Learn how 12 of England's top 12 teams perform on the digital pitch.

The latest Q2 2024 benchmarking report for English football clubs has just been published. It covers 12 English football teams including Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool FC, Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur, Sheffield United, Newcastle United, Aston Villa, Everton, West Ham, Crystal Palace, and Chelsea.

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The research gives an inside track on who is winning the biggest share of voice online, and quantifies the gaps, risks and missed opportunities for each team to drive traffic to their site. Though, with built-in brand loyalty, these teams aren't strictly competing with one another on a digital level, the report highlights quick wins that will improve enquiries from their online strategies and identifies the barriers that may be reducing a site’s ability to optimise digital performance and drive sales to tickets and merchandise.

To see a preview and contents page of the Q2 report, click here. To get a copy of the full report and the key takeaways, please complete the enquiry form or schedule a call. Football Clubs - COVER


For a glance into just six of the metrics we evaluated these 12 English football teams on, check out our quick-look table below;

Football Clubs W&L May24

Continue reading for further detail on this quarter's best and poorest-performing English football clubs or request a copy of the report for the full review.

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What The Industry Research Report Covers

The 70+ pages of research benchmarks each site based on 50+ metrics and indicators of a successful digital strategy, including organic visibility, domain authority, paid media ads, conversion performance, technical performance, site speed, universal search, content, social ads, accessibility, and mobile performance.  

Driving Optimal ROAS from Paid Media Channels

Some of the leading players in the space are high spenders on paid media channels such as Google, Bing and Facebook - but have a poor or sub-optimal conversion improvement strategy. Without an optimised, sophisticated conversion strategy that maximises the conversion rate, the return on investment is unsustainable or will underperform. Scaling spend on paid media is not achievable unless the conversion rate delivers optimal performance in the sector. Some in the space have paid media spend levels from £30k+ per month but dedicate minimal resources and budgets to conversion testing.  Given the cost per clicks on ad networks will continue to rise, we recommend spending at least 10% of your paid media budget on ongoing conversion optimisation testing schedules to ensure your paid media ROI maintains long-term viability, competitive advantage, and sustainability.

Technical Website Compliance

Savvy digital marketers know that having a technically sound website is an essential component of a successful fully integrated digital strategy - plus a site capable of maximising conversion performance.  For the football teams in our report, they'll want to ensure key, profit-driving pages such as ticket sales and merchandise stores are easily accessible, and that fans aren't struggling to find what they need by being directed through old or broken links.

Site Speed & Conversion Rate Performance

When 62% of consumers are less likely to convert if they have a negative mobile site experience, ensuring that your site is quick and easy to load will see a significant improvement on your overall conversion rates. English football clubs will want to ensure every touchpoint for their fans is high-performing and provides an excellent user experience - especially if there is frustration elsewhere!

For Q2 2024, the mobile site speed ranged between 38 and 11, with Sheffield United reporting the lowest site speed. Upon closer inspection, this football club should adopt lazy loading to help increase its site speed and reduce frustration for those visiting the website for the first time.

Building Competitive Advantage with Domain Authority

Domain authority (DA) is an essential metric for measuring the effectiveness of SEO performance, and helps create a reliable overall gauge of how effective your site is at achieving organic traffic, i.e. ‘free’ traffic that isn’t gained through sponsored ads. Football clubs are likely to have high DAs, due to them being long-standing institutions which will naturally gain significant press coverage from highly-reputable sites.

A ‘good’ DA really comes down to how your competitors are performing, however it is generally considered average between 40 and 50, good between 50 and 60, and excellent above 60.

The DA for this quarter ranged between 81 and 68, with Sheffield United reported the lowest DA rating. This football club reported backlinks from the fewest number of domains, which can affect DA rating. Sheffield United should consider guest posting on other websites to help increase backlinks.

Organic Performance – Mobile & Desktop

A strong organic performance is strategically important as it ensures your site ranks above competitors for core, transactional keywords. When 93% of your customers won’t go past the first page of Google, your absence or lack of targeting for essential keywords will cost you conversions. For English football teams, they'll need to ensure their targeted keywords meet their business goals for their site and are optimised in line with any commercial targets that are in place.

Chelsea was the only website to report a loss in organic traffic on desktop, while it saw a 0% traffic difference on mobile, compared to the previous year. However, West Ham was the only website to report a loss in organic traffic on mobile, while it encountered a 114% increase on desktop.

Universal Search Opportunity

Google Universal Search Results are an evolving opportunity to make your pages visible on a SERP (Search Engine Results Page). Universal results often appear before traditional listings and are eye-catching for users. Universal search results refer to rankings on a SERP that are not the traditional ‘blue line’ Google link, and a site can appear for universal search results without being strong in standard rankings. Football teams can use the 'image pack' search result to highlight their merchandise to fans looking for their store, or 'people also ask' results to quickly answer questions about their stadium or facilities.

Arsenal reported the most Universal Search results, with a total of 32,295. The majority of these appearances were from ‘images’, followed by ‘reviews’.

The Longtail Keyword Opportunity

Longtail keywords are often considered high intent and potentially more likely to convert as a searcher is being more specific. Optimising for longtail keywords also puts your content strategy in a strong position to rank for new search terms as they enter Google’s index. Longtail keyword opportunities for English football teams can tie nicely into merchandise and ticket sales, including terms such as "Aston Villa season ticket price" or "new Manchester United kit full range".

Manchester United reported the most longtail keyword appearances in positions 3 (17,215) and positions 4–10 (17,577). Incorporating a successful longtail keyphrase strategy and using them in headings can help brands to increase their organic traffic.

Facebook Adverts

With the number of Facebook users in the United Kingdom (UK) hitting over 44 million users in 2023, it is not surprising that companies have jumped at the opportunity to advertise on the social media platform. Facebook’s UK digital advertising revenue has been estimated to have breached 2.6b GB pounds in 2019. Football teams can use paid social advertising to drive awareness of new kits, special fixtures, or featured deals on either merchandise or tickets.

We’ve included three examples of Liverpool FC’s sponsored Facebook posts. All posts exceeded the recommended limit of 3 lines of text, which it should look to reduce for future posts to ensure they catch scrollers’ eyes.

Football Clubs - Facebook

Top Social Shares & Content

When it comes to social media and on-site content strategies, it is important to release content that has a longer shelf life. An article is considered 'evergreen' if it has maintained its relevancy to an audience for a long period of time. It's great for your engagement, but great for Google too, who will recognise content which achieves traffic over a long period of time. Social media could be especially useful for sharing information about team news, post-match analysis, new kits, and upcoming fixtures.

All English football clubs favoured Facebook, and Aston Villa reported the highest social media engagement. However, Manchester United saw the highest social media following, with 83.5 million Facebook Likes and 63.7 million Instagram followers. This data shows that having more social media followers doesn’t automatically equate to a higher engagement rate.

Website Readability & Accessibility

Around 20% of people in the UK have a disability – 2 million of which are people living with sight loss. In addition, 1 in 12 men and 1 in 200 women have some degree of colour vision deficiency. Football teams will want to ensure they are welcoming to all fans at any point in their customer journey, so should take care to consider accessibility when planning their digital strategy and image.

In our previous audit, Liverpool FC reported 74 accessibility alerts, which it’s slightly reduced to 73 in this quarter. The majority of these alerts are due to a noscript element, which it should look to reduce to ensure that everyone — including those using a screen reader on any device — can consume content on your website.


To get a copy of the full report, please complete the enquiry form. If you want to talk to us about accelerating your digital performance, please call us on 01543 410014 or schedule a call with Mike Movassaghi.

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