The Q2 2023 benchmarking report for UK online opticians has just been published. Learn how the top 9 opticians perform across the digital space.
The latest Q2 2023 benchmarking report for UK online opticians has just been published. It covers the largest 9 opticians trading in the UK, including Black & Lizars, Bayfields Opticians and Audiologists, David Clulow, Specsavers, Eyesite, Scrivens Opticians & Hearing Care, Eye Emporium, Vision Express, and Leightons Opticians and Hearing Care.
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 other online opticians to win brand exposure, drive traffic online and, for those with bricks and mortar locations, even increase in-store footfall. The report highlights quick wins that will improve enquiries from your online strategy and identifies the barriers that may be reducing your site’s ability to optimise digital performance.
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.
What The Industry Research Report Covers
The 70+ pages of research benchmarks each retailer based on 50+ metrics and indicators of 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 & 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. Online opticians will want to ensure that key pages are easy to navigate to and access, such as prescription information, any trial packages they offer, or store locators.
Eight of the nine opticians we reviewed had very minimal levels of technical site errors. The exception to this was Specsavers, who returned 2,028 4xx errors in our crawls. High levels of errors are typical on ecommerce sites with a regularly rotating range of stock, though Specsavers should be mindful that they are regularly reviewing their internal linking structure to avoid sending customers down dead ends.
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 makes a significant improvement on your overall conversion rates. For online opticians, they’ll want to ensure their site is fast, and well-prepared for customers to browse new frames on the go.
Throughout our research, we’ve noted that many brands, across a range of sectors are struggling to reach even an ‘okay’ score between 50-89. For opticians, only Specsavers have achieved this benchmark, with a score of 62. The lowest mobile page speed score we found was seen by Vision Express, who delivered a score of only 25. We’d recommend all nine opticians review their site speed to enhance user experience and encourage conversions.
Building Competitive Advantage with Domain Authority
Domain authority 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. As the nine opticians in our report range from online-only, to well known, long-standing retail chains, we’d expect to see a wide range of scores in domain authority.
A ‘good’ DA really comes down to how your competitors are performing, however it’s generally considered average between 40 and 50, good between 50 and 60, and excellent above 60. The DA scores in our report ranged from 25 (from Eye Emporium) up to 74 (from Specsavers). For any brands towards the end of this scale, they’ll want to review their digital PR strategy, to identify some out-the box ways they can gain backlinks from authoritative sites, and boost their own site authority.
Organic Performance – Mobile & Desktop
A strong organic performance is strategically important as it ensures your site ranks above competitors for key, 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. We’ve noted that the cost-of-living crisis has impacted traffic levels in many sectors, with consumers putting off purchases of treats and expendables for later dates. However, as opticians provide essential items, we’d expect brands to be able to maintain performance year on year, even if they may be seeing a reduction in traffic to high end ranges, and more traffic to lower to mid-range products.
Contrary to our expectations, all online opticians have lost organic traffic year on year, both on mobile and desktop. The biggest loss has been seen by Eye Emporium, who have lost 55% of desktop and 94% of mobile traffic. This all-round loss in organic traffic could be due to the growing popularity in overseas sites that offer cut-price frames.
Universal Search Opportunity
Google Universal Search Results is 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 retailer can appear for universal search results without being strong in standard rankings. For opticians with high street branches, ‘Local Pack’ results are a useful way of dominating SERPs and ensuring they can capture attention from users still looking for an in-person experience.
All the opticians we reviewed are using a range of Universal Search features, maximising their potential in organic results. Of the lower traffic sites, Scrivens is leading the way in terms of variety, though most of their results have come under ‘People Also Ask’. ‘People Also Ask’ and FAQ results are a great way to provide high-quality, helpful content, directly on the SERP, and usually point to good performance in longtail keywords too.
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 retailer new search terms as they enter Google’s index. Online opticians may find it particularly useful to optimise for keywords showing both high-conversion intent, and information-seeking phrases that may be more often searched at the consideration phase.
Unsurprisingly, Specsavers and Vision Express are leading the way on longtail keyword visibility. Of the other six opticians in our report, Scrivens are showing the highest potential, appearing in the top three positions for 184 keywords, in positions 4-10 for 184, and positions 11-20 for a further 632. This puts Scrivens in a strong position to optimise for these existing keywords, as opposed to other brands who must identify and start optimising for keywords from scratch.
With the number of Facebook users in the United Kingdom (UK) forecast to hit over 42 million users by 2022, 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. Facebook ads provide an opportunity for opticians to quickly reach audiences with offers, new lines, and key products they’re looking to push.
We found that online opticians were underusing Facebook ads, with only two brands in our report running any recent Facebook ads. Below, you can see examples of Vision Express’s Facebook ads, featuring the celebrity endorsement of Hailie Bieber, along with a carousel of key styles from the collection. Overseas, discount opticians brands tend to be very prolific on Facebook ads, so other opticians should not overlook this opportunity to gain visibility from new audiences.
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 longer. It's great for your retailer engagement, but great for Google too, who will recognise content which achieves traffic over a long period of time. Though Facebook advertising can be used to boost visibility for brands on the platform, having a strong portfolio of content to draw upon helps build a connection with your audience, as well as providing helpful content that guides them down the conversion funnel.
As with Facebook advertising, we found that organic social media is generally being overlooked by the opticians in our report, as we were only able to find significant social and content activity from three online opticians brands. Opticians could consider creating content on styling tips, helpful information such as glasses and contact lens care, or seasonal content around sunglasses and summer eye care.
Website Readability & Accessibility
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. When websites are not designed to meet these needs, retailers lose customer interest as they turn elsewhere. Online opticians should be particularly mindful of having an accessible site, as being poorly prepared for visually impaired users could not only lose customer confidence but look very poor for their brand!
Generally speaking, opticians have very well-maintained sites with minimal contrast errors or alerts. However, our crawls flagged 90 errors and 161 alerts for Eye Emporium. These alerts could simply be down to unnecessary alt text or duplicate title tags, but Eye Emporium must ensure screen readers can effectively read their content in order to remain accessible to all.
Q2 2023 winners leader board
For a glance into just 6 of the metrics, we evaluated these top 9 online opticians on, check out our quick-look table below;
GET THE FULL 80-PAGE Q2 2023 REPORT
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.