The Q4 2023 benchmarking report for UK pet supplies has just been published. Learn how the top 11 UK pet supply retailers perform across the digital space.
The latest Q4 2023 benchmarking report for UK pet supply retailers has just been published. It covers the largest 11 pet supply retailers trading in the UK, including Pets at Home, Petplanet.co.uk, Jollyes - The Pet People, Pets & Friends, Pet Drugs Online, VioVet, Just for Pets, Monster Pet Supplies, Zooplus, Animed Direct, and petshop.co.uk.
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 pet supply retailers to win brand exposure, drive traffic online, and even increase in-store footfall, where relevant. 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 Q4 report, click here. To get a copy of the full report and the key takeaways, please complete the enquiry form or schedule a call.
Q4 2023 winners leader board
For a glance into just 6 of the metrics, we evaluated these top 11 pet supply retailers on, check out our quick-look table below;
Continue reading for further detail on this quarter's top and poorest-performing pet supply retailers, or request a copy of the report for the full review.
What The Industry Research Report Covers
The 70+ pages of research benchmarks each site 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. Brands within the pet supplies space will be juggling huge volumes of products for a wide range of different animals and breeds. They’ll want to ensure potential customers can easily find what they need and aren’t met with dead ends if looking for specialist products.
In our last report, we noted that most pet supply retailers were seeing very low levels of technical errors, the exception being Pets at Home, which returned 3,076 4xx errors. Though Pets at Home is still showing the most technical errors in Q4, this figure has more than halved to 1,302 4xx errors, showing a firm move in the right direction.
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 pet owners looking for food and other supplies, they’ll want to access what they’re looking for quickly, especially when items are needed urgently.
In Q2, only Zooplus was surpassing the 'okay' benchmark mobile page speed score of 50, scoring 52. With Zooplus seeing its mobile page speed score falling to 27 in Q4, no brands are surpassing this benchmark. Pets at Home, Monster Pet Supplies, and petshop.co.uk are sharing last place, each achieving a mobile page speed score of 5.
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. Brands in the pet supplies sector can look to collaborate with animal bloggers, and run pet breed based PR campaigns to gain exposure and backlinks.
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. DAs for pet supply retailers range from 73 (for Pets at Home) to 26 (for Just for Pets). Just for Pets, and other brands towards the lower end of this scale, will want to ensure they have an effective digital PR strategy to try and build their backlink profile and domain 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 seen organic traffic fall for retailers across many of the sectors we specialise in, mostly in response to the cost of living crisis, as consumers cut back on essential items. For pet suppliers, they may feel this impact by pet owners opting for less specialist products, that may be available in their local supermarket for a lower cost.
As in our Q2 report, all eleven pet supply retailers saw falls in organic traffic year on year. The biggest fall was seen by petshop.co.uk, which has lost 57% of its traffic overall. Though all retailers are losing traffic in similar levels, petshop.co.uk must ensure the site is not losing traffic to competitors in a limited pool of customers.
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. Pet supply retailers could look to ‘reviews’ and ‘people also ask’ results, in order to build trust with potential customers and help educate them directly from the SERP.
‘Reviews’ are the most used universal search result, with the highest volume being achieved by VioVet, who have secured a total of 17,100 ‘reviews’ results. Despite securing the highest volume of traffic and highest Pets at Home are appearing for the biggest variety, along with the most overall appearances, including the highest volume of ‘people also ask’ and 'image' results, indicating strong longtail keyword performance.
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 brand new search terms as they enter Google’s index. Pet supply retailers can look to their range of products for inspiration and guidance on longtail keyword strategy, including key terms such as ‘next day delivery’ and product weights to appear for users showing high-purchase intent.
As indicated by their strong performance in ‘people also ask’ results, Pets at Home are ranking for the most longtail keywords, appearing in the top three positions for 26,623. Pets and Friends, which we noted was ranking for one of the lowest levels of longtail keywords in Q2, has slightly improved this figure for Q4, climbing from 212 top three keywords in Q2 to 309 in Q4.
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. Pet supply retailers can use Facebook ads to drive awareness of low-traffic bricks and mortar locations, along with generate visibility on key product lines.
We've included examples of Zooplus's recent Facebook ads below. Zooplus has used a range of creatives, to test the impact of different ad types. The use of the same copy between the carousel format and vertical video format will enable Zooplus to effectively assess the impact, and serve the best fit for different 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 brand engagement, but great for Google too, who will recognise content which achieves traffic over a long period of time. Generating informational content will help with longtail keyword performance (and ‘people also ask’ results), and pet supply retailers can look to include shareable content such as infographics to make on-site content engaging on social media.
Meta is the favoured social platform of ten pet supply retailers, the exception being Pet Planet which has secured more appearances on Pinterest. Targeting Pinterest is a smart strategy we’d usually advise for brands in the home and fashion spaces, due to its visual nature and shoppability, but with the platform also carrying a generally more affluent audience than other social channels, a strong performance here can prove profitable for a brand in any space.
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, brands lose customer interest as they turn elsewhere. Pet supply retailers should ensure their site is accessible for all as vision deficiency does not exclude pet ownership. In fact, pet supply retailers are in the unique position that at least some of their customers will be shopping for guide dogs or other assistance animals!
Generally speaking, pet supply retailers are performing reasonably well when it comes to accessibility. In our last report we noted that Animed was returning the most barriers to accessibility, with 1,727 alerts present in our audit. In Q4, Animed has significantly reduced this figure to 450. Though this is still the most of any pet supply retailer, there has been a marked improvement in performance.
Get the full 80-page Q4 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.