UK Animal Attractions - Digital Marketing Benchmark Report, Q1 2024

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The Q1 2024 benchmarking report for UK animal attractions has just been published. Learn how the top 12 UK animal attractions perform across the digital space.

The brand new Q1 2024 benchmarking report for UK animal attractions has just been published. It covers the largest 12 UK animal attractions, including Chester Zoo, London Zoo, The Aspinall Foundation, Edinburgh Zoo, Whipsnade Zoo, West Midland Safari Park, Longleat, Colchester Zoo, Yorkshire Wildlife Park, Dudley Zoo, Birdworld, and Paignton Zoo Environmental Park.

Animal Attractions - LOGOS

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 animal attractions to win brand exposure, sell online tickets, and even improve digital 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 Q1 report, click here. To get a copy of the full report and the key take-aways, please complete the enquiry form or schedule a call. Animal Attractions - COVER


For a glance into just 6 of the metrics we evaluated these top 12 animal attractions on, check out our quick-look table below; Animal Attractions W&L Feb 24

Continue reading for further detail on this quarter's best and poorest-performing UK animal attractions 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 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 under-perform. 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.

In Q1 2024, Chester Zoo flagged 301 4xx errors. This animal attraction must address this by the next quarter by changing, removing, or updating links, as these errors can have a negative impact on SEO. Dudley Zoo is second place with 255 4xx errors, and it should also assess its internal linking structure.

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. When you're competing to sell tickets to events, such as an animal attraction park, an unappealing site (or one that doesn't signpost well to tickets) can mean users turn to your competitors instead.

The site speed score for this quarter ranged between 61 and 2, with only 3 brands scoring above the recommended 50%. Longleat reported the lowest site speed score, and it can reduce the size of its images to help increase this score by the next quarter.

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 gage of how effective your site is at achieving organic traffic, i.e. ‘free’ traffic that isn’t gained through sponsored ads. Animal attractions can look to collaborate with high-authoritative websites, along with any publications within their niche, to gain high-authority backlinks that will improve their DA. 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 rating for this quarter was between 73 and 46, with all animal attractions scoring above the 40 benchmark. Birdworld, the website with the lowest DA has the lowest variety of domains for its internal backlinks — a factor that might be contributing towards its DA score.

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. For brands within the consumer entertainment real, such as animal attractions, they'll find they're competing for a smaller pool of traffic as customers cut back on non-essentials due to the cost of living crisis.

Nine of the 12 animal attractions reported a loss in organic mobile traffic, with Birdworld reporting the biggest loss (26% reduction in digital footfall). All 9 brands can increase their organic mobile traffic by regularly updating their online blog and using a keyword strategy and tracking its results.

Universal Search Opportunity

Google Universal Search Results  is an evolving opportunity to make your pages more visible on a SERP (Search Engine Results Page). Universal results refer to rankings on a SERP that are not the traditional ‘blue line’ Google link, often appear before traditional listings and are eye-catching for users. You can also appear for a universal search result without being strong in other organic performance. For animal attractions, the 'image’ category and ‘reviews’ are the most useful option for standing out from competitors and showing off their arrangements.

Chester Zoo reported the most appearances for overall Universal Search results (a total of 6,018). This animal attraction saw the most impressions in the ‘image’ sector (4,400).

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. For animal attractions, these keywords could include terms such as "buy tickets to a UK zoo" or "animal attraction tickets".

Chester Zoo has the most appearances in the top 3 (1,694) and is also ranking the highest in positions 4–10 and 11–20 — which suggests that it’ll remain at the top spot in the next quarter, too.

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. Animal attractions can adopt a social media strategy to expand reach to help increase ticket sales.

Below, are 3 examples of Paignton Zoo Environmental Park’s sponsored Facebook posts. This company uses “book now” as it’s CTA for all posts, which is a great way to drive ticket sales via its online audience.

Animal Attractions - Facebook Advert

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. Content creation also helps with DA, appearances for longtail keywords and 'people also ask' results, so animal attractions look to creating shareable pieces that can support performance in all of these areas. 

All of the animal attractions favour Facebook, and Chester Zoo has the largest Facebook following (1,200,000 — over double compared to the runner up). Chester Zoo also has the largest Instagram account (325,400 followers — nearly twice as much as the runner up).

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. Sites such as animal attractions often focus on their need to appear visually appealing and can therefore fall short of the accessibility requirements their users with visual challenges will need. For consumers using a screen reader, all brands should look to eradicate any accessibility alerts and contrast errors.

In Q1 2024, Colchester Zoo reported 196 accessibility alerts, with the majority of these coming from redundant title text. It’s important that this animal attraction resolves these alerts to improve accessibility for those using a screen reader.


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.

Photo by Michael Payne on Unsplash


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