The Q1 2024 benchmarking report for UK building societies has just been published. Learn how the top 10 UK building societies perform across the digital space.
The latest Q1 2024 benchmarking report for UK building societies has just been published. It covers the largest 10 national Building societies, including Nationwide, Yorkshire Building Society, Leeds Building Society, The Nottingham, Coventry Building Society, Principality Building Society, The Cumberland, Skipton Building Society, The West Brom, and Newcastle Building Society.
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 building societies to win brand exposure, drive online enquiries, and even increase in-branch visits. 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 takeaways, please complete the enquiry form or schedule a call.
Q1 2024 WINNERS LEADERBOARD
For a glance into just 6 of the metrics we evaluated these top 10 building societies on, check out our quick-look table below;
Continue reading for further detail on this quarter's top and poorest-performing building societies, 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. For any brand operating in the financial sector, building absolute trust is essential for winning new customers. Building societies will need to ensure that their websites are easy to navigate, and that key pages such as local branch information and comparison tools are clear and not blocked off by broken links.
In the last quarter, Principality Building Society reported 151 4xx errors, which it’s slightly reduced to 146, demonstrating that it’s spent time tracking any broken links to assess what might be causing these errors.
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. As with ensuring their sites are technically compliant, building societies must be delivering a quick user experience that improves faith in the brand and encourages conversions.
The mobile site speed ranged between 53 and 16, with Principality Building Society at the bottom of the leaderboard. Only one brand — Leeds Building Society — scored above 50%. And the other brands should adopt its strategies of using smaller images to increase loading speeds..
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. Building societies can look to creating PR content on any subject in the financial space, whether that's saving for a new home, putting money aside for children, or identifying the best building society product for your situation. Topics like these are likely to be picked up by national and local press, generating both referral traffic and new, high-quality 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. The DA rating for this quarter was between 77 and 43, with The Nottingham reporting the lowest score. This brand is also in the bottom two for the number of backlinks, and it should adopt a PR strategy to help increase its DA score for the next quarter.
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. Though many sectors are seeing a reduction in traffic sector-wide, with building societies remaining a cost-free product that will be ever-needed, we wouldn't expect to see any negative impact directly stemming from the cost of living crisis.
Seven of the 10 companies encountered an increase in mobile traffic compared to the previous year, with Principality Building Society reporting a 62% increase (the same as our previous audit).
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 site can appear for universal search results without being strong in standard rankings. 'Reviews' will be a key way for building societies to gain trust from users directly from the SERP, while 'local pack' results will help increase in-branch footfall.
Nationwide continues to score the number one spot for the highest number of Universal Search results (13,466 — an increase of 4,066 from our previous audit). The majority of these impressions came from ‘people also ask’, and, surprisingly, none of the brands saw any appearances for ‘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 brand new search terms as they enter Google’s index. for building societies, they'll want to look at high-conversion potential keywords, such as phrases from users looking to book in-branch meetings, 'sign up' for new accounts, or using heavily detailed key terms (or even specific products).
Nationwide continues to secure the top spot for the most searches for longtail keywords, with the majority of these in positions 11–20. Nationwide should look to adopt different phrases to increase its number of appearances in the top three search engine results.
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. Facebook ads are a great way for blinds and shutters brands to reach people who are specifically looking to make improvements to their homes.
We’ve included three examples of Leeds Building Society’s sponsored Facebook posts. It incorporates a carousel in one post and a vertical image for each of the two posts, demonstrating that it’s testing how visuals perform.
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. Building societies can look to their digital PR content used to boost DA to help increase social shares too, creating engaging, widely appealing content that is both educational and informative.
Leeds Building Society secured the highest total engagement (2,264). Nationwide continues to have the largest Facebook group (104,400 Likes) and the largest Instagram account (11,300 followers). All remaining companies can take a step to increase their online presence by posting regularly and providing useful, free information for their audience.
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. Building societies must ensure their content is accessible by all, as users with visual impairments will be less trusting of a site they're not fully able to navigate.
In our last audit, we noted that Coventry Building Society reported 46 alerts, which it’s reduced to 27 in this quarter. The company to watch is The Nottingham, which flagged 115 alerts, most of which came from redundant title text. It’s also increased its contrast errors from 57 (previously 53), which it must address to improve readability for those with a colour deficiency.
GET THE FULL 70-PAGE Q1 2024 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.
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