UK Building Societies - Digital Marketing Benchmark Report, Q2 2024

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The Q2 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 Q2 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.

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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 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 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.

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For a glance into just 6 of the metrics we evaluated these top 10 building societies on, check out our quick-look table below; Building Society W&L May24

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.

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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 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.

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.

For Q2 2024, the mobile site speed ranged between 47 and 6, with Skipton Building Society scoring the lowest mobile speed. After taking a closer look at its mobile website, it should include lazy loading to help improve its SEO, provide higher conversion rates, and offer an improved website experience for users.

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 for this quarter ranged between 77 and 44, with The Nottingham reporting the lowest DA rating. This building society reported the second to lowest number of domain backlinks, and it should look to receive backlinks from multiple high-authoritative sites to help with its DA rating.

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.

Three companies saw a loss in organic traffic on desktop, while only 1 reported a loss in organic traffic on mobile. All brands reported more traffic on desktop year on year. So all building societies should make their mobile website more responsive to instead consumers using their websites on the go.

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 remains at the top of the scoreboard for Universal Search appearances with a total of 14,820 results. Most of these searches came from the ‘image’ category, with 70,400 appearances. The majority of these searches were from ‘people also ask’, followed by ‘local pack’. To increase ‘local pack’ searches, all building societies should get listed on local directories and create localised pages.

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 reported the most appearances for longtail keywords in positions 3 (12,727 appearances) and 23,213 appearances for positions 4–10. While Leeds Building Society is further down the leaderboard for positions 3, it reported more appearances in positions 4–10 than Coventry Building Society — which is one of the quickest ways for brands to increase their keyword rankings.

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. 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 Principality Building Society’s sponsored Facebook posts. They included limited lines of texts, which allows scrollers to read their content quickly — an effective way to get people’s attention.

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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.

All of the building societies favoured Facebook. Nationwide reported the largest Facebook page (105,100 Likes) and Instagram account (13,000 followers). Having a strong social media presence allows consumers to be up to date with their latest news.

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 previous audit, The Nottingham flagged 115 accessibility alerts, which it’s increased slightly to 117. It’s important that all companies aim for zero alerts to make their websites more user-friendly 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 Andre Taissin on Unsplash

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