UK Building Societies - Digital Marketing Benchmark Report, Q4 2022 Published Today

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The Q4 2022 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 Q4 2022 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.

Building Societies logo Q4

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 locally, in-branch footfall and online enquiries. 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 take-aways, please complete the enquiry form or schedule a call. Sector Reports Ipad cover - building societies Q4

You can also find out how these 10 Building Societies performed against last quarter, by revisiting our Q3 report round-up.

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.

Many of the UK building societies have varying degrees of technical errors that will be hindering organic traffic and conversion performance. An example here is Principality Building Society’s 102 4XX errors. We saw in Q3 The Cumberland had the highest number of errors with 54 4xx errors, however this looks to have got slightly better within the last quarter, with The Cumberland now hitting 47 4xx errors. All companies seeing errors need to continue looking into the causes, as these will be making their site difficult to navigate and frustrating to use. This is likely to also give a negative impression of the brand to the user, who need to trust them to provide an excellent level of service.

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.

In our research in Q3, we saw that only two of the ten building societies were within the ‘okay’ range of 50-89, however in Q4 we can see that these have now dropped as none of the building societies are within the range, with the scores ranging from 11 to 46.

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.

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. In Q4 we saw the DA range from 77 to 47. We can see compared to Q3 that West Brom are still the lowest scoring company, however they have improved from 46 to 47.

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 looked at how all ten building societies have performed compared to last year. Continuous improvement and optimisation is also needed to secure traffic year on year. We discovered that none of the building societies in our report have gained organic mobile traffic year on year. The Nottingham have seen the largest drop, with a 70% loss in traffic.

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.

We could see that People Also Ask was the highest used universal search feature, with Yorkshire Building Society taking the top spot reaching 599 results. Most companies are underusing most universal search feature options, with some companies only seeing a handful of results. Those getting a small amount of results need to work towards the numbers their competitors are achieving.

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.

Newcastle Building Society are still ranking for no longtail keywords within the top 3, as we also pointed out in Q3. They should be looking at how to improve their rankings on existing longtail keywords, but also at how they can expand their strategy to include new specific search terms.

Facebook Adverts

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.

Below, we can see examples of Yorkshire Building Society’s Facebook ads. The use of images of their different customer quotes, along with clear CTA’s and their recognisable brand colours, make the advert eye catching to scrolling social media users. 

Q4 Building Societies FB AD

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.

We saw in our research that many of the building societies are falling behind on content creation. We can see that both The West Brom and The Cumberland are lagging in content over 2022, when compared with their competitors.

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.

All of the building societies appear to be struggling with accessibility within their sites, with all ten seeing an array of errors, contrast errors and alerts. In Q3 we saw The Nottingham were reporting the highest number of accessibility issues, hitting 49 alerts, 55 contrast errors and 16 errors. In Q4 The Nottingham have managed to lower this number slightly, now hitting 37 alerts, 0 contrast errors and 7 errors. Although they are still seeing these errors, it is definitely a move in the right direction. All the building societies are seeing accessibility issues and should be reviewing and optimising their accessibility.

user journeys & conversion rate performance

3.42 seconds are all it takes for a user to judge a site solely on its appearance. For sites with a low clarity score, this means users are getting a poor impression of your brand and aren’t seeing your vital cues to convert.

We can see The Nottingham are leading the way with a score of 85, while The Cumberland and Yorkshire Building Society are both only a few steps behind on 84 and 83, respectively.

Additionally, we use attention maps to judge user behaviour and assess how customers are interacting with a site. You can see from these examples just how wildly different site designs can impact user attention; 

Q4 Building Socieities heat map

Q4 2022 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;

Building Society Q4 LeaderboardWe can see that compared to Q3, there has been a change in the top three. With Leeds Building Society jumping from #2 to #1, Nationwide dropping from #1 to #3. To see the Q3 report and leaderboard, click here. 

GET THE FULL 70-PAGE Q4 2022 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 Phil Robinson.

Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash

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