UK Car Buying Companies - Digital Marketing Benchmark Report, Q1 2024

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The Q1 2024 benchmarking report for UK car buying companies has just been published. Learn how the top 11 UK car buying companies perform across the digital space.

The latest Q1 2024 benchmarking report for UK car buying companies has just been published. It covers the largest 11 national car buying companies, including Big Motoring World, Cargiant,, Motorpoint, Carcraft, Cazoo, CarShop, cinch, Perrys Motor Sales and heycar.

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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 car buying companies to win brand exposure, drive online views, and ultimately yield car purchase 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 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. Car Buying - COVER-1


For a glance into just 6 of the metrics we evaluated these top 12 car buying companies on, check out our quick-look table below; Car Buying W&L Mar24Continue reading for further detail on this quarter's best and poorest-performing UK car buying companies 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 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 car buying companies, having an easy-to-navigate site is essential for drivers needing to enquire about buying options and particular care should be taken of the pathways to key pages, such as contact forms or 'request a call' options.

In our last report, Cargiant raised some concerns with 418 4xx errors, which it’s dropped to 8 in Q1 2024. The car buying company to watch now is, which flagged 486 4xx errors. This company needs to assess any broken links to prevent its linking structure from impacting its SEO and customer experience.

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. Car buying companies need to ensure their customers have a positive experience on their site or they may just move to another company – especially if specific times have been promise, e.g. a quote in only 30 seconds.

For Q1 2024, the mobile site speed ranged between 64 and 20, with only 3 companies scoring above the recommended 50%. Cargiant had a 20% site speed score, and it should adopt lazy loading to help increase its site speed for consumers.

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. Car buying brands should be continually pushing to improve their DA by sharing great quality content about their products and what makes/models they have in stock. 

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 69 and 27, with Carcraft reporting the lowest score. This car buying company reported the lowest number of backlinks, which it should look to increase 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. With the increase in electric vehicles over the past few years, now would be a great time to push the ‘out with the old, in with the new’ narrative.

Most companies saw an increase in organic traffic for desktop users, with most reporting the most traffic on desktop. This means that brands should incorporate more mobile-friendly designs to help increase attraction for those using a mobile.

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. Car-buying brands should be utilising all universal search features as potential customers will be interested to see how previous customers have found their experience via 'reviews', 'FAQs' and 'people also ask', and may also be looking for information about specific models they are interested in.

For this quarter, 7 of the 11 companies reported zero for ‘reviews’, which they should look to increase to help them to rank in SERPs. No brand had any appearances for ‘FAQs’, which is a recommended strategy to help with SEO.

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. There are many longtail keyword options car buying companies could be using such as ‘car buyers near me’, 'best used vehicles near me' and ‘where to sell my car’.

MOTORS ranks the most longtail keyword appearance in positions 3 (31,095) and only has the most appearances in positions 4–10 (40,759), indicating that this company will likely remain in this top spot for the next quarter. Heycar also reported 3 appearances in position 3, and it should adopt a keyword strategy to ensure it’s utilizing the best terms for SEO purposes.

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.

We’ve included 3 examples of Big Motoring World’s sponsored Facebook posts. All 3 posts included a “Shop Now” CTA to help increase the chances of conversions. However, this company should experiment with its text to make the content more engaging and branded.

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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 retailer engagement, but great for Google too, who will recognise content which achieves traffic over a long period of time. Social Media could be especially useful for sharing information about their different buying options. 

MOTORS continues to have the largest Facebook page (183,800 Likes), and cinch has taken the top spot for the largest Instagram account (25,400 followers). MOTORS reported the most engagement (11,731), which is an important aspect for companies to assess to check that their followers interact with their content.

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 car-buying companies need to ensure their website is accessible for all customers looking to buy (or sell) vehicles.

In our last audit, flagged 171 contrast errors and 138 accessibility alerts. In Q1 2024, this company has decreased both (14 contrast errors and 20 alerts). The company with the most alerts is Perrys Motor Sales (49), with most of these coming from a missing label.


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 Max on Unsplash

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