UK Car Buying Companies - Digital Marketing Benchmark Report, Q3 2023

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The Q3 2023 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 Q3 2023 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, Arnold Clark,, and heycar.

Car Buying 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 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 Q3 report, click here. To get a copy of the full report and the key takeaways, please complete the enquiry form or schedule a call. Digital Benchmark Report - Car Buying - Q3 2023 - Cover

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.

As with Q1, most of the car buying companies we reviewed returned very few errors within our crawls. In our last report we noted that CarShop had the highest level of 4xx errors, with 417. In Q3, CarShop increased this figure slightly, to 422. CarShop must ensure that no key pages are being blocked by 4xx errors, cutting conversion journeys short.

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.

Mobile page speed scores have fallen since Q1, with scores now sitting between 53 and zero. Though we have seen universal drops in mobile page speed, a score of zero for Carcraft is concerning. Carcraft must review its site speed for mobile, and ensure content is loading quickly to enhance the user experience.

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. DAs for car buying companies sat at similar levels to Q1, with scores between 26 and 70, with Cazoo staying firmly at the top of this scale.

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.

In our last report, we noted that only five car buying companies had achieved any growth in traffic from 2022. In Q3, this fell to two. Cinch achieved the biggest gain in Q3, with an 18% increase, while heycar is now seeing the biggest loss, of 32%

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.

'FAQs' remained the most widely appeared-for Universal Search result, with each car buying company securing some appearance. heycar has the highest visibility on 'FAQs', with 8,600, along with 41,500 'reviews'. Well-optimised content that is more likely to appear for Universal Search results will also improve performance for longtail keywords.

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’. are ranking for the largest volume of longtail keywords, with 37,917 appearances in the top three positions. Carcraft is still ranking for very few longtail keywords and should be examining its current content portfolio to identify opportunities to improve on longtail visibility. 

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’s Facebook ads. They’ve opted for vertical, mobile-first creates which will appeal to mobile users. Using the same copy across all creatives creates an opportunity to assess creative performance and target audiences with their most engaging ad format.

Car Supermarket Facebook Ads July 2023

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. 

Facebook is the preferred social media platform for all car buying companies, with Motorpoint securing the most total engagements, with 20,883. Looking at which brands have the largest audience, has the most Facebook likes, with 173,000, while Cazoo has the largest Instagram audience, with 24,600 followers. A large following on social media means brands will need to rely less on paid activity and sponsored posts.

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 report, we noted that was seeing the largest amount of accessibility errors, with 192 contrast errors. Though is still seeing the highest amount, they have reduced their contrast errors to 167


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 July23


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 Sara Kurfeß on Unsplash

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