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

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The Q3 2023 benchmarking report for UK car rental companies has just been published. Learn how the top 11 UK car rental companies perform across the digital space.

The latest Q3 2023 benchmarking report for UK car rental companies has just been published.  It covers the largest 11 national car rental companies, including Hertz, Enterprise Holdings, Avis, Green Motion UK, SIXT, Zipcar,, Zest Car Rental, Hiyacar, Thirfty Car and Van Rental, and Practical Car & Van Rental.Car Rental Brands

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 rental companies to win brand exposure in key areas, generate online views, and drive enquiries & bookings. 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 Rental - 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. Car rental companies will want to take particular care that key pages such as locations and models are easy for users to find.

In our last report, was noted that Avis was seeing the highest level of 4xx codes, returning a total of 1,155 errors. In Q3, Avis slightly increased on this figure, now returning 1,209 4xx error codes. Avis must ensure that customers are not being driven down dead ends, else risk them turning elsewhere in frustration.

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. Just as with ensuring key pages are easy to navigate to, to avoid any prospective customer frustration, car rental companies will want to convey a fast site experience to ensure potential renters have a positive experience with their brand at every digital step.

In Q1, car rental companies saw their mobile page speed scores range from 16 to 89. In Q3, these ranged from 62 to just 9. Though we are seeing falls in mobile page speed across all sectors we specialise in, indicating more stringent evaluations from Google, this is still a useful way to gauge and compare performance with competitors. Though Hertz saw the lowest score of Q1, this has now increased to 25, a strong improvement in the face of industry-wide falls in performance.

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 rental companies can look to collaborate with high-authority travel and lifestyle bloggers to build their backlink profiles, along with generating travel and motoring content that can be picked up by both national and sector-specific press.

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. As in Q1, DAs for car rental companies site between 33 to 82, with remaining in the lead.

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. Due to the cost-of-living crisis and consumers cutting back on expendables such as holidays, car rental companies may find that they are competing for a much smaller pool of traffic than in 2022.

In our last report, we noted that only three car rental companies had secured organic traffic growth year on year. In Q3, the only brands who saw any increase in traffic were and Green Motion UK. Hiyacar are still losing the most traffic of all eleven companies, seeing a 67% reduction year-on-year.

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. 'Reviews' are a useful feature for car rental companies to capitalise on, helping them gain the trust of potential customers.

In terms of overall volume, 'reviews' was the most-used Universal Search feature, with SIXT retaining the top spot, with 15,400 'reviews' appearances. Enterprise Holdings have secured the largest volume of 'local pack' appearances, indicating a sound local strategy that will win them appearances for 'rental cars near me' searches.

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. Car rental companies must ensure their organic content strategy acknowledges high-conversion potential keywords, including terms such as 'available now', 'instant access', or 'cost for 7 days' (or any other common length of time).

Thrifty Car and Van Rental are ranking for very few longtail keywords, appearing in the top three positions for only 8. Thrifty Car and Van Rental will need to widen their organic keyword strategy considerably to compete with other brands for longtail keyword traffic.

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've included examples of Green Motion UK's Facebook ads. They've used travel-focussed imagery to tie into the summer season, omitting any visuals of cars from the creatives. This is likely to appeal to Facebook users firmly in 'holiday mode'.

 Green Motion 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. As with building a backlink profile and creating content that ties in well with PR activity, car rental companies can look to developing topics within the holiday and automotive space to secure shareable content that will gain traction on social media.

We've noted that car rental companies generally don't have a large presence on social media. No companies have gained a following through Instagram, though SIXT boasts an impressive tally of 1.1m Facebook likes.

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. It is important for brands in any sector to be accessible for all potential visitors, even when this need is not immediately obvious, such as in the automotive sector.

As in our last two reports, Hiyacar is recording the highest volume of accessibility barriers, now tallying at 126 errors. However, Practical Car & Van Rental also have cause for concern, showing 70 alerts within our accessibility audits.


For a glance into just 6 of the metrics we evaluated these top 10 car rental companies on, check out our quick-look table below; CarRental 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 kaluci on Unsplash

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