UK Childcare Providers - Digital Marketing Benchmark Report, Q2 2024

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The Q2 2024 benchmarking report for UK childcare providers has just been published. Learn how 7 of the largest UK childcare providers perform across the digital space. 

The latest Q2 2024 benchmarking report for UK Childcare providers has just been published. It covers 7 large national childcare providers, including Bright Horizons, Childbase, Thrive Childcare and Education, Kids Planet, Monkey Puzzle Day Nurseries, Little Pioneers and Partou UK.

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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 childcare providers to win brand exposure locally, build organic visibility, and generate 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 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. Childcare - COVER-1


For a glance into just 6 of the metrics, we evaluated these top 7 childcare providers on, check out our quick-look table below; Childcare W&L May24

Continue reading for further detail on this quarter's top and poorest-performing childcare providers, 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. Childcare providers won't have content which faces frequent changes, such as product pages, so brands in this sector should be able to effectively maintain technical website compliance.

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. Building trust is crucial for brands within the childcare sector, so these providers will want to ensure their site is fast, and gives an excellent impression of their services at every touch point.

For Q2 2024, the mobile site speed ranged between 43 and 3, with no brands scoring at least the recommended 50%. The brand with the lowest site speed score is Bright Horizons, and it should optimise all images to help increase this score for a more consumer-friendly website.

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. An effective digital PR strategy can help any childcare provider achieve high-value 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 62 and 0, with Partou UK reporting the lowest DA score, though it looks to be an established website in the Netherlands. To help increase its DA rating, it should engage in guest blogging to help its number of backlinks.

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 we specialise in are seeing the impact of the cost-of-living crisis, and battling for a smaller pool of potential customers, childcare is an essential service for many families, limiting the potential for users to turn elsewhere for alternative solutions.

Monkey Puzzle Day Nurseries experienced the biggest organic traffic increase across both desktop and mobile devices. This provider saw a 67% increase on desktop and a huge 718% increase on 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 site can appear for universal search results without being strong in standard rankings. For childcare providers, who want to build trust, 'reviews' and 'image pack' results are a great way to tell (and show) parents more about their nurseries.

Bright Horizons remains at the top of the scoreboard with a total of 3,246 Universal Search results. Most of these searches came from ‘images. On the other hand, Partou UK reported the least number of appearances for this category — which looks to be because it’s established in the Netherlands though not as popularly known in the UK.

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. Longtail keywords for nurseries may reflect prospective parents looking for specific details about the locations, such as for information about food menus and outdoor facilities, or they could be focused on fee information and funding.

Bright Horizons encountered the most appearances for longtail keywords in positions 3 (516 appearances on desktop) and 636 appearances for just keywords on desktop. Using longtail keywords gives brands an opportunity to increase their organic 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. Childcare providers can use Facebook ads to target specific areas where they have more places available, and advertise any upcoming open days that can provide in-person opportunities to convert.

We’ve included three examples of Little Pioneers’s sponsored Facebook posts. All of their posts included a vertical image to be mobile-friendly, though one most didn’t include any text, which is a missed opportunity.

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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. Childcare providers can look to creating shareable content about child development, nutrition, and education as a simple way to get high levels of engagement and build trust in their brand.

All childcare providers favoured Facebook, and Childbase reported the highest total engagement. It’s important that companies use social media’s analytics to analyse the number of their followers who interact with their content. Having a high social media following doesn’t automatically mean that consumers are interested in their brands.

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. For childcare providers needing to build trust, they must ensure accessibility is one of their foremost considerations when developing their site.

In our previous audit, Monkey Puzzle Day Nurseries flagged 80 accessibility alerts, which it’s reduced to 47 in Q2 2024. This is a great reduction, though given that it’s still the brand to watch, it should assess its suspicious link text to help reduce these alerts to zero.


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 Aaron Burden on Unsplash


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