UK Childcare Providers - Digital Marketing Benchmark Report, Q3 2022 Published Today

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The Q3 2022 benchmarking report for childcare providers has just been published. Learn how the top 10 UK childcare brands perform across the digital space. 

The latest Q3 2022 benchmarking report for UK Childcare providers has just been published.  It covers the largest 10 national childcare providers, including Bright Horizons, Childbase, Bright Stars Childcare, Thrive Childcare and Education, Kids Planet, Monkey Puzzle Day Nurseries, Little Pioneers, Busy Bees, Just Childcare, and All About Children.

childcare logos

The research gives an inside track on who is winning share online, and quantifies the gaps, risks and missed opportunities for other childcare providers to win digital brand exposure, and secure new business.  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. Please complete the inquiry form or schedule a call to get a copy of the full report and key take-aways complete the enquiry form or schedule a call.Sector Reports Ipad cover - Childcare


The 70+ pages of research benchmarks each brand 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.  


Many 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.


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 childcare providers have varying degrees of technical errors that will be hindering organic traffic and conversion performance. An example here is Just Childcare’s 127 4XX errors. We saw in Q2 Just Childcare had the highest number of errors with 116 4xx errors, however this looks to have got worse within the last quarter. These will be making their site difficult to navigate and frustrating to use. This is likely to also give a negative impression of Just Childcare to the user, who need to trust them to provide an excellent level of service.


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 Q2, we discovered that the none of the UK’s childcare providers were achieving even an ‘ok’ mobile page speed score, of between 50-89, however since then Just Childcare, Childbase and All About Children have jumped into this category, with scores of 50 – 57, this is a great change to see!


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, ie. ‘free’ traffic that isn’t gained through sponsored ads.

Domain authority is generally considered average between 40 and 50, good between 50 and 60, and excellent above 60. However, a ‘Good’ DA score really depends on the competition level of your industry. In our research, UK childcare domain authorities range from just 0 to 61. Bright Stars Childcare sit at the bottom of this scale, with All About Children and Thrive only slightly above them – both of these brands must seriously consider building this metric in order to improve visibility (and authority).


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.

Continuous improvement and optimisation is also needed to secure traffic year on year. While the vast majority of sectors we are looking at are seeing plummeting organic traffic year-on-year, all of our childcare brands have increased their organic traffic on mobile. This could be a reflection of parents returning to more fixed working structures that don’t accommodate for childcare quite as easily as pandemic hybrid working models do. All About Children have seen the biggest increase here, with 176% more traffic than in 2021, not quite as high as their 415% in Q2 but still leading the way of all ten childcare providers.


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 brand can appear for universal search results without being strong in standard rankings.

When marketing essential services such as childcare, reviews are important as they help parents feel they’re making a safe, solid choice for their child. By gaining reviews, brands will also appear stronger on a Google SERP, where these will be visible. Busy Bees are doing extraordinarily well on this front, showing 3,800 reviews, gaining another 200 since Q2.  Though Busy Bees have the benefit of a large national network of nurseries, competitors should look to secure more reviews to strengthen their position.


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.

As well as achieving an astonishing amount of reviews compare to competitors, Busy Bees also rank in positions 1-4 for 1,478 long-tailed keywords. With these queries having strong conversion-potential, other childcare providers must pay attention and include them in their SEO strategy.


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 that Bright Horizons have used images showing the day-to-day lives of children at their nurseries to advertise the activities they offer. Showing these ‘organic’ style creatives, rather than heavily branded assets, helps parents picture their children at a Bright Horizons nursery setting. 

Childcare Facebook ads


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.

While some of these brands are showing a consistent content output, Thrive Childcare and Childbase are lagging behind when it comes to content production when compared to their competitors. This is a missed opportunity for these brands, who could be sharing content, getting involved in the social media crazes, and sharing information about special offers. 


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.

Many of the childcare providers we examined have accessibility issues that must be addressed. In our Q2 research we saw that Monkey Puzzle Day Nurseries recorded 75 contrast errors, these have now dropped to 49 showing that some of these issues have been fixed.  When it comes to readability, all nurseries have a slightly higher reading complexity level than is ideal for the general public and should focus on using more direct, simplified language for ease of understanding.


In comparison to Q2, we can see that Busy Bees are still firmly in the top spot however most of the other childcare providers have shifted places. Monkey Puzzle suffered the largest drop from #4 to #8 and Childbase having the best jump up from #7 to #3. You can see all these brands Q3 performance at a glance in our quick-look table below, and the Q2 table and scores in our Q2 Press Release.Childcare Leaderboard

If you want to explore how you can improve your performance relative to your competitors, reduce media spend wastage and drive more performance from less, read the Digital Performance Accelerator for CMO’s & Marketing Leaders.


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 Pro Church Media on Unsplash

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