UK Dealerships - Digital Marketing Benchmark Report, Q3 2022 Published Today

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The Q3 2022 benchmarking report for UK dealerships has just been published. Learn how the top 12 UK dealerships perform across the digital space.

The latest Q3 2022 benchmarking report for UK Dealerships has just been published.  It covers the largest 12 national dealerships, including Harwoods, Lookers, Arnold Clark, Marshall, Jct600, Jardine Motors, Vertu Motors, Group 1 Automotive, Listers, Sytner, Pendrago and Inchcape - it highlights year-on-year digital performance, plus winner and loser comparisons in 20+ online performance metrics.

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 dealerships to win brand exposure locally, online orders and in-store footfall. 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 take-aways, please complete the enquiry form or schedule a call.

What The Industry Research Report Covers

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.  

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 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.

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.

We noted that dealerships generally are fairly average when it comes to website errors. Group 1 Automotive’s significant 267 4xx errors when crawling their website makes them the company with the highest errors! Group 1 Automotive must ensure that users are not being directed to dead ends on their site, which could lead to them turning elsewhere out of 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.

When we looked at mobile page speed, the results came back rather worrying. We discovered that none of the twelve dealerships in our report achieved even an ‘okay’ score of 50-89, indicating that all these brands have some serious work to do on improving their mobile page speed.

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 gage of how effective your site is at achieving organic traffic, ie. ‘free’ traffic that isn’t gained through sponsored ads.

Domain authority is considered average between 40 and 50, good between 50 and 60, and excellent above 60. ‘Good’ DA score depends on the competition level of the industry. However, a ‘good’ DA really comes down to how your competitors are performing. In our research, UK dealerships saw their domain authorities range from an excellent score of 68 to a reasonable score of 40, from Pendragon. Though a score of 40 is still an achievement, Pendragon should focus on building a stronger backlink profile to compete with those at the higher end 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.

Continuous improvement and optimisation is also needed to secure traffic year on year. We found that only half of the UK dealership chains have achieved year on year growth in mobile traffic. Concerningly, Harwoods lost a quarter of their mobile traffic compared to last 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 brand can appear for universal search results without being strong in standard rankings.

Compared to the other sectors we have looked into, dealerships are using the biggest range of universal search features. Reviews seem to be the most popular universal search result UK dealerships are optimising for, with Arnold Clark achieving 8,900 reviews (the most of all brands). However, some dealerships appear to be underusing almost all universal search opportunities, with appearances clocking into the hundreds, rather than thousands. This is definitely something they should look into to ensure they are competing with those gaining more results.

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.

Pendragon are ranking for no long-tailed keywords in positions 1-10. Though Pendragon are ranking for 829 long-tailed keywords overall, nearly all of these are ranking outside the top 20. Pendragon should be looking at how to improve their rankings on existing long-tailed keywords, but also at how they can expand their strategy to include new specific search terms.

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 Harwoods Facebook ads. They’ve used bold, strong, creative to capture the attention of users. The high contrast in the colours vs the backgrounds definitely draws the eye in.

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.

Although dealerships don’t usually stock a wide range of products, there is still a wide variety of content opportunities for these brands to jump on. Many of these brands are showing a consistent content output, however Pendragon and Jct600 are both lagging behind when it comes to content production. 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.

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.

Compared to many sectors we have reviewed, dealerships appear to be lacking accessibility within their sites, with higher errors than we typically see. All twelve dealerships are seeing errors, such as Marshall’s 250 alerts. All twelve dealerships should be reviewing and optimising their accessibility.

Q3 2022 Winners Leaderboard

For a glance into just 6 of the metrics we evaluated these top 12 dealerships on, check out our quick-look table below; 

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 10 Week Performance Accelerator Programme for CMO’s & Marketing Leaders.

GET THE FULL 70-PAGE Q3 2022 REPORT

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 Michael Movassaghi.

 

Photo by Felix Fuchs on Unsplash