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 11 of the top UK dealerships perform across the digital space.

The latest Q3 2022 benchmarking report for UK Dealerships has just been published. It covers 11 of the largest national dealerships, including Robins & Day, Stoneacre, Dick Lovett, Park’s Motor Group, John Clark, Rybrook, Motorline Direct, Greenhous, Hendy, Eastern Western Motor Group and Mercedes-Benz Retail.Dealership Logos

The research gives an inside track on who is winning the biggest marketing share online, and quantifies the gaps, risks and missed opportunities for automotive dealerships to win brand exposure, drive enquiries and leads. The report highlights quick wins that will improve the performance 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. Sector Reports Ipad cover - Dealerships

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.

Whilst most of the dealerships suppliers had fairly low website errors, almost all the brands had some 4xx errors. Dick Lovett saw the most error codes on their sites, hitting 466 4xx error codes. Dick Lovett must ensure their sites don’t lead their users to dead ends, this could lead potential customers to using other sites 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.

We would expect most to achieve at least an ‘okay’ score of 50-89, whereas only two of the eleven dealerships suppliers did. The mobile page speed scores are currently between 9 and 60, with almost all of the companies being less than we would expect to see. The brands scoring below 50 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, i.e. ‘free’ traffic that isn’t gained through sponsored ads.

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. Seven of the companies achieved a score of average or above, with Motorline Direct and Greenhous lagging behind on a score of 32 each. Those at the lower end of the scale need to be focusing on building a stronger backlink profile to compete with the higher scoring brands.

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.

We looked at how all eleven dealerships suppliers have performed compared to last year. Continuous improvement and optimisation is also needed to secure traffic year on year. We found that only three of the eleven dealerships have achieved year on year growth in mobile traffic. Greenhous are leading the way with an impressive 1,227 % increase. Whilst the other eight companies had a loss in YOY mobile traffic, Rybrook suffered the biggest loss of 59%.

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.

We could see that image pack was the highest used universal search feature, with Stoneacre reaching 3,000 results. Most of the companies are achieving great results with all the universal search feature options, however some companies are underusing them, with some companies only seeing a handful of results. Those getting a small amount of results need to work towards the numbers their competitors are achieving.

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.

Although some of the brands are using a high number of longtail keywords, most of these aren’t within the top 20 ranking longtail keywords. Some brands, such as Greenhous and Motorline Direct aren’t using anywhere near as many longtail keywords as their competitors, with both failing to achieve any within the top ten rank. To compete with those top companies, most of the high street brands need to expand their strategy to include new specific search terms along with improving their existing longtail keywords.

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 Robins & Day’s Facebook ads. The use of images of real cars and the brand logos helps capture the attention of potential customers whilst scrolling social media. Dealerships Facebook Ads

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 suppliers don’t always offer a huge range of products, there is still opportunity for content creation. From jumping on social media crazes, sharing different models and special offers, there is a huge range of content these brands can be sharing. Some of the eleven brands are falling behind in content creation, there is room for improvement from all eleven dealerships suppliers.

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.

Most of the dealerships appear to be struggling with accessibility within their sites, with higher errors across the board than we typically see. Eastern Western are seeing a huge 248 alerts on their websites. All eleven dealerships should always be reviewing and optimising their accessibility, however those seeing high numbers of errors and alerts need to investigate what the issues within their websites are.

User journeys & coversion rate performance

3.42 seconds are all it takes for a user to judge a site solely on its appearance. For sites with a low clarity score, this means users are getting a poor impression of your brand and aren’t seeing your vital cues to convert.

Mercedes-Benz Retail achieved the best clarity score of 92, with Stoneacre closely following with score of 85. Although they have achieved the best score, Mercedes-Benz have the opportunity to widen that gap. Additionally, we use attention maps to judge user behaviour and assess how customers are interacting with a site. You can see from these examples just how wildly different site designs can impact user attention;   Dealerships Heat Map


For a glance into just 6 of the metrics we evaluated these top 11 dealerships on, check out our quick-look table below; 



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 Isak Pettersson on Unsplash

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