UK Dealerships - Digital Marketing Benchmark Report, Q4 2022 Published Today

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The Q4 2022 benchmarking report for UK dealerships has just been published. Learn how the top 12 UK dealerships perform across the digital space.

The latest Q4 2022 benchmarking report for UK Dealerships has just been published.  It covers the largest 12 national dealerships, including Harwoods, Lookers, Arnold Clark, Marshall, JCT600, Vertu Motors, Group 1 Automotive, Listers, Sytner, Inchcape, Stoneacre & Mercedes-Benz Retail Group.

Dealerships Q4 logos

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 dealership providers to increase market share, leads, sales and brand exposure. The report highlights year-on-year digital performance, plus winner and loser comparisons across 20+ online performance metrics for the dealerships providers.

To see a preview and contents page of the Q4 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 - Dealership Q4

You can also find out how these 12 dealerships performed against last quarter, by revisiting our Q3 report round-up. 

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 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.

All of the UK dealerships have varying degrees of technical errors that will be hindering organic traffic and conversion performance. In Q3 we pointed out Group 1 Automotive’s 267 4xx errors, in Q4 they have managed to bring this down to 87. All 12 companies need to continue looking into the causes, as these will be making their site difficult to navigate and frustrating to use. This is likely to also give a negative impression of the brand to the user, who need to trust them to provide an excellent level of service.

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.

In our research in Q3, we saw that none of the twelve dealerships were within the ‘okay’ range of 50-89, however, in Q4 we can see that these have now improved with three of the dealerships within the range, with the scores ranging from 52 to 17. Arnold Clark have improved with a score of 52, now being within the ‘okay’ range.

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. In Q4 we saw the DA range from 68 to 33. We can see compared to Q3 Harwoods have dropped from a score of 40 to 33 and they need to investigate the cause of this drop.

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 twelve dealerships have performed compared to last year. Continuous improvement and optimisation is also needed to secure traffic year on year. We discovered that none of the twelve dealerships in our report have gained organic mobile traffic year on year. Mercedes-Benz Retail Group have suffered with 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 retailer can appear for universal search results without being strong in standard rankings.

We could see that reviews were the highest used universal search feature, with Lookers taking the top spot reaching 5,800 results. Some companies are underusing most universal search feature options and only seeing a handful of results. Those getting a small number 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 retailer new search terms as they enter Google’s index.

Harwoods and Mercedes-Benz Retail Group aren’t using anywhere near as many longtail keywords as their competitors. Both Harwoods and Mercedes-Benz Retail Group should be looking at how to improve their rankings on existing longtail 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. The use of images of their different makes and models, along with seasonal copy and clear CTAs, make the advert eye-catching to scrolling social media users. 

Harwoods Q4 FB 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 retailer engagement, but great for Google too, who will recognise content which achieves traffic over a long period of time.

We saw in our research that many of the dealerships are still falling behind on content creation, with Mercedes-Benz Retail Group particularly lacking in content in Q4. Although dealership 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 makes/models and special offers, there is a huge range of content these brands can be sharing. There is still room for improvement from all twelve dealership 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, retailers lose customer interest as they turn elsewhere.

All of the dealerships appear to be struggling with accessibility within their sites, with all twelve seeing an array of errors, contrast errors and alerts. Marshall are still hitting the highest numbers of alerts with 228, as we also saw in Q3 with their 250 alerts. Marshall need to be investigating the reasons behind this increase in errors. We would expect all the dealerships that are seeing accessibility issues to be reviewing and optimising their site, to make it easy to use by all.


For a glance into just 6 of the metrics, we evaluated these top 12 dealerships on, check out our quick-look table below; Dealerships Q4 leadeboard

We can see that compared to Q3, there has been changes across the board. With Lookers jumping from #3 to #2 and Vertu Motors dropping from #7 to #8. To see the Q3 report and leaderboard, click here. 


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 Arvid Skywalker on Unsplash

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