The Q1 2023 benchmarking report for UK energy providers has just been published. Learn how the top 12 UK energy providers perform across the digital space.
The latest Q1 2023 benchmarking report for UK energy providers has just been published. It covers the largest 12 national Energy providers, including British Gas, EDF, E.ON, SSE, ScottishPower, OVO Energy, Octopus Energy, Utility Warehouse, Shell Energy, npower Business Solutions, SSE Renewables and Utilita Energy.
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 energy providers to win brand exposure locally and online views. 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 Q1 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 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 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.
Whilst most of the energy providers we researched had a fairly low amount of website errors, all twelve of the providers had at least a few 4xx or 5xx errors showing. Octopus Energy are seeing by far the worst level of 4xx error codes, with 410. Octopus Energy need to be looking into the cause of these errors.
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 eight of the twelve energy providers did. The mobile page speed scores are currently between 1 and 93, with ScottishPower lagging behind. All the companies that are 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. All twelve of the companies achieved a score of good or above, with the DA ranging from 54 to 78. EDF are scoring the highest of all twelve energy providers. Those at the lower end of the scale need to be focusing on building a stronger backlink profile to compete with the higher scoring energy providers.
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 energy providers have performed compared to last year. Continuous improvement and optimisation is also needed to secure traffic year on year. We discovered that only three of the energy providers in our report have gained organic mobile traffic year on year. npower Business Solutions saw the biggest loss with a 43% drop, whilst OVO Energy saw the biggest gain with a 204% increase.
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 People Also Ask was the highest used universal search feature, with British Gas taking the top spot reaching 9,000 results. Some companies are underusing all universal search feature options and 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 retailer new search terms as they enter Google’s index.
SSE Renewables, npower Business Solutions and SSE are still ranking for a significantly low number of longtail keywords compared to their competitors, with very few of their longtail keywords ranking in the top 20, as we also pointed out in Q4 2022. All three providers 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
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 OVO's’ Facebook ads. The use of their recognisable brand colours, along with the contrast on the images makes them really eye catching to scrolling social media users. The clear copy and statistics “more than 4 million households put their trust in us” makes the reader want to know more.
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 SSE Renewables and npower Business Solutions are falling behind their competitors when it comes to both Facebook Likes and Instagram Followers. SSE Renewables and npower Business Solutions both need to look into how they can compete with the other energy providers.
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 energy providers appear to be struggling with accessibility within their sites, with all twelve seeing an array of errors, contrast errors, and alerts. npower Business Solutions are still seeing the highest amount, as pointed out in our Q4 report, with 101 alerts on their website. The energy providers seeing issues should be reviewing and optimising their accessibility, and investigating to see what the issues within their websites are.
Q1 2023 WINNERS LEADERBOARD
For a glance into just 6 of the metrics we evaluated these top 12 energy providers on, check out our quick-look table below;
GET THE FULL 70-PAGE Q1 2023 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 Mike Movassaghi.