The Q4 2023 benchmarking report for UK energy providers has just been published. Learn how the top 11 UK energy providers perform across the digital space.
The latest Q4 2023 benchmarking report for UK energy providers has just been published. It covers the largest 11 national Energy providers, including British Gas, EDF, E.ON, 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, drive online views, and generate new customer enquiries. 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 Q4 report, click here. To get a copy of the full report and the key takeaways, please complete the enquiry form or schedule a call.
Q4 2023 WINNERS LEADERBOARD
For a glance into just 6 of the metrics we evaluated these top 11 energy providers on, check out our quick-look table below;
Continue reading for further detail on this quarter's top and poorest-performing energy providers, or request a copy of the report for the full review.
What The Industry Research Report Covers
The 70+ pages of research benchmarks each site 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. Energy providers will want to ensure key information, such as rates and quote generators, are clearly signposted and not blocked off by broken links.
In our last report, we noted that SSE Renewables returned the highest level of 4xx errors. In Q4, SSE Renewables remained the least technically compliant site, returning 426 4xx errors (an increase on Q2's 293).
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. As with technical site compliance, energy providers will want to ensure their site is quick to use and frustration-free for any visitors, to indicate a high level of service.
Three energy providers have surpassed the 'okay' benchmark figure of 50, with EDF's score of 56 topping our table. npower Business Solutions's score of 23 gives the brand the slowest performing mobile site.
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 gauge of how effective your site is at achieving organic traffic, i.e. ‘free’ traffic that isn’t gained through sponsored ads. Energy providers would benefit from engaging with a digital PR specialist, who can identify opportunities to reclaim backlinks, and create engaging content that national press will want to share.
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. DAs for UK energy providers range from npower's 52, up to EDF's 78. Though npower's DA is strong, to compete more tightly with competitors, npower can engage with a digital PR specialist.
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. Fluctuating energy prices will have consumers shopping around to try and identify the best price. Therefore, energy providers must have a strong organic strategy to capitalise on this restless consumer base.
OVO Energy has continued to secure the largest increase in traffic, with a 120% increase overall (down slightly from Q2's increase of 145%). SSE Renewables is seeing the biggest fall in digital footfall, with a 46% fall in traffic.
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 site can appear for universal search results without being strong in standard rankings. Optimising for 'people also ask' results is a great way to build brand awareness and confidence directly from the SERP, as energy providers can provide much-needed answers before users have set virtual foot on their site
'People also ask' remained the highest-used Universal Search feature of Q4, with British Gas remaining in top position with 14,500 appearances. A large number of appearances for 'people also ask' queries generally also points to a strong performance for longtail keywords.
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. Energy suppliers will want to optimise for high-conversion potential keywords and phrases, including terms like 'switch energy provider' and 'new energy customer offers'.
SSE Renewables and npower Business Solutions are both still ranking for a much lower amount of longtail keywords than their competitors in the space. Though both brands are seeing similar levels of keywords in the top 3, ten, and twenty positions, npower Business Solutions is appearing for slightly more keywords overall. Both brands will want to both improve on existing rankings, as well as identify further phrases to optimise for, in order to improve on performance here.
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.
We've included examples of British Gas's recent Facebook ads below. British Gas has capitalised on vertical format creatives, which offer a bigger opportunity to fill mobile users' screens and capture attention (as well as provide more space for information!). Branding is consistent across each creative, with attention being drawn to the attractive money-saving offers British Gas can offer within a competitive market.
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. Content such as energy-saving tips and advice will be engaging, topical, and most likely to be shared by social media users.
Meta is the preferred platform for all energy providers, with the largest audiences being seen by e.on (with 786,000 Facebook likes) and Utilita (39,800 Instagram followers). These represent audiences more like to see and engage with organic content, reducing the need to rely on paid social posts to generate social performance.
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. As energy is an essential need for any customer, energy providers must ensure their sites are universally accessible.
As in our previous three reports, npower Business Solutions is returning the highest levels of accessibility faults in our audits. npower's 101 alerts primarily consist of redundant links and lengthy alt text - issues that can cause particular challenges to site visitors using screen readers.
GET THE FULL 79-PAGE Q4 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.