UK Footwear Brands - Digital Marketing Benchmark Report, Q1 2024

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The Q1 2024 benchmarking report for UK footwear brands has just been published. Learn how the top 12 UK footwear brands perform across the digital space.

The Q1 2024 benchmarking report for UK Footwear brands has just been published. It covers the largest 12 footwear brands trading in the UK, including Schuh, Kurt Geiger, Pavers, Clarks, Foot Locker, Dune, Office, Foot Asylum, Shoe Zone, Size?, Timberland, and Sports Shoes.

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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 footwear brands to win brand exposure, drive online orders, and even encourage 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 Q1 report, click here. To get a copy of the full report and the key takeaways, please complete the enquiry form or schedule a call. Footwear - COVER


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

Footwear W&L Feb24

Continue reading for further detail on this quarter's best and poorest-performing UK footwear brands or request a copy of the report for the full review.

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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 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. For brands in e-commerce sectors, like shoes and footwear, they'll need to ensure they're staying ontop of ever-changing product lines and properly maintaining their internal linking structure when pages are removed.

In the last quarter, Office presented 11,692 4xx errors on its site, which it’s reduced to 5 in this quarter, demonstrating that this footwear brand has assessed its internal links for any dead ends. Foot Locker was a brand with a high number of 4xx errors in previous audits, and, while it’s reduced this number significantly (5,106 in the previous quarter to 1,599 in this quarter), it has the highest number of errors of all brands.

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. For retail sites, they'll want to ensure they're providing a quick and simple shopping experience that encourages purchases.

The site speed score for this quarter ranged between 52 and 3, with Foot Locker reporting the lowest. Upon closer inspection, this footwear brand has large images on its site, which it should look to reduce or compress to help increase its mobile site 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 gauge of how effective your site is at achieving organic traffic, i.e. ‘free’ traffic that isn’t gained through sponsored ads. Footwear brands can collaborate with bloggers and online publications within the fashion sector to grow their backlink profile and boost their authority

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. The DA rating for this quarter was between 72 and 54, with all footwear brands scoring above the minimum recommended rating. The brands on the lower end of the scale can enhance their DA rating further by adopting a strong keyword strategy to help increase their organic traffic.

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've found that many sectors are seeing overall reductions in traffic, with potential customers feeling the squeeze of the cost of living crisis. This is particularly true in sectors considered 'treats', such as footwear.

Seven of the 12 brands encountered a loss of organic mobile traffic, which isn’t surprising given that the public is being careful not to spend money on non-essential items.

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. 'Image Pack' is a great way for footwear brands to secure interest in their products directly from the SERP, without needing to tempt users to their site through copy alone.

Schuh remains at the top of the leaderboard for the most Universal Search appearances overall. 54,900 searches are for ‘Reviews’ followed by 80,800 for the ‘Image’ category. Clarks has joined Shoe Zone for the most appearances for ‘People Also Ask’, with a joint score of 2,400.

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. For footwear brands, high-intent terms could look like 'mens white puma trainers size 9', as this user has a clear idea of what they're looking for, and want their size to be available.

Clarks has beaten Office for the most appearances for keywords in the top 3 positions. However, Office has over double of appearances in positions 4–10, suggesting that this footwear brand might take the number one spot again in the next quarter.

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. For footwear brands, Facebook ads are a great way to ensure topical content such as sales, trends, or limited edition collections, get visibility quickly, and are seen by the right audiences.

We’ve included 3 examples of Schuh’s sponsored Facebook posts. It uses static images across all 3 posts, and it should incorporate reels to help improve its engagement rate.

Footwear - Facebook schuh Advert

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. Student home providers can think outside the box with content campaigns and should consider creating content on general student life (and advice), pre-university shopping lists, and information on their local areas.

10 brands favour Facebook, while Dune and Kurt Geiger favour Pinterest — a platform that’s ideal for luxury brands. Timberland has the largest Facebook page of all brands, with 8,300,000 Likes. Meanwhile, Size? has 1,000,000 Instagram followers — the most of all footwear brands. Despite this data, it’s Dune that has the most engagement overall — an important factor when determining if users are still actively involved in your content.

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 with site speed, brands within the footwear and wider fashion sector can often favour style over function, leading to errors. In the case of accessibility, they risk not just inconveniencing users, but alienating one demographic altogether. 

In our last report, we noted that Shoe Zone had 407 alerts, which it’s slightly decreased to 401 in this quarter. Upon closer inspection, most of these alerts are mainly due to a device dependent event handler, which it must address to ensure that those with accessibility issues can still access the website.


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 Jaclyn Moy on Unsplash

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