UK Funeral and Cremation Services - Digital Marketing Benchmark Report, Q3 2023

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The Q3 2023 benchmarking report for UK funeral and cremation services has just been published. Learn how the top 10 UK funeral and cremation services perform across the digital space.

The latest Q3 2023 benchmarking report for UK funeral and cremation services has just been published.  It covers the 10 largest national funeral and cremation services, including Co-Op Funeralcare, Simplicity Cremations, Distinct Cremations, Avalon Funeral Plans, Dignity Funerals, Pure Cremation, Celebration of Life, Golden Charter, Golden Leaves, and Affordable Funerals.

Funerals Logos-1

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 funeral and cremation services to win brand exposure locally, drive online views, and generate 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 Q3 report, click here. To get a copy of the full report and the key takeaways, please complete the enquiry form or schedule a call. Digital Benchmark Report - Funeral Providers - Q3 2023 - Cover

What The Industry Research Report Covers

The 70+ pages of research benchmarks each brand based on 50+ metrics and indicators of a 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 and 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.  During times of stress and grief, cognitive abilities are often impaired, so it's essential that funeral and cremation services maintain straightforward, easy-to-navigate websites that meet clients' needs. Particular care should be taken of the pathways to key pages, such as contact pages, pricing options, and FAQs.

Most funeral and cremation service providers we've researched have a great hold on their technical website compliance, with very few errors across most of the brands in our report. In Q1, we noted that Dignity Funerals was seeing the highest level of 4xx errors, returning 104. Though Dignity has increased this figure to 122 in Q3, Co-Op Funeralcare is now the least technically compliant site, with 319 4xx errors flagging in our crawls.

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 will see a significant improvement on your overall conversion rates. No one wants to be researching funeral providers, so funeral and cremation services need to ensure their customers have as positive an experience as possible on their mobile site, providing answers quickly with minimal frustration.

In Q1, mobile page speed scores for funeral and cremation service providers sat between 24 and 81. In Q3, this has fallen to a range between 15 and 54. As we have seen universal falls in mobile page speed across all sectors we specialise in, a fall in performance shouldn't cause too much concern for these providers (though it remains a useful way to benchmark performance against competitors). Avalon Funeral Plans, which sat at the lowest end of the scale in Q1, has slightly improved its score to 25. With industry-wide falls implying tighter evaluations from Google, this suggests a much greater improvement than these scores convey.

Building Competitive Advantage with Domain Authority

Domain authority (DA) 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. Funeral and cremation services should be continually pushing to improve their DA - though it may be a challenging sector to build authority in, they can do this by exchanging content with vendors they frequently use, or by using a good PR strategy in building new links (and claiming existing ones).

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 Q3, DA scores for funeral and cremation service providers sat between 10 and 80. Celebration of Life has improved their score from Q1 by 6 points, an excellent start to building domain authority.

Organic Performance – Mobile & Desktop

A strong organic performance is strategically important as it ensures your site ranks above competitors for core, 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. While funerals and cremations are in a niche group where the ‘popularity’ of the service never changes, without an effective organic search strategy, they can quickly lose ground to competitors. Care should be taken to monitor any fluctuations in rank, along with regular reviews of changing search terms, so they can optimise for topical, popular keywords.

In Q1, only six funeral and cremation service providers had secured an increase in traffic year on year. In Q3, only three providers saw an increase in traffic, with an additional brand maintaining performance. The biggest loss has been seen by Avalon Funeral Plans, which saw traffic drop by 73%. The biggest increase has now been seen by our client, Distinct Cremations, which has secured a 96% rise in organic traffic.

Universal Search Opportunity

Google Universal Search Results are 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. Funeral and cremation services should be utilising all universal search features as potential customers will want to see how previous customers have found their experience via 'reviews', 'FAQs' and 'people also ask'. This is also an opportunity to provide useful, quick content for commonly asked questions that show high potential for conversions.

'People also ask' is now the widest-used Universal Search result, with Dignity Funerals making the most appearances, with 3,100. Dignity is also leading the way with Universal Search appearances overall, securing a high level of appearances across a range of result types.

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 new search terms as they enter Google’s index. There are many longtail keyword options that funeral and cremation services could be optimising their content for such as ‘funeral prices in Birmingham’ and ‘cremation services with payment plans’.

Four of our ten providers are ranking in the top three positions for less than twenty longtail keywords. Avalon Funeral Plans are showing in the top positions for the fewest longtail keywords, only appearing five times in positions 1-3 and another five for positions 4-10. Avalon can improve both its longtail keyword and Universal Search strategy by reviewing its current content portfolio, and examining which pieces have the best potential to appear for high-impact terms.

Facebook Adverts

With the number of Facebook users in the United Kingdom (UK) forecasted 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 in 2019.

Below, we've included Affordable Funerals Facebook ads. Affordable Funerals have let pricing lead on creative, with the additional inclusion of their Trustpilot review rating and images of their modern, sleek urns (as opposed to many brands who choose less direct imagery).

Low Cost Funerals Facebook ads July 2023

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 a long period of time. It's great for your engagement, but great for Google too, who will recognise content which achieves traffic over a long period of time. Social media could be especially useful for sharing information about different financing and buying options.

In our last report, we noted that Simplicity Cremations was falling behind other providers when it came to Facebook likes and Instagram followers. Simplicity Cremations (along with most providers) still does not have a presence on Instagram, but now has more Facebook likes than three of their competitors.

Website Readability & Accessibility

Around 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. All the funeral and cremation services need to ensure their website is accessible for all customers looking at funeral and cremation options.

In Q1, we noted all providers were struggling to meet accessibility needs on their sites. Simplicity Cremations, who flagged with 123 contrast errors in Q1, are still delivering the largest volume of contrast issues, with 130 in Q3 - a lot of these due to grey text being used on white backgrounds. However, Pure Cremation is the provider seeing the most errors not relating to contrast, showing 78 alerts and 24 errors


For a glance into just six of the metrics we evaluated these top 10 funeral and cremation services on, check out our quick-look table below;

Funerals W&L July 23


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 Sixteen Miles Out on Unsplash

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