UK High Street banks - Digital Marketing Benchmark Report, Q3 2022 Published Today

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The Q3 2022 benchmarking report for UK high street banks has just been published. Learn how the top 12 UK high street banks perform across the digital space. 

The latest Q3 2022 benchmarking report for UK High Street banks has just been published.  It covers the largest 12 national high street banks, including Lloyds, NatWest, Barclays, Royal Bank of Scotland, HSBC, Metro, Santander, TSB, The Co-operative Bank, Virgin Money, Yorkshire Bank and Clydesdale - it highlights year-on-year digital performance, plus winner and loser comparisons in 20+ online performance metrics.High Street Bank 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 high street banks to win brand exposure locally, online and in-store footfall. The report highlights how high street banks can improve online visibility and acquisition of new customers for banking and financial products/services.

To see a preview and contents page of the Q3 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 - High Street Banks

What The Industry Research Report Covers

The 70+ pages of research benchmarks each brand 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.

We noted that high street banks generally are below average when it comes to avoiding website errors, particularly when compared to other sectors we have reviewed. All twelve of the banks we looked at have 4xx codes appearing, with the worst being TSB’s 78 4xx errors when crawling their website! All twelve banks must ensure that users are not being directed to dead ends on their site, which could lead to them turning elsewhere out of frustration.

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 high street banks, mobile page speed is important as users looking for stores near them will, most likely, be on a mobile device. In our research, we discovered that only two of the twelve high street banks in our report achieved a score above 50, with Metro scoring an ‘okay’ score of 50 and TSB scoring an amazing 91. The other ten high street banks scored between 9 and 48, indicating that all these brands 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.

Domain authority is considered average between 40 and 50, good between 50 and 60, and excellent above 60. ‘Good’ DA score depends on the competition level of the industry. However, a ‘good’ DA really comes down to how your competitors are performing. In our research, UK high street banks saw their domain authorities range from an excellent score of 85 to a score of 66, from Yorkshire Bank. Though a score of 66 is still a strong achievement, Yorkshire Bank should focus on building a stronger backlink profile to compete with those at the higher end of this scale.

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.

Continuous improvement and optimisation is also needed to secure traffic year on year. We found that only three UK high street banks have achieved year on year growth in mobile traffic. Concerningly, Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank have suffered the biggest loss in traffic YoY, dropping 64% and 52%, respectively. 

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 brand can appear for universal search results without being strong in standard rankings.

People Also Ask questions seem to be the most popular universal search result UK high street banks are optimising for, with Barclays achieving 4,900 People Also Ask Results (the most of all brands). However, high street banks generally appear to be underusing all universal search opportunities, with most appearances clocking into the hundreds, rather than thousands.

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.

Though TSB are ranking for 143,904 long-tailed keywords overall, nearly all of these are ranking outside the top 20. TSB should be looking at how to improve their rankings on existing long-tailed 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 Metro’s Facebook ads. They’ve used bold, strong, creative to capture the attention of users, including the deals & brand colours on the images themselves, making them recognizable to anyone that has seen the brand before.  

High Street Bank FB Ad

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.

With high street banks stocking a range of products, accounts types and offers, there should be a wide variety of content opportunities for these brands to jump on. However, while many of these brands are showing a consistent content output, TSB and Royal Bank of Scotland are both lagging behind when it comes to content production. This is a missed opportunity for these brands, who could be sharing content, getting involved in the social media crazes, and sharing information about special offers.

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.

Compared to many sectors we have reviewed, high street banks appear to have reasonably accessible sites with around the average amount of errors than we typically see. However, brands which are still seeing errors, such as Yorkshire Bank’s 44 contrast errors and 109 alerts should still be reviewing and optimising their accessibility.

GET THE FULL 70-PAGE Q3 2022 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 Phil Robinson

Photo by Stephen Phillips - Hostreviews.co.uk on Unsplash