UK Outdoor Clothing Brands - Digital Marketing Benchmark Report, Q1 2024

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The Q1 2024 benchmarking report for UK outdoor clothing brands has just been published. Learn how the top 11 UK outdoor clothing brands perform across the digital space.

The latest Q1 2024 benchmarking report for UK outdoor clothing brands has just been published. It covers the largest 11 national outdoor clothing brands, including Mountain Warehouse, Snow + Rock, Cotswold Outdoor, Tog 24, Trespass, Ellis Brigham, Blacks, Mammut, Go Outdoors, Patagonia, and Millets. 

Outdoor Clothing Logos Sept 23 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 outdoor clothing brands to win brand exposure, generate online orders, and even improve 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. Outdoor Clothing - COVER


For a glance into just 6 of the metrics, we evaluated these top 11 outdoor clothing brands on, check out our quick-look table below; Outdoor Clothing W&L Feb24

Continue reading for further detail on this quarter's best and poorest-performing UK outdoor clothing 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. Large e-commerce sites, such as our outdoor clothing brands, can often fall victim to high levels of 4xx errors, due to ever-changing lines of stock.

In the last quarter, we reported that Blacks, Go Outdoors, and Millet’s needed to address their 4xx errors. In this report, Go Outdoors noted the most 4xx errors (with a total of 7,404) — more than double their errors in the previous quarter. This clothing company needs to check for any internal broken links that could cause customers to leave its website early due to 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. Customers will want to have a positive brand experience from the moment they set virtual foot on a brand's page, so outdoor clothing brands will want to convey an image of being high-performing and fast.

The site speed score for this quarter ranged between 54 and 11, with Cotswold Outdoor reporting the lowest score — though, this is an improvement from 5 in the previous quarter. This outdoor clothing company should adopt lazy loading, as it currently has a long list of product images on its homepage, which will be slowing down its loading 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. Outdoor clothing brands can look to collaborate with outdoor pursuits influencers, along with any publications within their niche, to gain high-authority backlinks that will improve their DA.

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 86 and 42, with Tog 24 at the bottom of the leaderboard (though, an increase from 41 in our previous audit). While all brands scored above 40 (the minimum benchmark), brands can look to increase their backlinks from high-authoritative sites to further improve their DA rating.

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. As with all retail sectors, we're seeing a shrinking pool of customers for outdoor clothing brands, whose usual audience may be cutting back on 'treat' purchases and relying on older, or second-hand items as opposed to buying new products.

Eight of the 11 outdoor clothing brands saw a loss of organic mobile traffic, with Patagonia reporting the biggest loss of 67%. On the other end of the scale, Tog 24 had a 292% increase in organic mobile traffic. A proactive way to for brands to increase their organic mobile traffic is to incorporate a keyword strategy to boost their appearance in search engines.

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. For outdoor clothing brands, universal search results are an opportunity to show images and reviews of their products, using the 'image pack' and 'reviews' search results.

Go Outdoors remains at the top of the leaderboard for overall Universal Search results, with 61,000 appearances for ‘image’ results — a slight decrease from our previous audit. Patagonia is the only brand to score zero in the ‘reviews’ category, which it should look to increase to expand its overall score for Universal Searches.

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. Longtail keywords for outdoor clothing companies would show high-purchase intent, and key buying signals. These could be terms such as 'ladies walking shoes size 4 next day delivery' - a phrase looking for a specific size that has immediate availability.

Go Outdoors remains at the top of the leaderboard for the most appearances in the top 3 search engine results. Blacks, which is position 4/11 in the top 3 search engines is position 2/11 in the top 4–10 search engines, demonstrating that it has a successful keyword strategy.

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.

We’ve included 2 examples of Mountain Warehouse’s sponsored Facebook posts. It uses a vertical image and a vertical video across both posts, tailoring to mobile users.

Outdoor Clothing - Facebook Mountain Warehouse 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. In addition to 'evergreen' content, outdoor clothing brands can use content and social media to appear for any relevant seasonal events, such as holidays and festival season.

Ten of the 11 brands favour Facebook, while Millets prefer Pinterest — a social media platform that can help to increase website traffic and improve brand awareness. Patagonia has the largest Facebook account with 1,800,000 Likes, while Mammut still has the largest Instagram following (517,400 compared to 484,100 in the previous quarter).

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. For any brand within the fashion and clothing space, such as outdoor clothing, they'll want to ensure they are not favouring form over function, and that their sites are as simple to use as they are impressive.

In our last audit, Ellis Brigham reported 720 accessibility alerts and has since reduced this to 520 in this quarter — though, it must decrease this figure to improve accessibility for those using a screen reader.


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 Dmytro Matsiuk on Unsplash

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