UK Outdoor Clothing Brands - Digital Marketing Benchmark Report, Q2 2023

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The Q2 2023 benchmarking report for UK outdoor clothing brands has just been published. Learn how the top 12 UK outdoor clothing brands perform across the digital space.

The latest Q2 2023 benchmarking report for UK outdoor clothing brands has just been published.  It covers the largest 12 national outdoor clothing brands, including Mountain Warehouse, Snow + Rock, Cotswold Outdoor, Tog 24, Trespass, Ellis Brigham, Blacks, Mammut, Go Outdoors, Patagonia, Alpine Trek and Millets. 

outdoor clothing q4 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 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 Q2 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 - Outdoor Clothing - Q2 2023-1

What The Industry Research Report Covers

The 70+ pages of research benchmarks each retailer 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.

Though we expect relatively high levels of 4xx errors for the sector, the 6,696 that we found in our crawl of Blacks' site is the highest volume we have witnessed across any sector. Blacks should be urgently looking to evaluate their internal linking structure and implement any redirects to new content, where possible and relevant.

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.

Three outdoor clothing brands are scoring within the 'okay' range, between 50-89. However, at the other end of the scale, Go Outdoors have only achieved a score of 10. Go Outdoors must ensure that any pop-ups or large images are not impacting their user experience.

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. DA for outdoor clothing brands ranges from 86, for Patagonia, to 42, for Tog24. Even brands at the lower end of the scale have a great platform to start with, and improving on these numbers is absolutely achievable.

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.

All twelve brands have seen a loss year on year. Mammut have seen the biggest drop in organic traffic, with their mobile traffic falling by 43%. However, with Mammut losing 70% of their YoY traffic in our last report, work has clearly been done to minimise this loss!

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 retailer 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.

As with our previous report, 'reviews' are, by far, the most favoured universal search result type for our outdoor clothing brands. We previously noted that Go Outdoors are leading the way here, with 18,600 reviews, however, this has reduced to 16,900 in Q2. Though they remain in the top position, Cotswold Outdoor are close behind, having achieved 16,000 reviews themselves.

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 retailer 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 are ranking for, by far, the highest volume of longtail keywords, with a good proportion of these appearing in positions 1-3. Mammut remain at the lower end of the scale, ranking for considerably fewer longtail, converting keywords than their competitors.

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.

Go Outdoors have used Facebook ads to drive traffic to specific store locations. Using Facebook ads to drive awareness of store events, targeting users in specific areas, is a great example of how brands can use digital marketing to influence in-store footfall.

Go Outdoors Facebook Ads May 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 longer. It's great for your retailer 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.

Meta is the preferred platform for all outdoor clothing brands. Looking at Instagram and Facebook engagement, Patagonia have, by far, the highest volume of Facebook likes, with 1.8 million. While we've commented on Mammut's lack of rankings for longtail keywords, they have achieved the highest volume of Instagram followers, with 478,300. Harnessed right, this large following will lead to loyal, repeat customers for the brand.

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, retailers 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.

All outdoor clothing brands are seeing barriers to accessibility, with Ellis Brigham's 720 alerts causing the most cause for concern. Alerts could be down to improper use of alt tags, or incorrect heading hierarchies - both elements that can cause problems for visitors using screen readers. Outdoor clothing brands must ensure they are accessible to all.


For a glance into just 6 of the metrics, we evaluated these top 12 outdoor clothing brands on, check out our quick-look table below; Outdoor Clothing W&L June23


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 Jon Flobrant on Unsplash

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