UK Outdoor Clothing Brands - Digital Marketing Benchmark Report, Q3 2022 Published Today

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The Q3 2022 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 Q3 2022 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 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 locally, online orders and 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 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 - outdoor clothing 

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.

Whilst most of the outdoor clothing brand had fairly low website errors, almost all the brands had some 4xx errors, with three of the brands seeing abnormally high levels of 4xx error codes. In Q2 we saw that Go Outdoors were suffering with the highest amount of error codes, with 4,466 4xx error codes, however in Q3 we can see they now have 3,040 4xx error codes. This shows Go Outdoors have been working to improve the customer experience on their website, however 3,040 is still abnormally high and they must continue working to lower this number. The other two brands seeing extremely high error codes are Blacks with 3,073 4xx error codes and Millets with 3,004 4xx error codes, these three outdoor clothing brands must ensure their sites don’t lead their users to dead ends, this could lead potential customers to using other sites out of frustration, especially as most of their competitors have less than 100 4xx error codes on their sites.

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.

We would expect most to achieve at least an ‘okay’ score of 50-89, whereas only two of the twelve outdoor clothing brands did. The mobile page speed scores are currently between 7 and 57, with Alpine Trek and Mammut leading the way on 57 and 54, respectively. Millets were strongly in the lead in Q2 with a score of 83 but have dropped all the way down to 35. Millets need to investigate the cause of this drastic drop since Q2. All the brands are scoring below 50 and 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.

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. All twelve of the companies achieved a score of average or above, with the DA range from 41 to 85. This shows that although Tog24 are still at the bottom of the scale on 41, since Q2 Tog24 has improved in score. Tog24 need to continue doing what they’re doing to improve their DA. All the brands at the lower end of the scale need to be focusing on building a stronger backlink profile to compete with the higher scoring brands.

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 looked at how all twelve outdoor clothing brand suppliers have performed compared to last year. Continuous improvement and optimisation is also needed to secure traffic year on year. We discovered that all twelve of the outdoor clothing brands in our report have lost organic mobile traffic year on year. Mammut saw the largest traffic loss of 83%.

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.

We could see that reviews were the highest used universal search feature, with Go Outdoors still taking the top spot reaching 18,000 results. Most companies are underusing most universal search feature options, with some companies only seeing a handful of results. Those getting a small amount of results need to work towards the numbers their competitors are achieving.

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.

Mammut are still ranking for no long tailed keywords in positions 1-10. Though Mammut are ranking for 2,294 longtail keywords overall, nearly all of these are ranking outside the top 20. Mammut should be looking at how to improve their rankings on existing longtail 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 Cotswold Outdoors Facebook ads. Whilst most of their competitors have used curated model images or images of the product alone, Cotswolds Outdoor have used images of hikers outdoors, with their products in use. This is more likely to catch the eye of someone interested in outdoor activities and outdoor clothing. 

Outdoor Clothing Facebook Ads-1

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 outdoor brands stocking a range of products, 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, Ellis Brigham and Alpine Trek 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.

In Q2 we saw that Ellis Brigham had a staggering 580 alerts whilst Cotswold Outdoors had 343 errors. Since Q2 Ellis Brigham have bought this number down to 484, whilst they are moving in the right direction, this is still a staggeringly high number of alerts. Cotswolds Outdoors have had a similar drop, going down to 292 errors, this is still a higher number than we would expect to see. All the outdoor clothing brands seeing any errors or alerts need to be looking into the cause of these.

User Journeys & Conversion Rate Performance

3.42 seconds are all it takes for a user to judge a site solely on its appearance. For sites with a low clarity score, this means users are getting a poor impression of your brand and aren’t seeing your vital cues to convert.

In Q2 we saw that Blacks was on top with a score of 90, with Tog24 and Millets closely behind on 88 and 86, respectively. However in Q3 the table looks very different, with Trespass in the top position with a score of 92 and Blacks have dropped down to score of 81. Blacks need to look into what has caused this significant drop.

Additionally, we use attention maps to judge user behaviour and assess how customers are interacting with a site. You can see from these examples just how wildly different site designs can impact user attention; Outdoor Clothing Heat Map

Q2 2022 WINNERS LEADERBOARD

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

Outdoor_Clothing_W&L_Oct_22

As we can see compared to Q2 Mountain Warehouse and Alpine Trek have seen the biggest jumps whereas Trespass and Mammut have had the largest drop. The top and bottom places remain the same. To see the Q2 Press Release and Leaderboard, click here. 

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 Rob Allen.

Photo by Edoardo Busti on Unsplash

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