UK Protein and Sports Nutrition Brands - Digital Marketing Benchmark Report, Q3 2023

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The Q3 2023 benchmarking report for UK protein and sports nutrition brands has just been published. Learn how the top 12 UK Protein and sports nutrition brands perform across the digital space.

The latest Q3 2023 benchmarking report for UK protein and sports nutrition brands has just been published. It covers the largest 12 national protein and sports nutrition brands, including Myprotein, Maxinutrition, PhD Nutrition, Grenade, foodspring, Bulk, Innermost, Protein Works, HERMOSA, Form, Optimum Nutrition, and Science in Sport.Protein and Sports Nutrition Brand 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 protein and sports nutrition brands to win brand exposure, drive online views, and win orders. 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 - Protein and Sports Nutrition - Q3 2023 - Cover

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 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. For protein and sports nutrition brands, care should be taken that the removal of any products does not impact existing links, such as from blog posts, category pages, or alternate product recommendations.

Half of the protein and sports nutrition brands we researched have seen fairly low levels of website errors, indicating well-maintained redirect processes. HERMOSA, which had seen the highest level of 4xx error codes in our last report (with a total of 924) has reduced this to one single error. The brand seeing the biggest challenge here is now The Protein Works, which returned 3,269 4xx errors in our audit.

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. In an increasingly competitive market, geared towards high performance in exercise and sports, protein and sports nutrition brands will want to ensure their sites are also quick, easy to use, and give a positive impression of their brand from every touchpoint.

We have seen universal falls in mobile page speed, across all sectors we specialise in. We would therefore expect to see some falls in performance across the protein and sports nutrition sector. However, we're pleased to see that three out of the four brands achieving an 'okay' score in Q1 have maintained performance beyond this benchmark. Grenade, however, has seen its mobile page speed score fall from 6 to just 1

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. Protein and sports nutrition brands should be continually pushing to improve their DA, and could collaborate with leading fitness publications and bloggers in order to build this authority.

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. DAs for protein and sports nutrition brands have remained similar since our last report, with scores now ranging from 28, for HERMOSA, to 76 for My Protein.

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. With sports and fitness remaining an ever-growing sector, we expect protein and sports nutrition brands to be able to capitalise on these growth opportunities.

Four out of these twelve protein and sports nutrition brands have secured an increase in digital footfall year on year, with a further two brands maintaining their traffic levels from 2022. The biggest gain was seen by Innermost, which saw 72% more traffic than last year, while foodspring saw the biggest drop of -53%.

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. Protein and sports nutrition brands should be utilising all universal search features as their customers will be interested to see how previous customers have found their experience via 'reviews', 'FAQs', and 'people also ask'.

'Image' and 'review' results are the most-appeared-for Universal Search results for protein and sports nutrition brands. Myprotein remains in pole position for Universal Search results, securing 12,300 appearances for 'reviews' and 18,800 'image' results.

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. Protein and sports nutrition brands should look at high-conversion potential terms when expanding their longtail keyword portfolio, in order to improve, not only general visibility and traffic, but sales stemming from organic traffic.

HERMOSA and Innermost are still ranking for very few longtail keywords in comparison to competitors, making only 6 and 7 appearances in the top three results, respectively. With each brand also appearing for few terms within the top 100 positions, they will need to look at expanding other longtail keyword portfolios, rather than rely on improving existing rankings.

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 brands 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. Facebook adverts are an opportunity for protein and sports nutrition brands to expand the reach of their organic content, and highlight new and key products.

We've included examples of Protein Works' Facebook ads below. Protein Works has made use of vertical video formats which will fit natively within 'Reels' content and therefore be more likely to engage an audience, and potentially win new organic followers.

The Protein Works Facebook Ads Sept 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 brand engagement, but great for Google too, who will recognise content that achieves traffic over a long period of time. Protein and sports nutrition brands can create content across the full spectrum of fitness and sports content - topics which are likely to engage a social media audience and win social shares.

Meta is the preferred platform across nearly all of these twelve protein and sports nutrition brands. My Protein has secured the largest following on both Facebook (2.4m likes) and Instagram (1m followers). Securing a large organic social audience ensures brands have a readily-engaged audience that is more likely to see branded content, thus reducing the need to overly-rely on paid and sponsored ads.

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. Protein and sports nutrition brands, which are likely to sell many similar products with only slight differences, must ensure that their site is clear for users with any vision deficiencies to navigate.

In our last report, we noted that foodspring was seeing the highest amount of accessibility barriers, with 234 alerts. In Q3, foodspring is still seeing the largest volume of alerts, with this figure only seeing a slight improvement, down to 229. Looking in further detail, this appears to be due to redundant titles, links, and alt text, which will all be posing challenges for users accessing the site with a screen reader.


For a glance into just 6 of the metrics we evaluated these top 12 protein and sports nutrition brands on, check out our quick-look table below; Protein&SportNutrition W&L Sept23


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 bruce mars on Unsplash

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