The Q2 2023 benchmarking report for UK storage providers has just been published. Learn how the top 9 UK storage providers perform across the digital space.
The latest Q2 2023 benchmarking report for UK storage providers has just been published. It covers the largest 9 national storage providers, including Safestore, Big Yellow, Access, Shurgard, Lok’nStore, Storage King, Ready Steady Store, Sentry, and easyStorage.
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 storage providers to win brand exposure locally, yield online enquiries, and ultimately let out units through digital performance. 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.
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 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. Storage providers have the benefit of not needing to host ever-changing product pages that must be maintained, which is where we see brands in e-commerce sectors struggle. However, this can mean even a small amount of errors can hold a provider back from their competition.
In our crawls we found that three storage provider websites were completely free of either 4xx or 5xx errors. As in Q1, Safestore are still showing the highest volume of 4xx error codes, with a total of 63 - five more than in our previous report. Safestore must ensure that no high-priority pages are being blocked by broken links within their site structure.
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. Storage providers will want to come across as reliable and trustworthy at every touchpoint, so a fast, easy to use site is key for not turning customers away at one of the first hurdles.
In Q1, we saw that six storage providers had achieved the benchmark 'okay' score of 50. However, in Q2, this figure fell to just two. While Storage King initially had the highest mobile page speed score of 87, this has now more than halved to 42. Storage King must review any recent changes made to their site in the last quarter, and ensure they have not negatively impacted 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. Working with a digital PR specialist would help storage providers identify promising backlink opportunities which, in turn, will grow their DA and increase referral traffic.
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. We have seen no movement since our Q1 report, with DAs still ranging from 14 to 69, with Sentry still returning the lowest score.
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 consumer behaviour changing in line with the cost of living crisis, we'd expect storage providers to be hit by a reduction in interest for their services, with potential customers choosing to either sell items they're no longer using, or store them at home if possible.
Eight out of our nine storage providers have seen falls in traffic when compared to 2022, with only Ready Steady Store seeing an increase (of 8%). While the overall pool of traffic available may be shrinking, it's important that providers do not lose ground to their competitors.
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. 'Local pack' results and 'reviews' could prove to be particularly useful to storage providers, who can share information about local sites, along with reviews of their services, directly from the SERP.
In our last report, we noted that Safestore were securing the most reviews, with 4,300 results. Safestore remain on top for Q2, having appeared for 3,900 'reviews' results, along with 1,600 'people also ask' appearances. 'People also ask' results are a useful way to appear for customers looking for information about a specific service or product, and usually a good indication of longtail keyword performance too.
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. For storage providers, they should consider targeting location-based, or size-based long tail keywords, that tie into their availability.
We noted in our last report that Sentry were ranking for very few longtail keywords. This remains true for Q2, with Sentry ranking for only 191 overall and just ten in the top three positions. By comparison, Big Yellow are ranking in the top three positions for 1,720 keywords. Sentry must ensure that they have enough content on their site to support a longtail keyword strategy, and should explore potential search terms that are likely to lead to conversions and enquiries.
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 Access Self Storage's Facebook ads. Access have used Facebook ads to raise visibility for a particular campaign, targeting students who will be looking for somewhere to store their belongings over the summer. By using paid media, Access can ensure their content is visible when it needs to be, as well as target the right audiences.
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. Content is relevant for brands in any industry, and storage providers should be looking to create informational pieces to educate about the value of using storage facilities.
easyStorage are securing the most engagement on their posts, though their numbers are still low compared to other sectors we work in. Storage King appear to have the strongest presence on Instagram, with 5,000 followers - five times that of their next closest competitor!
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. As storage facilities are a reasonably universal product that could be required of anyone, ensuring website accessibility is important in order to not alienate potential customers.
In Q1, we drew attention to the 109 contrast errors we found on easyStorage's site. In Q2, they have reduced this marginally, taking their total down to 94. When reviewing easyStorage's site, we can see this is likely down to light grey text being used on white and grey backgrounds, which may be difficult to distinguish for some users with vision deficiencies. easyStorage should consider a revision to their brand guidelines, in order to maintain acceptable contrast levels.
Q2 2023 WINNERS LEADERBOARD
For a glance into just 6 of the metrics we evaluated these top 9 Storage providers on, check out our quick-look table below;
GET THE FULL 79-PAGE Q2 2023 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 Mike Movassaghi.