The Q4 2022 benchmarking report for UK student home providers has just been published. Learn how the top 12 UK student home providers perform across the digital space.
The latest Q4 2022 benchmarking report for UK Student home providers has just been published. It covers the largest 12 national student home providers, including CRM Students, Nido Student, Host., Collegiate UK, Vita Student, CHAPTER, Scape, iQ Student Accommodation, Unite Students, This is Fresh, Yugo and Student Roost.
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 student home providers to win brand exposure locally, organic visibility and online enquiries. 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 Q4 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.
You can also find out how these 12 student home providers performed against last quarter, by revisiting our Q3 report round-up.
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.
Many of the UK student home providers have varying degrees of technical errors that will be hindering organic traffic and conversion performance. An example here is This is Fresh’s 1,606 4xx errors, this is the highest of all the student home providers. Companies seeing errors need to continue looking into the causes, as these will be making their site difficult to navigate and frustrating to use. This is likely to also give a negative impression of the brand to the user, who need to trust them to provide an excellent level of service.
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.
Collegiate UK topped the chart in Q4 with a score of 89, with Unite Students far behind with only 23. Only five of the student home providers are in the ‘okay’ range of 50-89.
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. In Q4 we saw the DA range from 58 to 35.
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 student home providers have performed compared to last year. Continuous improvement and optimisation is also needed to secure traffic year on year. We can see that Vita Students have seen the biggest gain in traffic with 165%, while Host. have seen the largest drop in traffic with a loss of 59%.
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.
We could see that Image Pack was the highest used universal search feature, with Unite Students taking the top spot reaching 1,300 results. All twelve companies are underusing the universal search feature options, with some companies only seeing a handful of results. Those getting a small number 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 retailer new search terms as they enter Google’s index.
Nido Student are ranking for a much smaller amount of longtail keywords when compared with their competitors. They 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.
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 Yugo’s Facebook ads. They’ve used bold, strong, creative to capture the attention of users, including images of their accommodation whilst keeping the pictures uniform in the brand theme.
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.
We saw in our research that many of the student home providers are falling behind on content creation. We can see that Collegiate UK are lagging in content over Q4, when compared with their competitors. This is a missed opportunity for these brands, who could be sharing content and 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, retailers lose customer interest as they turn elsewhere.
All of the student home providers appear to be struggling with accessibility within their sites, with all twelve seeing an array of errors, contrast errors and alerts. This is Fresh are seeing the worst amount of contrast errors, hitting 67 in Q4. We would expect all the student home providers that are seeing these issues to be reviewing and optimising their accessibility.
Q4 2022 WINNERS LEADERBOARD
For a glance into just 6 of the metrics, we evaluated these top 12 student home providers on, check out our quick-look table below;
GET THE FULL 70-PAGE Q4 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 Mike Movassaghi.
Photo by deborah cortelazzi on Unsplash
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