UK Supermarkets - Digital Marketing Benchmark Report, Q1 2024

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The Q1 2024 benchmarking report for UK supermarkets has just been published. Learn how the top 10 UK supermarkets perform across the digital space.

The latest Q1 2024 benchmarking report for UK supermarkets has just been published. It covers the largest 10 national supermarkets, including Tesco, Asda, Waitrose, Aldi, Iceland, Co-op, Lidl, Morrisons, The Food Warehouse, and Sainsbury’s - it highlights year-on-year digital performance, plus winner and loser comparisons in 20+ online performance metrics.

Supermarkets - 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 supermarkets to win brand exposure, generate online orders, and drive 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 Q1 report, click here. To get a copy of the full report and the key takeaways, please complete the enquiry form or schedule a call.

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Q1 2024 Winners and Losers Summary

For a glance into just 6 of the metrics we evaluated these top 10 supermarkets on, check out our quick-look table below; 

Supermarkets W&L Mar 24

Continue reading for further detail on this quarter's top and poorest-performing supermarkets, or request a copy of the report for the full review.

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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. Supermarkets may find it challenging to stay on top of technical performance, due to the huge volume of product pages that they will need to maintain.

In our last audit, Co-op reported 73 4xx errors, which it’s increased to 164 in this quarter — making it the least technically compliant website. It must assess its internal linking structure to check that customers aren’t being led down dead ends.

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. Managing large sites can prove challenging when needing to maintain mobile page speed performance, but supermarkets can mitigate this by using smaller images where possible.

The site speed score for this quarter ranged between 59 and 14, with Iceland reporting the slowest site speed. Since this supermarket has lots of images on its site, it should optimise these to prevent slow downloads.

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, ie. ‘free’ traffic that isn’t gained through sponsored ads. Supermarkets have the opportunity to build their backlink profile and authority by capitalising on the huge range of products and brands that they stock. They can also run and take part in events within their local communities and for charities, helping them maintain their brand image, as well as securing links.

Domain authority is considered average between 40 and 50, good between 50 and 60, and excellent above 60. ‘Good’ DA score depends on the competition level of the industry. The DA rating for this quarter was between 84 and 37, with The Food Warehouse being the only supermarket to fall behind. All other supermarkets scored 73+. The Food Warehouse also scored the lowest for the total backlinks, which it should look to increase to assist with its DA rating.

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.

All supermarkets reported more organic traffic from desktops than mobile, which could be because their websites are better optimised for computers/laptops than mobiles. The traffic loss for mobile ranged from -30% to -10%, with Tesco reported the biggest 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 brand can appear for universal search results without being strong in standard rankings. 'Reviews', 'Local Pack', and 'People Also Ask' results are all useful results for supermarkets to target, helping them deliver additional information, directly on the SERP.

Tesco remains at the top for the most Universal Search results, with nearly 1.4 times as many overall results compared to the runner up. Tesco reported the most appearances from ‘reviews’ — with 738,700 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. Supermarkets showing for more long-tail keywords than their competitors can expect to scoop up traffic from lower-funnel search terms that are more likely to lead to a conversion or sale.

Tesco continued to secure the most longtail keyword appearances overall. Iceland has nearly double the appearances for positions 4–10, which is an effective keyword strategy in improving its chances of ranking higher in positions 3.

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. For supermarkets, they can use Facebook ads to drive in-store and online footfall in high-competition areas, along with ensuring visibility on key events and product lines.

We’ve included 3 examples of Sainsbury’s sponsored posts, which each have a “shop now” CTA. It also includes the same text across each post, plus two of the same images and one post with a video. This suggests that this supermarket is assessing its engagement to see if posts with videos or static images receive more conversions.

Supermarkets - Facebook

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. Supermarkets can draw on content across their full range of products, using recipe content, home advice, and seasonal product lines to appeal to topical subjects and drive engagement. 

All brands except Morrisons favour Facebook, while this supermarket favours Pinterest. Pinterest is a platform that can help brands to increase their website traffic and gain valuable insights through analytics. Tesco has the largest Facebook following (2,600,000), while Aldi has the largest Instagram following (807,500).

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. Grocery shopping is essential for everyone, so supermarkets should ensure their sites are accessible and do not exclude customers with additional accessibility needs.

In our last audit, Sainsbury’s reported the most accessibility alerts (46), which it’s decreased to 1 in this quarter. However, Lidl is now reporting the most alerts (40). After taking a closer look, this supermarket should address alternative text for images, as one nearby image has the same text.


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.

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