UK Supermarkets - Digital Marketing Benchmark Report, Q3 2022, Published Today

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The Q3 2022 benchmarking report for UK supermarkets has just been published. Learn how the top 9 UK supermarkets perform across the digital space.

The latest Q3 2022 benchmarking report for UK supermarkets has just been published.  It covers the largest 9 national supermarkets, including Tesco, Asda, Waitrose, Aldi, Iceland, Co-op, Lidl, Morrisons and Sainsbury’s - it highlights year-on-year digital performance, plus winner and loser comparisons in 20+ online performance metrics.

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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 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.

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You can also find out how these 9 supermarkets performed against last quarter, by revisiting our Q2 report round-up.

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.

Supermarkets have remained strong in terms of avoiding 4xx error codes, with the exception of Lidl who have 222 4xx errors codes present on their site. Co-op are also recording a significant number with 103 4xx errors. In our last report, we spotted that ASDA had 272 4xx errors on their site, a number they have now reduced to just 26. Lidl and Co-op should ensure they are cutting their own numbers down ahead of the busy Christmas period.

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.

Though mobile page speed is important for supermarkets, we saw in Q2 that only Sainsbury’s were achieving an ‘okay’ score of 64. This quarter, we’ve seen that none of our nine supermarkets have reached this ‘okay’ mark, with Sainsbury’s having fallen to a score of 22. The closest supermarket to achieving an ‘okay’ score is Co-op though, with a mobile page speed score of 35, they still have a way to go to get into the 50-89 bracket.

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.

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.

We’ve seen no huge movement on domain authority for supermarkets, with Tesco remaining on top with 85. Lidl remain behind other supermarkets, with a DA of 73 however, this is still an excellent score among an unusually high-performing set of sites.

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.

Last quarter, we saw that UK supermarkets were seeing lower traffic year-on-year. We’re seeing this in many sectors and, for food retail, it could come down to a change in buying habits, as more customers are returning to stores over shopping online. The biggest change from last quarter is Iceland’s performance. Though in Q2, Iceland had seen a concerning 93% drop in traffic, they’ve now reduced this to just -18% YoY. Though this is still a loss YoY, it is much more in-line with their competitors and they have now lost comparatively less traffic than five other supermarkets.

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.

In Q2, we noted that Tesco’s strong appearance in FAQs had them in good stead for lower-funnel search terms likely to win them conversions. In Q3, Tesco have added to this by clocking in appearances for 112,400 image pack results. Commanding a wide range of universal search results ensures Tesco have strong and varied visibility across SERPs for targeted keywords that captures shoppers’ attention.

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.

Lidl are ranking for the fewest long tailed keywords in positions 1-3. However, while in Q2 this figure sat at 6,779, Lidl now rank for 7,090 long tailed keywords in the top 3 positions. Though this is a small amount of growth, this upward trend is still important, and Lidl should continue to focus on improving visibility for these longer phrases.

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.

Waitrose have used creative that feels high-end and will therefore appeal to their target audience. These Facebook ads mark the start of their Christmas campaign, advertising how potential customers can start spreading the cost of Christmas in 2022. Christmas is a time we traditionally spoil ourselves with high-end food, however, when facing a cost-of-living crisis, shoppers may be looking at more affordable Christmas options. By using Facebook to boost awareness of cost-spreading and long-life product options, Waitrose are helping to mitigate any potential impact on their stores this year.

Additionally, Waitrose have used the same copy from ad to ad but changed up the image and call to action included. This enables Waitrose’s advertisers to judge the effectiveness of the creative and ad copy and further optimise their campaign, as opposed to comparing three wildly different ads when it comes to reporting.

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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.

Waitrose and Tesco have both shown a consistent level of content production, rising in recent weeks. With supermarkets stocking a huge range of products, each has a unique opportunity to create content across the food, home, cosmetics, and entertainment sectors. Aldi and Lidl have a particularly strong opportunity here, as they have a high turn over of special offers and can create seasonal content around the ‘special buys’ they stock.

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.

Last quarter, we found 438 alerts on Aldi’s site, meaning they were lagging far behind other supermarkets in terms of accessibility challenges. This quarter, we’ve seen this figure fall to just 1. With Aldi also showing just 1 error, and no contrast errors¸ they’ve clearly made a fantastic effort to make their site more accessible. Waitrose are also showing the same figures, while all other supermarkets are recording higher levels of accessibility errors.

Q3 2022 Winners and Losers Summary

For a glance into just 6 of the metrics we evaluated these top 9 supermarkets on, check out our quick-look table below; 


Comparing our current, Q3 leaderboard to our last summary in Q2, we’ve not seen any movement across the table. Lidl remain in 9th place while Tesco are staying strong in the top spot.


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 Eduardo Soares on Unsplash

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