The Q3 2022 benchmarking report for UK funeral and cremation services has just been published. Learn how the top 10 UK funeral and cremation services perform across the digital space.
The latest Q3 2022 benchmarking report for UK Funeral and cremation services has just been published. It covers the largest 10 national funeral and cremation services, including Co-Op Funeralcare, Simplicity Cremations, Distinct Cremations, Avalon Funeral Plans, Dignity Funerals, Pure Cremation, Celebration of Life, Golden Charter, Golden Leaves and Affordable Funerals - it highlights year-on-year digital performance, plus winner and loser comparisons in 20+ online performance metrics.
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 funeral and cremation services 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.
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.
In our research, we saw that Dignity Funerals have links to 62 4xx errors codes on their site, potentially making it difficult to navigate. During times of bereavement, grief can impact cognitive ability, making it more important than ever to have an easy-to-navigate website that can answer users queries. With too many 4xx errors in place, users may need to look to other providers to meet their needs.
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.
Golden Charter and Pure Cremations are achieving the best mobile page speed scores, with 71 and 70, respectively. Only half of the other 8 providers we have evaluated are achieving the minimum score of 50 to reach this bracket. Along with ensuring their site is error-free, funeral and cremation services will want to optimise their site page speed, to reduce any user frustration during what will be a difficult time.
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.
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. However, a ‘good’ DA really comes down to how your competitors are performing. In our research, UK funeral and cremation services saw their domain authorities range from an incredible score of 80 for Co-op Funeralcare, all the way down to just 3 for Celebration of Life.
Link-building opportunities for funeral providers could range from content around the average cost of a funeral for websites in the financial sector, or publicising the partnerships between local businesses you work with such as florists, caterers, or vehicle hire.
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.
Organic desktop traffic has risen for all 10 of the funeral and cremation providers year on year, while results are more mixed for mobile. In this case, it could be down to changes in coronavirus restrictions or simply a cultural shift to enquiring online rather than on the high street. Golden Leaves gained the most traffic on both desktop (288%) and mobile (214%) devices. This could also reflect the cost-of-living crisis, with people searching for affordable funeral or cremation options, or wanting to use a prepaid plan to spread the cost.
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.
Looking at universal search results for funeral and cremation providers, there’s a diverse mix in which options these businesses are ranking for. Dignity Funerals are appearing for 7,831 universal search results, ahead of all other brands by a comfortable margin. 4,400 of these have come from reviews, with an additional 1,200 coming from ‘People Also Ask’ appearances.
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.
Dignity Funerals are ranking for a total of 18,982 long-tail keywords, with 2,225 appearing in positions 1-3. Co-op Funeralcare are the closest competitor to this figure, while all other providers have below 5,000 long-tail keywords ranking overall. A good starting point for any brand to improve on this figure would be to focus on long-tail keywords they are ranking for outside of the top three, identifying which offer the best conversion potential, then making optimisations to their existing content.
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 Pure Cremation’s Facebook ads. Pure Cremation has created ads to appeal to a diverse age range, promoting their prepaid plan options. Using both young family lifestyle images, and an illustration of an elderly person (which ties into their TV adverts), Pure Cremation has two distinct forms of creative that can be shown to the audiences most likely to engage.
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.
Co-op Funeralcare have the most consistent ongoing content production levels, with engagement to match. It appears they have a solid plan in place to produce content that gets long-lasting levels of engagement. Dignity Funerals are also consistently producing content, while Pure Cremation appear to have recently enacted a content strategy over the past few months.
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.
As mentioned, during times of bereavement our cognitive ability can be deeply affected by grief, meaning any brand acting within this space must operate with this in mind. Funeral and cremations providers should be ensuring their content is easy to consume and that their website is simple to navigate.
Simplicity Cremations are flagging for 93 contrast errors, meaning their site is potentially difficult for users with colour vision deficiency to read or navigate. When users want to access their site to get answers and reassurance, it’s important that every level of ability is catered for. Simplicity Cremations must look at how to improve contrast on their site and ensure they are accessible for all.
Q3 2022 Winners Leaderboard
For a glance into just 6 of the metrics we evaluated these top 10 funeral and cremation services on, check out our quick-look table below;
If you want to explore how you can improve your performance relative to your competitors, reduce media spend wastage and drive more performance from less, read the 10 Week Performance Accelerator Programme for CMO’s & Marketing Leaders.
Get the full 70-page Q3 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 Phil Robinson
Photo by Suhyeon Choi on Unsplash
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