2020 Building Societies Digital Maturity: Scoring Rationale

2020 Building Societies Digital Maturity: Scoring Rationale

Explore how our research team carried out their research and testing to uncover the digital maturity of the UK's top 40 building societies 2020.

The top 40 building societies in the UK were chosen for this report based on their ranked group assets from The Building Society Association’s February 2020 Factsheet report.

We looked at each building society’s website to measure its digital effectiveness. A full list of the websites tested can be seen below. For further details about the research methodology please see the full rationale or get in touch at info@bekagool.com


For Kagool to understand the digital maturity of UK building societies, a wide range of data was captured using a number of third-party tools. Data collection took place in February and March 2020 and all information is accurate to that research period. The data was then collated and reviewed by our team of digital marketing analysts.

Our aim was to collate and analyse information on each of the UK’s top 40 building societies to learn how each performs digitally. By measuring key metrics in nine core aspects of the organisation’s digital marketing activity, we were able to calculate an overall digital maturity score (%).

The categories measured were:

  • Mobile optimisation
  • Calls to action
  • Content
  • Email Marketing
  • Search marketing
  • Social media
  • Website speed
  • Utility
  • Digital reputation

Each organisation is given a score for each category with a possible overall score of 100. The aggregated scores were then converted into a percentage, giving an overall view of how digitally mature the organisation is.

The key digital marketing categories tested within the scope of this work were:

1. Mobile optimisation

The homepage of each building society was tested using Google’s ‘Mobile-friendly test’. This tool identifies how easy it is for visitors to view a webpage on a mobile device. Each website was given a score based on the Google test results:

  • 0 errors = 10 points,
  • 1 error = 7 points
  • 2 errors = 5 points
  • 3 errors = 3 points
  • 4+ errors = 0 points

A maximum of 10 points available per company.

2. Call to action (CTA)

Each organisation was awarded 2 points for each ‘call to action’ that appeared on their website. We looked for:

  • A link to contact page on the primary navigation
  • Online booking function (either booking a meeting or requesting a call)
  • Instant live chat functionality
  • Clear call to action on homepage
  • A phone number on the main contact page or homepage

A maximum of 10 points available per company.

3. Content

We looked for different types of content on each of the organisations’ websites. Each building society was given two points when we identified each of the following:

  • News content – A dedicated news or press release pages where news content or articles are provided.
  • Blog content – A dedicated blog or insight section (separate to news)
  • Anchor links – Links in the news or blog content to other sections of the website within the main body of the text.
  • Video content – Video content on the website, such as embedded videos. (Points were not awarded for offsite YouTube videos)
  • Image content –Supporting images within blog or news sections.

A maximum of 10 points available per organisation. 

4. Email marketing

Each website was searched and points were awarded for following:

  • A newsletter / email sign-up CTA or email subscription page on the website. (5 Points)
  • If once subscribed, a welcome email was received within 24 hours of registration. (2 points)
  • Functionality to customise / personalise the email subscription. (3 Points)

(For example – the types of content that could be subscribed to or the amount of emails per month.)

A maximum of 10 points available per organisation.

5. Search

We used SEMrush, a competitive intelligence suite for online marketing, to look at nine different variables which would affect an organisation’s search marketing.

  • Google UK organic traffic
  • Google UK keywords
  • Organic traffic cost
  • Google UK paid traffic
  • Google UK paid keywords
  • Paid traffic cost
  • Total domain backlinks
  • Referring domains
  • Referring IPs

For each variable, the building societies were ranked 1-40.  We scored the companies that ranked in positions 1- 13 = 1 point, positions 14 – 26 = 0.5 points, and positions 27-40 = 0 points.

The points for each company’s variables were then added up to a possible maximum score of nine. The top company overall was given a score of 10.

 6. Social media

We looked at how each organisation used five social media platforms – Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.

For each social platform a company was given one point if they used the channel. (Max five points)

The frequency that the company posted in one given month on each channel was then counted. Our research identified the following recommended post frequency. Organisations were awarded points for following:

  • 10 – 15+ posts per month = 1 point
  • 6– 9 posts per month = 0.5 points
  • 1 – 5 posts per month = 0 points

 A maximum of 10 points available per company. 

7. Website speed

Google’s website speed tool was used to test the mobile website speed of each website on a 4G connection. Each company’s home page was tested twice, and the speeds averaged.

Each company started with a score of 10 and one point was taken off for every second a site took to load. For example, if a site took 7 seconds to load they would be scored 3.

Any site which took 10 seconds or more to load was given 0 points and their time noted down to provide accurate ranking.

A maximum of 10 points available per company.

8. Utility

The building societies were scored on if their websites had five digital tools which can be used to help customers online. Two points were given if the building society had:

  • Service Calculators (e.g. pension, mortgage)
  • Branch Finder
  • Online Guides
  • Mobile App
  • Online Banking

 A maximum of 10 points available per company.

9. Digital reputation

The building societies were scored on their online reputation. Points were given if the building society featured in:

  • Glass Door – 5 points for an engaged employer profile. 0 points if profile was unclaimed. (5 Total)
  • Google Reviews – 2.5 points if the building society has a Google maps listing. 5 points if they have a review(s).  (5 Total)
  • Trust Pilot – 2.5 points for a ‘claimed’ listing. 2.5 points if Trust Pilot had a record of the building society actively asking customers for reviews. 0 points if profile was unclaimed. (5 Total)
  • Smart Money People – 2.5 points if they have a profile. 2.5 points if they have reviews. (5 Total)

A maximum of 20 points available per company.

 Additional information

Maturity percentages were worked out to three decimal places and then rounded to zero decimal places. This means that while two companies may appear to have the same score their maturity rank may be different.  For example, a both companies with a maturity % of 68.125 and 67.5 will show as 68% but one will rank above the other.

The websites tested in this report were gathered from the first result in Google that was affiliated to the organisation name. We have acted to ensure that the data is as accurate as possible. To ensure that the results were accurate we followed a rigorous and scientific process throughout the study. This included secondary individuals following the same rationale for a selection of building societies to ensure that the same score was reached upon retesting.

Please note, this is a research piece. Not all the top 40 UK building societies websites have been designed and developed by Kagool. Any imagery taken from the building societies websites and used as part of the report was taken in February and March 2020.

Social media content was counted from the month of February, however tested in March. This to ensure a fair content frequency score.

Some building societies were tested manually for website speed. ‘Think with Google’ would not test their website. In order to keep things fair we tested with a stop watch and a mobile device twice, then took an average.

List of websites tested:

– https://www.nationwide.co.uk/

– https://www.coventrybuildingsociety.co.uk/

– https://www.ybs.co.uk/

– https://www.skipton.co.uk/

– https://www.leedsbuildingsociety.co.uk/

– https://www.principality.co.uk/

– https://www.westbrom.co.uk/

– https://www.thenottingham.com/

– https://www.newcastle.co.uk/

– https://www.cumberland.co.uk/

– https://familybuildingsociety.co.uk/*

– https://theprogressive.com/

– https://www.cambridgebs.co.uk/

– https://www.newbury.co.uk/

– https://www.monbs.com/

– https://www.leekunited.co.uk/

– https://www.saffronbs.co.uk/

– https://www.furnessbs.co.uk/

– https://www.hrbs.co.uk/

– https://www.ibs.co.uk/

– https://www.darlington.co.uk/

– https://www.themarsden.co.uk/

– https://www.themelton.co.uk/

– https://mhbs.co.uk/

– https://www.thehanley.co.uk/

– https://www.dudleybuildingsociety.co.uk/

– https://www.scottishbs.co.uk/

– https://www.mansfieldbs.co.uk/

– https://www.thetipton.co.uk/

– https://www.bathbuildingsociety.co.uk/

– https://www.theloughborough.co.uk/

– https://swansea-bs.co.uk/

– https://www.harpendenbs.co.uk/

– https://www.thevernon.co.uk/

– https://www.teachersbs.co.uk/

– https://www.themanchester.co.uk/

– https://srbs.co.uk/

– https://www.bucksbs.co.uk/

– https://www.chorleybs.co.uk/

– http://beverleybs.co.uk/

*National Counties Building Society  was replaced and retested as Family Building Society after they got in touch. This means their scores cannot be compared to the 2018 report, as the URL is different.