Automotive Brands Digital Census: Scoring Rationale

Automotive Brands Digital Census: Scoring Rationale

Explore how our research team carried out their research and testing to uncover the digital maturity of the UK’s top 40 Automotive Brands

The top 40 Automotive brands have been chosen for this report based on sales figures reported in The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders “Best-Selling Car Brands in the UK in 2018” report.

To measure the digital effectiveness of UK’s best-selling car brands, we looked at the organisations’ customer facing branded websites. A minority of brands did not have their own UK focused website. Some brands have a section within a parent company website or no website at all. A full list of websites tested can be seen below. For further details about the research methodology please see the full rationale or get in touch at


For Kagool to understand the digital maturity of UK’s best-selling car brands, a wide range of data captured using a plethora of third party tools. The data was then analysed by our team of digital marketing analysts. The data for this report was collated in May 2019 and all information is accurate to the research period.

Our aim was to collate and analyse information on each of the UK’s top 40 automotive retail groups to learn how each performs digitally. By measuring key metrics in 10 core aspects of the organisations’ digital marketing activity, we were able to calculate an overall digital maturity score (%).

The categories measured include:

  • Mobile Optimisation
  • Calls to action
  • Content
  • Email Marketing
  • Search marketing
  • Social Media
  • Website Speed
  • Ecommerce
  • Video
  • App

Each company was given a score for each category. The scores were then aggregated. This is then converted into a percentage to give an overall view of how digitally mature the organisation is.

The key digital marketing aspects included within the scope of this work was:

1. Mobile optimisation

We used Google’s, ‘Mobile-friendly test’ tool to test how easily a visitor can use a web page 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

2. Calls to action

Each brand was given a score up to a maximum of 10. They were awarded 2 points for each of the following calls to action that were applicable to their site:

  • A link to contact page on the primary navigation
  • Live chat functionality
  • A phone number on the main contact page or homepage
  • Contact form
  • Clear call to action on the homepage

3. Content

Each brand was awarded a score out of 10 based on what was found clearly on the website. They were given two points for each of the following:

  • News content – Do they have dedicated news or press release pages where news content/articles are provided?
  • Blog content – Do they have a dedicated blog? this could include insights or research (separate to news)?
  • Anchor links – Are there links in news or blog content to other sections of the website within the main body of the text?
  • Products – Does the site have a dedicated products page?
  • About us – Does the site have an about us section telling the brands story

4. Email marketing

Each brand was awarded points up to a maximum of 10. They were awarded points for following:

  • 5 points if there was a newsletter / email sign up or subscription listed clearly on the website
  • 5 points if you could customise / customise your subscription (i.e. the types of content you could subscribe for or chose the amount of emails you received).

5. Search marketing

We used SEMrush, a competitive intelligence suite for online marketing, to look at 9 different variables which would affect a brand’s search marketing. The results gathered were based on a per month basis.

  • 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 we scored brands that ranked in the top 20 positions 1 point. The next 10 companies received 0.5 points, and the bottom 10 companies 0 points.

The points for each brand’s variables were then added up to a possible score of 9. The top brand overall was given a score of 10.

6. Social media

We looked at how each brand uses 4 social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn). For each social platform a brand was given 1 point if they used the channel (we used the channels the brands linked to from their sites). For followers’ brands were segmented into four. The first 10 brands with the highest following received 1 point, the next 10 were awarded 0.75 points, the third 10 received 0.50 points and the final 10 were awarded 0.25 points. Companies that had 0 followers or had not posted in the last month received 0 points. There was a maximum of 10 points available per brand.

Each brand was awarded points up to a maximum of 2 for content frequency. Our research identified the following recommended post frequency. They were awarded points for following:

  • 10 – 15 posts per month = 0.5 points
  • 6 – 9 posts per month = 0.25 points
  • 1 – 6 posts per month = 0 points

7. Website speed

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

8. Ecommerce

The brands were tested and scored:

  • 10 points (full marks) for selling directly to the consumer, directing users to a third-party and offering vouchers
  • 3 points if they directed users to a third-party to buy their product
  • 2 points if they offered vouchers / discount codes to buy the product.

A maximum of 10 points was available. Brands could score full marks (10 points) which is a combination of all scoring three criteria’s, or a maximum of 5 points should they not score full marks.

9. Video

Brands were scored on video content, for each variable was scored on:

  • 5 points were awarded if they have a dedicated YouTube channel (Where possible this was by using a link form the brands website)
  • The number of subscribers they had was counted. The list was split with the top 20 channels who had the most subscribers getting 2.5 points and the least 20 getting 1 point, channels with no subscribers being awarded 0.
  • How many videos a month they posted. The list was split with the top 20 channels who had the most video content getting 2.5 points and the least 20 getting 1 point. A channel with no videos posted received 0.
  • Using YouTube’s own search engine, the brand was searched. 2.5 points were awarded if the brands own content was first. 1 point if branded content shared by another user was top and 0 if the content was unrelated to the brand.

A maximum of 10 points was available for Video.

10. App

Each brand was scored on whether they had an app on either the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store. Each brand was awarded 2.5 points for each channel they had a presence on. A maximum of 5 points was available.

Additional information

Maturity percentages were worked out to three decimal places and then rounded to the nearest percentile. This means that while two companies may appear to have the same score their maturity rank may be different.  For example, 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 are gathered from the first result in Google affiliated to the organisation names.  A small number of companies had multiple sites under the same brand. The website chosen to test was the first to appear in the Google search results which was UK facing when searching for the brand. Where organisations feature on both brands and dealership Digital Census reports, scoring averages vary due to the number of organisations tested.

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 organisations to ensure that the same score was reached upon re-testing.

Please note, this is a research piece. Not all the top 40 Automotive brands have been designed and developed by Kagool. Any imagery taken from the websites and used as part of the report was taken in May 2019.

List of websites tested: