Explore how our research team carried out their research and testing to uncover the digital maturity of the UK’s top 25 Automotive Dealerships

The top 25 Car Dealerships have been chosen for this report based on sales figures in The Automotive Management’s “Largest 100 UK Automotive Retail Groups” report.

To measure the digital effectiveness of UK automotive retail groups, we looked at the organisations’ customer facing branded websites. A minority of dealerships did not have their own UK focused website. Some dealerships 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 info@bekagool.com


For Kagool to understand the digital maturity of UK automotive retail groups, a wide range of data was captured using a plethora of third-party tools. The data was then reviewed 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 25 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
  • Customer Service
  • Content
  • Email Marketing
  • Search marketing
  • Social Media
  • Website Speed
  • Ecommerce
  • Video
  • Utility

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 is used 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. Customer Service

Each organisation 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
  • Online booking function (either booking a meeting or requesting a call-back)
  • A phone number on the main contact page or homepage
  • Contact form
  • FAQs section

3. Content

Each organisation 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 or insight section this could include recipes or how to guides (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 dealerships story

4. Email Marketing

Each organisation 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 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 we scored the companies that ranked in the top 10 positions 1 point. The next 10 companies received 0.5 points, and the bottom 6 companies 0 points.

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

6. Social Media

We looked at how each dealership uses 4 social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn). For each social platform a dealership was given 1 point if they used the channel (we used the channels the dealership linked to from their sites). For follower’s dealerships were segmented into four. The first 7 dealerships with the highest following received 1 point, the next 6 were awarded 0.75 points, the third 6 received 0.50 points and the final 6 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 dealership.

Each dealership 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 3G 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.

8. Ecommerce

The dealerships were tested and scored:

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

A maximum of 10 points was available. Dealerships 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

Organisations were scored on their YouTube content, with each dealership being scored on:

  • 5 points were awarded if they have a dedicated YouTube channel (Where possible this was by using a link form the dealership website)
  • The number of subscribers they had was counted. The list was split with the top 16 channels who had the most subscribers getting 2.5 points and the least 10 getting 1 point, channels with no subscribers being awarded 0.
  • How many videos a month they posted. The list was split with the top 16 channels who had the most video content getting 2.5 points and the least 10 getting 1 point. A channel with no videos posted received 0.
  • Using YouTube’s own search engine, the dealership was searched. 2.5 points were awarded if the dealership own content was first. 1 point if branded content shared by another user was top and 0 if the content was unrelated to the dealership.

A maximum of 10 points was available for Video.

10. Utility

Each organisation was scored on whether they provided a customer portal. 2.5 points were given to dealerships that provide this facility and a further 2.5 points were awarded if the log in was featured clearly on the home page.

A maximum of 5 points was available for utility.

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. Citroen and Peugeot were tested individually due to having separate websites. 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 25 Car Dealerships 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:

  1. https://www.sytner.co.uk/
  2. https://www.pendragonplc.com/
  3. https://www.lookers.co.uk/
  4. https://www.arnoldclark.com/
  5. https://www.inchcape.co.uk/
  6. https://www.vertumotors.com/
  7. https://www.marshall.co.uk/
  8. https://www.jardinemotors.co.uk/
  9. https://www.group1auto.co.uk/
  10. https://www.trustford.co.uk/
  11. https://www.mercedes-benzretailgroup.co.uk/
  12. https://www.jct600.co.uk/
  13. https://listers.co.uk/
  14. https://www.peugeot.co.uk/ / https://www.citroen.co.uk/home
  15. https://www.greenhous.co.uk/
  16. https://www.john-clark.co.uk/
  17. https://www.stoneacre.co.uk
  18. https://www.swanswaygarages.com/
  19. https://www.parks.uk.com/
  20. https://www.renaultretail.co.uk/
  21. https://www.rybrook.co.uk/
  22. https://www.allenmotorgroup.co.uk/ford/
  23. http://www.cambriaautomobilesplc.com/
  24. https://www.motorline.co.uk/
  25. https://www.harwoods.uk.com/