Building Societies Digital Maturity: Scoring Rationale

Building Societies Digital Maturity: Scoring Rationale

How our research team carried out their research and testing to uncover the digital maturity of the UK’s leading building societies


For Kagool to understand the digital maturity of UK building society websites, a wide range of data needed to be captured and analysed. The data for this report was collated in October 2018 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 building societies to learn how each performs digitally. By measuring key metrics in 8 core aspects of the organisations’ digital marketing activity, we’re 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
  • Utilities

The top 40 building societies were chosen based on the amount of assets under management, the data was downloaded from the Building Societies Association downloaded on 9th October. Each company is given a score of 0-10 for each category and an overall score of 80. This is then converted into a percentage to give an overall view of how digitally mature the organisation is.

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. Calls to action

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 navigation bar
  • Online booking function (either booking a meeting or requesting a call-back)
  • Live chat functionality
  • Clear call to action on homepage
  • A phone number on the main contact page or homepage

3. Content

Each organisation was awarded a score out of 10. 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 (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?
  • Video content – Is there any video content on the site at all (could also be in products and services sections as well as news and blogs)?
  • Image content – Specifically within blog or news sections are there supporting images to the text?

4. Email Marketing

Each company 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 on website
  • 2 points if a welcome email was received within 24 hours of registration
  • 3 points if you could customise / personalise your subscription, i.e. the types of content you could subscribe for or chose the amount of emails you received.

5. Search

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 13 positions 1 point. The next 13 companies received 0.5 points, and the bottom 14 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 organisation uses 5 social media platforms (Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter & YouTube). For each social platform a company was given 1 point if they used the channel. The amount of times a company posted per month on each channel was then counted. The 13 companies that posted the most content on a channel were awarded 1 point the next 13 companies received 0.5 points and the final 14 0. A maximum of 10 points was available per company.

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. Utilities

The building societies were scored on 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 Guide (either in html or downloadable pdf format)
  • Mobile App
  • Online Banking

Additional information

Holmesdale Building Society was listed in the top 40 building societies from the data downloaded off the BSA. However, as of the 1st October 2018 Holmesdale had merged with Skipton Building Society. Beverley Building Society number 41 on the list was selected to replace Holmesdale.

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.

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 re-testing.

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 October / November 2018.