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Sat May 15 2021

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Revealed: The contractor with the most digitally savvy marketing

21 Jan 20 A marketing firm that works with companies to boost their online and social media profile has conducted an audit of top UK construction companies to find the best performers.

Manchester-based Kagool has assessed the UK’s top construction companies and scored the ‘digital maturity’ of their marketing and publicity teams.

The report, 2020 Digital Construction Census: How are the UK’s leading construction companies embracing digital transformation?, looks at the 10 UK contractors with the highest turnover: Balfour Beatty, Kier, Interserve, Galliford Try, Morgan Sindall, Amey UK, Keller, Mace, Laing O’Rourke and Skanska UK.

Each is assessed according to how they perform against eight criteria.

  • Mobile optimisation
  • Website speed
  • Content
  • Search marketing
  • Video
  • Social media
  • Information for investor
  • Email marketing.

In each of the eight categories a score out of 12.5 is allocated, to give a final aggregate score out of 100.

This audit, therefore, makes no judgement of the ‘digital maturity’ of their core business – designing, constructing and managing infrastructure – and terms such as CAD, BIM or data management are not mentioned. This is an audit only of the companies’ public relations activities, not their engineering prowess.

The authors also seems to assume that major construction contractors might want to use their website and social media presence to win business, as if they are selling sofas or double glazing, when in fact the core goal is reputation management.

Despite these limitations, the results make interesting reading.

Mobile optimisation

Do their websites work well on smartphones, which have become a prime tool for those seeking information? The answer is yes, in every case, and all of the companies assessed score a maximum 12.5 here.

Website speed

According to Google, the average website loads in one second. Laing O’Rourke has the fastest site among the top 10 contractors, at 1.3 seconds, and is more than twice the loading speed of Skanska UK’s website. Laing O’Rourke gets the highest score here, 11.2 out of 12.5. Kagool cites research that says that just a one second delay can cause a 7% reduction in conversions and an 11% loss in page views.


Kagool says that content marketing – regularly posting relevant, insightful content – is one of the biggest opportunities for construction organisations. Content marketing generates three times more leads than paid advertising, Kagool says. However, it appears to be an opportunity that construction companies are missing out on. Only Skanska UK scores full marks here. Balfour Beatty, Kier and Amey score 10 out of 12.5. Morgan Sindall is the worst performer in this category, with a score of just 5.

Search marketing

Search engine optimisation (SEO) – how Google treats you – is more than eight times more effective than traditional marketing, Kagool asserts. After all, three out of four users don’t bother scrolling past the first page. Kier is the clear winner of our top ten here, with a score of 9.5. Balfour Beatty is in second place with 5. The rest were really pretty rubbish, in Kagool’s estimation.


It has been suggested that the use of video is a great way to attract traffic, as YouTube attracts 37% of mobile traffic. The construction companies seemed to show a good appreciation as they are all on Your Tube but half of them do not post fresh video content often enough (which is suggested as monthly). Kier and Laing O’Rourke are given full marks here but even the worst performers of the ten, Galliford Try and Amey, still score 7.5.

Social media

This category covers the use of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn to raise profile, engage with stakeholders, build a following, improve SEO and drive traffic to the website.

All ten contractors studied are on Twitter and LinkedIn, but not all actually use it to post anything. Balfour Beatty and Mace are deemed to be the best exploiters of social media, each scoring 10.5. Galliford Try (3.25) and Morgan Sindall (3) are the laggards.


Kagool has chosen to include a section on investor relations and how much financial information is declared on each company’s website. It erroneously assumes that all the companies have investors with whom the company needs to publicly engage, which is simply not the case. Unsurprisingly, those that are London Stock Exchange listed and must follow City regulations – Balfour Beatty, Kier, Galliford Try, Morgan Sindall and Keller – duly all score full marks here. The others have no such obligations. Amey and Skanska UK are subsidiaries of foreign parent organisations; Interserve is owned by banks; Mace and Laing O’Rourke are privately owned. Kagool gives Laing O’Rourke a score of zero here.

Email marketing

Kagool says that offering newsletter subscriptions to anyone with an interest is ‘a gift to marketers’. Here the results are binary. Balfour Beatty, Kier, Galliford Try, Amey and Keller score full marks for offering email newsletters. Interserve, Morgan Sindall, Mace, Laing O’Rourke and Skanska UK scored zero in this category because they do not.

And the winner is… Kier!

Adding up all the scores from the eight categories discussed above results in an overall Digital Maturity Ranking.

The table below shows the final scores of the ten, as determined by Kagool.

1 Kier 87.6
2 Balfour Beatty 83.1
3 Keller Group 71.3
4 Galliford Try 67.8
5 Amey UK 64.8
6 Skanska UK 60.8
7 Morgan Sindall 55.7
8 Laing O'Rourke 53.7
9 Mace 51
10 Interserve 49

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