Investors visit IR websites for content, not data, finds survey

May 24, 2017
Survey of institutional investors reveals IR website habits

Most public companies today understand the importance of having a decent IR website. Poll after poll has shown that investors and analysts visit on a regular basis. But what are those visitors really looking for? 

New research offers up some answers: a survey by PR Newswire of more than 3,700 institutional investors finds that corporate content, like company presentations, is of far greater interest than market data.  

‘The clearest conclusion from our Shareholder Communications 365 Study is that institutional investors don’t visit IR websites looking for market data – they are looking for content,’ Bradley Smith, PR Newswire’s director of marketing for shareholder communications, tells IR Magazine.

‘One example from our study is that 95 percent of institutional investors visit IR websites to watch straightforward non-deal roadshow slide presentations. Juxtapose this against 0 percent reporting that they visit IR websites to get a stock price.’

The survey also supports the recent trend for companies to add infographics and other visual elements to results announcements. Firms to experiment in this area include GE and Walmart

‘Another important thing IR needs to consider is adding graphics to quarterly earnings announcements,’ says Smith. ‘Eighty-four percent of institutional investors report that adding visuals, even simple growth or pie charts, would help in understanding the company’s financials and future.’

The annual research, which this year scrapped questions for retail investors to focus solely on the institutional audience, concurs with previous surveys that the IR website is a regular stop-off for professional investors. Thirty-four percent of respondents say they visit monthly, 27 percent quarterly and 19 percent weekly, while the remaining 20 percent say they come by when they get news.

Not all respondents view an IR website as essential for making an investment, however. When asked whether they would invest in a company without an IR website, 31 percent say yes, while 65 percent say no.

‘Overall, IR departments are well steeped in best practices regarding their IR website,’ comments Smith. ‘It’s a de rigueur tool that investors expect to find. At the highest level, the goal of an IR website has not changed much in the 17 years I have been building them. But the technology fuelling them has, and keeping that up to date is our focus.’

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