IR website visitor info is ‘rarely’ considered

Mar 31, 2014
<p>PR Newswire study finds most IR websites are used to present required information only</p>

The vast majority of IR websites are maintained without consideration for their visitors, finds a recent survey undertaken by PR Newswire.

The company quizzed IROs on how they update their firm’s IR websites, and whether decisions about online content are made depending on recent traffic changes as part of the firm’s series of investor relations benchmarks.

At a fundamental level, 86 percent of the websites reported on are used tactically – that is, they are used to give investors required content as part of an organized brand. Only 14 percent leverage their sites strategically, pinpointing which content to send depending on the traffic and types of users seen.

Such a trend does not fit with how corporate communications have evolved in recent years, says Bradley Smith, director of marketing at PR Newswire. ‘While campaign and promotional microsites are built using the evolving content marketing methodologies of sales, marketing and client service departments, these new tactics have yet to make a big impact in the IR space,’ he adds.

‘An IR website can be a proactive tool for growth, rather than [serve] its traditional role as a passive destination. IROs need to mine and use their site data to turn traffic into targets and use the platform to generate qualified leads.’

Smith’s assertions are supported by PR Newswire’s other findings, as the majority of companies – 48 percent – update their websites only quarterly, with content centered on earnings calls. Just over a fifth (21 percent), meanwhile, describe their updates as ‘rare’, including ‒ at best ‒ simple updates to management bios or investor presentations. Only 29 percent describe their new website content as coming frequently or often.

Reports on visitor data also seem to be rarely considered by IROs, as only 8 percent of those questioned ‘frequently’ produce an overview of website visitors, with 27 percent opting for a quarterly update. The majority – 36 percent – rarely even consider such statistics, while 22 percent admit they never review traffic reports.

‘Successful communications programs reach their target audiences in a variety of ways,’ warns Smith. ‘At the very least an IR website can reinforce the investor’s buying decision. It’s the central hub for the company’s content and voice but, in its general form, it serves as an inbound channel. A website does not find investors.’

Just over 40 percent of the companies surveyed are defined as small, micro or nano-cap firms with a total market cap below $2 bn. Mid-cap companies make up 31 percent, while large and mega-caps account for the remainder of the respondents.

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