Investors are demanding readers. They are regularly connected to the Internet and expect to find the information they are seeking in just a few clicks. Once on the site, however, the content available and how it is organized do not always meet their needs in terms of comparability, accessibility and/or transparency. Here are some suggestions for saving investors’ time and responding to their expectations that may win you a few points in the 2019 Transparency ranking!
Labrador recently carried out a series of user tests with a group of analysts and investors to better understand their needs and behaviors when it comes to searching for information online. The tests utilized Eye Tracking technology, which examines the behavior of the human eye during the reading of professional documents.
Among the findings:
Information is not always accessible or comparable.
- Corporate Social Responsibility information is not sufficiently accessible. Companies may include CSR information in a variety of different areas on their website, such as company presentation, governance or a CSR tab. Only 16% of companies provide a CSR contact according to the 2018 Transparency Study.
- Information often arrives later than the 28 days needed to prepare for the company’s Annual Shareholders’ Meeting (15 days on average).
- Investors with questions don’t always have the opportunity to communicate directly with the Investor Relations department. 81% of websites provide a direct e-mail address or a phone number for investor relations.
- Links to additional information, whether using an external or site-specific search engine, are not always effective. Too often, the link goes first to results from the previous year.
Opportunities for enhanced content of regulated communication
The “investors” section is a media apart that serves a dual purpose:
- It is a crossroads for information that provides access to many regulated and mandatory public documents.
- It is also a database, often enriched with interactive multimedia content or instructional videos, which can address a broader and more heterogeneous audience. Examples include a video of the President, a webcast, interactive infographics, institutional or communications documents and extracts of integrated or extra-financial performance reports.
Labrador’s advice: “There are opportunities for greater freedom in your communications to be seized as long you don’t lose the investor, for whom the site is a working tool.”
Caroline Bautz, Director, Consulting Hub, Labrador
A reader in a hurry doesn’t read; they search.
The investor is an expert reader but is also, even more, a scholar. In other words, they are a reader who knows what they’re looking for. Documents or content are consulted more than read. This is especially true on screen*. Investors appreciate tips that save them time in their search:
- information is always accessible in two clicks maximum;
- there is a logical and detailed information architecture (site map, menus and sub menus);
- standardized words are used to facilitate finding information via a search engine;
- an up-to-date financial calendar of at least the next six months enables the investor to organize their work;
data is comprehensive, accurate, up-to-date and historical and all available on a single site to respond to the investor’s high level of information consumption.