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For investors, real-time, interactive data can be crucial. After all, profit — or loss — can depend on the availability of up-to-date information. With the market fluctuating so quickly that what's true one moment may not be the next, a failure to keep up with real-time changes can wreak havoc on investment decisions.

 

Traditionally, many brands have provided static data on their investor relations (IR) sites. It wasn't considered necessary or realistic to host up-to-the-minute information. Now, however, more and more companies are shifting their thinking on IR data and offering interactive information to their investment audiences.

The facts behind the trend

What accounts for this shift? According to IR Magazine:

  • Over 84 percent of investors visit an organization's IR website to do research to inform investment decisions.
  • More than a quarter of investors visit IR websites at least once a day, while almost three-quarters visit at least once a week.
  • Announcements of earnings spur 70 percent of investors to go to a brand's IR website immediately.

Financial market regulation is something to watch, as investors rely on transparency and security. If you want to woo European investors, you must keep in mind and be responsive to the market abuse regulation enacted by the EU in 2016. As investors seek opportunities worldwide, cross-border issues drive the need for more advanced IR sites.

Putting interactivity into practice

It's not hard to see that the value of being able to provide interactive data to investors will only grow. As more brands add this feature to their sites, the pressure is on to keep up with the competition. How can you ensure that your site can compete?

IR sites with interactive data are easier to use and more effective from a user experience, or UX, perspective. They integrate visuals, stock data and on-demand webcasting to make IR communication as engaging as possible. It's also important that the site is intuitive. That means careful attention to site navigation. Grouping related materials together can make a difference.

 

A strong online presence for your organization's IR audience might include:

  • Supplemental earnings materials (webcasts, presentations and so on)
  • Financial press releases
  • Annual reports and commentary
  • Historical stock data (going back five or more years)
  • Detailed share prices
  • Total return calculators
  • Historical price lookup
  • Analyst forecast data
  • Corporate profile and strategy
  • Regulatory filings
  • Corporate governance charters and documents

This digital information should complement the online experience. Include downloadable spreadsheets or PDFs so investors can take information away for later use. The design should be responsive on any device, whether desktop, mobile or tablet.

American insurance company Aflac, for example, has integrated its IR information into its site, including an interactive chart that makes it easy for anyone to access whatever they find most useful. Some information is provided at a glance, while users can easily drill down to see the data of interest in more detail.

 

As technology improves and bandwidth increases, expect even more opportunities to bring interactive data to audiences. For example, video can add a compelling component. 59 percent of senior executives prefer to watch a video than read text content, after all, and 92 percent of mobile video consumers share videos with others. Sites that incorporate video can be more technologically challenging but worth the extra effort.

 

Ensuring a seamless experience for your investors can make a world of difference for your brand, so be sure to consider adding more interactivity to your IR offering. As IR gets more sophisticated, so will your audiences' wants and needs. Don't be left behind.

Michelle Garrett is an award-winning writer, content creator and public relations consultant with more than 20 years of agency, corporate, startup and Silicon Valley experience. Her articles have been featured in Entrepreneur, and she's a regular contributor to leading PR blogs Ragan's PR Daily and Muck Rack. Garrett was named a Top 100 PR Influencer by Onalytica and was recently named to the board of the newly formed National Organization of Women in PR USA. Her blog was recently named a Top Small Business Marketing Blog. 

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