Corporate websites that are interactive, easy to navigate and eye-catching deliver a competitive edge when it comes to winning over shareholders.
As the key digital stopover for investors, analysts and other stakeholders alike, websites and their features play a crucial role in helping online visitors navigate their way to important company information and offerings.
According to the latest IR Global Rankings study – a global ranking system that analyses investor relations websites, online annual reports, financial disclosure procedures and corporate governance practices – one thing websites cannot afford to be is ‘static’.
In our constantly evolving online environment, investors are demanding cutting edge technology. Interactive tools, expert opinions and access to a wide range of resources are now ‘not just the norm but the standard’ according to Business Review Australia. To stay on top of the game, making the right impression on analysts, institutional investors, retail investors and shareholders, really matters.
We’ve gathered some insights into the types of content and website features your stakeholders are looking for right now.
Analysts juggle a lot of information at once, so responsive design features and ease of navigation cannot be underestimated. The IR Global Rankings study applauded Gafisa, Brazil’s fourth largest residential construction and real estate company, for its dynamic spreadsheets presenting a combination of old and new financial data and operating results.
Focus areas to consider as drawcards for analysts include stock research reports, detailed summaries of information and estimates, interactive reports, real time stock price charts, latest market results and operational metrics.
Corporates looking to get technical can take a leaf out of the book of Nasdaq’s Analytics Hub, which combines sophisticated corporate design with market indicators, analytics analysis, and actionable data.
This level of information and translation provides fund managers and traders with solid strategic data on which to base their investment decisions. The comprehensive website even provides a ‘Twitter Sentiment’ function that transforms unstructured content from social media feeds into actionable social sentiment and market signals.
The Financial Brand released a list of 50 of the Most Spectacular Website Designs in Banking from the global financial world including banks and credit unions. Company CEO Jeffry Pilcher wrote that faster internet speeds have made it possible to include “huge pictures and sprawling backgrounds to create a visual drama unimaginable just a few moons ago”.
In the list is Standard Chartered bank, picked for its display of information neatly packed into ‘boxes’ that make the website layout easy on the eye. The Standard Chartered Australia website also received a mention for being fully compatible with desktop, mobile and tablet devices. Users can easily share and access information through social media links and the site also supports the latest versions of all major browsers and devices, enabling greater speed and efficiency.
NAB received the Australasian Investor Relations Association’s Best Practice Awards for Best Use of Technology for Communications, Nasdaq Award for Best Investor Relations by a Company in the S&P/ASX 50 and Orient Capital Award for Best Overall Investor Relations by a Company in the S&P/ASX 200.
NAB’s winning Shareholder Centre features real-time updates on its share price and information on dividends, announcements, important dates and other disclosures, as well as social media links. A striking feature is the colour scheme, which follows NAB’s red, black and white branding.
The new age of retail investors appreciate modern web design trends such as mobile-friendliness, large custom photography, micro-UX, hidden menus and parallax scrolling.
Interactive Investor’s interactive annual report for Telstra employed these features and more, resulting in a Digital Gold Award for the Best Online Report in 2015. The mobile-first approach was a reflection of Telstra’s leading edge technology positioning, and presented financial data, case studies and reporting content in a way that was easy to read and understand.
Videos, interactive charts and home page animations resulted in increased audience engagement. The design also catered to the corporation’s older shareholders by making the report more accessible and simple to navigate.
Interactive Investor’s 2016 annual report for Telstra took on a scrolling display design – filling the screen with a different topic. Each section features the option of more links, creating a user-friendly experience.
Web design trends such as parallax scrolling are increasingly being employed in website design, creating enjoyable and attractive user experiences. Scrolling sites allow companies to present masses of information without slowing down the user experience, and are both mobile and touch friendly. According to Econsultancy, scrolling is “a non-committal action that requires little thought and it’s perfect for webpages where the purpose is storytelling”.
More websites are using evocative images to tell their stories to shareholders. Coca-Cola’s investor site has a popular Year in Review feature that reflects on the brand’s acquisitions, sponsorships and progress of the past 12 months. The layout is peppered with compelling pictures and Coca-Cola ‘bubble’ designs adding colour and texture. The Coca Cola 2009 Year in Review received the Web Marketing Association’s annual WebAward Competition for features like these visual elements.
Morgan Stanley and GE are other examples of companies harnessing the power of strong visuals and imagery to help tell their investment stories. To stand out in a crowded market, Interactive Investor ensured the Dexus Property Group’s online annual report offered enhanced visuals and functional advantages, which also provided Dexus with the ability to track real time statistics.
The user-friendly interface designed for small-cap company MGC Pharmaceuticals following a company rebranding, resulted in faster and more efficient navigation of company information. The website also integrates an ASX Automated Responder, ensuring the latest company announcements, including share-price information, appear on MGC’s IR site.
The Australian Securities Exchange website provides comprehensive details on listings and movements in the Australian stock market, as well as industry research and market data, giving users a full suite of information. The ASX Education Centre uses interactive resources like games, online courses and podcasts to help people learn more about investing and how to navigate the share market. These are great examples of just some of the ways companies can use content to educate and inform their online audience.
While numbers and fancy features are important, context matters. When creating or updating a website to incorporate more advanced features, it is essential not to forget the essential basic elements. A successful corporate website optimised for shareholders will clearly describe the company’s goals, strategies and achievements. Interactive design, layout and visuals are imperative, but should never come at the cost of clarity, execution and accessibility. And compelling storytelling will not only give investors the information they want, but could be the deciding inducement they need to invest in your company.