IR Magazine Webinar Recap: Digital trends that drive investor engagement

6 June 2017

By Rana Abdel Fattah

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On May 31, IR Magazine and Q4 hosted a webinar that explored digital trends designed to drive investor engagement. Laurie Havelock, journalist and podcaster for IR Magazine, hosted a jam-packed conversation between Darrell Heaps, CEO, Q4 and Sonja Galton, Web and Communications Specialist at Agnico Eagle Mines.

The discussion offered some valuable takeaways for IROs looking to increase investor engagement and to improve their digital strategy.

 

#1 Mobile: key to your digital strategy

Mobile has altered the way in which people consume content. With the need (and want) to access information quickly and easily, from anywhere and at any time, it is no surprise that more and more companies  are opting for both responsive design and long-scroll functionality. When it came to Agnico’s recent site redesign, Sonja looked back at analytics and found that in 2012, 8 percent of visitors were accessing their site from mobile devices, a number that increased to 26 percent in 2015.   

Responsive design has been on the rise for some time. But what is a new trend is the long scroll functionality, which allows users to simply scroll through content on their mobile devices as opposed to clicking around for new content. It’s no longer necessary for websites to showcase their most important content “above the fold”. The use of smaller screens hinders how much information can fit above the fold, and long scrolling has swept in to replace this best practice for content consumption.

 

#2 Videos and Infographics: communicating content visually

Video is not a new trend to IR, but it is constantly evolving.  With the pace of today’s world, people are hungry for bite-size information that’s easy to digest. Video is critical to making this happen. “Jumbo videos are now increasingly being used on landing pages, and we’re seeing this trend more and more. This type of approach to video vs. traditional video is on the rise,” Darrell shared while discussing the importance of integrating video creatively on both corporate and IR sites.

Infographics are an excellent way to visually present complex or hard-to-understand data and information. This highly graphical visualization tool is an innovative way of displaying content that can attract the attention of your targeted audiences and is quickly digested. As shared on the webinar, Agnico’s Why Invest section is a great example of this: they use infographics to highlight key content on a quarterly basis.

 

#3 Reaching ESG-conscious investors

Today, there’s a requirement of having clarity around your ESG strategy and being able to communicate that effectively to all stakeholders, particularly investors. And this is something that has really become a key best practice. And we’re now seeing a lot of investment being flown into this. Companies that are run with an ESG mandate simply outperform those that aren’t.” – Darrell Heaps

According to a U.S SIF foundation report, the amount of funds going into ESG is one in every five dollars, which is around 20 percent, which says a lot about the amount of investment being put into ESG strategies. In the past, companies communicated their ESG initiatives because they felt that they ‘had to’. Today, companies are communicating as part of their overall strategy (providing clarity on how a business is run since it’s becoming increasingly key for investors).

When looking at the execution of this, companies can surely utilize trends that are easy to consume. Agnico’s sustainability mini site does a great job of communicating their strategy and performance overview, all while providing investors with key facts and figures. “This is core to our business. There was a big mental shift that happened at Agnico where we realized that outlining sustainability was not optional,” shared Sonja. She also noted that their CEO, for example, is getting approached by investors, asking questions around their their ESG strategy and how they handle ESG issuers. This was the biggest driver for their site’s re-design and creating a live-in sustainability report.

 

#4 Analytics and SEO Optimization: providing actionable insight for IROs

“Google Analytics was built into the back-end of Agnico’s website, and the tool has enormous flexibility. One of the things that I always have open on my screen is its live view so that I can see, at any given moment, how many people are on our website, where they’re visiting from around the globe, what platforms drove them to us, or if they searched and used a keyword.” – Sonja Galton

Speaking about how analytics can help companies track investor sentiment, Sonja noted that Agnico uses tools like Google Analytics to monitor insight about their brand and to know how to better serve website visitors. The company also uses another tool by Sysomos called Heartbeat, which is a real-time monitoring and measurement service that can track things like Agnico’s mentions of their brand, with the ability to see where people are sharing information from their website. This helps them close the loop and understand what website visitors are doing with the content they access. “Analytics provide actionable data for IROs – looking into what investors are accessing and who they are is key here. Web analytics are very useful to integrate into your CRM,” added Darrell.  

A challenge with analytics is that companies can end up with a lot of data but not know what to do with it, so making it actionable is key. Great advice from Darrell: focus less on the technology and more on the best practices of great websites, and in doing so, Google is going to rank you accordingly.

When it comes to SEO optimization, adding keywords is critical as it’s Google’s way of determining if a piece of content is important for the reader. Mobile functionality plays a key role in Google’s algorithms for content ranking. Google recently included mobile usage as a prerequisite for high rankings, meaning that mobile-friendly websites are ranked ahead in comparison to a website that isn’t mobile-friendly. 

Keeping up with trends in the industry is important for companies who wish to stay ahead of the game. You can watch the webinar here for more insight about these digital trends and how they can help you better communicate and engage with your investors.

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