Online Survival Guide: a year on

It’s been a year since we produced our Survival Guide to Online Investor Communications and while we think it’s still a great introduction to the subject, a year is a long time in the digital world.

Jump to the main content area

In the last twelve months alone, Twitter has gone public, virtual currency Bitcoin rose and fell away, prototypes for smart watches and Google Glass have launched, and Vine and Snapchat became the latest social crazes.

At the heart of the Guide was our original research into the digital output of the FTSE 100 and, a year on, we’ve had another look. As of April 2014, every company in the FTSE 100 now has a corporate website, demonstrating a universal recognition of the need for an online source of information for your investors.

Of those sites, 76 have multimedia content, up from just 59 last year, and 29 are fully responsive, almost six times as many as there were last year (2013: 5). These changes are indicative of modern browsing habits, as demonstrated by the the increase in sales of mobile and tablet devices and the decline of PCs. Mobile browsing is only set to continue with the wider release of 4G data across multiple mobile networks and internet access improving through high speed broadband and fibre optics.

A notable development that sits alongside the growth in responsive sites is the reduction in the number of investor apps, down from nine to just four now. We outlined the cost and time-saving benefits of responsive websites as opposed to apps in the Guide, and again more recently.

While the IR Society’s guide to corporate websites has remained largely unchanged, there is now a guide to using social media in an IR context, which helps companies to explore the efforts and also the risks of utilising a more social approach to their communications. There has been small growth in the FTSE 100’s presence on social media over the past year, with Twitter and LinkedIn seeing the biggest rises (up 10 and 14 respectively).

Another area that has received much discussion is the Cookie Law, with the first fines handed out under the law in Spain earlier in 2014. The e-Privacy Directive which was translated into local law looks at ensuring visible notices of cookies on sites and the option to change their cookie settings at any point. New proposal EU Data Protection Regulation (DPR) looks to centralise compliance across all member states and extend the scope to make it truly technology-agnostic.

As you can see, a lot can happen in a year.