2011 Online Survey Results
Mid-2011, The Crew Research updated its annual research on online reporting. In cooperation with L’Echo/De Tijd, we surveyed key investors and financial analysts on their reading habits of online reports. Complementing our on-going research focusing on offline annual reporting, this piece of research (both qualitative & quantitative) highlighted a number of issues, some surprising, some pretty obvious.
Here’s a quick summary of the results presentation seminar, held at FEB/VBO offices on the 28th of June 2011. If you’re interested and would like to know more, if you would like to argue, or if you agree, feel free to contact The Crew Research on +32 2 504 00 00 and ask for Douglas Geddes (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Which format to read annual reports?
CASES: 2/3 of institutional investors and analysts require some form of online'ness.
ISSUE: 95% of financial journalists access corporate and investor websites to research the companies they are writing about.
FINDINGS: The question isn't therefore anymore "should we go online with our report?", but rather... "how?".
Sources to find an online report
CONSIDER: The corporate site is the natural choice destination, second, obviously a search engine.
ISSUE: How well is the corporate site referenced? How easy is it to access the annual report from the corporate site?
FINDINGS: Annual reports with google +1.
General satisfaction with regards to online reports
ISSUE: Online reporting sites are relatively new. Corporations are still wrestling to satisfy their readers as they do with printed reports.
FINDINGS: How is the project approached, internally? Is it driven by the web team, the i.t. team, or by knowledgeable ir/financial analysts/stakeholder representatives? What mechanisms ensure feedback?
Objectives when accessing an annual report
ISSUE: Online readers are similar to printed version readers: they come for a variety of reasons.
FINDINGS: How is the magic of the internet (tools, customisability) harnessed to effectively answer these different readerships? How are key messages articulated & presented?
How frequently do you read the following sections?
CASES: Information hierarchy is, again, quite similar to that of printed versions... and somewhat different to corporate beliefs.
ISSUE: Don't let information architecture and wireframes be guided by designer whims.
FINDINGS: Here's what people need to access easily.
Importance of functionalities
ISSUE: Unsurprisingly, most functionalities refer to information access — not to "user information enrichment" or spreading.
FINDINGS: Information accessibility is the key to developing or integrating gimmickless functionalities. This remains a one-to-one relationship. Spreading the report is still your job.
How would you rate the presence of the following in online reports?
ISSUE: Views vary. Probably as much as people's needs in accessing its information.
FINDINGS: Online reporting provides publishers with the ability to creatively use various preferential, engaging communicational channels: auditive, visual and various ways of presenting the same data.
In following list, please rate the 3 qualities an online report should positively demonstrate.
CASES: Information, information, information.
ISSUE: The web is a tempting, sometimes exotic, playground.
FINDINGS: If now convinced but still unsure where to start, focus on simply, effectively and rapidly making the different levels of information available.
The web is a tempting, sometimes exotic, playground. If now convinced but still unsure where to start, focus on simply, effectively & rapidly making the different levels of information available.