All communication 100% digital!
By Helena Wennergren
2020 was a challenging year, and 2021 continues in the same direction, although at least now we have some light at the end of the tunnel. Amongst communications directors and heads of digital in Europe's largest companies, one of the biggest challenges was, not surprisingly, to make communication and business practices even more digital.
In our latest Web Management survey, 65 communication professionals from 57 European companies shared their challenges and priorities for the upcoming year. Content, digitalisation and processes for efficiency were common denominators for most. Becoming even more digital was mentioned in several facets: for some it was about moving sales and customers to digital interfaces, for others, it was about creating their first digital AGM or replacing live audiences with digital ones while still reaching out to other media. One respondent summarised it simply as:
"All communication 100% digital, including annual report"
As a digital communications agency, we couldn't agree more. This is the time to make sure that all your communication takes place online and that it is enjoyable to consume both on small and large screens. Read our article about how to design your annual and sustainability reports for online readers.
Personalisation, engaging and relevant content
Many respondents brought up personalisation, content automation and reaching all stakeholders - both corporate audiences and customers - as their main challenges for 2021. The number of respondents who selected Artificial Intelligence as an external factor that would impact their work has risen from 50% last year to 55%, which is not so surprising when you consider the amount of tools, for example for text analysis, that keep popping up.
However, there were two other external factors that were singled out by many respondents: digitalisation (75%) and compliance and regulations (74%). It's impossible not to mention the ongoing pandemic as an external factor, selected by 57% of the respondents as a factor that will impact on their work this year.
Many of the respondents said they would prioritise content in digital channels, and that one of their long-term challenges is improving reputation and continuing to be relevant to their stakeholders. We recently published an article about the importance of being relevant which further highlights why it is important to send your messages in the right direction at the right time.
What will happen with corporate websites in 2021
According to the survey, companies will continue to focus on developing engaging content especially for analysts, institutional investors and jobseekers. Sustainability content has the highest priority, with an average priority of 4.6 on a scale of 1-5. With higher demands from all types of stakeholders ranging from analysts and investors to jobseekers and the general public, it is essential to be transparent about the impact a company has on the environment and society, as well as which opportunities it presents. See more about how sustainability and corporate strategy are beginning to go hand in hand, according to last year's Webranking.
Improved content about the company in general and related to investor relations is also in focus this year, according to the respondents with an average priority of 3.9 and 4.1 respectively.
Accessibility and performance will be prioritised
In last year's survey, the respondents said they would focus on their website's internal search engine, and they appear to have done so. Among the 500 largest companies in Europe, the fulfilment of the criteria for the internal search improved from 54% in Webranking 2019-2020 to 67% in the latest ranking.
96% of the respondents in last year's Capital Market survey viewed site and page loading speeds as important. To track the performance of corporate websites, we use Lighthouse - an open-source tool used for audits of performance, accessibility, SEO and more - on all websites included in our Webranking research. 51% of all the companies ranked last year met the lowest bar of a 50 score (of 100), and only 5 of all 877 companies had a higher score than 90. This is not a great result, so therefore, it is pleasing to see that performance is high on the agenda.
With the increased demands on accessibility from users and regulations, it is no surprise to see that accessibility will also be of high importance among the companies this year.
A third will prioritise design systems
Design systems can help companies to provide a consistent experience throughout their web estates, and avoid a growing design debt where the user experience can become fractured and inconsistent over the years. Almost a third of the respondents say that they will prioritise their design systems this year, aiming for a better experience for all visitors. Learn more about how you can benefit from a design system.
Some additional findings from the survey
The survey give us an understanding of your everyday work life and the challenges you're facing. Here are some additional facts from this year's survey.
- Many of the companies only have 1 person working on the corporate website (24%)
- Analysts, institutional investors and jobseekers are the 3 most important target groups for the corporate website
- The majority of visitors still come from desktops - only 8% of respondents say that they have 50% or more visitors from mobile
- Most companies work with analytics on a monthly basis, to measure the size of their audience and to help to prioritise content
- 50% are working with the same size budget as in 2020, 20% have a smaller budget and 17% have a larger budget this year
- More are working with video inhouse or joint with an agency compared to last year
The Web Management survey is the first part of the Webranking research for the upcoming season. The Capital Market and Careers surveys that shows what the target groups of corporate websites expect from companies this year are currently open and the results will be presented here later during the spring. Stay tuned!
If you want to know more about Webranking by Comprend or how we can help you in general, please get in touch.