The findings reveal that stakeholders are now tipping the scales, with movements such as #metoo showing the power that individuals have in holding people and companies accountable.
This year’s podium welcomes back the three top performers in last year’s ranking, albeit in a slightly different order. Snam holds firmly in the lead, with 94.2 points, the highest score ever achieved in Webranking. Eni moves up one position from last year’s ranking, clinching second place with 92.4 points. Finnish industrial goods and services company Wärtsilä takes third place this year, with 92.1 points.
Record improvements compared to five years ago
Celebrating 20 years, the Europe 500 Webranking research has come a long way. In the last five years, we’ve seen significant improvements, with the greatest increase in score this year since 2012. Compared to last year, the average improves by an impressive 3 points (45.7 of 100), 9.1 points more than the 36.6 points recorded in 2012.
The results of this year’s Webranking Europe 500 has demonstrated that companies are investing a great deal in findability and user-experience (UX), as evidenced by the heightened average scores of the “Homepage” and “Features and functionalities” criteria of the protocol. Though it is important to provide a positive UX for users, guiding their navigation through intuitive menus and page titles, it is just as important to present the concrete information that brings users to visit the website in the first place.
Improvements needed when communicating to investors and job seekers
The criteria in which companies across Europe are underperforming remains the Investor Relations, Careers, and CSR sections of the protocol. Underperforming in these criteria indicates that the corporate communications to two important stakeholder groups, investors and job seekers, is limited and they are not receiving the information they need to inform their decisions.
As investors are increasingly shifting their gaze to long-term investing, they are becoming interested not only in key financial figures, but also in seeing how companies are thinking in long term and looking forward. Responsible corporate citizenship has become an important criterion for investment decision making, making it vital for companies to publish figures on their environmental and social initiatives.
The companies that are not upfront and don’t communicate clearly to job seekers about material issues like opportunities for professional development, compensation, and benefits, are losing out in the never-ending game of tug-of-war for the best talent to the company.
All of this comes together to put those companies that score low in these criteria at a competitive disadvantage, attracting less investment and new talent.
Three macro trends in the world of corporate digital communications
When analysing the results of Webranking by Comprend 2017-2018, three macro trends stood out in the world of corporate digital communications in Europe.
Digital disruption is tipping the scales in favor of the individual, giving them a greater voice, changing the way we live and how companies communicate and do business. Game changers across many industries are provoking companies to transform the way they do business to such an extent that, in order to remain competitive, they must re-prioritise their communications around their digital channels. Read more about this trend.
Companies are increasingly pushed by their stakeholders to be more transparent on their governance structures and policies, and to take specific stances on sensitive topics, as accountability on actions becomes the number one priority across the Western. Read more about this trend.
In the social and digital era, excessive noise and the battle to stand out is a challenge for all companies competing for attention. Online communication can no longer ignore the rise of visual communication and the importance of user experience, which is also supported by the fact that 97% of the capital market respondents find page loading speed important, and 85 % thinks that it is important that the website is appealing. Read more about this trend.