Webranking 2021-2022 summary

Our Webranking research offers rich insights into changing audience expectations and shines a light on corporate communication best practices. This is a summary of the results and learnings from the 2021-2022 research. It covers what stakeholders expect from companies regarding information about the company, investor relations, ESG, press, careers, and other areas that analysts, investors, journalists and jobseekers consider to be essential.

Here you can get an overview of what stakeholders expect from corporate websites and learn how you can improve your website. See the results for Europe 500 or read about the Webranking Report

Here are our findings in the 10 Webranking sections - scroll down or click on one of the sections:

Homepage  |  About us  |  Press  |  Reporting  |  The Share  |  Investor Relations  |  Governance  |  Sustainability  |  Careers  |  Features and functionality

Homepage 

The Homepage is often, though not always the first page that a visitor meets when entering a website. This is where a company has the opportunity to make a positive first impression. It is thus of high importance to provide content interesting enough to keep the visitor on the website. Bounce rates are often high, and companies have little time to capture the interest of their audiences. The visitors also want to find the information they are looking for quickly and do not have much patience in searching for it; that is why there should be links to relevant information on the Homepage.

The average Homepage fulfilment this year among all ranked companies was 54%. This shows that they include much of the expected information, but not all. For example, one piece of information that should be available on the Homepage is a brief introduction to the company, with a link to further reading. The company should briefly explain their vision and mission, who they are, and what their primary purpose and goals are as a company. This year’s result shows that 41% of the ranked companies include this, which means that most companies can improve in this aspect.

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Screenshot of Holmen's homepage

About us

The About us pages of a corporate website often attract many visitors across all stakeholder groups. This is where a company can explain their vision and mission, strategy, and organisational structure in detail.

Stakeholders are often very interested in a company's business model and are expecting to find it on their website. 38% of the ranked companies explain the business model in HTML, but only 18% explain how they create value.

Comparing this result with what we see in our research for Annual Report on Annual Reports, it seems as if companies think it is sufficient to present it in their annual reports and not directly on the website. According to stakeholders, this couldn’t be more wrong; 93% find it important to read about the business model on the corporate website.

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Whitbread present the business model in a creative way, clearly explaining their competitive advantages.

Press

The press section should cater to journalists and stakeholders wanting to keep updated on a company. An easy-to-find and user-friendly press section promotes transparency and shows journalists that a company is willing to work with them. In the long run, this can help build long-lasting and trustworthy relationships.

The ranked companies scored an average of 46%, which is an improvement of seven percentage points from last year. The companies are good at including both press releases and regulatory releases in HTML, making them easier to read than if they were included as PDFs.

The press section needs to display news in a user-friendly and accessible way. A press release archive that offers the users filters on both year/month and categories helps them get a good overview and find relevant releases. 92% of stakeholders see categories like these important. Another area that is of importance to stakeholders is information about how COVID-19 has impacted the business.

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Screenshot of Chr. Hansen's press archive

Reporting

Screenshot from Amplifon's corporate website


Amplifon present an interactive tool where the user can view the financial key indicators as both graphs and tables. It is possible to choose which key indicators you want to compare, and you can also divide by quarter, half-year or year. Amplifon have also divided the performance by region complemented with maps.

A general trend is that more and more companies are moving towards an online format for financial reporting, and this is also something that is growing in importance for stakeholders. Using the online format for financial reporting is more user-friendly and accessible since it, for example, adapts better to screen size. Our research shows that not many companies are keeping up with this trend; only 13% of the ranked companies have chosen to provide their annual report in an online format.

The average score for all ranked companies was 51%, the same as last year, indicating that not many companies have made changes in this area. One area where the companies have improved is providing updated financial calendars and links to more information.

Stakeholders also expect to find a presentation of financial key performance indicators in addition to figures displaying the general financial performance. Every company has different financial key performance indicators, and presenting them makes it easier for the investors to evaluate which key figures are the most important.

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Information about shares

Information about the company’s shares is essential to investors to understand past development and who the shareholders are. Comprehensively presenting this lets companies develop efficient two-way financial communications with their stakeholders. Intuitive charts and interactive tools, as well as a steady flow of information, helps to facilitate this conversation.

The average score was 38 of 100 points for all the ranked companies, which is a slight improvement from last year when the average score was 35 points. The relatively low average score shows that many European companies struggle to meet stakeholder expectations regarding the inclusion of information about their shares.

Most European companies include share graphs in HTML containing information about market cap and trading codes. However, not many companies include a historical overview of the share capital development. The companies should explain corporate actions that have affected the number of shares.

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Screenshot from Generali's corporate website


Generali present an extensive account of their share capital development, going back to 1831 when the company was founded. The history is presented in a clear table with links to information about corporate actions that have affected the number of shares.

Investor Relations

Screenshot of Terna's financial targets and achievements

Investor Relations (IR) of a corporate website should facilitate clear communications between a company and its financial audience to ensure a fair valuation of its equity and debt securities.

Like in previous Webranking editions, the European companies struggle with providing sufficient Investor Relations information. This year, the average score in this section is 25 points, which is one point less than last year.

The companies are generally good at explaining their overall business goals and strategies but struggle to provide more detail about financial targets and the achievement of targets. Financial targets should be presented in numbers, and history should be included about how the companies have achieved the targets.

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Governance

The primary goal of corporate governance is to ensure the accountability and transparency of a company’s finances for the long-term benefit of stakeholders. One way of doing this is to share information on the nature of the relationship between stakeholders, the board of directors and management.

To be seen as transparent by stakeholders, it is of high importance to provide sufficient governance information, and the demands are not becoming lower.

This year, the ranked companies have improved their average score by eight percentage points, from 35% to 43%. The companies do a good job of providing information about the board of directors, by, for example, including their CVs. However, information about the board of directors’ share transactions (insiders) is often missing. This is information that is of high importance to include to be seen as transparent by stakeholders.

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Adidas provide an extensive section covering the managers’ share transactions with a history of eight years. It is also possible to filter on month and not just year, making it easy to use.

Sustainability

Screenshot from BP's corporate website

BP are at the forefront when it comes to providing sustainability data. They include an interactive data tool for covering both environmental and social sustainability. The tool covers data from five years back, creating a clear overview of the development of BP’s sustainability performance.

As the stakeholder demand for transparent and measurable information on corporate sustainability work is increasing, so is the number of regulations companies have to follow. To keep up with stakeholder expectations and stricter legislation, companies need to provide relevant and extensive information on how they work with these metrics.

The average score for all ranked companies is 46% which is an increase of ten percentage points, which breaks the trend of European companies losing scores in this section. Many companies include clear presentations of their sustainability strategies, but when it comes to providing data on how they perform in achieving the strategies, many companies fall behind. Stakeholder expectations are becoming higher and higher in terms of sustainability communication, and stakeholders expect to find many different kinds of sustainability data.

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Careers

The Careers section needs to cater to a broad spectrum of potential candidates. Showcasing the voice of employees is a great starting point as information on what it’s like to work in a company is an essential consideration for jobseekers.

Meeting jobseeker expectations continues to be a challenge for European companies, but the average score for all ranked companies has improved by five percentage points. The companies are generally good at introducing themselves to jobseekers but fall behind in explaining their benefits and employee experience.

For example, 96% of stakeholders expect to find information about the approach to remote working, but only 18% of all companies include this. This is one of the examples where there is quite a large discrepancy between stakeholder expectations and which information the companies provide.

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Screenshot from Telenor's careers section

Features and functionalities

An intuitive user experience, including a logical site structure and navigation, responsive design and accessible content, plays a vital role in delivering a compelling website.

Together with the Homepage, the features and functionalities category are where the Europeans have performed best, receiving an average score of 54%. This means that the technical and user-experience-related aspects generally work well on the ranked corporate websites. Many companies provide clear navigation structures and consistent layout principles, making it easier for visitors to orientate themselves on the websites.

Many companies also include internal search engines with basic functions, and some improvements can be made by having spell-checkers and categories for the search results.

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Helena Wennergren

Helena Wennergren

Head of Research

helena.wennergren@comprend.com

+46 70 971 12 10

James Handslip

James Handslip

Managing Director (UK)

james.handslip@comprend.com

+44 (0)20 8609 4908