INVESTOR relations professionals who work on the web should make using popular finance websites a core part of their normal routine.
Doing time on Yahoo! Finance, Google Finance, MSN Money, MarketWatch and popular local finance sites can teach IROs a lot. For one thing, it helps you to know your audience better, which is one of the basic principles of good communication and investor relations.
Understanding what resources retail and professional investors are getting from portals, and seeing what they’re saying about your company, can help you make better decisions about your company’s website.
You should also be paying attention to the user experience finance portals provide because practices on mainstream finance sites often trickle down to IR websites, and vice versa.
Flashy new charts upstage IR sites
A case in point are the new stock charts from Yahoo! Finance and Google Finance. Yahoo!’s new charts were launched in July for beta testing. They were upgraded in response to the challenge from Google Finance, which launched in March. The arms race between the two ramped up last week when Google made improvements to its charts.
|Google updated its charts last week.|
The new charts of both companies offer some good functionality for mainstream investors, including technical indicators and comparisons. Google’s charts include so-called “news overlays,” which allow investors to see on the chart what news was published at a particular point in time.
To be sure, none of the features are particularly new. Some IR sites have had them for a long time. The big difference, however, is that Yahoo! and Google’s charts are using Flash instead of images or java applets.
|Yahoo! Finance launched its new Flash-based charts in July in a beta test.|
The result is that Google and Yahoo’s charts are faster, slicker and more interactive than equivalent IR website implementations. Consequently, any investor who has experienced the charts on these sites most likely isn’t going to be impressed with the charts on your site.
The question is whether you should do anything about it. To answer that, you need to understand when and why investors use stock charts on IR websites. This will tell you what investors need and whether your site is delivering on their requirements.
This is actually an important consideration. Even though investors don’t need to use stock charts on IR sites, it’s highly significant when they do use them.
If you are an IR Web Report member, this is a good time to log in to review the member guidelines for stock charts (Subscription required). The advice we provide is now more relevant than before.