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Mobile IR Apps versus Social Media – Are the Two Mutually Exclusive?

BNY Mellon recently released the tenth edition of its Global Trends in Investor Relations report. The comprehensive survey examines global IR practices from 550 respondents across 54 countries that span a range of market cap and industry sectors, including financials, industrials, consumer, technology and healthcare. A free copy of the report is available by clicking the link above.

While there are many good takeaways from the 36 page report, the authors of the report confuse one important issue – the use of mobile technology for IR purposes does not constitute social media.  Hence it is a mistake to include “Mobile phone/Tablet IR apps” within the social media section of the report without qualification.

Social media for IR purposes certainly can take place via the mobile device (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, StockTwits, etc.).  However, mobile technology by itself is not social media.  It is but a mechanism through which to deliver information (similar to the desktop computer and Internet).  Similarly, mobile IR apps aren’t social media.  Rather they, like the IR website, are another conduit for making investor related information accessible to investors.  The two are not and shouldn’t be considered mutually exclusive.

One message that we at theIRapp have continued to emphasize in our blog (Authentic Content Still Reigns King and Avon, Twitter and Fraudulent Communications) is the importance of companies controlling their message and ensuring that the public receives authentic, company-generated content.  The BNY report mentions the “inability to control the message” as an important reason for not using social media for IR purposes.  As a result, one might believe that the same holds true with respect to IR apps.  This is not the case.  Rather, content posted on a company’s IR app is done so by an authorized member of the company.  Moreover, in some instances, a company’s IR app is an extension of its IR website and the content therein.

The BNY Mellon report indicates that the category of mobile phone/tablet IR apps has doubled since 2012 when their research first started following this new form of communications.  There is still a lot of room for further growth considering only 11% of companies are using IR apps. And this will undoubtedly occur as companies continue to embrace the importance of making their IR information readily, instantaneously and conveniently available to their investors.  It will also continue to grow as investors continue to recognize that the information being delivered to them through the IR apps of the companies they follow is authentic and actually from the company.

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theIRapp by the Numbers

As we’ve emphasized since we launched theIRapp in June of 2012, mobile is no longer a nice to have, it is a necessity. Your investors are increasingly mobile whether they are at a conference, roadshow or traveling somewhere in between. This year finally confirmed what we (and likely many others) have thought for a while: more searches now occur on mobile than on desktops. Additionally, Flurry Analytics (now owned by Yahoo!) published data last year that stated that over 86% of time spent on mobile devices are spent in apps.

Given these staggering mobile statistics, have you made any adjustments to your IR content strategy to ensure all of your investors have access anytime, anywhere?

Throughout 2015 we continued to experience great success across our founding platform – theIRapp® – in addition to our other various communications products. From investor days to earnings calls to updating company presentations, theIRapp platform has continued to be utilized as a practical business tool for management teams, institutional and retail investors as well as sell-side analysts. Over the years we’ve published a variety of metrics about our platform and as we head into 2016, we wanted to update you on where we stand today.

theIRapp by the Numbers - Graphic

 

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Authentic Content Still Reigns King

Over the past few weeks, Goldman Sachs generated a lot of media attention regarding its latest earnings announcement. In case you didn’t hear, Goldman decided to forgo the traditional business wire and instead only publish their press release on their corporate website, and then tweet out relevant and high-level bullets from the release.

Jeffrey Goldberger, Managing Partner at KCSA Strategic Communications, recently took to a blog post to provide his thoughts on the matter. You can read the full blog here. In short, his argument is that Goldman can basically do whatever they want, and the masses will follow (he refers to this as brand permission). However, for companies that lack brand permission, and therefore don’t have the amount of media attention and eyeballs on their public equities as they’d like, the traditional newswire route is still the best route to reach the widest audience possible.

While we won’t take on the topic of using a wire service versus not, we would argue that the most important aspect of distributing public company information is to ensure that it is timely and authentic. As we blogged a few weeks ago in regards to Avon and Twitter, there are only a few places an investor can go where they can be certain that the information posted is authentic. Since we launched theIRapp three years ago, we have stressed the importance of a company’s IR website and IR app as the way to ensure that the public has instantaneous access to authentic, company generated information and content. If investors and the media rely on other Internet-based sources (and even the SEC’s database), misinformation is bound to occur.

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