23 Apr 2009

Investis IQ Corporate Website Ranking Q1 2009 – Shell tops FTSE100, FTSE250 ranking launched

Royal Dutch Shell is the new leader in the third Investis IQ ranking of UK corporate websites, while VT Group tops the table in our first ranking of FTSE250 company websites. The survey was conducted in the first quarter of the year and is the most comprehensive and authoritative of its kind, assessing nearly 200 criteria in measuring website quality and performance.

The overall standard of websites is being driven up by improvements in corporate governance disclosure and IR content – we interpret this in the context of the market turmoil of recent months and the need for companies to rebuild trust with their stakeholders through better disclosure and increased transparency. Careers information meanwhile has been the poorest performing category, reflecting the slowdown in the recruitment activity of companies as the economy has deteriorated. The market conditions are also apparent in the lower level of investment in technological aspects of corporate websites, as measured by our Interactivity and Web 2.0 scores, which were largely unchanged over the prior quarter.

In rebuilding trust with their key stakeholder audiences there are still a number of areas in which the standards across both FTSE100 and FTSE250 websites could be materially improved without the need for significant investment. For example only 30% of the FTSE100 provide a meaningful account of the market environment in which they operate with data about the market size or market shares. Only 35% provide quantified targets relating to their strategy and less than a quarter of FTSE100 companies provide a description of their key business drivers.

Investis Director Al Loehnis commented "In these market conditions people don’t expect management to have a crystal ball on the future, but they do expect them to communicate clearly the drivers of business performance and the strategies they are pursuing that will give them competitive advantage in their markets over the longer term. These are the questions investors are asking of management right now. All too often this sort of information is nowhere to be found on corporate websites – a missed opportunity as it is the first place that the vast majority of stakeholders will come looking."

Many FTSE250 websites stand up well against their FTSE100 peers – indeed all of the top 100 score higher than the bottom 10% of the FTSE100. Nevertheless there is a considerable gap overall in the quality of information on corporate responsibility and careers in particular, while the use of multimedia is also much less prevalent.

Detailed analysis of their IQ website scores and those of their peers are provided on a regular basis to Investis clients as part of our ongoing service.

View a report on the Q1 survey of FTSE100 and FTSE250 websites or find out more about the IQ benchmarking service.

@Investis