15 Oct 2010

Investis IQ Corporate Website Ranking Q3 2010 - user experience driving change in websites

Investis’ ranking of nearly 700 corporate websites in the third quarter of 2010 shows the average score of European corporate websites to have grown modestly by just under 1%. However, this is almost entirely due to Investis now covering the French CAC40, which scores surprisingly lowly for such a major index*. When the CAC40 is discounted, the average score of European corporate websites shows a stronger increase of 2.35%. The DAX30 showed the most growth overall, up by 3%.

Changes in user experience and the way content is delivered have been more significant than changes to the content itself over the past half year. We believe this reflects a growing sophistication amongst users who now expect more from the overall web experience.  The biggest drivers of improvements have been in the use of Web 2.0 (+10% in the FTSE100 and +7% in the DAX30) and multimedia (+6% in the FTSE100, +8% in the OMXH25 and +11% in the FTSE MIB). Interactivity was also up 6% in the DAX30.

We observed ‘a certain spluttering and slowing of the CSR engine’ last quarter. This is borne out by this quarter’s results which saw only modest CSR gains with the exception of the OMXH25 which grew by 10%.

Highlights for Q3 in the index rankings

UK

FTSE100: Royal Dutch Shell and Centrica keep their positions in the top two spots – although Centrica is closing the gap on Shell. The two biggest risers in the FTSE100 were Experian (climbing 22 places to #25) and Schroders (up 12 places to #36). Of the new entrants, the best performer was Investec, who joined the ranking in 38th place.

FTSE100: The FTSE100’s average score increased by 2% with the biggest category rises being seen in Web 2.0 and Multimedia – although it is notable that every category saw improvement.

Germany

DAX30: BASF remained in pole position but, despite much shuffling in the order, RWE was the only company to enter the Top 10, up from 11th to 8th place. The two biggest risers in the index were Beiersdorf (up 8 places to #18) and Merck (up 7 places to #21): these two companies made the most improvements to their websites of any of the companies we looked at across Europe.

At 3%, the DAX30 saw the biggest overall increase in score Web 2.0, closely followed by Interactivity. The DAX30 remains the European leader for the use of Media and is above the European average for Corporate Governance.

Finland

OMXH25: There was no change in the ranking in the first seven companies in the OMXH25. The biggest climber, up 6 places to #15 was UPM-Kymmene – while the only new entrant to the index was the chemical company Kemira, in at #19.

This index bucks the trend by recording its biggest improvement in CSR. While the OMXH25’s score in CSR is above the European average, it is low compared to the bigger indexes (FTSE100, DAX30 and CAC40), suggesting that this anomaly is caused because CSR still has some way to go in Finland.

Italy

FTSE MIB: ENI retained its position at the top of the rankings of the FTSE MIB, despite showing no overall improvement – a testament, perhaps, to the strength of its online performance. ENI’s nearest rival, Snam Rete Gas, is still 13 points behind. The only new entrant to the FTSE MIB was Azimut Holding, in at #39.

The MIB recorded an overall increase of 2%, primarily fuelled by an impressive 11% increase in the use of Multimedia.

France

CAC40: As this is the first quarter in which Investis ranked the CAC40, comparisons against time are not possible. However, we were surprised by how poorly the CAC40 scored overall given the profile of some of its leading companies. The CAC40 overall comes just ahead of the Austrian ATX20 and somewhat behind the Swiss SMI20.

The CAC40’s relatively poor showing may be more indicative of cultural differences between France and the rest of Europe. Many of their websites are of an undeniably high calibre but as they focus on some of the ‘softer’ communications issues, it can be hard to assign objective scores. In some ways, the best French websites are market leaders when it comes to matters such as brand messaging – but appraising this sort of performance is always hugely subjective. 

The best performing company was Lafarge, with a score that would not make the Top 20 in the FTSE100 and would just squeak into the Top 10 of the DAX. That said, the CAC40 scores above the European average for Careers and Web 2.0. While beaten on every count by the DAX30, it scores higher than the FTSE100 in both Web 2.0 and Multimedia.

For more information on the IQ benchmarking service, please contact Al Loehnis on al.loehnis@investis.com , +44(0)207 038 9005 or visit
http://www.investis.com/investis/aboutus/iqranking/

* We are now scoring each index once every six months: this quarter Investis scored the FTSE100, the DAX30, the OMXH25 and the FTSE MIB, as well as the CAC40.

@Investis