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UK websites show improvement but still lag behind European counterparts

The Webranking research has been conducted for the 21st time, and is based on surveys to around 500 analysts, investors, business journalists and jobseekers in Europe. Based on their responses more than 800 companies in Europe have been ranked on how they communicate in their digital channels.

GKN is the best in the UK

GKN is the top performing UK company (61.5 points), up from 37th place in 2016 (46.6), scoring particularly well in Investor relations, About us, Careers and Reporting. Informa, ranked second with a particularly strong Investor relations section and solid Reporting content. Royal Dutch Shell complete the UK Top 3, with the highest score in the Reporting category.

To put the scoring in context, the average score for Top 10 ranked UK companies is 56.6, compared to 85.5 in Europe – showing that European companies still lead the way when it comes to satisfying key stakeholders’ content needs 

SEE THE COMPLETE RESULT LISTS FOR UK COMPANIES

Best performing sector

The leading sector in the UK is Automobiles & Parts with an average score of 61.6, moving ahead of the previous stalwart Oil & Gas (56.5).

Companies scored best in Press and Investor relations – including integrating their social media content within their sites, as well as ensuring all channels are consistent and aligned.

Investor relations content is especially strong in this sector, outscoring all other sectors by some margin. Clear presentation of company strategy with visibility on how they intend to achieve their business goals, financial outlook including targets and achievements with detailed information and charts. In contrast, information about Risk management is lacking.

Retail is the lowest scoring sector (37.4 avg).

Investor Relations – any improvements?

Last year, we highlighted that UK companies are particularly poor in talking to key investors compared to European counterparts, and despite a slight improvement over last year (25%), Investor relations remains a low scoring section with an average score of just 29%.

Perhaps a reflection of the current financial climate, only 11% of FTSE100 companies include detailed information on financial outlook, while just 27% provide visibility of their targets and achievements.

Despite this, there are some signs of improvement as far as providing a clear outline of the group strategy and the inclusion of information about investments and divestments – in fact, the UK leads the way in this area.

Sustainability – getting a little more love

A definite improvement in this area. Companies are becoming increasingly confident in sharing their approach to Sustainability, 87% have made this a priority (up from 69% last year). Better disclosure of data, targets and achievements is another positive sign.
In contrast, a lack of detail on materiality analysis shows this remains a weak area of focus, 74% still do not explain how they communicate or engage with stakeholders.

A good employer

The UK performs well compared to the rest of Europe (3rd overall) when it comes to satisfying key stakeholders' content needs for Career related information. Overall, companies scored well for providing good insight about what it’s like to work inside the business – disclosing detail about the culture and company values, the inclusion of testimonials and information on benefits.

To further improve, more companies need to provide better disclosure, or policies, of their approach to diversity and equal opportunities – only a slight increase on last year. 
Although nearly all companies exclude contact details for HR teams, stakeholders are keen to have the option to talk directly with a human voice inside a company. Striking a balance between transparency and inviting potential spamming remains a challenge.

The rise of video

As expected, there has been growth in this area with more companies using the medium to help communicate their corporate story and performance. 46% of UK sites now include either a corporate video, or video of the CEO (up from 30% last year). 
Content ranges from the typical piece-to-camera, through to engaging shorts featuring a mix of inserts and animation to help push home the company’s message.

Video will continue to grow in popularity as more and more companies use the medium to help communicate their story.

What about mobile?

Last year we highlighted that despite continued growth in mobile audiences visiting corporate websites, 24% of UK companies didn’t have a responsive website (or mobile version). As expected, there has been a slight decrease (now 16%), and we anticipate a further reduction over the next year, perhaps coinciding with the inevitable launch of new sites.

More information

If you would like to see how you performed, please get in touch and we’d be happy to come and discuss your ranking in more detail and explain more about our Webranking process.

Please contact James Handslip, Director, +44 (0) 203 700 5555 or james.handslip@comprend.com.

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