Mobile apps are the best way to keep all of your company’s stakeholders informed, invested, and, perhaps most importantly, satisfied that you are making an effort to ensure the market is fully informed and that your business is fairly valued.
Cultivating a mutually beneficial relationship with shareholders is critical for any public company, and depends entirely on a high level of transparency and effective communication. But in the age of over-stimulation and digital white noise, it can be difficult to find effective channels for reaching your desired audience.
All public enterprises have websites, but most IR professionals and stakeholders will agree that the traditional website is often too passive and can be challenging to manage. Most corporate websites are owned by a team of internal stakeholders, and investor relations is only a small component of the overall equation. As a result, internal bureaucracy and limitations on resources can often make website management difficult and unwieldy.
Luckily, an additional platform has emerged over the course of the last decade, offering IR professionals a direct and clear channel for proactive communication — enter: the smartphone.
Mobile Adoption Rates Continue to Surge
According to the Pew Research Center, 64% of American adults own a smartphone today — a number that has nearly doubled since the spring of 2011 (35%). Of those, 19% are reliant on smartphones for web browsing, and 57% report using a smartphone to perform tasks like online banking, indicating real trust in the platform. A full 46% report that they “couldn’t live without [them].”
Few technologies can claim such ubiquity, leading many powerful organizations to recognize the fact that smartphones must be added to their existing shareholder communications program. But smartphones can be used in a number of different ways, and at the end of the day, not all of their functions were created equal.
Positioning for Success
As smartphones begin to play an increasingly central role in people’s ability to access information, businesses must confront the question of whether to operate through a mobile website or an app.
A mobile website is, generally speaking, a condensed version of a company’s full site that one would encounter on the traditional web. Mobile websites usually provide access to a limited selection of content from the full website — mobile sites will often allow visitors to open the full site on their phone or tablet, but navigating this format on a hand-held device will be clumsy at best.
Apps, on the other hand, are independent pieces of software downloaded to a user’s mobile device and made for a singular purpose — in essence, they’re highly-focused, intuitive, and optimized specifically for mobile.
A recent survey conducted by Compuware found that 85% of people prefer apps to actual websites, citing top reasons like faster computing speeds, streamlined use, convenience, and security. Moreover, according to a 2015 report from Yahoo and Flurry, smartphone users spend only about 10% of their time on mobile devices navigating in the web browser — the vast majority, or remaining 90%, is spent inside of mobile apps.
What’s more, apps can provide real-time alerts in the form of push notifications or banners, which are especially useful for social media, email, and even news apps for providing breaking news on the go. UK business research firm Econsultancy has found that mobile users generally expect their apps to load in two seconds or less; the expected time for mobile websites is, on average, four seconds. This might not sound like much, but when you consider that the average person checks their phone more than 150 times each day, all of those seconds can really start to add up.
Thus, it should come as no surprise that public companies are increasingly adding a mobile app to their investor communications program. But not all apps are created equal — industry-specific software like ShareholderApp offers investor relations professionals a highly customizable platform through which to gather and disseminate information to company stakeholders in the most efficient and intuitive way possible.
The app delivers trading data, important corporate documents, videos, a contact info page, and presentations, increasing the speed and reach of the information you share while requiring little or no added effort on your part.
More broadly, the act of crafting and releasing an app sends a message that the company is serious about keeping its clients informed and its business fully valued.
Today, apps are the most effective vehicle to proactively reach-out and alert stakeholders whenever important news is released. More than a simple and welcoming interface, apps present you with the opportunity to gain traction as an industry leader in digital innovation — one who prioritizes the quick and accurate flow of information above all else.
The sharp rise in popularity of smartphones shows no signs of slowing, which means embracing a mobile app for your business is the first step towards successful investor relations in 2015 and beyond.