There has never been a more critical time for brands to get their digital houses in order. As the pandemic disrupts communication channels, an effective website is an anchor. Built and run right, it can educate audiences, reassure investors, stress commitment to company purpose, communicate long-term strategy and continue the brand narrative in uncertain times.
But what makes an effective website? As revealed by last month’s Connect.IQ report, there are myriad factors that impact on audience experience. Launched in 2008, Investis Digital’s Connect.IQ assessment has earned a reputation as the definitive countdown of corporate websites globally, applying 300+ criteria points to score corporate sites across the board. “We analyse every page and element of the website,” explains Investis Digital Creative Director, Simon Gittings. “From whether a company has a dedicated page on climate change, to search performance and how fast it is on mobile.”
The Connect.IQ report has evolved. From an early focus on functionality, Investis Digital’s analysts now have the tools to examine nuanced elements like company narrative. It’s a natural extension of Investis Digital’s concept of Connected Content – a holistic ethos where authentic brand stories flow into advanced websites and offer data-led insights. “The evolution of this report aligns with our entire philosophy,” says Director of Performance Marketing, Lianna Kissinger Virizlay. “You need to be benchmarking against them all to succeed in the digital world today.”
The latest Connect.IQ FTSE 100 Ranking shines a spotlight on the growing gap between the best corporate sites – and those trailing behind. “The distance between the top-performing companies and the average is increasing,” says Gittings. “For example, BP currently scores 73% across the board, while the average for the FTSE 100 is 51%. Meanwhile, 25% of companies still don’t explain their strategy on their website. Of those that do, only a quarter provide any quantification of their ambitions or progress. So many very large companies are still not communicating through their digital estate as well as their audiences expect them to.”
As Gittings explains, many firms aren’t even aware of their online shortcomings – and they welcome the Connect.IQ report, which is free to access, as part of Investis Digital’s research-sharing service. “Even for those companies that pay and and subscribe to competitor benchmarking services, we’ve been able to uncover underperforming elements that have been missed. That’s because we’re so agile. What we focus on can shift, depending on what’s happening in the market. When Covid hit, for example, equity investors became more interested in a company’s debt position, so it’s an area we focus on in our analysis.”
The benefits of the Connect.IQ project are not limited to FTSE 100 companies. Other listed companies on indexes, such as NYSE 100, NASDAQ 100 and Global Health 100, receive Connect.IQ methodology, key insights and ranking scores. Investis Digital is uniquely placed to apply the best principles to the websites it builds and runs for its own clients, of every size. “This kind of audit,” explains Gittings, “is something we would do for any project where we engage with a client to update their website.”
You can watch the webinar to find out more about Investis Digital and Connect.IQ