Webcasting: How do you engage with investors in a virtual world?
28 September 2017
By Dinka Lutvic
It’s no surprise that in this hyper-digital world, an individual’s attention span has dropped drastically. In fact, according to a recent Microsoft Corp study, the human attention span is a mere eight seconds, down from 12 seconds in 2000. To put it put it into perspective: a goldfish has an attention span of nine seconds (that’s one more second than you or I have). For IROs, life’s distractions can present some challenges. In order to effectively communicate your company’s vision, strategic advantages and performance to your current shareholders base or prospective investors you need to be able to reach them — and keep them engaged. And with more and more people engaging online, it’s more important than ever to ensure your digital events (webcasts) capture your audience, pull them into the dialogue, and keep them engaged from start to finish.
Our events team spends day-in and day-out producing events for our clients (In fact, this year to date they have produced just over 1,200 webcasts.) We asked them: how can IROs better engage with a digital audience? Here’s what they had to say.
Look into investor behaviour
Knowing your audience is key to a successful event, especially for quarterly earnings calls and virtual investor days. The beauty of using a webcasting tool is that you’re able to capture key insights of registrants ahead of the event and understand their journey the day of and how they engage with your content. You’ll learn behaviours on how they engage (do they skip ahead in the deck, do they let you control the slides) and when they dropped off the call. If you notice that a certain percentage of listeners drop off at a certain point, you’re able to analyze the situation, pivot and see if you can impact behaviours for future events. You’ll also gain insight into live viewers who download the on-demand version to catch up on missed content. Knowing as much about your audience ahead of an event will help you to better prepare and create a winning digital experience.
Consider the digital audience
If you’re hosting an in-person event (let’s say investor day) and streaming it online to expand reach and engagement, it is key to creating an omni-experience — meaning that those online are experiencing the same event as those in person. Ensure you think about all the components that make an engaging experience and integrate them into the online experience. Sync your webcasting team with the AV team to ensure that your online audience is seeing and hearing it all. This is especially important during the Q&A portion when there is a mic runner moving between attendees. You want those online to hear the entire conversation. Ensure your visuals are clear and engaging. The average person starts to nod off around the 10 minute mark of a presentation. If it’s hard to hold the attention of the room, imagine how hard it is to hold onto those online, who can be easily distracted.
Expand the webcast shelf life
Webcasting an earnings call or an investor day is not a one-time event. The value of webcasting comes from having a longer-term impact and greater reach once it’s recorded. This provides you with the ability to connect with a larger group of people at any time. Recorded content lives on your IR website as a lens into your company that investors can consume quickly. It provides you with the opportunity to tell your story your way to someone who you may not have the opportunity to connect with in person. For anyone who has attended the webcast, a recorded version enables them to share your message with their peers. Allowing investors to watch a recorded version at their own pace means that they can absorb your message their way, or pick up on information they missed during the live event.
How to host a successful virtual event
Here are some tips to help you plan a successful online event.
Communicate your event early: It’s imperative that an announcement goes out with enough time to let the investors know the date of the event. Ensure that the link is shared on your IR website and emailed out the conference call numbers to anyone that you would like to attend.
Schedule a dry run: To ensure that the presentation is smooth overall, always schedule a dry run at least 24 hours before the event with all participating speakers. Check your audio because when investors are unable to understand your message on the call, they may tune out or drop off.
Prep your CEO: Provide them with a checklist that focuses on what you’ve told investors during that quarter so they can remain consistent. When you manage to review this checklist with your CEO early enough, you’ll be able to work in their comments and tweak messaging more quickly once final numbers have come in. Remind them that it’s important to keep the audience engaged, in person and online.
After the event: Post the recorded version as soon as possible in your archived earnings call section on your IR website.
Dinka Lutvic is the marketing manager at Q4. Based in Toronto, Canada, Dinka is passionate about how technology is changing the role of IROs.