The emergence of Tablets over the past three years has been revolutionary to dozens of industries. While generally not the fastest in adopting new communication technologies, the IR Industry has begun to embrace tablets as valuable investor relations tools for engaging with stakeholders. A litany of investor relations apps were released during 2011 as news services and prominent #pubcos raced to jump on the new user experience.
iPad leads Investor Tablets
The iPad uptake trend depends upon its obvious cache, with support from senior executives who see the iPad as a status symbol that also fills in for a laptop in many cases. While some say the iPad simply duplicates the functions of a phone and PC, we tend to think its function as a lifestyle choice will see it become more prevalent in affluent homes and business settings over the next 12 months.
How investors use tablets
Analyst and Investors are constantly seeking up-to-the-minute information about the companies they have a position in. This means those same people want to be able to access this information in any location. The most common use case for shareholders using the iPad (or other tablets) is surely to become at home on either a weekday evening or weekend mid-morning. Tablets are a great way to deliver investor relations podcasts as they can give recipients a simple popup showing them that fresh content is available.
Think about it like this, anytime 30 years ago that a person was reading a paper, they’re now going to be on their tablet. People will simultaneously use this downtime to search their portfolios and assess investment opportunities. They’re already reading, they’re likely to seek out more information about your company at that time too.
Apps for Investors
To keep pace with the thirst for knowledge of people who play the market, a series of investor relations firms have been promoting the use of iPad apps in 2011. IR Web Report’s expose last year called 7 iPad Apps for Investor Relations simultaneously showed that companies are starting to get in the “tablet headspace” but also showed just how much room there is to makeup before #pubcos really see a benefit from the investment in Native apps. While all the apps on that are articles are a step in the right direction, the usability of iPad app for IR is still sadly lacking.
Prediction: As soon as the CEOs and CFO at #pubcos get an iPage for themselves, 2 weeks later they’ll be asking IT and IR what you’re doing about getting “padded up”. Your answer should be something along the lines of “We’re looking at the ROI of investing in a native app Vs revamping our website with responsive design”. Google “Your Website on Tablets” for more on that.
Apps for IR Professionals
IR pros should take note of the iPad as it has the potential to save them a stack of time. We can see it becoming the primary piece of hardware in the execution of an social engagement campaign. Some of our recommendations include:
Also worth noting is the emergence of PR News Wire’s new native Ipad app. This marks an interesting development for the struggling press release website. With it, we think PR News Wire is trying to make a play to IR professionals to keep them front-of-mind as Social Media and email communication start to take market share away from PR Newswire. The following is a demonstration of their new app. Enjoy!
Your website on Tablets
We mentioned earlier that at some point, your boss, your colleague or just some young buck at your company is going to start asking questions about iPads and how your company is taking advantage of their uptake. Contrary to what many app developers are encouraging, you don’t necessarily need to throw your web design budget at native apps. In fact, the browser on the iPad and even on the Galaxy Tablet is a viable browsing option.
Responsive design is the process of creating a website that automatically resizes itself to fit the device you’re viewing the web page on. This is a central part of your online branding. If it’s a smartphone, the elements on the page move themselves around to create a new layout especially for that screen size. This goes doubly for the iPad, so if your new website accounts for this, you can ensure that your content is visible on any device and your visitors have a professional and pain-free browsing experience. To checkout an example of responsive design, (we’ve used it on our website) simply take the bottom right corner of your browser window and drag it towards the top left. As the screen size changes to reflect an iPad and then a iPhone you’ll see the page aligns itself differently.