Google has some wonderful Social Media tools for IR, including Google+ and YouTube. But today, we're going to take a look at a few of Google's other awesome web apps and how exactly they can assist in marketing your public company.
Read on for a look at Analytics, Webmaster Tools, Reader, Google Finance and Blog Search.
Google Analytics for IR
Google Analytics allows you to see a huge amount of data related to your corporate website. By employing it effectively, public companies are able to use this data to establish ROI from their Social Media marketing.
Your IR department probably knows the number of website leads it requires in order to obtain a new shareholder. Combine that with the average investment for a new shareholder, and this figure should help you to discover the value of each lead from your corporate website.
Once you determine the value of a website lead based on the chances of converting them into a shareholder, you can now look at what it costs you to generate this lead. This is where Google Analytics is most effective. By determining how many people arrived at your website as the result of natural search traffic, press releases, email newsletters and Social Media activity, it's easy to see where marketing dollars are being spent, as well as the return on this investment in the form of leads and shareholder acquisition.
- Traffic sources
- Natural search queries
- Social-to-web conversions
- Average time on site
Still want more? This article from Q4 Web Systems does an excellent job of explaining Google Analytics and IR.
Google Webmaster Tools for IR
While Google Analytics is primarily dedicated to giving information about visitors to your corporate website, Google Webmaster Tools (GWT) focuses on how your website appears to search engines.
GWT is typically used by your webmaster to measure the health of your website and assess how external factors like links, sitemaps and Social Media are affecting your company's search visibility.
One important area in which GWT can be employed by public companies is in the use of sitelinks. As most of your website's traffic is likely generated through Google searches for your company name, sitelinks can be a powerful branding tool. Take, for example, a Google search for BHP Billiton; you'll see below that the sitelinks present here provide additional information for the searcher based on the website's content.
As GWT allows you to remove certain pages from the sitelinks section, we suggest manipulating these so that the following appear:
Other uses for Google Webmaster Tools include the monitoring of:
- Site 404 Errors
- Search Queries
- Inbound Links
- Sitemaps, E.g. http://irsmartt.com/sitemap.xml
Google Blog Search for IR
Google Blog Search is one of the most useful ways of tracking information about a given topic online. The interface allows a user to monitor any set of keyword terms and be sent up-to-the-minute alerts when a blog anywhere on the web publishes content related to that keyword term.
How is this relevant for IR? Because there's a good chance that your stakeholders are using tools like this to source news and views about your company.
While Analytics and Webmaster Tools are products that your IR Department can employ to improve your own marketing efforts, Blog Search is one that you should be aware of as a tool for stakeholders to track public sentiment and analyst coverage of your organization. If bad press relating to your company appears anywhere on the web, a blog search will find this and send it automatically to anyone following you.
Google Reader for IR
Search Engines and RSS Feeds changed the way people use the web. To find a website in the past, you needed to surf to it. Today, Search Engines give us the ability to search for new content. RSS takes this a step further by delivering new content to us based on keywords and sources that we determine; effectively allowing us to curate the web for our own interests.
RSS took the web from Push to Pull.
Monitoring Google Blog Search and Google Alerts is most effective using another Google product called Reader. Google Reader is an RSS Reader that pulls content for you from various feeds and displays it in a standardized format, within either a desktop or a web application.
Google Reader is an excellent business intelligence tool for your Investor Relations department. Monitoring RSS feeds from your competitors, partners and major news sources can help feed your Social Networks with new content. At the same time, monitoring searches for your company is the most efficient way to stay on top of public sentiment and respond to questions or concerns.
Google Finance for IR
Newswire services have a business that relies on subscribers. They hope that you'll pay them to distribute your content to interested parties. In reality, this model is slowly becoming less relevant and effective.
Where people once waited for news to come across the wire and into their inboxes, now they prefer to monitor Social Media profiles and Financial Networks for news about the markets and the stocks they follow.
Yahoo Finance is still the dominant financial Social Network, but in recent years Google, StockTwits, PR Newswire and Reuters have all followed with competitive products.
Such has been the success of Google's other products (E.g. Google Chrome, which is now the most used web browser) that we anticipate Google Finance will become the most used method for monitoring the markets.
Google Adwords for IR
Google Adwords is perhaps the least utilized Investor Relations application in the Google toolbox. This is mostly because Adwords is a highly specialized tool. The major use for Adwords is in E-Commerce, where there is a definitive ROI from the ad budget.
PPC Advertising is not a widely used IR strategy. But one way to employ it is to create an ad campaign focused solely on your company name. By doing this, it's possible to capture almost all of the "screen real-estate" for a search based on your company name.
Here is an example of a Google Ad used by Nike:
Notice below the effect of using this advertising on the screen real estate for a search of "Nike":
This advertising, used in conjunction with sitelinks and a Google Places listing, means that almost everything you see when you Google the company relates back to their website and marketing materials. The branding implication is that nobody can get lost and wander onto something that you don't intend for them to see.
This is actually just the tip of the iceberg for Google Tools and Investor Relations. In the last week we've already started a follow-up that looks at products like Docs, Picasa and YouTube. For more information about IR Smartt and our products and services, please feel free to contact us directly on firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our contact page for phone numbers and links to our Social Media profiles.