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The Power of Data for Investor Relations

This week we also look at data analysis and Investor Relations strategies, summing up a recent webinar we listened in on (IR Magazine’s Webinar – The power of data for your IR program) with some thoughts of our own. We recommend those interested in more information listen in on the full webinar, details below.

Data analysis is changing the way most companies and economies are being run, (think Amazon, Facebook, Netflix, Google…) so it’s not a surprise Investor Relations can also benefit from a more rigorous approach to data than the traditional running spreadsheets of your contacts and sending them emails.

Still there are limitations, and a lot of consultants are offering products that probably do not work very well in the Mexican world. In the USA there are tens of thousands of relevant investors in large companies, which allows you to run and analyze big data sets, and draw conclusions. In Mexico there are hundreds of investors, at most, which makes such data sets hard to mine for useful conclusions.

Also, investors mostly do not want companies to know what they are thinking, so they are building their firewalls, using Bloomberg (which does not sell on the data), and limiting access to data mining on them. So as always, we recommend a healthy dose of skepticism, while being always open to learning from new tools and trends.

Some ideas:

  1. Investor Relations website and download traffic: The traffic of your website can tell you a lot about who is interested in your company, what they are downloading, and where they are located. There are several free tools out there, which with a simple download and plug-in can serve as powerful data sources to prioritize geographic regions or even specific investors with which to spend management’s time on.
    1. Google Analytics: tracks and reports back website traffic. The traffic reports can give unique insights in regard to which potential investors are checking your website, where they are doing it from, and how often they come back. This tool also offers machine learning capabilities to make the most of your data.
    2. Alexa: An Amazon company, allows you to track your website’s traffic, audience overlap (which is especially useful in seeing what other peer websites your investors are looking at), search traffic, share of voice, locations, and more. There is a free trial which includes competitive and audience analysis, useful in fine-tuning your investor targeting.
    3. SimilarWeb: An option that is not free but is very complete as it provides raw data and processed data (graphs) on website traffic and engagement (visits, unique visits, average visit duration, location) and peer comparatives.
    4. Downloads: Instead of sending PDF attachments, Investment Banks now generally send links to their website to download a research report. This reduces data usage in email, and also allows much better tracking of what investors are interested in by tracking their IP address against an account they are required to have. Sales people at the investment can then call the investor who has downloaded a report and offer stock or meeting in that company. For companies this is less compelling, as investors do not need to open an account to access the corporate website, but at least you will have an IP address, which can be compared to previous downloads of that IP address.
  2. Earnings calls participants: Having your earnings calls participants organized in a decent CRM (Hubspot, etc) or an Excel sheet divided in tabs for every separate quarter can allow you to sort and filter, find duplicates, and much more to help draw trends as to who is a repeat participant, where they are coming from, and what types of questions they are asking. Most of the Conference Call companies will tell you how long the investor stayed on the call, and you can note if the investor asked a question. You can then follow up with personalized emails. This information unlocks a powerful resource in customizing your investor targeting resources.
  3. Investor Day attendees: Similar to the earnings calls participants, having all your event attendees in one place can help you find where the most interest is coming from. In addition, you can cross references event attendees with earnings calls participants with a simple CRM or Excel function to dedicate the most time to your most active and worthy investors.
  4. Email opens: Most email software (Constant Contact, etc.) allows you to track who has and has not opened an email. Clearly those who have opened the email are more interested in your company.
  5. Bloomberg: Sadly, it does not share data with outsiders. This somewhat limits the value of data mining as more and more investors access information via Bloomberg.
  6. Data on actual investors, and changes in investor base, via the 13-F filings of institutional investors, available on Bloomberg and other platforms: If a large investor is increasing his stake quarter by quarter, its likely he will keep increasing it and vice versa.
    (Unfortunately, the SEC has recently announced a proposal to gut the Form 13-F ownership disclosure rules, which would exempt 89 percent of current 13-F filers from disclosure. This would make it much more difficult to track changes in investor ownership). The 13-Fs can tell you who are the investors in your peers, and thus potential investors in you. They are thus extremely helpful, and removing such disclosure requirements, would make investor targeting much harder.
  7. The webinar will address how NIRI plans to mobilize issuers, NIRI chapters, and other corporate groups to fight this measure and encourage the SEC to adopt meaningful reforms to increase ownership transparency. NIRI will share comment templates with members and will ask issuers to sign a joint letter to the SEC, which also will be shared with key lawmakers. 
  8. AI and market surveillance data: Artificial Intelligence, coupled with market surveillance data, one day could be a powerful tool in using data for Investor Relations strategies, although we doubt it is useful right now in Mexico. The data set is too small. Q4, provider of cloud-based investor relations and capital market solutions, claims it uses proprietary AI systems to give actual and potential investors a score every quarter. This score then allegedly directly correlates with how much attention each investor receives from top management. This score takes into account the type of investor they are (activist, hedge fund, etc.), their history with the company, their traffic to the investor relations websites, and third-party data provided by market surveillance teams. This tool is quite advanced, and we suspect its effectiveness is limited, but it is important to have it in mind.

As Investor Relations managers, you have access to data you maybe did not even know you were sitting on. These are just some of the ways in which you can use it to target your investors. And as always, please reach out if you would like help unlocking the benefits of data for your IR program and Miranda-IR is happy to help.