Data shows increased traffic to general and financial news sites during the past few months

Key points:

  • General and financial news sites have seen a substantial increase in traffic during the period from December 2019 to February 2020
  • Traffic to large trading platforms has also boomed over the same period, with volume increases often outstripping those of news sites
  • Our research shows that two-thirds of professional investors surveyed are frustrated by managers who stop communicating during challenging times

Across the globe, public life is grinding to a halt as countries take drastic measures to curb the spread of COVID-19. While this has a dramatic impact on people’s lives and the way information can be exchanged and obtained, people still want information. Now more than ever.

The increased information need coupled with somewhat more limited access to print media has resulted in an explosion in web traffic, our research shows. Looking at major newswires in various countries we can see a dramatic increase in visits over the last three months. In the graph below, we look at Italy and Germany as an example.

These figures do not include the current month – we expect an even more dramatic increase in March as events are accelerating.

General news sites traffic Dec 19-Feb 20

While it is to be expected that the public wants to stay informed on the latest developments in relation to the virus, the last thing on anyone’s mind right now is anything to do with funds. But the data shows this is not true.

Looking at six major sites for financial news, the same trend can be observed.

On reflection, this shouldn’t be surprising – economic uncertainty and turbulent markets lead to investors worrying about their investments.

In such circumstances, investors also often forget that funds are a long-term investment. Our data shows that they are not only looking for more information online than ever before, but are also looking at alternatives.

The table below shows the web traffic of five large trading platforms. They have seen volume increases which very often outstrips that of news sites.

Not only do investors need information on how fund managers are responding to the current market conditions – they also need a reminder of why being invested in funds is a good thing.

Don’t go silent during difficult times

It may seem an inappropriate time to run a marketing campaign, but during this period of uncertainty investors are trying to find information that helps them understand measures they should be taking. Think about your communications strategy and ensure you are delivering timely, relevant, high-quality content to every part of your distribution chain that needs it.

According to Fundamental Research, two-thirds of professional investors say that one of their frustrations is that fund managers go silent when market conditions are difficult.

Investors genuinely appreciate it if you provide them with relevant messages about their investments and your view on the markets. How do we know? Clients who have already adapted their communication strategy and deliver timely content have seen performance increase threefold – a clear sign of appetite for relevant information.

Don’t go silent and adapt your communication strategy to deliver what your clients need now.

"Lack of contact when performance is bad. It is precisely in these circumstances that communication is indispensable."
Discretionary manager
German savings bank

With that in mind we recommend, among others, the following two steps:

  1. Optimise current activities to reflect a changing world
    We’re seeing drastic changes to working patterns – this ranges from ‘working from home’ to ‘split work’ and the cancellation of industry events and meetings. Media plans need to be optimised to reflect the current status quo:
    1. The role of the digital channel is increasing even further
    2. Work patterns are potentially changing
    3. Information requirements & exchanges are changing

A digital emphasis allows you to respond nimbly to changing market needs and adapt messages accordingly.

  1. Flexibility to respond to events as they happen
    The last few weeks have been very eventful – both socially and economically. It is important that messaging is responding in an appropriate manner to be relevant and appreciated. Employ dual strategies whereby you have a repository of messages for likely events which can be delivered dynamically in the very instance an event occurs.

We would advocate dynamic messaging wherever possible.

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