A new survey of leading international companies has found Roche and Novartis have the best websites in the pharma sector.
The report by consultancy group Bowen Craggs & Co and the Financial Times, ranked 81 websites belonging to the some of the world’s biggest firms.
The report authors say they were looking for three things: ease of navigation; consistency of service (i.e., how well they serve different audiences); good use of new web technology such as video, apps and integration with social networking.
Oil giant Shell came top of the survey, with the report complementing the company for its understanding of new web new technologies (including apps and video) and catering for its many diverse stakeholders groups, from investors to environmental campaigners.
Eight pharma firms ranked in the list, with Roche ranked fifth and Novartis in 8th place.
The full list of pharma companies from the 81 surveyed:
36) Johnson & Johnson
Two pharma firms also topped specific rankings, with Novartis being judged the best site for navigation, and joint top for having the best contact information available.
Roche was judged to be the best for projecting the firm’s message, which includes its overall visual design and its ability to engage with consumers.
Not so good
But the report was critical of Pfizer’s site, which it said featured content which has not been regularly updated. The world’s biggest pharma firm was ranked thirty-eighth.
The report also said the fact that Pfizer’s new careers website was entirely separate from the main corporate website was a major downside. “This is moving in the wrong direction,” said David Bowen, senior consultant at Bowen Craggs & Co, adding that jobseekers need to move around the whole site.
He added that this was a sign that Pfizer’s human resources and its online team were ‘not working well together’.
What makes an effective website?
According to the report a top-class corporate website should have three things above all: ease of navigation, consistency of service and command of technology.
It also said that when the firm made mistakes online - such as last year when it reconstructed its site - it was quick to learn lessons from the experience.
It was also one of the first to develop rich video content, and this year has shown an aptitude for apps to add to its stable of social media properties, the report noted.
BP came second, indicating that oil firms have both the money and the need to engage with customers as effectively as possible.
These firms also have few restrictions on how they can communicate online, whereas pharma must comply with many laws and regional codes of conduct when talking about prescription medicines.
But many firms still are not using the web as effectively as they should, and Bowen concluded the report with this warning: “While there are some stories of real progress there are too many where it has stalled, and is even going into reverse.”