One of the biggest questions we get at PR Newswire center around best practices for distributing earnings news. While there are tried-and-true tactics for distributing a well-crafted earnings release, it is always a best practice – for any type of communication – to “look to the data” to better understand the messages that resonate most with stakeholders. As we head into 2023 there is no better time to look at the trends that drove the last 12 months’ financial news.
Four Major Earnings Release Trends of 2022
The team at PR Newswire recently did an analysis based on more than 10,000 earnings announcements that crossed the PR Newswire global network in 2022 to find out what stood out this year versus prior years. Below are four of the biggest trends we saw across our networks.
Trend #1: Inflation
One of the biggest changes in quarterly earnings messaging in 2022 was around the various impacts inflation had on company performance. ‘Inflation’ was mentioned in 23% of quarterly earnings announcements in 2022, an increase from just 7% in 2021.
An example of this is seen here in Ace Hardware’s November announcement: "My sincere thanks to the entire Ace team…," said John Venhuizen, President & CEO. "...Despite, and in some cases because of rampant inflation, the Ace team continues to deliver superior financial results and exceptional customer service to and for our neighbors."
Trend #2: Sustainability
Earnings messaging around ‘sustainability’ has seen a consistent year-over-year increase since 2019. And within this bucket, industries that stood out in 2022 were:
- Tech, with 16% of total earnings messaging ‘sustainability’
- Retail, with 10% of total earnings messaging ‘sustainability’
Related: Total content (not just earnings announcements) coded with PRN’s ESG network tag rose from approximately 1900 in 2021, to well over 4,000 press releases in 2022. A quick example of this is from Toyota Motor.
Trend #3: Covid
Quarterly earnings announcements saw two trends in 2022 when it came to messaging around Covid. First, the overall volume of releases mentioning “Covid” dropped in 2022 versus 2021; and second, mentions transitioned more toward boilerplate messaging in 2022 in most content (as opposed to being found more in executive quotes and/or devoted sections in 2021).
See, for example, this early December earnings report from Cracker Barrel, which mentions Covid in the boilerplate only; an earlier Cracker Barrel earnings report, released in November 2021, mentions Covid in the main body. (“The Company believes that providing comparable store sales results back to fiscal 2019, which is the most recent full fiscal year that was not impacted by COVID-19, provides a more useful comparison than comparing to COVID-impacted periods.”)
Trend #4: Multimedia usage
A critical content best practice to improve readability and increase reader engagement is to always include multimedia in a press release. This applies to IR announcements as well as PR. 2022 saw 55% of quarterly earnings announcements include some form of multimedia (e.g., image, video, logo). This compares to 51% in 2021.
One particular type of asset has seen the biggest overall increase in earnings releases: the infographic. A form of infographic, the infobite, has especially grown in popularity when it comes to earnings announcements. An infobite typically includes one to four data points you want your audience to focus on, making it much smaller (and more ‘bite’-sized) than your more traditional, data-packed infographic. This November announcement from McGraw Hill is a great example of a company utilizing an infobite
Looking ahead: What’s on the horizon for Q1 2023
We expect next year to again see trends like those we saw from 2021 to 2022 – increased ESG messaging; increased messaging around the impact inflation will have on quarterly company performances; and an increase in multimedia usage to deliver a more engaging story to the audience.