ON24, a leading webinar marketing platform, recently published their 2017 Webinar Benchmarks Report that provides great information for marketing professionals that are involved with webinar planning and promotion. The organization studied nearly 16,500 webinars from over 1,000 companies ranging from SMB to enterprise across all verticals.
We’ve summarized the findings below on planning and promoting a webinar.
Scheduling a Webinar
The study revealed that the best days for attendance are Wednesdays and Thursdays as these are the days when people are most productive and focused on their work.
Also noteworthy is the best time of day to host a webinar which seems to be 11 am Pacific Time. This time slot works best when trying to accommodate an audience from both coasts across multiple time zones and avoiding potential conflict times such as rush hour.
In terms of the length of the webinar, ON24 reports that the average webinar participants attended the event for more than 55 minutes. Because webinars are typically used to deliver thought leadership and educational content, companies are more likely to hold their audience’s attention for longer periods of time.
Most presenters plan to speak for about 45 minutes and leave 15 minutes for Q&A. However, if you don’t have a full hour of material, consider shortening the length of your webinar to 30-45 minutes. Most attendees are appreciative when you are respectful of their time and prefer to end early versus being forced to politely listen in to filler material to stretch the event to the top of the hour.
Promoting the Webinar
When it comes to promoting the webinar, marketing professionals found that registrants were most likely to register the week before the event. That being said, promoting your webinar ahead of time is still best practice as nearly a quarter of your potential audience is likely to sign up more than two weeks in advance.
What’s even more surprising is that 25% of registration happens on the day of the event. Because of this data, we recommend that you promote at least 2 weeks prior to the event with multiple email sends leading up to the date of the webinar. A sample schedule could look like this:
- 1st email – two weeks prior
- 2nd email – one week prior
- 3rd email – either the day before or the day of the event
When it comes to the best days to send promotional emails, it is no surprise that the middle of the week, when people are the most receptive, have the best engagement rates.
Don’t forget to also promote your on-demand version since 33% of viewers watch the video instead of attending the live event. Therefore, we highly recommend having a strong post-event strategy, particularly the week after the webinar which is when the majority of viewers will watch the video.
You can continue leveraging this asset over time as it will still attract viewers for months after the event.
Overall, the registrant to attendee conversion rate averages at 46%. This includes training and internal communication focused webinars which have a much higher conversion rate. For marketing webinars, conversion rates between 35-45% are considered to be strong.
One of the many benefits of leveraging webinars in your marketing strategy is the ability to engage with your audience.
There are multiple ways to engage with audience members such as:
- ending with a Q&A which still is the most popular tool, appearing in 82% of webinars
- offering additional resources (used in 66% of webinars)
- using polls to ask questions (added in 24% of webinars)
Integrating videos into your webinar is also trending up and has been for the past four years.