Webinars have become an extremely popular format to communicate, interact and relay information to clients, prospects and other professionals in the industry. With the research and insight provided by the ON24 Webinar Benchmark Report for 2021, there were staggering statistics and behaviors that marketers exhibited in the past year. For example, webinar attendees increased 251% compared to last year’s attendance numbers and the hours of webinar content consumed increased 290%. This shows that webinars are a valuable B2B marketing strategy and are worth implementing into your marketing mix.
But, to be successful at hosting webinars, there are a few best practices to follow to ensure that your content makes an impact, your audience will attend and return for more in the future or become a lead through downloaded assets.
In the webinar planning process, there are many moving parts but a key focus should be on promoting the webinar so that you can get as many people signed up as you can. In your promotional email, it’s best to send out an email that includes the date and time of the webinar, an enticing reason to attend and a link for registration. With data analyzed over the last few years, it’s shown that Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday are the most effective days of the week to send out promotional emails. Emails sent out on these three days account for 63% of the registrations.
39% of registrants sign up more than a week in advance while very early registrants, those who sign up more than two weeks in advance, account for around 20%. The majority register up to one week before the event. Surprisingly, 15% of registrants sign up for a webinar the day that it is being held. These statistics are useful when determining how far in advance to start sending promotional emails. Beginning as early as three weeks, 21 days, in advance can help catch the very early registrants who are eager to reserve their spot. Sending follow-up emails, one that is a week in advance and one a few days, or the day before, the webinar can help you obtain the rest of your potential registrants. You should aim to send these emails mid-week at times that you know your audience will exhibit high open rates.
The messaging in your webinar should resonate and make an impact. For strategies and tips to forming strong B2B messaging, download our Messaging that Matters eBook.
Best Time to Host a Webinar
What is the best day of the week? Mid-week is also the best time to host a webinar. Wednesday and Thursday have high percentages of attendees on those days. Tuesday also has an attendance rate of over 20%, so any of the three mid-week days is ideal to hold your webinar. Monday and Friday have low percentages of attendance, but if you find that your company gets the most attendance on these days, then go with what works for you. Mid-week is a best practice but there are always organization and industry variations.
What is the best time of the day to hold a webinar? Just like the best days to have a webinar are mid-week, it’s also best to run your webinar in the middle of the day. According to ON24, the best time for a webinar is 11 AM Pacific Time, which is 2 PM Eastern and 1 PM Central. As a best practice, any time around lunchtime to early afternoon works well. But, always consider your audience. If you are holding an exclusive webinar for customers, consider what is the most common time zone for them. If you are having a webinar with no audience constraints, consider what timing has worked well in the past for your attendance rates.
Engagement and Viewing Time
Research has shown that since the registrant-to-attendee conversion rates and webinar attendance have continued to rise from year to year, engagement and viewing time has also been on the rise. The average viewing time is 57 minutes. Attendees are also much more engaged with interactive tools offered throughout the webinar. 86% of attendees interact during Q&A portions throughout the entirety of the session, 70% download attached resources, 43% participate in the surveys and 22% answer polling questions throughout the presentation. These are the most used interactive tactics that you can implement.
It is a best practice that upon completion of your live webinar to have it available on-demand. Oftentimes, those who registered couldn’t make it, had a last-minute schedule change or only signed up for it to view on-demand. From ON24’s research, it concluded that 43% of all attendees only watch on-demand webinars. While viewing time will vary, a good benchmark is 29 minutes. While this is less than live, there might be interactive portions that are edited out of the on-demand webinar or other variables as such.
The Future of Webinars
As webinars continue to grow in popularity, participation and interaction, keep these tips in mind to ensure that the registration and attendee goals are met.
- Keep promotion and live webinars mid-week
- Expect a high registration rate day-of
- Engage viewers with interesting Q&A and other tools throughout the webinar
It’s always a best practice to follow industry and organization best practices and trends to make the most of your webinar.