Webinars have become an extremely popular format for customers, prospects, and other industry professionals to communicate, interact, and share information. With the research and insights from the ON24 Webinar Benchmark Report for 2021, there have been amazing stats and behaviors that marketers have shown over the past year. For example, the number of webinar attendees increased by 251% year-over-year and the number of webinar content consumed increased by 290%. This shows that webinars are a valuable B2B marketing strategy and worth incorporating into your marketing mix.
However, to run webinars successfully, there are some best practices you need to follow to ensure your content is making an impact, your audience can participate, and come back for more in the future or become a lead from downloaded assets.
There are many moving parts in webinar planning, but a key focus should be promoting the webinar so that as many people as possible can sign up. In your promotional email, it’s best to send an email that includes the date and time of the webinar, a compelling reason to attend, and a link to register. Data analysis over the past few years has shown that Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday are the most effective days of the week for sending promotional emails. The emails sent during these three days account for 63% of the registrations.
39% of registrants register more than a week in advance, while very early registrants who register more than two weeks in advance account for around 20%. The majority register up to a week before the event. Surprisingly, 15% of registrants sign up for a webinar on the day it takes place. These statistics are useful for determining how long in advance to start sending promotional emails. Already three weeks, 21 days in advance, can help to reach the very early registrations who want to reserve their place. By sending out follow-up emails a week in advance and a few days or the day before, the webinar can help you attract the rest of your potential registrants. You should send these emails during the week when you know your audience will have high open rates.
Best time to host a webinar
What’s the best day of the week? The middle of the week is also the best time to host a webinar. Wednesday and Thursday have a high percentage of participants on these days. Tuesday also has a participation rate of over 20%, so any of the three days during the week are ideal for holding your webinar. Monday and Friday have low attendance rates, but if you find your company has the most attendance on those days then go with what works for you. The middle of the week is a best practice, but there are always organizational and industry differences.
What is the best time of day to do a webinar? Just as the best days to host a webinar are during the week, it’s also best to hold your webinar in the middle of the day. According to ON24, the best time to host a webinar is 11:00 AM Pacific Time, which is 2:00 PM East and 1:00 PM Central. As a best practice, any time from noon through early afternoon works well. But always think about your audience. If you are hosting an exclusive webinar for customers, consider which time zone they use most often. If you are hosting a webinar with no audience restrictions, consider what timing has worked well in the past for your attendance rate.
Commitment and viewing time
Research has shown that as registrant-to-attendee conversion rates and webinar attendance continued to increase year on year, so did engagement and viewing time. The average viewing time is 57 minutes. Participants are also much more preoccupied with the interactive tools offered during the webinar. 86% of attendees interact with Q&A throughout the session, 70% download attached resources, 43% take the surveys, and 22% answer surveys throughout the presentation. These are the most common interactive tactics that you can implement.
It is a best practice to have your live webinar available on demand after your live webinar is over. Often times, those who signed up couldn’t make it, had a last minute change to the schedule, or just logged in to view it on demand. ON24’s research found that 43% of all attendees only watch on-demand webinars. While the viewing time varies, 29 minutes is a good benchmark. While this is less than live, there may be interactive parts cut out of the on-demand webinar or other variables as such.
The future of webinars
Keep these tips in mind as webinars grow in popularity, attend and interact to ensure registration and attendee goals are met.
- Keep up promotions and live webinars in the middle of the week
- Expect a high sign-up rate on the day of
- Engage viewers throughout the webinar with engaging Q&A and other tools
It is always a best practice to follow industry and organization best practices and trends to get the most out of your webinar.