Live Webinar & On-Demand Webinar Best Practices

Deck7 published a survey that was used to produce the post, Live Webinar & On-Demand Webinar Best Practices that is key to develop demand creation programs that will guide go to market strategies and objectives.

The findings in the Live Webinar & On-Demand Webinar Best Practices post establish a benchmark, based on the analytics from several hundred thousand webinars.

Webinars are not unidimensional they are a vehicle to support online events for trainings, sales presentations, executive briefings, and product introductions.

Key Benefits of Webinars

  • Communicate directly with your audience on a large scale
  • Deliver personalized teaching sessions
  • Break down barriers to attendance such as an attendee’s location or time constraints
  • Promotes audience interaction tools to increase engagement and obtain real-time feedback
  • Real-time communication with a live audience
  • Capacity to connect quickly with diverse levels within an organization that are interested int he same topic
  • Ability to leverage various viewpoints of thought leaders
  • Lead generation

Live Webinar & On-Demand Webinar Best Practices – About the Study

  • The webinar benchmarks report based on data from webinars across several of the top webinar platforms.
  • The webinar report is based on data from 5,619 webinar campaigns from 2015-2018.
  • The webinar benchmarks report includes statistics from webinars with a worldwide audience across multiple industries.
  • The functional roles included in the webinar research include IT, HR, marketing, sales, and finance.
  • Companies participating in the webinar research sizes from large enterprises to small businesses.
  • The webinar benchmarks report presents benchmarks and best Practices for the different stages of a webinar from launch to engagement to conversion.

Live Webinar & On-Demand Webinar Best Practices – Launch

  • Promote no earlier or later than 3-4 weeks before the event. Ramp up all Promotions in the last 2 weeks. About 2/3rds of your registrations come in during this period.
  • Email is the top channel to promote followed by social media, the phone, and direct mail. Using a media partner for Promotions is becoming increasingly popular.
  • Promote right up to the event – about 10% of all registrations will often come in on the day of the webinar.
  • The best Time to start promoting your webinar is 3-4 weeks prior to the event. ON24 reports that extended Promotional cycles is the trend.
  • Start Promotions 4 weeks in advance and reports 69% of their total registrations by the week leading up to the webinar day with 33% occurring on the day of.
  • An alternative approach is a shorter cycle with social media promotions at least 2 weeks in advance and email promotions 1 week in advance.

Note: In general, the higher up you target in an organization, the longer the lead time to secure a registration.  For instance, an individual contributor has much more freedom and fewer commitments a month or quarter into the horizon than a c-level executive

Live Webinar & On-Demand Webinar Best Practices – Email

  • Schedule email promotion early to mid-week so that prospects become aware of your webinar before filling out their schedules for the week ahead.
  • Email opens and clicks taper off mid-week to the end of the week so it’s best to not send emails then.
  • Don’t hesitate to also schedule emails over the weekend; a fair share of prospects open emails then. Decide if that is suitable for your audience.
  • Note: Executives typically fall further behind in email and often times check email early Saturday and Sunday morning.  As a result, if a relevant and meaningful offer is presented to them, they will have a higher propensity to open the email on the weekend.

The Buyers B2B Marketers Need to Target

Live Webinar & On-Demand Webinar Best Practices – Day of Week to Promote

  • Schedule emails to promote your live webinars mid-week, ideally Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.
  • For on-demand versions, views occur more evenly across the week including the weekends.
  • Mondays tend to be the busiest day for most people and Fridays are when employees are wrapping up the work week, so these days preform poorer than the middle of the week.

Live Webinar & On-Demand Webinar Best Practices – Time of Day to Promote

  • Considering the time zone of your audience, avoid early or late in the day.
  • This makes “global” webinars difficult (compared to regional)  so offer an on-demand version for participants across different time zones.
  • In countries with multiple time zones, schedule to suit the largest part of your audience.
  • Consider offering the webinar at two times on the same day – although this means more work for you, you’ll see higher attendance you’ll see higher numbers.
  • In the US, schedule your webinar to start no earlier than 9am and no later than 12pm on the West Coast (that puts it in a 12pm-3pm window for the East Coast).
  • Communicate the webinar time in the time zone of your audience including your emails, registration pages, and calendar invites.
  • The time of day when you schedule your webinar greatly influences if your audience can sign in to participate without other commitments getting in the way.
  • This applies to live webinars only and not on-demand webinars that can be viewed at any Time including after work hours and weekends.
  • The earlier in the day you can schedule your webinar the better.
  • As there are several other factors affecting attendance rates besides time, the registration percentages need to be interpreted as approximate at best.

Live Webinar & On-Demand Webinar Best Practices – Metrics

  • Focus on registrations first – assuming you had developed a targeted list.
  • Attendee rates are not completely within your control.
  • Use reminder emails and calls to increase webinar attendee rates but focus your energies on driving registrations.
  • Retarget webinar registrant no-shows and provide an on-demand version of your webinar or invite them to your next webinar.
  • Often companies focus on the webinar attendee rate over registrations.
  • Registrants have expressed an interest by signing up, and even if they miss the live webinar, you can still engage them with an on-demand an on-demand replay and additional touches.
  • On average, conversion of a third of your webinar registrants to attendees is good.

Live Webinar & On-Demand Webinar Best Practices – Goals

  • Plan promotions to achieve registrations at 3X your goal for the number of attendees.
  • Reverse engineer the desired number of attendees to the number of registrations based on your conversion rates.
  • Your goals for the webinar and the purpose of your webinar should determine the desired attendee count and not the need to amortize webinar costs over the largest number of attendees.
  • If the purpose of your webinars is lead generation, smaller audiences and more targeted webinars with higher interaction with the attendees result in higher sales conversions.

Live Webinar & On-Demand Webinar Best Practices – Participation Time

  • Plan your webinars to be between 30 to 45 minutes in duration unless you have a compelling topic that needs longer and are confident you can keep your audience engaged for the duration.
  • Adding an interactive Q&A session at the end of the webinar greatly helps increase participation time.
  • Collect questions during the webinar (or even before) to kickstart the Q&A session.
  • Use interactive tools like Q&A and polling to keep the attendees engaged rather than a unidirectional “lecture” that forces your audience to be passive listeners.
  • The best webinars keep their attendees participating the whole Time.
  • Engaging content, good presenters, and using interactive tools all contribute to avoiding “hang ups.”
  • Most webinars today are planned for an hour, but the metrics show this may not the ideal duration for a webinar with viewing times shorter than an hour – 45 minutes.

Live Webinar & On-Demand Webinar Best Practices – Interactive Webinar Tools

  • Live Webinar & On-Demand Webinar Best Practices - Webinar Interactivity ToolsThe days of one-directional discourse intended for a passive audience are over – the more interactivity, the more successful your webinar will be.
  • The best interactive webinar tools to use are video inserts, Q&A sessions, and resources for download.
  • The easiest tools that don’t need additional video inserts or resources for download (that may not be available) are Q&A, surveys, polls, social and group chat.
  • Make time to use these tools and keep the Interactivity going right from the start (not just a “we’ll have Time for questions at the end.”)
  • The best webinar platforms offer several tools for interacting with your audience.
  • The most popular tools are the use of video inserts, Q&A, and resources for download.

Live Webinar & On-Demand Webinar Best Practices – On Demand Webinars

  • From the start, prepare to offer an on-demand version of the webinar.
  • One of the worst things you can do is mention you’ll have a replay when you announce your live webinar — If you’re going to have a live webinar, build excitement around it and don’t cannibalize your live audience by saying they can get the same content later if they don’t show up.
  • Plan your promotion budget to include post webinar campaigns to get additional registrants and extend the reach of your webinar.
  • About a third of all your registrations can come from post webinar viewers, don’t lose that opportunity.
  • On-demand webinars (or replays) provide a second opportunity to engage registrants.
  • Also, many viewers increasingly prefer to watch on-demand at their own schedule and pace.
  • On-demand webinar replays provide the opportunity for additional registrations and a wider audience reach.
  • For a global audience, on-demand webinars are the easiest way to overcome time differences across the world.

Live Webinar & On-Demand Webinar Best Practices – Live Webinars

  • Live webinars are still the most popular form of webinar although on-demand only webinars are fast catching up due to their convenience.
  • 73% of registrants in a recent poll said they preferred an on-demand version to a live webinar, while another study reported 84% of B-to-B consumers preferred replays to live webinars.

Live Webinar & On-Demand Webinar Best Practices – On Demand Registrations & Views

  • Retarget the no-shows from your live webinar.
  • Promote the on-demand webinar to new prospects – these could be people that showed some interest but didn’t sign up earlier for the live webinar or net new prospects.
  • Let your webinars run over time.
  • You should get most of the follow-through views in the 4-5 weeks after the live webinar, but if it doesn’t cost much to keep the replay available, then you can pick up
  • registrations even beyond 5 registration weeks.
  • When you offer an on-demand replay, after your live webinar, you’ll see a significant number of your original registrants attend and you’ll also see new people signup that didn’t sign up for the live webinar
  • earlier.
  • For the best webinars, about 70% of the live no-shows viewed the replay, and there were 27% new registrations for the on-demand webinar.

Live Webinar & On-Demand Webinar Best Practices – On Demand Expectations

  • Webinar replays allow the viewer the webinars, but that’s not such a bad thing. convenience to watch at a time suitable to them and the flexibility to skip ahead to parts they are interested in.
  • Don’t expect the view times to be the same as live webinars.
  • The length of view is often not the same as the interest level of the viewer.
  • On-demand webinars don’t have the advantage of the interaction possible on a live webinar but you can counteract that by including the results of polls, surveys, and summaries of the live webinar in the replay to increase its value.
  • Offer related webinars to the on-demand viewer – if available, offer follow-on webinars (sequels) or nurturing webinars aimed at mid- to bottom of the funnel prospects. Encourage the binge watchers!
  • Similar to engagement time for live webinars, viewing time can be measured for replays.
  • The shorter and more compact you make the duration of your webinar, the better – the time spent viewing on-demand webinars is significantly lower than spent on live
  • During on-demand webinars, viewers often skip ahead and view parts that most interest them – the percentage of viewers that go through to the end of the webinar (and your next steps) is higher than on live webinars.
  • Another added benefit is that on-demand viewers often also view related webinars and resources that you offer alongside the replay.

Live Webinar & On-Demand Webinar Best Practices – Key Webinar Software Features

Branding — Allows hosts to add official branding to their webinar. Branding helps attach a company to the ideas or product being presented.

Role-Based Access — Allows hosts to gate access to specific tools based on role. This ensures that audience participation is always on the speaker’s terms, and the audience’s attention is where the speaker wants it at a given time.

Recording — Allows hosts to record webinars for later viewing. Recorded webinars can be posted on a personal website or elsewhere on the web for others to download and view later. Some sites even allow for payment gateways where viewers must pay a fee first before downloading a webinar.

Registration — Allows attendees to register for webinar attendance within the application. Built-in registration allows a speaker to check attendance without ever leaving the app. Some webinar software even allow presenters to send collateral materials or automatically send emails to registered attendees.

Attendee Live Chat — Allows attendees to interact with one another via chat in real time. A live attendee chat allows the audience to remain engaged, especially if attendees are also not in a shared location. A live chat can also be used by a speaker to pull questions from the audience seamlessly.

Polls and Surveys — Allows attendees to participate in polls and surveys posted by the host. Polls and surveys offered to the audience in real time give the speaker personalized talking points, allowing them to tailor their message or presentation to those present.

Live Webinar & On-Demand Webinar Best Practices -Webinar Platform Checklist

  • Be meant for multiple presenters with up to hundreds or even thousands of attendees in live webinar sessions
  • Include lead capture and registration capabilities
  • Provide for the creation of engaging presentations and videos for widespread viewing
  • Include performance tracking and audience analytics




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