The webinar is a time-honored marketing technique that gives you a great opportunity to demonstrate the value of your product and services. But planning, promoting, and presenting a webinar is no mean feat.
If you’re a webinar veteran, you’ve probably built up a pretty good understanding of what works best for you. But if you’re new to the webinar game, or if you’re just looking for some new ways to refine your existing strategy, a close look at the numbers may reveal some surprising insights for you to put into practice.
In this post, we’ll examine the most important webinar marketing statistics and consider what they could mean for your own webinar campaigns.
Here’s a brief sketch of what we’ll cover:
- Why are webinars so popular?
- What do the stats say about webinar registrations?
- What do the stats say about webinar attendance rates?
- What do the stats say about webinar scheduling?
- What do the stats say about what audiences want?
So let’s dive in by seeing what all the hype is about.
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Why are webinars so popular?
The webinar format has been around for decades and has proven to be a reliable business tactic for generating leads, converting prospects into paying customers, and onboarding new users.
Webinars are widely used across all industries, but they’re especially loved within the B2B space, with 58% of B2B marketers incorporating webinars into their content marketing strategies.
#1. 58% of B2B marketers use webinars in their content marketing programs.1
Whether you’re using a specialized tool like RingCentral Webinar or just your usual video conferencing software to present something to a large group of people, it’s a useful way to reach an audience—without the costs of booking a physical space or, say, providing refreshments and other in-person event expenses.
This level of popularity stems from the general fact that B2B decision-makers like to consume video content while researching their purchases. In fact, 49% of B2B buyers engage with video content before making a decision to buy.
#2. 49% of B2B buyers engage with video content before they make a buying decision.2
The B2B webinar engagement stats speak for themselves: 91% of B2B professionals rank webinars as their favorite content format, and more than 54% of them engage with webinars at least once a week.
#3. 91% of B2B pros list webinars as their favorite type of content.3
#4. 54% of B2B pros engage with webinars on a weekly or daily basis.4
And it looks like this level of popularity is set to rise. The coronavirus pandemic has forced millions of companies worldwide to rethink their sales and marketing strategies and look to new ways of engaging their audiences. Widespread cancellations of trade shows, live events, and in-person demos have all pushed businesses to scramble for effective alternatives—and the humble webinar now appears to be the format of choice.
In fact, since the start of the coronavirus outbreak, 67% of marketers have increased their investment in webinars, with a 36% increase in US brands offering webinars between February and March 2020 alone.5
#5. 67% of marketers have increased their investment in webinars since the coronavirus outbreak.6
So what is it, exactly, that makes webinars so popular? What combination of benefits do they offer that you just can’t get from other content formats?
The benefits of hosting a webinar
Location independence: As we’ve just seen, webinars are a remote alternative to in-person events. Not only does this mean people can access your content wherever they are in the world, but it also saves on the costs of hosting an in-person event (like renting out space, paying for catering and equipment, etc.).
Scalability: Webinars let you speak directly to hundreds, if not thousands, of people at the same time. (And if you want to run a series of them, having a webinar template will help you speed up the process even more.)
Variety: Webinars give you plenty of freedom to play with the format to keep your audience engaged. The different interactive elements you can use in webinars include slides, polls, chats, drawing tools, and Q&A sessions.
Real-time feedback: Those viewing the webinar can type in questions and comments while your presentation is underway. They’ll also have the opportunity to pick your brains during the Q&A session. Real-time feedback like this gives you an immediate sense of what resonates with your audience and gives you a way to address any pre-sale objections they might have then and there.
Audience attention: Viewers typically pay close attention to live webinars in case they miss something. With a fully tuned-in audience, you have a better shot at getting all your points across compared to, say, a blog post.
Trust: Webinars give your business a human face that helps forge stronger bonds with your audience. Allowing viewers to experience first-hand your expertise and commitment to providing them value helps to instill their confidence in the trustworthiness of your business.
Leads: Webinars can be an incredible source of new leads—73% of marketers identify webinars as an effective source of quality leads, second only to small, in-person events at 77%.
#6. 73% of marketers consider webinars to be a great source of quality leads.7
High conversion rates: Conversion rates for webinars are often way higher than for other content types, converting between 5% and 20% of viewers into buyers.
#7. Webinars convert between 5% and 20% of viewers into buyers.8
Revenue: Last but not least, webinars are great revenue drivers. 37% of B2B marketers listed webinars as a source of revenue, second only to white papers at 40%.
#8. 37% of B2B marketers list webinars as delivering content marketing ROI.9
What do the stats say about webinar registrations?
The key indicator of your webinar’s promotion strategy is, of course, the number of people who’ve registered to attend. Knowing what the stats say about people’s registration habits can help you hone your future promotional efforts.
If you assume that people landing on your sign-up page aren’t familiar with your brand (i.e., they’re “cold” traffic), you can expect around 30% of them to register for the webinar.
#9. The average webinar registration page conversion rate is 30% for cold traffic.10
How far out people sign up to your webinar will depend in large part on when you begin to promote it. That said, most registrations will occur during the week leading up to the event. You can also expect around 17% of attendees to sign up more than 15 days before the webinar, and as much as 29% to sign up on the big day itself.
#10. 17% of attendees register more than 15 days out from the event.11
#11. 29% of attendees won’t register until the day of the webinar.12
So what do these stats imply for your own webinar promotion strategy?
First, they indicate that a longer promotion cycle is likely to result in more sign-ups. You should begin to send out your targeted emails, paid search ads, and social media posts at least two weeks out to maximize your number of registrants.
The stats also point to the need to keep reminding your registrants of the upcoming webinar. After all, those who signed up a week or two in advance may well forget about the webinar when the live broadcast day finally comes around. You should send frequent reminders to your registrants—including right before the webinar—to make sure they actually turn up… which leads us to our next point.
What do the stats say about webinar attendance rates?
Getting your audience to register for a webinar is one thing, but getting to them to actually attend is another thing entirely. Many of those who sign up will end up as no-shows on the day.
So, what’s a good webinar attendance rate? As a rule, you can expect between 35% to 45% of those who registered to actually turn up to the live version of the webinar.
#12. The average webinar attendance rate is around 40%.13
But even if your attendance rate falls below this average, it doesn’t automatically mean your webinar was a failure. Many registrants won’t catch the live webinar broadcast but will check out the on-demand replay. And your audience will expect to view a replay later, so make sure your webinar platform has the ability to record easily.
Generally speaking, you can expect around 25% of those who registered to miss the live show and to watch the replay instead.
#13. 25% of webinar registrants will just watch the replay.14
In fact, most people who register for webinars will sometimes view them live and sometimes on replay. Only about 22% of people watch all their webinars live.
#14. 22% of people watch all their webinars live.15
This split in people’s viewing behavior is why you should keep a close watch on how much engagement you’re getting from the live event versus the on-demand recording. For example, if the numbers show that your webinar replays result in more conversions, you may want to invest more time into promoting them.
But what should you do if you want to increase webinar attendance for the live event?
On top of sending frequent reminders to those who register, one way to encourage greater attendance is to increase the perceived value of the webinar. You could do this by offering a bonus upgrade at the end of the webinar exclusively to those who attend, such as a free eBook, a discount code, or a personalized template. Registrants are more likely to show up when they know that they’ll otherwise miss out on some free, valuable goodies.
Another tactic you could use to drive webinar attendance is to leverage scarcity. In other words, you could frame your webinar as a limited offer to increase people’s sense of urgency. For example, you could cap the number of registration spots at a certain limit and emphasize it throughout your promotion material (e.g., “Only 30 seats available. Sign up now to secure your spot!”).
What do the stats say about webinar scheduling?
Chances are you’ve tuned in to an online event before only to check out early. Sometimes the presentation isn’t what you expected, sometimes it starts off great but loses steam halfway through, and sometimes you’ve just got other stuff to do. The fact is that around 66% of people say they’ve left a webinar early.
#15. 66% of people have left a webinar early.16
This raises the question, how long should a webinar be? In general, webinar attendees are prepared to go pretty deep, with the average attendee stick-rate hovering around 52 minutes.
#16. The average attendee will watch a webinar for 52 minutes.17
Obviously, an attendee’s willingness to stick around will depend on the value they’re getting from the webinar and on how much time they have to spare. With the increased tightening of people’s attention budgets, shorter webinars are now becoming more common—42% of webinars last just 45 minutes.
#17. 42% of webinars last just 45 minutes.18
So much for webinar duration, what’s the best time to host a webinar?
The stats indicate that most people prefer to join webinars around mid-morning (28%) or mid-afternoon (27%). These are the times when most people are at their desks and have already taken care of their morning and post-lunch priority tasks.
#18. 28% of people prefer to join webinars mid-morning, 27% mid-afternoon19
Don’t forget, if your audience is made up of people from different time zones, you’ll want to schedule your webinar at a time that’s convenient for as many of them as possible.
When it comes to picking the right day to host your webinar, the stats suggest that mid-week is best. Most viewers prefer to join webinars on Thursday (26%), Tuesday (23%), and Wednesday (21%). This isn’t so surprising when you consider that, for many professionals, Mondays and Fridays tend to be filled with catch-up meetings and last-minute tasks.
#19. The best day to host a webinar is Thursday.20
Remember that these figures are just benchmarks and are best used as an initial guide. You should experiment with different days and times, as well as inviting feedback from your audience, to work out the best webinar schedule for you.
What do the stats say about what audiences want?
So, you’ve successfully promoted your webinar, you’ve picked the perfect time to host it, you have a full house of attendees fired up and ready to go… now what?
The first thing is to make sure your webinar delivers on its promise. That means carefully planning the content and structure of your presentation ahead of time so that your audience members are left satisfied that they got what they came for. For example, 84% of B2B professionals tune in to webinars to stay up to date on what’s happening in their industries, so your material should be relevant, insightful, and logically organized.
#20. 84% of B2B webinar viewers are looking to stay up to date on industry developments.21
An enthusiastic presentation style is another must-have for any webinar worth its salt. 67% of attendees say that the most important thing about a webinar is that the presenter is passionate and engaging.
#21. 67% of webinar attendees say that the most important thing is for presenters to be passionate and engaging.22
One of the main reasons people check out of webinars early is that the presenter comes off as too salesy. While it’s definitely true that webinars are a great forum for persuading prospects to become your customers, forcing the matter by turning your presentation into one long sales pitch is not the way to approach it. Instead, focus on building trust with your attendees by demonstrating your knowledge and willingness to help. Doing so will create a positive impression that will spill over into their perception of your product.
It’s okay to deliver your pitch towards the end of the presentation, but make sure it flows seamlessly from the information you’ve been providing. A great example of this soft-sell technique can be found in HubSpot’s webinars. In this example, the sales pitch can be found on slides 48 and 49 of a 55-slide presentation. The webinar then immediately switches back to providing value to viewers.
Finally, it’s essential to allow time for your attendees to ask questions—92% of viewers want a live Q&A session.
#22. 92% of webinar attendees want a Q&A session.23
Doing your Q&A session after your pitch will let you field questions about both the material you covered and what you offer. It also presents the perfect opportunity to give your attendees some extra, personalized value (for example, by recommending further reading material, suggesting useful tools to check out, etc.).
Ready to put these webinar marketing statistics to the test?
The numbers paint a clear picture: webinars are a powerful tool for marketers. They’re popular with audiences, they generate quality leads, they have a high conversion rate, and they can deliver a significant ROI.
But the figures also tell us that a haphazard approach to webinars won’t work. It takes careful planning and promotion to attract and engage your webinar audience.
Use the stats covered in this post as guiding benchmarks to refine your next webinar campaign. And don’t forget, you can use RingCentral Webinar to host virtual events and online training to up to 10,000 attendees and up to 500 presenters.
1 iampop.com/blog/how-to-set-up-a-webinar-promotion-campaign2 business.linkedin.com/en-uk/marketing-solutions/blog/posts/B2B-Marketing/2018/B2B-buyers-have-spoken-heres-what-they-want-from-your-content-marketing
Originally published Jul 01, 2020, updated Jan 15, 2021