In today's crowded marketing arena, webinars are an increasingly important part of the sales cycle for brands vying for attention.
A key reason for their growing popularity: Webcasts have seen a 47% increase in average viewing time, from 38 minutes in 2010 to 56 minutes in 2013, according to ON24's annual Webinar Benchmarks Report.
While it is generally assumed that people's attention spans are shrinking drastically in this era of texts and tweets, this increase in viewing time suggests that when people are making serious purchasing decisions, they are more than willing to invest the extra time to educate themselves and consume targeted, relevant content as long as it resonates with their needs and position in the buying cycle.
Marketers are looking to take advantage of webinars' ability to attract and hold serious audiences while also providing key metrics. Long gone are the days of "spray and pray" tactics, and measurement has become crucial for the modern marketer across all disciplines.
In tandem with their growing prominence in the sales cycle, webcasts are being integrated with marketing automation platforms such as Salesforce, Marketo and HubSpot, allowing virtual event producers to learn crucial details about viewer demographics and fine-tune event strategies and content for best effect.
To successfully reach audiences through webinars, marketers first need to understand webinar trends. For example, most live webinar registrations (58%) occur within one week of the live date, with a surprisingly high percentage of registrations—28%—pulled the day of the event. "This is valuable intelligence for marketers," says Mark Bornstein, ON24's senior director of content marketing and the primary author of the Webinar Benchmarks Report. "Webinar producers should adjust marketing and promotion tactics, including more last-minute email blasts and same-day tweets."
The ON24 Webinar Benchmarks Report, which looks at the hows, whats and whys of the current state of webcasting, is based on a random sample of 7,055 webcasts from the more than 26,000 webcasts that ON24 supported in 2013. With information from a cross section of more than 500 organizations, from small and midsize businesses to large enterprises, the report offers pertinent data points about webcasting trends and best practices.
Other report findings include:
The best day to send promotional emails: Thursday
The best days to hold a webinar: Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday
Typical marketing webinar registrant-to-attendee conversion: 42.9%
Webinars' top interactive tool: Q&A
In addition to the report, Mark hosts an on-demand webcast that offers viewers the chance to compare the performance of their own webinars to those of their peers as well as highlighting best practices for delivering successful online events.
"As webinars transform from marketing 'show-and-tells' to compelling interactive experiences that engage prospects and help accelerate the buying cycle, we need to understand more about what drives user behavior and engagement," Mark says. "With the benchmarks report, we're answering those key questions."
Once they are armed with the benchmarks report data, ON24 believes that marketers will be in a better position to understand what their peers are doing and where webcasts are heading overall. We hope that those insights—combined with the best practices we're offering—will help you create better webinars that engage your audience and drive measurable ROI for your organization.
About the Sponsor:
As Vice President of Marketing for ON24, Lars Christensen is responsible for delivering 50% of the company's new business sales pipeline through a broad suite of online and off-line marketing programs. Lars has more than 15 years of B2B marketing experience, working for startups and larger technology companies.
ON24 is the global leader in cloud-based solutions for webcasting and virtual communications. ON24 offers a broad and innovative product portfolio accessible from any device and supported by industry-leading reporting and analytics. More than 1,000 organizations, including IBM, CA Technologies, Merck, JPMorgan Chase, Deloitte, Credit Suisse, Rosetta Stone, Ernst & Young and SAP, rely on ON24. Applications for the ON24 platform include demand generation, customer engagement, talent development and town hall meetings. The company is headquartered in San Francisco, with offices throughout the world. For more information, visit http://www.on24.com.