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What can you expect when running a webinar? ON24 dug into its data and has provided benchmarks from an analysis of almost 20,000 webinars (with at least 100 attendees) conducted on its platform in 2017. Here are some quick highlights from the report [download page].

1. Half Register More Than A Week in Advance

ON24 recommends a lengthy promotional cycle, noting that 47% of registrants signed up for a webinar at least 8 days before the event, including about one-quarter (24%, up from 21% in 2016) signing up more than 2 weeks earlier.

2. Mid-Week, Mid-Day the Best Bets

Whether it’s the result of promotional activity or their preferences, most registrants sign up for webinars during the middle of the week: two-thirds of sign-ups occurred collectively on Wednesdays (23%), Thursdays (22%) and Tuesdays (21%).

The same patterns apply for attendance, suggesting that these days are the ones when attendees are most engaged or have the most time to allocate to attending a webinar. Webinar attendance was highest on Wednesdays (28% share) last year, followed closely by Thursdays (27%), ahead of Tuesdays (24%).

The report also notes that the best time to hold a webinar is 11AM PST / 2PM EST, as this time slot typically avoids conflicts on both coasts.

Of course, as the analysts note, “the best time for a webinar is one fitting in with your audience’s schedules.”

3. Webinars Capture Attention for Almost An Hour

Webinars are proving as engaging as ever, per the report. Last year, the average viewing time for a webinar was 55 minutes, and the average viewing time has remained in the 55-57 minute range since 2013. (Remember that this data is limited to webinars with at least 100 attendees, which accounted for one-third of ON24’s webinars last year.)

These results align with research from Demand Gen Report, which finds that webinars are the B2B content type that buyers engage with for the longest time: an impressive 64% of buyers surveyed said that they typically spend 20-60 minutes reviewing content when it’s in webinar format.

4. Four in 10 Registrants to Marketing Webinars Convert to Attendees

ON24 reveals that a 35-45% conversion rate from registrants to attendees is a “healthy” conversion rate. During 2017, the conversion rate averaged 44% for webinars with more than 100 participants.

That average was boosted by a very strong conversion rate for communications webinars (66%), such as sales communications webinars for organizations with offices in multiple locations.

As for marketing webinars? The conversion rate in 2017 was 40%, meaning that 4 in 10 people who registered to attend a marketing webinar actually attended.

5. More Than 1 in 3 View On-Demand Only

Of course, people don’t have to attend the webinar live. And many don’t.

In 2017, fully 35% of attendees only watched on-demand webinars, with the majority of these registering a week after the live event. The report also notes that on-demand viewing remains strong up to a month after an event takes place.

Meanwhile, 5% of attendees watched webinars both live and on-demand, such that just 60% exclusively consumed webinars live.

6. On-Demand Viewing Time is Growing

Audience engagement with webinars doesn’t seem to suffer much if people attend the webinar after the fact.

Indeed, so far this year the average viewing time for on-demand webinars is 44 minutes (compared to 56 minutes for all webinars), up from 42 last year, 34 in 2016 and 29 in 2015.

7. The Vast Majority of Webinars Use Q&As for Interaction

ON24 provides various features for audience interaction, but some are used more than others. The most common is the Q&A, which was used in 82% of the webinars analyzed last year.

The only other feature used by a majority was offering resources for download (67%), while more than one-quarter of webinars employed surveys (32%) and polling (27%).

The full report is available for download here.

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