People continue to ask me about what they should expect in terms of attendance versus registration on their webinars. There is not a single answer, as averages vary based on a number of factors.
For general open-call marketing or lead generation webinars where you are soliciting attendance from the public at large, you can usually count on about a 33% attendance rate. That's right... 2/3 of your projected audience won't show up. So if you are in the game merely to build up quantities of names in your raw lead list, you might as well put all of your effort into getting folks to complete the event registration form.
If you have a highly targeted audience with a specialized interest, you can expect higher attendance rates. I'm working with a client giving webinars to software programmers on a specific platform in a niche area of development. We are seeing attendance rates averaging 50% (we recently did an event with a 55% attendance ratio). The narrower your content focus and audience demographic, the more likely they are to listen to your message. Unfortunately, you have less of a starting pool to draw from!
Customer communications events (such as "sneak peeks" at new product release features and so on) do a little better. I would estimate about a 60-65 percent attendance rate. The more that people believe they are getting inside information rather than a sales/marketing pitch, the more effort they will put into attending.
Internal training and employee communications (even "mandatory"
events) can climb as high as 80-85% attendance, but there will always be some MIA's in the crowd.
Your highest attendance rates (naturally) come from events where you charge the audience to attend. Especially if you announce a no-refund policy! :) These can produce attendance rates around 95-98%. But you'd better deliver on some quality content, technical operation, and presentation skills.