A big thank you to VirtualEdge.org for their tweet alerting me to a recent article on Webinar User Trends. WTG Webinars of the UK conducted a survey of attendees coming to a variety of web events. The company says they had over 10,000 registrations in 2010 and they received more than 1,000 responses. Their audiences are primarily from the UK and Europe, followed by North America, with representation from other geographies as well.
I don’t want to just reproduce their results here… You should go read their article on the source site to see all the nicely plotted pie charts on a variety of questions. But there are a few items I found particularly interesting.
1) 21% of the respondents said they find out about upcoming webinars on LinkedIn. That surprises me. Not because of the reach and power of LinkedIn… I now take that as a given. But I haven’t seen it heavily used for promoting webinars, and this response seems excessive given the number of webinars the average LinkedIn user is likely to trip across. But it does show that if you subscribe to a business interest group that allows notifications of upcoming webinars you should definitely take advantage of the promotional opportunity!
2) There is a fascinating disparity in the answers to two closely linked survey questions. One asked what drives people to register for a particular webinar. The overwhelming response is “Topic.” It has a 62% response rate, with “Speaker” coming in at 13%. Well and good. But when asked “What do you use webinars for?” the respondents put “Opportunity to hear from leading industry speakers” in the lead at 39%, followed by “Educational resource” at 34%. Your takeaway? Try your damndest to get a notable name or highly credible speaker talking about a topic of interest to your target demographic.
The problem with this approach is that all too often the experts in the topic are absolutely terrible at communicating their information in an interesting and engaging manner on a webinar. This survey did not address satisfaction levels or problem areas, but many other surveys have pointed out a groundswell of frustration at speakers who just read bullet point slides at the audience. A great way to get around the problem is to use a tag-team approach. Use the expert’s name to assist with your drawing power, but include a strong presenter to work on the visual materials (slides, etc) and to lead the conversation… Drawing out and commenting on the facts and insights that the expert has.
There is nothing new and innovative about this approach… It has been used on television and radio for decades. But it is still uncommon on webinars and deserves more use in this medium.
If your feed reader didn’t preserve the link to the WTG Webinars article in my first paragraph, you can access it through this shortened link: http://bit.ly/WTGarticle