ON24 will publicly announce their latest Webinar Benchmarks Report next week. But they gave me a sneak preview and allowed me to write about it early, with a link so you can get a copy immediately.
I have been covering ON24's annual webinar benchmarks study since 2011. The 2011 report was a little hard to interpret on some of the data points and some of the information seemed more academic than actually useful as a guide to those trying to create more effective webinars.
The 2013 report (covering calendar year 2012) was more useful, adding things such as the most common times for webinars, but I wished for more comparative information on effectiveness of different tactics.
Someone at ON24 must have been listening, because the new 2014 report (covering calendar 2013) is a tremendous leap forward in practical utility for webinar hosts. The information captured and reported is a fantastic guide for those wanting to measure and improve the performance of their business webinars.
If you just want a quick "cheat sheet" version of the critical data, ON24 summarized it into the now obligatory infographic format. Here's just one small snippet to pique your interest:
Right there you have information to act on. 58% of live webinar registrations occur within one week of the live date, with more than ONE QUARTER of registrations pulled from the day of the event! Ready to adjust your marketing and promotion tactics? More tweets, more last-minute blasts. I would venture to guess (they didn't track this) that final-day registrants are also more likely to attend. So it could be a double-win if I'm right.
The report contains plenty of other great data for you to consider, but I don't want to steal all their thunder in this post. You'll find what days of the week get the most registrations and what days get the highest live attendance. You'll see some surprising figures on what kind of response rates are common for attendee interaction and contribution in webinars. And you'll get a sense of typical attendance to registration ratios (although this is more useful when filtered down for comparison against events similar to your own, accomplished with ON24's Benchmark Index tool).
I do want to call attention to a final combination of two separate statistics from the report. ON24 studied live and on-demand webcasts lasting 45-60 minutes. They found that viewing time for live webinars keeps increasing year to year. The latest report lists an average time in session of 56 minutes… Quite a leap from 2010's average of 38 minutes! But time in session when watching recorded webcasts is now at 26 minutes. Your audience will simply not sit still as long for recorded content. You need to recognize this and accommodate their preferences. Edit your recordings. Remove "fluff." Break them into shorter topic-specific segments. Your content will be much more effective. I wrote a post about this all the way back in 2008 and it hasn't aged a day. In fact, the importance is higher than ever.
I can't commend ON24 highly enough for tracking, analyzing, summarizing, and sharing this information for free. It is invaluable data that you should factor into preparation, promotion, and presentation of every webinar you host. Measurements and standards are hard to find in our industry. Take advantage of this gift.