Today I watched BrightTALK's annual webcast presenting highlights from their Webinar Benchmarks Report. You can watch the full presentation and download the report in PDF format at bit.ly/1zFqETn.
In past years I had accused BrightTALK of making their webcast rather dry, simply reeling off the statistics they had collected. This year they spent much more time talking about the interpretation of the data and suggesting tips for improving webinar performance (almost entirely in a lead generation context, as that is their bread and butter).
As I write each year, we have to be careful in extrapolating BrightTALK's data to the more general world of online web events. In addition to the company's focus on lead generation, they put strong emphasis on recorded content (although live webcasts have become much more prominent) and their model of having people sign up as "channel subscribers" creates a more close-knit relationship with certain providers on the BrightTALK platform. The only webinars included in the report data came from those that were officially published into communities on the BrightTALK platform, making them available for search by members. Those account for roughly half of the total number of webinars actually produced by customers, so there are a lot of data points missing for live webinars that were promoted and viewed external to the BrightTALK community model.
As usual, I will cherry-pick a few findings to highlight in this article and invite you to download the report and watch the recorded webcast to get additional insights.
No big surprises in "day of week" statistics this year. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday (in ascending order) were the most popular for viewing content. Looking at which days people registered on adds Monday to that list, all roughly equal, with Wednesday getting a slight edge. In other words, don't promote an upcoming webinar on a Friday!
14% of BrightTALK registrants signed up on the day of the event, so you should definitely be making a strong promotional push the day before and the day of your webinar.
The statistic that really caused me to raise an eyebrow was BrightTALK's findings about number of fields on registration forms and completion rate. BrightTALK is somewhat unusual in the webcasting industry, as they offer hosts four standardized options for registration forms. Their "Minimal" form has six input fields. The longest form is "Lead Generation," which has 14 input fields. BrightTALK reported an average registration conversion rate of 44% for the Minimal form and 38% for the Lead Generation version. That agrees with other firms' data on declining completion rates for more fields, but the drop-off is not as significant as I would expect. I wonder if that is because BrightTALK community members can sign up once and then just log in to automatically have their information populated for additional webinars. There is a higher payoff for taking the extra effort once. Or maybe there is a psychological factor at play for people who are willing to sign up on the community site in the first place. Hard to know.
Another statistic that surprised me was the use of interaction features in customer webinars. According to the report, only 45% of webinars used the live Q&A feature in the platform. That seems crazy. Why wouldn't you want to give your attendees the opportunity to give you all that free information about their interests, priorities, areas of confusion, and pain points? In my book, there is no better source for useful sales call preparation than information the prospect has already volunteered.
This is getting rather long, so I will wrap up with a thank you to BrightTALK for continuing to track, collate, and share these key performance metrics with the world.