Anatomy of a webinar: optimal duration, conversion, and something most important

Hands hold a tablet on a blue background where are four people are videoconfarencing

The COVID-19 pandemic and the accompanying quarantine restrictions have led to the fact that in just a couple of years, remote work, which was previously quite rare in companies, has become, in fact, a new reality. Now it is difficult to find an organization that would not use this format.

A logical consequence of this situation was the widespread use of tools for video communication and remote interaction in teams. In addition, because of the restrictions on large-scale events, platforms that allow organizing a remote presentation or a webinar have gained particular relevance.

But suddenly, another serious problem arose – there were too many webinars. As a result, most of them do not reach their goal, escaping the attention of potential customers.

However, webinars are still effective. Such an opinion 83% of marketers, and 95% of specialists, according to research, who view webinars as an important part of a company’s digital development strategy. And this is now, in 2021. But, in the business of organizing and conducting online events, there are important nuances that we will talk about using real statistics as an example.


How long should a webinar be?


A webinar is not just a video recording of a presentation, the major advantage of this format is the ability to communicate with a specialist online. As shown by the data from the company WorkCast, collected from the analysis of a huge number of webinars, listeners are ready to spend 3-4 times more of their time watching a live performance, compared to watching a video.

The time that listeners spend watching a live webinar (Live) or recording it (on-demand). WorkCast data
This is logical. The recording can be “scrolled” by watching only the most interesting shots, and the webinar audience often listens too, if only because they do not know what will happen next, and people want to chat with the speaker and ask them questions. But, it is not so often that a webinar turns out to be fascinating. Plus, the webinar is tightly scheduled, which is never the right time for everyone.
By the way, how much time are potential listeners willing to devote to a webinar or a recording of a presentation? By data from the aforementioned WorkCast, in 2021 most of the webinars that came to the attention of the company lasted 60 minutes (there were over 55% of such presentations). Given that similar results were achieved in 2019 and 2020, it can be concluded that hourly webinar length is the most effective from the point of view of marketers.
Half-hour seminars were watched most as a recorded event. This suggests that if you send an offline presentation to a potential client, even if it is voiced, it should not exceed 30 minutes in duration.
The most popular webinar format in terms of duration. WorkCast data

There are other points of view on this issue. For example, according to research from Cloud Income, ideal webinar lengths range from 30 to 45 minutes.

Ideal Webinar Duration According to Cloud Income Research

As marketers and digital product promotion strategies point out, a webinar should last exactly as long as it takes to present your content engagingly. If there is enough interesting data to help captivate the audience for 60 or even 90 minutes, then webinar length should last that long. The same is true when you have only 15-20 minutes of information – value your time, yours and your listeners’.

 There are also a fairly illuminating statistics about the optimal duration of the various parts of the webinar. So, 5-7 minutes should be set aside for greetings and introduction of the speaker and other introductions. The presentation itself should take 38 to 45 minutes, and 10-15 minutes should be left for questions at the end of the virtual meeting.
A recording of the event, a presentation and other materials that can be downloaded and viewed at a convenient time must complement the webinar. According to Adobe, on average, 50% of listeners keep their presentation slides after completing an online seminar, 29% of participants also download brief descriptions of the solutions reviewed, and 19% usually want to see a demo of the product they were referring to in the speech.

Best day and time for webinars: the fight for the “golden hour”


Let’s start with another question: how many listeners usually attend a webinar? In each case, this figure, depending on many factors, will be different. But a good counts conversion – how many registered participants will actually take part in the event – is at the level of 35-45% (an excellent indicator is 50-55%). The share of those who move from the category of listeners to the status of clients is even lower.

Here’s an example of a typical conversion calculation based on real data. A conventional company has 16,000 contacts in the mailing list to whom webinar invitations were sent. Of these, only 759 people (5.27%) passed the preliminary registration, and in fact only 232 of them attended the online meeting (the conversion rate was just over 30%).

As a result of the event, the company received 40 clients, which was an excellent result. It is noteworthy that forty people from the entire base of “cold” mailing is only 0.25%, but after the webinar, 17% of the total number of listeners contacted the company.

This shows that in best practice, the most successful webinars turn only 19% of the audience into potential customers. This figure can be used as a marginal indicator in your calculations of the effectiveness of online events.

Well, let’s say, let every fifth or sixth listener become a client of the company (or at least become interested in the product), does this mean that an increase in the number and frequency of webinars will cause a proportional increase in the client base? Unlikely.
The fact is that here, too, the statistics are relentless – webinars have a clear limitation not only in duration but also in frequency. Most employees, on average, are ready to really watch only one webinar a week (which, you may recall, should last a maximum of 60 minutes). And nothing can be done about that. As a last resort, people are ready to register, imitate presence, but in fact, few people will spend more than an hour a week on a webinar.
Bored person sits in front of a laptop on the blue background
If you think about it, this is a very dramatic situation, showing that the battle for an online customer is getting tougher, and every day it will be more and more difficult for companies to get that “golden hour” of a potential customer’s attention.

Of course, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of the best day to conduct a webinar, as it can depend on a variety of factors such as your target audience, the topic of your webinar, and the geographic location of your attendees. However, some studies have provided insights into the best days for webinars.

According to a report by ON24, a leading webinar software provider, the most popular days for webinars in 2020 were Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, with Tuesday being the most popular day. The report analyzed over 22,000 webinars conducted on the ON24 platform and found that Tuesday accounted for 28% of all webinars, Wednesday for 26%, and Thursday for 24%. This suggests that mid-week days are the most popular for hosting webinars.

Another report by ClickMeeting, another webinar software provider, found similar results. According to their report, Tuesday was the most popular day for webinars in 2020, accounting for 19% of all webinars. Wednesday and Thursday were also popular, accounting for 18% and 17% of webinars respectively.

It’s important to note that while these studies provide insights into the popularity of different days for webinars, they do not necessarily reflect the effectiveness of webinars conducted on those days. 

As for the best time for webinar, according to a report by BigMarker, a webinar platform, the most popular time for webinars in 2020 was 11 am Eastern Time (ET), with 31% of webinars scheduled for this time. This was followed by 2 pm ET and 1 pm ET, which accounted for 22% and 15% of webinars respectively. The report analyzed data from over 7 million webinars conducted on the BigMarker platform.

Another study by GoToWebinar, a webinar platform, found that webinars conducted on Tuesday and Wednesday tend to have the highest attendance rates. The study analyzed over 350,000 webinars conducted on the GoToWebinar platform and found that Tuesday and Wednesday had the highest attendance rates at 42% and 40% respectively. The study also found that the optimal time for webinars was 11 am or 2 pm ET.

The situation can be improved by something that would solve one of the key problems of webinars – timing. Most potential listeners are simply not ready to build their day around an online event, which also requires a full hour. It would be possible to record the speech of the speaker on video, and then give links to it to interested people for viewing at a convenient time.

But, as the data suggests from various polls – from 82% to 92% of listeners find the live Q&A session at the end of the event to be the most interesting part of the webinar. And in a recording, this cannot be realized, therefore, in the offline mode, the webinar loses a significant part of its attractiveness. Though, it’s helpful to remember when choosing the best days for webinars that these numbers only sometimes mean that the audience was engaged or interested.

Man texting with a woman with their messages shown on the left side of a screen
It would be nice to combine the benefits of a webinar and offline presentations. Live communication with the speaker should be supplemented with the ability to view only that information that interests the listener currently and with no reference to time. Fortunately, today, such tools are already available.

What percentage of people should attend to a webinar for it to be successful?

The percentage of attendees needed for a webinar to be considered successful can vary depending on the goals and expectations of the host. However, there are some general benchmarks that can be used to measure the success of a webinar.

According to a report by ReadyTalk, a webinar platform, the average attendance rate for webinars is 44%. The report analyzed over 16,000 webinars conducted on the ReadyTalk platform and found that the average attendance rate ranged from 32% for webinars with over 500 attendees to 53% for webinars with fewer than 50 attendees.

Another report by Adobe Connect, a webinar platform, found similar results. The report analyzed data from over 600,000 webinars conducted on the Adobe Connect platform and found that the average attendance rate for webinars was 36%. However, the report noted that the attendance rate varied widely depending on the type of webinar and the size of the audience.


What is the ideal length of a webinar?

The ideal webinar length is 45–60 minutes. Most studies suggest that the optimal webinar length varies between 30–60 minutes: this duration tends to have the highest attendance rates and engagement levels. 

What is the average webinar attendance percentage?

On average, only 35-45% of registered people actually attend the webinar.

What is the best day and time for webinars

The most popular days for webinars in 2020 were Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, with Tuesday being the most popular day.

The studies suggest that mid-week days and mid-day times tend to be the most popular and effective for hosting webinars. 

How to engage people in webinars?

The overwhelming majority of webinar participants (from 82 to 92%) consider the opportunity to ask the speaker questions to be the most valuable part of the event. Live communication with the speaker should be supplemented with the ability to view only that information that interests the listener at the moment and with no reference to time. Use tools for live engagement, like ROI4Presenter, when conducting a webinar.


Аuthor: Igor Kirillov

Human reaching out to a robot inside a phone
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