Webinars are one of the most effective marketing channels you’ll use. Especially this year, with live events facing restricted attendance numbers due to social distancing policies. Digital events such as webinars, online conferences and other virtual events have really come into their own.
But if you don’t take steps to measure the effectiveness of your digital event program well before the event itself, you’ll never know how well they’re really working for you.
Many of us have a look to see how many people registered for and then attended our digital events live. These statistics are important. But if that’s all you’re measuring; you’re only scratching the surface.
Think about what you want to achieve with your webinar program well before you send out the first invitation.
Is your goal to:
- Generate leads?
- Increase brand awareness?
- Nurture your existing customers?
- Educate members?
- Increase conversion?
- Improve brand authority?
You can do any of these things and more with your digital event program — but each of these goals would be measured in a different way. It’s essential to identify up-front the key metrics you need to track.
For leads – you might measure traffic to your landing page and registrations. You should also track these names through the sales cycle to see when they actually convert.
For brand authority – you might measure what proportion of your registrants attended your webinar; how many marketing-qualified leads (MQLs) it generated if you have a lead-scoring program in place; engagement statistics during the event; and how your attendees rated the experience, your content and your brand after the event.
For conversion – you could track the proportion of MQLs that converted to sales-accepted leads (SALs) among webinar viewers compared with non-webinar viewers.
The diversity of metrics available to you is one of the great benefits of digital event marketing.
But it’s also why it’s important to know how you’ll measure the success of your webinar or digital event before you’ve sent out the first invitation. We call it starting with the end in mind.
Here are the top 8 metrics to measure.
Click-through rates measure how effective your marketing materials and channels are at selling your webinar content.
You can measure how many people click through from your website, email newsletter, social profiles, online advertisements and so on, to your event landing page.
If your click-through rates are low, it may mean your content isn’t quite right, you haven’t chosen the right channels to reach your target audience, or you need to find a more engaging way to present your chosen subject matter.
According to our 2020 State of Webinar Marketing study, released last month, the most effective promotional channel for webinar marketing is email, selected by one in three respondents (34%), followed by the company website (20%) and sales team outreach (18%).
Organic social is also popular, remaining largely unchanged at 14%. Interestingly, the proportion of people nominating paid social advertising as an effective channel for marketing digital events has almost doubled in the past year to 11%. Access Redback Report 2019 here.
Number of Registrations
The number of people who fill out the form on your event landing page and register to attend is a great indicator of the popularity — or not — of your chosen topic.
But you may also be able to measure other things as well. For example, registration numbers can be a reflection of the effectiveness of your landing page design.
You may notice that registrations are higher for pages where all your event information is ‘above the fold’ (visible without the need to scroll down), or where you break the content down into key topics rather than just rely on the title of your event to engage your audience.
If you’re keeping tabs on registrations for events held at different times, you’ll quickly get a sense of the best day and time to hold a digital event for your market.
One in five (22%) of respondents to our 2020 State of Webinar Marketing report nominated registration numbers as an important success metric. Access our State of Webinar Marketing 2020 here.
Number of Attendees
The number of registrations should not be confused with the number of people that attended an event. This was the most popular metric tracked by respondents to our 2020 State of Webinar Marketing report, nominated by 31% of participants — a slight increase on the 2019 figure.
There may be many reasons people register for an event but don’t attend — work-related issues arise, people get busy, and sometimes they just forget.
The majority of people will only attend an event 50% of the time, and average attendance rates overall are about two in five (38.5%) according to the Redback Report surveying webinar attendees. Access the Redback Report here.
Live attendance rates are often smaller than on-demand viewing — about one-third of people view events live (35%) and two-thirds prefer to attend when it suits them (65%), according to most industry benchmarks.
So if you’re making your digital event or webinar available online after the event, don’t forget to include on-demand viewing for at least a week after your event was broadcast in your overall audience numbers.
High live attendance rates can also be a great indicator of the best times to run an event.
Our research shows found Thursday was the most popular day for digital events, with the best times including mid-morning and mid-afternoon. That said, Fridays are becoming more popular and some respondents even prefer weekend events. Access the Redback Report here.
The length of time attendees spend viewing your digital event can be an important indicator of the topics that are important to your audience, speaker quality, preferred event formats or lengths, and the quality of your online broadcast.
If you find attendance drops off during one part of the presentation, you might conclude your speaker was less engaging than other presenters.
If connectivity issues plague a remote presenter’s local internet connection, that might also provoke an audience to switch off or leave an event.
Perhaps your panel discussion rates highly but attendance drops during break-out chat sessions afterwards.
Look for reasons for the peaks and troughs and use them to help shape your future digital events program.
On the other hand, if you notice some attendees have viewed an event more than once, it might be an indication that they are ready to engage with your organisation and are ripe for sales outreach.
It’s all well and good to include interactive features in your webinar or digital event — in fact, you definitely should. But more important is how much your audience engages with your event.
You can use online polls to survey your audience for information, but don’t forget to track what proportion of your audience responded as a measure of their engagement with your content.
Similarly, if you’re running continuing professional development education or training online, polls can indicate who is closely following the course or absorbing the subject matter well enough to qualify for a certification at the conclusion.
Q&A sessions and participation in online public chat forums in your webinar platform are other ways you can measure engagement for your events, as well as find out more about what your audience wants to know. As with a physical event, when lots of people ask lots of questions, you know your audience is engaged.
Your chat transcript can be a great indicator of your most engaged attendees, and a pointer to future content ideas.
Don’t forget to ask your attendees to rate your event as it wraps up. What your audience thinks of your content will reflect on your brand and brand authority and is another great indicator of whether you’re choosing the best topics to explore.
You should also ask them to rate your presenters and the format, and you can include questions on whether the webinar made them more favourably disposed towards your brand.
You may wish to include a link to a survey in your resource kit or launch an online poll on your webinar platform with a few questions in it.
We don’t recommend you send out a satisfaction survey after the event, as most of your attendees will have moved on by then.
Asking the same questions after every event will give you a clear picture of how different webinars and virtual events compare.
You should also include an open-ended question to capture any other thoughts your audience might wish to share.
It’s also a great idea to measure satisfaction across your series. Was your audience satisfied with your entire series, or just one webinar that received raving reviews? This is a great way to understand which presenters and topics work best.
Not everyone is aware that webinars and digital events are great closers.
If you have a product with a long sales cycle, holding digital events is a great way to offer value to your middle-stage prospects, educate them about your product and build a relationship that increases the likelihood they will buy your product — sooner.
Unfortunately, many of us don’t measure the impact of our digital event program on our audience conversion rate.
If you’re already tracking marketing-qualified leads, you can track the length of time webinar viewers remain leads or MQLs before moving to become sales-accepted-leads, and then sales.
Email addresses for customers are one way of getting a view on this if you’re not already scoring leads and measuring your sales pipeline in a marketing automation or customer relationship management system.
Return on Investment
Digital events take time, effort and resources to create, but they’re relatively inexpensive compared with other forms of marketing, such as physical events, activations and even advertising.
Measure how much time and how many staff work on your events program, as well as marketing and hosting costs to get the best indicator of your real investment in your virtual event.
Then divide it by your most important measure of results, above — whether that be leads, conversions, brand awareness and so on — to get a hard measure of what your digital event returned for that investment, and also how that cost may be changing over time.
Keep in mind that your digital event may be hosted online for up to a year after the live broadcast, and, when used as part of an integrated marketing content strategy, can generate a wealth of other content ideas, clips and assets for your brand.
Redback Connect delivers more than 200 high-quality digital events around Australia each month. Reach out to one of our sales consultants if we can help you with your webinar or digital event program.