Redback Connect conducted a dedicated webinar research across customers and industry leaders in 2020 to get the latest trends in webinar attendance and hosting.
You can browse quickly through the content of this article by clicking the links below:
- Why did Redback Connect conduct this research?
- What was the methodology for our research?
- When do attendees want to attend webinars?
- What is the perfect time of day to attend a webinar?
- Why do attendees participate to webinars?
- How long does the audience want webinars to run?
- What does the audience prefer in webinars?
- What are types of digital event the audience attends to?
Why did Redback Connect conduct this research?
Redback Connect is an Australian-hosted company with more than 13 years of expertise in webinars and digital events. We provide convenient and innovative tele, web and video conferencing services to help your teams communicate and collaborate. We also design and deliver high quality digital events from concept to completion for your marketing and training teams including webinar programs, studio broadcasts and live streaming. You can get in touch with us by visiting our Contact Page.
What was the methodology for our research?
Our 2020 Redback Report is based on quantitative and qualitative research with 100 respondents online and an analysis of more than 1500 webinars that we’ve conducting throughout 2020. 35% of our respondents were from the corporate sector, 42% hailed from the Third Sector — industry associations, not-for-profits, and charities, while 7% were from Government.
When do attendees want to attend webinars?
While it’s accepted wisdom that mid-week is the best time to schedule a digital event, it seems the most popular day to attend webinars has changed since so many of us began working remotely. In 2020, many of us prefer to attend events early in the week, leaving plenty of time to catch up on other work before the weekend.
In 2020, the favourite day to attend a webinar was Tuesday (32%), closely followed by Wednesday (29%). This represents a marked shift since last year, when Thursday was our favourite day for webinars, nominated by one in four (26%), according to the 2019 Redback Report. That was followed by Tuesday (23%) and Wednesday (21%).
Weekends are less popular for webinars than they were a year ago, perhaps indicating fatigue with the blurring of work and home life in the COVID-19 era: we are far more likely to want to keep our weekends and personal time to ourselves in 2020.
Although these results seem to indicate that Tuesday and Wednesday are the best days to organise a webinar, webinar organisers still schedule webinars out of these days. An analysis of 1526 digital events run by Redback Connect in the 12 months to June 30 shows we most often held webinars on Wednesdays (27%), followed by Thursdays (25%) and Tuesdays (21%).
What is the perfect time of day to attend a webinar?
When it comes to the time of day we like to attend online events around mid-morning in 2020. This was cited by two in five respondents to our study (39%), followed by mid-afternoon (23%). Any other time in the morning ran third (15%), beating out lunchtime, which was preferred by just 13%. Evenings took the wooden spoon, preferred by just 3%. Compared to 2019, mid-mornings are becoming increasingly popular with attendees.
When we asked respondents why they preferred these times, mid-morning emerged as a time that allowed people to deal with urgent tasks first, and then focus on the event to ensure they were able to absorb the maximum amount of information.
Why do attendees participate to webinars?
When we look at why people attend webinars in Australia and New Zealand, professional development was the top reason in 2020, nominated by 30% of respondents, followed by learning and education, named by one in four (26%), and business meetings (23%).
Learning has historically been a key reason people attend webinars and was the most-nominated reason last year. And while regular service has been interrupted when it comes to many of the professional development and networking events people may have attended physically in the past, many of those have now moved online.
How long does the audience want webinars to run?
Shorter is generally better when it comes to webinars, although it seems most of us expect to allocate about an hour to a webinar or similar event, with 46% of survey respondents nominating that as their preferred duration. Only 5% preferred 90 minutes, while a significant minority chose 45 minutes (33%), followed by 30 minutes (16%).
Interestingly, the preference shift in this area over the past year has been towards hour-long events and away from shorter, half-hour events.
What does the audience prefer in webinars?
Now that we’re attending so many webinars, it’s clear we’re developing an understanding of what makes a great virtual experience, and where some webinars fall down. Engagement is what it’s all about. Respondents to our 2020 Redback Report are united in expecting webinar organisers to look for ways to attract and maintain their attention and help them overcome the distance and distractions of remote viewing. And they’re not content with an event that simply recreate the viewing experience of last year. To reach and retain remote audiences in 2020, webinar organisers need to keep improving the virtual experience.
As we become more familiar with virtual events, we expect a more active experience. Single-presenter webinars are declining in popularity, with close to half of the audience preferring two or more voices: the most popular webinar format is to have a moderator and one presenter, favoured by one in four (25%), followed closely by panel discussions featuring a moderator and two or more presenters (24%). Interactive audience Q&As are also popular, with almost one in four (24%) preferring them.
If you take one thing away from this year’s Redback Report, make it the importance of crystal clear sound. Many attendees will start watching a webinar and then switch to listening, so the quality of the audio feed is non-negotiable. Audiences will even tolerate video freezing, as long as the sound is smooth. Almost two in three (63%) respondents to this year’s study nominated the importance of audio as their chief concern when it came to digital, with being able to see presenters via webcam video a distant second (33%).
When it comes to the presenters of webinars, passion is more important than polish. It also trumps expertise, according to digital event audiences. Having committed their own time and attention at the outset, viewers expect a dynamic exchange of energy. The enthusiasm of the presenters is the most important element that makes for an engaging webinar– nominated by one in two (49%) of all respondents in 2020 — and audiences are quick to reject presenters who appear disengaged or fail to make virtual eye contact.
Three in four respondents (74%) said passion and good online delivery were essential qualities in a great presenter — well ahead of being knowledgeable about the content (22%). When it came to attendees’ personal preferences for improving webinars, being able to access the presenter after the event in an online forum was also highly rated, nominated by more than half (51%) of all respondents. A significant minority (31%) are also concerned with the webinar technology platform being used, ensuring it is seamless to access and webinars are easy to join. Finally, viewers remember what they signed up for, with 17% keen to see the event delivers the content that was promised.
What are types of digital event the audience attends to?
Just as we’re attending more digital events, we’re also attending different types of events. Not only have many of us been pushed into new habits by the need to work remotely, but event organisers are also becoming more confident and experimenting with different event formats. Webinars are still the type of online event we most commonly attend (26%), followed by internal remote meetings (18%). Interestingly, interactive workshops are also popular (13%), along with briefings (11%), external online conferences (6%) and customer meetings (11%).