Webinars take time to plan and resources to create, but they’re relatively inexpensive compared with other forms of marketing, such as face-to-face events.
However, it goes without saying that it’s important to establish and evaluate the cost of your webinar, and measure the real return on your investment.
The first thing you should do is liaise with your webinar platform provider and your technology team or provider and make sure all the metrics you want to track are being collected before, during and after your event.
It’s also important to take into account the return across the life of your investment, keeping in mind that your digital event may be hosted online for a considerable period after the initial broadcast. And when used as part of an integrated marketing content strategy, this content can be used to generate a wealth of other content, clips and assets for your brand.
Here are five ways to measure your webinar ROI.
Compiling simple metrics — such as how many people registered, attended and how long they stayed — to measure the performance of your webinar can be easy to do, but this data can also be hard to interrogate and ambiguous when it comes to reporting a return on investment (ROI) to a business. But that doesn’t mean it’s not worth doing.
Simple metrics can establish how wide your reach is when it comes to the types of participants you’ve attracted to your event. Did they all come from the same industry or organisation? What aspects of your event — such as marketing, topics or speakers — could you change to attract a broader audience? Take note and benchmark these metrics over time.
It’s a good idea to compare actual attendance vs registrations and benchmark your attendance rate across all webinars. That way you’ll understand that a low live attendance rate may not be a bad thing. At Redback Connect, the average attendance rate across our customers’ events is around 35%.
Understanding how long your attendees remain online can tell a story. Drop-offs can indicate things like:
- a lack of relevant content
- an unappealing presenter
- your webinar was too long.
Measuring engagement is also important, and it’s not as hard as you might think.
You can use online polls to survey your audience for information, but don’t forget to track what proportion of your audience responded.
Similarly, if you’re running professional development or training programs, polls can indicate who is closely following the course or absorbing the subject matter well enough to qualify for certification.
Q&A sessions and participation in online public chat forums in your webinar platform are other ways you can measure engagement.
At Redback, we’ve created Live Participant Engagement Scoring — an automatic scoring system that measures the behaviour and interactions of participants, as well as taking into account some feedback.
We score attendees based on two main areas — quantitative and qualitative score.
The quantitative score looks at the behaviour of your attendees, including the length of time they spent at your event, and whether they participated in elements such as polls or surveys.
The qualitative data is based on one simple question that you can ask either in a poll or survey: “How engaging did you find this seminar?”. We then either add or deduct points from your attendees total score.
Tracking how many previous attendees have returned for another webinar is a great way of measuring the impact of an event.
Repeat customers are the holy grail for most businesses, and much easier to monetise than new customers, so keeping a record of how engaged your audience is to your brand and content, and where they sit in the marketing funnel, can provide valuable insights into what’s working and what isn’t.
It can also highlight the audience personas that are interested in your services, as well as the type of content that appeals to particular audience groups which will enable you to refine topics, add different speakers or improve your messaging.
Take note of how many return attendees you attract and start scoring that over time.
Lead vs Attendees
One of the more meaningful sets of data you can use to measure the success of your webinar is leads versus the number of attendees.
Not only can you measure how many leads your webinar generated, and the names to go with them, you’ll be able to track and gain an understanding of where different participants are in the nurturing process and establish who is qualified and ready to be contacted.
If you have an offering with a long sales cycle, webinars can be a great way to offer value to your middle-stage prospects, educate them about your product or service and build a relationship that increases the likelihood they will become a customer, investor, member or other stakeholder.
If you’re already tracking marketing-qualified leads, you can track the length of time webinar viewers remain leads or MQLs before moving further down the sales and marketing funnel until they become customers.
Costs vs Gains
Keep track of the amount of time and the number of staff that worked on your event or webinar series, as well as your marketing and technology costs, to get the best indicator of your real investment.
Then divide it by your most important measure of results — whether that be lead generation, brand awareness, conversions or other outcomes — to get a real measure of what your digital event returned for that investment. Don’t forget it’s also important to track how costs and the required resourcing level changes over time.
Benchmark and Tweak
One of the most important things to remember when it comes to measuring webinar ROI is to interrogate the information you’ve collected and make changes based on the insights you’ve gathered.
There’s no use collecting all that data if you’re only going to check how many people attended and then start work on your next event.
Tracking your metrics across events and over time not only helps to identify where you can improve, but also makes it a lot easier to establish benchmarks and KPIs for your events moving forward.
For more tips on creating, hosting and measuring your webinars, watch our recorded webinar here – 10 Steps to the Perfect Webinar