With digital business events becoming so popular you might be starting to find it’s getting harder to get everyone in the same virtual room, so to speak. So it pays to be strategic about when you schedule your next webinar, workshop or other online event.
Two-thirds of us now attend at least six digital events a month, according to this year’s Redback Report on the digital event experience — and that’s only likely to increase.
Of course sometimes urgency will dictate when you have to hold an event. But when it doesn’t, it pays to plan ahead and schedule your webinar when most people prefer to attend.
While it’s generally accepted that the middle of the week is the best time to schedule a webinar, it seems the most popular day has changed since so many of us have swapped the office for a remote work space.
The Redback Report 2020 found that many of us prefer to attend events early in the week, and then focus on getting other work done before the weekend comes along (which is when we prefer not to attend webinars… but we’ll get to that in a minute).
Preferred day to attend digital events
Almost a third (32%) of respondents to this year’s Redback Report said Tuesday was their favorite day to attend a webinar, closely followed by Wednesday (29%).
Both were almost twice as popular as Friday (17%), which was the next most popular day.
Interestingly, our preferences have changed quite a bit in the months since the impact of COVID-19 really began to be felt.
Last year’s Redback Report showed more than a quarter (27%) of respondents preferred to attend events on Thursday, followed by Tuesday (23%) and Wednesday (21%).
This year, less than one in 10 (8%) nominated Thursday as their preferred option.
Fridays and weekends are also significantly less popular days to attend a webinar than they were a year ago, which might be an indication that people are consciously making a clearer distinction between work and home life – especially now that so many are working from home.
Preferred time of day
When thinking about the best time of day to hold your webinar, remember that no one really wants to delve into a digital event as soon as they sit down at their desk for the day. And they like attending one in the afternoon and evening even less.
When it comes to the time of day we prefer to watch a webinar, earlier — but not too early — is generally better.
Our favourite time to login and view an event is mid-morning, chosen by two in five (39%) respondents to the 2020 Redback Report, followed by mid-afternoon (23%). Any other time in the morning ran a distant third (15%).
Evening events are officially to be avoided, with just 3% preferring that time slot.
And while lunchtime is also considered sacred by most of us — preferred by just 13% of event-goers — there are still those who like a spot of online lunching and learning.
Mid-morning has become significantly more popular in 2020, up 11 percentage points compared with a year ago.
Meanwhile, our preference for afternoon events has fallen by almost half over the past 12 months, from 13% in 2019 to only 7% this year.
People said they preferred mid-morning because they could deal with urgent tasks first, and then focus on the event while they were still fresh.
However, a considerable number of respondents said they were flexible and would adjust their schedule to attend events if they considered them important.
How long should your webinar be?
While we tend to recommend shorter is generally better when you’re transforming any event for the virtual world, most people (46%) are willing to set aside an hour to attend a webinar, while a further one in three (33%) only want to commit 45 minutes of their time.
It’s best not to go much longer than that – only 5% of respondents to the Redback Report chose 90 minutes as their favourite option – or too much shorter, with only 16% saying they prefer 30 minutes.
All this is not to say every event you schedule needs to start on Tuesday morning at 10.30am and run for an hour. You’ll still be able to catch a lot of viewers on demand, with approximately two in three happy to register and watch events on delay, at a time that suits them.
But if live attendance and interactions are important to your online event, the audience’s preferred day of the week, time to view and duration are definitely worth keeping in mind.