What time should I start my webinars?

It’s been a successful couple of years for the humble webinar. From being a seminar’s lower-budget cousin, webinars have become the best channel for engaging your leads with super-specific content that solves their challenges.

It’s tricky to pin down exactly how many webinars were run in any given year, but it’s a lot! ON24 saw the number of webinars hosted on their platform grow from an average of 240 a day in 2019, to 640 a day in 2020. As a team at Spotler, we ran 11 webinars in 2019, 29 in 2020, and 17 in 2021. As offices slowly fill up again, webinars have given up some ground, but they have not yet slipped back to pre-pandemic levels.

With these shifts in mind, we decided to look at what time of day is best to start your webinars. In the past 2 years, we have run webinars at a whole range of different times, so we now have enough data to try and answer the question.

As a metric, we used the percentage of webinar bookers who actually joined the webinar live. While the number of bookers is a useful metric, those numbers are more useful for exploring which topics are of interest to our audience, not which time they will prefer.

 

Morning or Afternoon?

Average Attendance Rates 2020
Morning 36.13%
Afternoon 36.61%

In 2020, this was a close fight! Among our audience, afternoons were slightly better for attendance. A look at the more detailed picture suggests why this is:

With everybody working from home, shifting their hours around other commitments, it was pretty much a free-for-all. No time was overwhelmingly better than any other.

In 2021, the advantage swung back towards morning webinars, but only just;

Average Attendance Rate 2021
Morning 40.57%
Afternoon 39.60%

 

What time specifically?

In 2020, the best time to begin a webinar was 3 pm. This was the only start time to break the 40% attendance rate.

3 pm also made a strong showing in 2021 but was beaten by 10 am. We think this trend is a reflection of more workers drifting back to a “9 to 5” work routine; Emails and general admin take up the first hour, then people are free to join the webinar before work projects take over. At the other end, by 3 pm most high-energy work is done, and people are in the mood to sit and absorb some new knowledge.

On this logic, 11 am is the worst performer because by that time most people will be deep in the day’s work. 12 pm is lunchtime, so people aren’t too busy working, but they will most likely want to step away from the screen, not stay glued to it.

 

It’s your time to shine!

As ever, our advice is to test this for yourself! With only 5% separating the highest and lowest performers in both years, you shouldn’t lose a massive chunk of your audience by testing.

Spotler’s marketing team are going to continue this research into 2022, to watch how the trends develop and see if a new year has any more surprises. You wouldn’t bet against it!

 


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