The way organisations use webinars in their marketing and education programs is changing, with more filming their webinar content in advance and then screening it at the designated time to simulate a live webcast. This has only been heightened by the outbreak of COVID-19.
According to recent data from the annual State of Webinar Marketing 2020 study – conducted by Redback Connect and webinar platform ON24 in March, to find out how marketers are using webinars – three in four webinars (76 per cent) are still shown live, but this figure has dropped significantly from 84 per cent a year ago.
How are pre-recorded webinar figures looking?
The study also showed that simulated live webinars jumped to 17 per cent – up from 10 per cent a year ago – reflecting the increased interest in pre-recording sessions, and two in five webinar users (41 per cent) now pre-record video. This figure is up from 34 per cent in 2019.
Three in four webinar users also always make their webinars available on-demand, the research shows, with that figure set to rise to 82 per cent. That makes a lot of sense:
Webinar audience research typically shows live viewing rates for webinars are steady at around 35 per cent, while on-demand viewing is almost twice that at 65 per cent.
Why do pre-recorded webinars work so well?
From what we see amongst our own customers, webinar users are pre-filming more virtual events to reduce the risks associated with hosting live events conducted over sometimes congested household broadband infrastructure now that most people are working from home to help contain the COVID-19 pandemic.
Pre-recording webinars also allows organisations to film at a time that suits speakers – who may be presenting from different locations around the world – as well as catering for speakers who may not be used to presenting on video.
While there’s a trade-off when it comes to interactivity, with live Q&A not possible in a simu-live situation, you can still ask people to post their questions and respond in an FAQ sent out to all participants after the event.
Looking at the global reach of webinars, more than half of the respondents to the study (58 per cent) are leveraging webinars to target international markets in 2020, up from 34 per cent last year – an increase of 59 per cent.
Furthermore, the proportion of webinar users targeting both international and local prospects and customers has almost doubled from 30 per cent to 54 per cent.
We know webinars are uniquely positioned in the current environment to reach and engage distributed audiences at scale – it’s a fact that’s not lost on webinar users. They’re easy to use, both for businesses and their customers, low-cost and virtual in a COVID-19-affected world.
Jeff Downs is the CEO and Founder of Redback Connect. A serial entrepreneur and corporate leader, Jeff founded Canada’s 12th fastest start-up, teleconferencing company Enunciate Conferencing, founded a grocery store chain in Canada, and was National Sales Director for Canada’s largest communications company Bell Canada. Jeff established Redback Connect in 2007.
Redback Connect is an Australian digital event company that helps organisations meet, present, and collaborate with their stakeholders at a distance. Founded in 2007 by Jeff Downs and with a team of 40 digital collaboration specialists, Redback Connect enables organisations to hold webinars, town halls, live event streaming, teleconferences, and studio broadcasts. Harnessing the latest technology and operating (or accessing) studios in each Australian capital city, as well as Auckland, Redback Connect manages an average of 200 digital events a month. In the new environment of home-based work and social distancing, Redback Connect has seen a 500 per cent increase in demand for its services.