The webinar is one of the most powerful formats in the content marketer’s arsenal, and it’s used by 46 percent of B2B marketers (according to the 2012 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends research). Not only does it give businesses an opportunity to speak at length about a relevant topic, but it also gives them a platform from which to share key insight that helps extend the conversation long after the event takes place.
In Content Marketing Institute’s latest webinar, 6 Key Metrics that Impact Webinar Performance: Before, During and After, Mike Agron, Executive Webinar Producer for WebAttract, answered some of the biggest questions content marketers have when trying to measure webinar performance, including:
- What are key metrics and their benchmarks?
- How do you gather the information?
- How do you know if you are on track?
- How do you use your intel to convert more prospects into customers?
Creating the win-win webinar
Agron began his presentation by asserting that the objective of a webinar is to get business results while offering a high value to the audience — a benchmark that Agron calls High Performance-High Impact (HP-HI). This is the content marketer’s “sweet spot” for reaping the greatest returns on their webinar efforts.
But, as Agron stresses, these HP-HI webinars don’t just happen — you need to have a solid plan. Here are five things to consider to help ensure predictable outcomes:
- Objectives: What do you want to happen as a result of the webinar? For example, is your goal to bring in more sales leads, develop stronger thought leadership, or achieve better customer retention?
- Audience value: Is your content timely and relevant? Are your messages and information targeted to your desired audience?
- Success factors: What are your target benchmarks for the number of registrants and the number of attendees?
- Calls-to-action: What do you want the audience to do after the webinar, and what are you going to do in order to ensure this happens?
- Analysis: How will you determine whether your objectives are achieved?
One of the biggest benefits of the HP-HI webinar is that you create a relationship with your audience before, during, and after the event.
Measuring the success of your webinar
According to Agron, the following six key metrics are most effective in helping you gauge the success of your webinars:
1. Click-through rate
Click-through rate measures the number of people who registered for your webinar compared with the number of those who clicked to the registration page (just because they went to the registration landing page doesn’t mean they registered). This data can give you vital information to help you predict:
- How strong your registration and attendance may be
- The effectiveness of your registration landing page
- The quality of your message and its value proposition for your target audience
Tip: Agron recommends you start tracking your data as soon as your registration page goes live.
How do you know if your CTR is on track? From the webinars he has conducted and measured, Agron has developed a CTR benchmark that can serve as a guideline for other content marketers:
- Excellent: A CTR of 34 to 50 percent
- On target: A CTR of 25 to 33 percent; you are on target, but review your invitation message to make sure it is specific enough to your audience to improve your rate.
- Underperforming: A CTR of less than 25 percent; you should be concerned if you fall in this range, because it indicates that something isn’t connecting with your audience.
If your registration is underperforming, the answers to these questions might help get your webinars back on track:
- Are you targeting the right demographics?
- Is the information you provide “must have” or just “nice to have;” is it just a converted sales message?
- Are you asking too many registration questions that are invasive? (e.g., “What product are you going to buy?”)
- Are you using words, characters, or phrases in your email subject line that might trigger spam filters, such as “free” or “!”?
- Are you using HTML? (If so, you might want to consider switching from HTML to simple text.)
2. Attendee ratio
Attendee ratio (AR) measures the percent of people attending as a ratio of those who attended compared with those who registered. This data can give you vital information to help you predict:
- Your audience’s interest in the topic
- The demographic value of your content (was it something the target audience wanted to take the time to attend?)
- Best practices for post-webinar follow-up
How do you know if your AR is on track? According to Agron’s benchmarks:
- Excellent: An AR of more than50 percent
- On target: An AR of 40 percent
- Underperforming: An AR less than 30 perent
3. Online polls
Online polls are your opportunity to find out what your attendees are most interested in about your webinar content by measuring real-time feedback. This data can give you vital information to help you analyze:
- Your audience’s level of engagement
- Audience members’ perspective on the topic
- How you should be shaping your message — this is particularly vital for your speakers, as good speakers can take the information gathered from a poll and use it to shape their delivery on the fly
Agron advises content marketers to always look at the percentage of people responding, as well as how they vote, as this information can be used in follow-up conversations after the webinar. For example, in the poll below that Agron conducted, the knowledge that 40 percent of his audience wanted help on how to monitor their online reputations gave him a starting point for later outreach.
4. Exit surveys
Exit surveys measure how well you met your audience’s expectations, such as whether the information you provided was aligned with the webinar description and whether the difficulty level was appropriate for the audience you were targeting. The data can give you vital information to help you learn:
- Your level of thought leadership
- Future topics you might want to cover
- Lessons that can help you as you develop your next webinar
Agron’s standard benchmark for the number of people who respond to an exit survey is:
- Excellent: 35 to 45 percent
- On target: 25 to 35 percent
- Underperforming: less than 25 percent
But Agron says asking your audience members to rate their overall webinar satisfaction on a scale of 1 to 5 can be telling, as well. Using this metric, if the percentage of respondents who rated your webinar between a 3 and a 5 is:
- Excellent: greater than 90 percent
- On target: 80 to 90 percent
- Underperforming: less than 80 percent
5. Audience retention
Audience retention metrics measure how well your webinar kept the audience interested in your business. The data can give you vital information on the impact of your webinar in terms of:
- Whether or not you delivered on what you promised in your promotional materials
- Whether there were audio or technical issues
- Your brand’s level of thought leadership
- What post-webinar follow-up opportunities might exist
Here, Agron feels it’s helpful to look at attendee counts at 15-minute intervals throughout the webinar. When it comes to his company’s webinars, “We want to see 80 percent of the peak audience is still there by the Q&A portion,” he says.
6. On-demand viewing
On-demand viewing metrics indicate post-webinar interest and, according to Agron, this phase is where the real opportunities for content marketing begin. Data you gather that can have an impact on your strategy include:
- Fresh, new sales leads
- People who attended the original webinar but watched it again
- Those who registered but didn’t attend
- What your audience considers to be must-have content
Using the data you collect during a webinar
At the end of the webinar, Agron offered some advice to help attendees take the data compiled through these metrics and use it to start a “warm conversation” that can convert prospects to customers:
- Step 1: Archive a copy of the recorded webinar.
- Step 2: Within 24 to 48 hours, send a follow-up/thank you email and include valuable content, such as the slide deck, or link to reporting.
- Step 3: Do final registration, attendance, and performance analysis.
Agron also recommends marketers gather insights by individual attendee (see sample chart, below), including capturing any special questions they asked throughout the webinar process. “This way, when you follow-up, you can start a conversation that incorporates their questions, and you can integrate this into your marketing automation processes,” he says.
If you missed the webinar, there’s still a chance for you to view the full presentation. Download 6 Key Metrics that Impact Webinar Performance: Before, During and After.