It’s no secret, webinars is one of the best tools for online content marketing. That’s why we created WebinarNinja in the first place, and that’s why we put so much effort into refining it over the past few years.
All that is to say this: we know a lot about what makes a given webinar successful. And since webinars are growing in popularity as a comprehensive way to build strong, loyal audiences, the keys to pulling off a successful one are more valuable than ever. With that, we’d like to address one question that often comes up for webinar newbies...
When is the best time to host one?
Choosing the right day and time for your webinar can have a huge effect on its efficacy. Like television, the world of webinars has its “prime times” and its slow periods. Knowing when your audience is most likely to “tune in” is crucial. Unlike television where there are Nielsen ratings, there has been very little to no research done on when is "prime time" for webinars.
Fortunately, running a webinar company has given us some insight into that. Based on the data from our own users, we’ve been able to get a clear analytical picture of the webinar cycle and when attendance rates to webinars are at their best.
But before we dive into the hard numbers, you have to understand the big picture.
The International Question
The first thing to understand about scheduling a webinar is that it has to be convenient for your audience.
Remember, folks— this is the internet. That means you could have potential customers signing up from every corner of the globe, let alone the country. Time zones and cultural differences can have a massive impact on your rates of attendance and (ultimately) sales conversions.
One mistake we’ve noticed among our own users is the assumption that everyone else is on the same Monday-Friday, 9-5 work schedule. Not only does this fail to take time zones into account, but it also neglects the question of culture. Nations across the world are full of potential customers, but they don’t all function based on the American concept of a workweek!
For example, in India—where there’s no shortage of potential business for tech-savvy entrepreneurs—Sunday is an off day, but Saturdays are essentially still part of the workweek. In the Middle East, the workweek starts on Sunday, with most people having off on Fridays. The “best” day of the week for your webinar, therefore, will be relative to the location of your audience.
Applying this principle to the data, we haven’t found that Monday or Tuesday or Saturday or any particular day is “best” for a webinar in terms of attendance. We’ve discovered that how far into the workweek— whatever day that happens to be in a given culture— is what matters.
For example, attendance (as a proportion of signups) tends to be low on the first and last day of the workweek. In the former case, people are generally too focused on the week ahead. In the latter, they’re spent, winding down, and looking forward to the weekend. According to our analytics, the best days (as in the days with the highest percentage of signups actually attending) are the second and second-to-last days of the workweek.
In the US, that would mean that hosting a webinar on a Monday or Friday already puts you at a disadvantage. Tuesdays and Thursdays are your best bet.
But what if your audience isn’t in the US? If your audience is Indian, Friday might be just fine. If they’re Moroccan, Friday is a bad idea. You’ve got to know who you’re dealing with. This is where your email marketing software comes in handy. Using that, you can find out where your subscribers are located via their IP addresses. Find out what coast they’re on, what country they’re in, what time zone they’re living on, and plan accordingly.
The Hard Numbers
Again, our idea of the “best” day and time for a webinar is whenever the highest proportion of those who’ve signed up will actually attend. The numbers on this can look a little frightening, but think of them like batting averages; even the best ones don’t seem impressive at first glance.
The U.S. of A.
Regardless of which time zone your audience is in, there’s a sweet spot for a one-hour webinar.
From 11 am to 2 pm is statistically that spot. Webinars with these start times have an average 39% attendance rate. I personally average a 47% attendance rate with my webinars in this time range.
Again, an average of 39% may not sound like much, but as a percentage of signups, it’s statistically great! With the overall average attendance rate being in the mid 20s, anything even approaching the 50% barrier is an accomplishment.
Europe...and the UK 😉
For European audiences, you’ll want to get started a little earlier (by their clocks). The sweet spot across the pond is between 8am and 11 am.
This period saw attendance comparable to that of the 11am - 2pm spot in America. I would guess there would be more night owls in Europe, but the numbers don't lie. Maybe they spend their evenings relaxing. What a concept.
Another surprise here...let them sleep in—2pm to 4pm is where the statistical magic happens there. Remember, Asia is a large continent that spans many timezones so remember that theses are aggregated numbers.
The numbers tell us that despite their best efforts, Aussies are not too different to Americans- at least when it comes to their webinar attendance habits. 10am to noon has proven to be best webinar window.
As we add more international users, we’ll continue to track this data and paint a more finely detailed picture of webinar attendance rates around the globe. The more numbers we gather, the more we’ll know, and the better prepared our own audience will be for maximizing the impact of their webinars.
If you’ve never done a webinar, I’d encourage you to head over to webinarninja.com/course for our free (free!) full 7-day course on webinar planning and development.
This A-Z webinar course is delivered in 7 short video lessons that will show you how to plan, construct, market, and deliver your first webinar with the confidence of a seasoned pro.
With that—and the knowledge of some quality analytics—you can make webinars the key to building credibility in your marketplace.