Webinars work, content marketing-wise.
And since they're growing in popularity as a way to build strong, loyal audiences, the keys to pulling off a successful one are more valuable than ever. So we’d like to address one question that often comes up a lot: When is the best time for a webinar?
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. And unlike TV with its Nielsen ratings, there's been little research done on when "prime time" is for webinars.
(Of course, you can also watch webinars "On Demand," but that's a different topic covered here).
Fortunately, running WebinarNinja has given us some insight. 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 are likely to be at their best.
Before we dive into the hard numbers, take a look at 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, it also neglects the question of culture.
Nations across the world are full of customers, but they don’t all function 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.
So according to our analytics, the best days (as in the days with the highest attendance rates) are the second and second-to-last days of the workweek.
In the US, that would mean hosting a webinar on a Monday or Friday 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 where they are, and plan accordingly.
What's a Good Attendance Rate?
Finding the best time and day for your webinar takes a bit of experimentation.
As a baseline, know that in most cases, less than half of the people who sign up for a webinar will actually will show up.
And that's OK.
We'll discuss strategies for increasing attendance rates, including choosing the right day and time. But for most webinars, a 50% attendance rate is aspirational.
That's why we call it a marketing "funnel," right? For example, in the US, the average attendance rate is 39%, according to our numbers from hundreds of thousands of US webinars on WebinarNinja (bearing in mind that includes some experienced and well-known users with consistent followings, which drives the average up).
Personally, I average a 47% attendance rate — and timing is part of the reason.
The Hard Numbers
Based on our user data, here's the breakdown, country by country.
The U.S. of A.
11 am to 2 pm is the statistical sweet spot. Webinars within that time frame have the best attendance rates, with the overall average attendance rate being in the mid-20-percent range.
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 magic happens. Remember, Asia is a large continent that spans many time zones, so remember that theses are aggregated numbers.
The numbers tell us that despite their best efforts, Aussies are not too different from Americans- at least when it comes to their webinar attendance habits. 10am to noon has is the 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.
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