Event Types: A Guide to Webinars
Over the past three decades, webinars have evolved from a novelty to a bona fide cornerstone of many marketing strategies. In fact, 53% of marketers say webinars generate the most qualified leads of any content format in their toolkit, according to a DemandGen report.
This evolution is the result of the many benefits that webinars deliver to both organizations and attendees. Not only are webinars cost-effective, they also enable companies to reach a much wider audience. At the same time, people can attend webinars at their convenience. If they can’t participate when the webinar is being recorded, they can watch it later on-demand — giving organizations a marketing asset with a long shelf life.
In this piece, we examine everything you need to know about webinar events, including how they work, who they’re for, organizer and attendee goals, examples of successful webinars, and how a purpose-built virtual event platform can make the webinar creation process a breeze.
What are webinars?
We define a webinar as any virtual event comprising one session that is less than two hours long — which means it is shorter and more focused than a virtual conference or a multi-session virtual event. Webinars are designed to educate and engage an external audience, and they are typically free to attend.
Because of the virtual nature of webinars, organizations can hold them at any time throughout the year. A versatile event type, webinars come in several flavors, including AMAs (ask me anything), speaker series, panel discussions, presentations, interviews, lead generation webinars, and customer success webinars.
Consider the following key findings from businesses using the Bizzabo Event Experience Operating System:
- 18% of events are webinars
- 25% of Bizzabo customers run webinars
- 98% of webinars are free
- 65% of webinars last less than one hour
- 78% of webinars have 100 or fewer participants
How do webinars work?
Webinars can be live or pre-recorded. Typically, attendees register for these virtual events ahead of time and receive email confirmations with instructions on how to participate. If someone who signs up can’t make the webinar, they will be able to access a recording of the event and watch it on-demand.
While webinar organizers aim to attract as many live attendees as possible, organizations often use webinar recordings as marketing assets for several months or even longer. For example, if a webinar explores new features in a company’s software solution, it will stay relevant until the product receives another facelift. During the interim period, the company can continue leveraging the webinar on their website, on social media, through email marketing and more.
Is a webinar a virtual event?
Webinars are virtual events!
Who goes to webinars and other virtual events?
Depending on the nature of the webinar itself, a variety of different folks might attend, including the following:
- Solo learners
- Line-of-business managers
- Business development reps
- Legal teams
What do organizers hope to get out of webinar events?
Webinar organizers are generally interested in generating revenue. In some cases, that revenue might come from ticket sales (e.g., an exclusive webinar featuring a highly sought-after speaker), but in most cases, revenue will stem from lead-generation efforts. Webinar organizers might try to offset some of the costs of putting on a webinar via sponsorship.)
However, because most webinars are free, most organizers hope to demonstrate thought leadership and raise brand awareness. Many event organizers hold webinars to provide education to existing customers and entice prospects (e.g., Bizzabo’s quarterly Tech Showcase Series) or to showcase meaningful partnerships with cutting-edge brands (e.g., The Key to Event Personalization webinar with Google’s Experience Institute (Xi) and Storycraft Lab).
What is the attendee’s objective for webinars?
Webinar attendees are primarily interested in learning new topics and meeting new people (e.g., through question-and-answer sessions at the end of the event). While roughly half of those who sign up for webinars don’t attend them live, these individuals might decide to watch a recording of the event when it’s more convenient for their schedule.
Webinar Inspiration: 3 Examples of Effective Virtual Events
Now that you have a better idea of what webinars are all about let’s look at some examples of successful webinars for some inspiration.
1. Front: Product Roadmap
Front, makers of a customer communication platform, hosts a live webinar each quarter that outlines new features, company developments, and current projects. At the end of each webinar, there’s an open Q&A session where attendees can ask any questions they might have.
2. Ebiquity: Thought Leadership
In this webinar, Ebiquity shares its findings on how the COVID-19 pandemic caused a crisis of creativity within the marketing sphere. According to the firm’s research, businesses traded short-term tactics for long-term strategies. Anyone can tune in to the webinar on-demand to learn how a team can leverage creativity to build long-term relationships and a more resilient business.
3. Screen International: Panel Discussion
In May 2020, Screen International, a magazine covering the movie business, held a panel discussion featuring three industry professionals discussing how their companies were adapting to COVID-19 lockdowns. Watch the webinar to see how studios had to reinvent their approach to keep projects on schedule.
Achieve Webinar Success with the Event Experience OS
Putting on a great webinar starts with having the right tools. If you want to host a webinar that engages your audience and helps you accomplish your goals, Bizzabo can help.
Our webinar management platform gives you everything you need to plan, schedule, and host a webinar that delivers modern experiences to attendees and participants alike. With Bizzabo’s Event Experience OS, you can provide production-level content while interacting with your audience in many ways using built-in features that include the following:
- Virtual venues
- Audience reactions
- Real-time chat
- Breakout rooms
- Polls and surveys
- Social sharing
- Virtual applause
- Closed captioning for accessibility
- And more!
On top of this, Bizzabo also delivers features designed to make it easy to facilitate webinars and measure their effectiveness, like roles and permissions, single sign-on, and event intelligence. Plus, you can access live attendee support, a speaker portal, webinar landing pages, promo and discount codes, and more.
If you want to uplevel your webinar game, Bizzabo can help. Request a demo today to learn more about the easiest way to ensure your next webinar is an unforgettable experience.