Companies across industries are rapidly shifting to digital-first engagement with webinars, according to the ON24 Webinar Benchmarks Report 2021. In one of the most extensive data analyses of digital events, the findings are based on more than 2,000 organizations delivering over 100,000 digital experiences with at least 100 attendees using ON24 (NYSE: ONTF) last year. Data shows that the use of webinars increased 162% and attendance nearly quadrupled to more than 60 million people. Audiences engaged with over 61 million hours of content, an increase of nearly 300%.
As the move to digital channels accelerates, webinars remain core to the marketing and sales cycle. In a supplementary survey to the benchmarks report, nearly all marketers (99%) cite webinars as key to their plans, with three-quarters (72%) saying webinars have a direct impact on pipeline and revenue. Due in part to benefits such as audience insights, engagement data, and buying signals webinars generate, marketers say the majority of sales teams (66%) prioritize leads that come from webinars, making them the top digital channel for 89% of respondents in creating qualified sales leads.
Video Becoming Essential in Digital Experiences
Companies are using webinars to deliver dynamic digital experiences that engage their prospects and customers, with more marketers using video to increase audience engagement and viewing times during their events. Two-thirds (66%) of all live webinar experiences featured some type of video, which is nearly a 30-point increase from the previous year.
The growing use of video shows that audiences want more active two-way interaction such as one-to-one discussions, group meetings, and peer-to-peer networking versus passive experiences. Video became critical to customer engagement and adding an interactive element to webinars. Perhaps signaling video will continue as a core component to digital events and engagement, 36% of respondents invested in new video equipment to support their ongoing webinar programs.
Increasing Preference for On-Demand Content
While live events remain the most used format, on-demand webinars are growing in popularity as a way to give attendees convenient access to content at any time. Data shows live-only attendance fell four points to 53% while on-demand viewing increased four points to 43%. Nearly half of all webinar attendees watched webinars on-demand.
Marketers are making their content available beyond a live event and better accommodating audiences with on-demand webinars. On-demand viewing averages 29 minutes, providing more time to engage and educate audiences. With an increasing preference for on-demand experiences, a majority (58%) surveyed say they are creating webinars that go straight to an on-demand session.
“Digital engagement is enabling marketing and sales teams to reach more people and spend more time with their prospects and customers,” said Steve Daheb, CMO at ON24. “Digital-first approaches are here to stay because companies now have a much better and cost-effective way to capture buyer attention, drive deeper engagement, and gather insights and data to generate pipeline and revenue.”
The ON24 Webinar Benchmarks Report 2021 is an analysis of more than 100,000 digital experiences with over 100 attendees between January and December 2020 on ON24 Webcast Elite, representing more than 2,000 small business and enterprise organizations. Over 100 customers were surveyed to complement this analysis and add further insight to the benchmark data.
For a complete overview of the ON24 Webinar Benchmarks Report 2021 results, watch the on-demand webinar at ON24.com/Benchmarks2021.