Having hosted over 400 webinars in the past six years, I’ve witnessed firsthand the power of webinars when it comes to virtually connecting people all over the world. And I’m not alone – tons of brands are using webinars to reach their best prospects at all corners of the web.
But hosting a successful webinar isn’t always easy – it requires strategic planning, the right eye-catching topic, and a knock-your-socks-off presentation. And, to achieve success, one of the most important details to nail down is when you’re going to host your webinar.
Is there an ideal date and time to host a webinar? How do you maximize attendance even with viewers all over the world?
In this guide, we’re analyzing data from thousands of webinars with millions of attendees to finally answer the question: When is the best day to host a webinar?
Why the Timing of Your Webinar Matters
The key to hosting a successful webinar is proper planning. That means not leaving the timing or execution of your webinar up to chance. Based on recent data, we know for certain that the timing of your webinar does matter when it comes to maximizing attendance.
If you’re going to invest the energy (and money) into running a webinar, you want it to attract as many attendees as possible. More attendees = better results.
Since peoples’ schedules vary, some days are better webinar days than others. In identifying the best day for a webinar for your audience, you’ll want to select a day (and time) that works for the greatest number of attendees.
In fact, there are many ways to increase viewership and maximize conversions on your webinars. Discover 27 conversion tips in our Free Webinar Conversion Guide.
Now, without further ado, let’s see what the data has to say in terms of the best days to host webinars.
Analyzing Thousands of Successful Webinars [2020 Results]
Webinar platform ON24 compiled data from thousands of webinars to create their 2020 Webinar Benchmark report. This report provides valuable insights into webinar performance, the best days for hosting, and more.
While this report analyzes data related to all levels of webinar creation and promotion, for the purpose of this guide, we’re looking specifically at data that reflects the best days and times for hosting.
Our goal here is to give you the tips you need to connect with more prospects using successful online presentations.
The Best Day for a Webinar
The ON24 study found Wednesday and Thursday to be the best days to host a webinar. This is consistent with previous data from their 2019 report. The data goes as follows:
- Monday – 9%
- Tuesday – 25%
- Wednesday – 26%
- Thursday – 28%
- Friday – 9%
- Saturday / Sunday – 4%
Essentially, mid-week is the best time to hold a webinar, with Monday typically being a “catch-up” day to start the week and Friday being a day where people have their minds towards the weekend already. The weekend – Saturday and Sunday – attracted the lowest number of attendees, on average.
The caveat: There’s no one day that fits all audiences. It’s recommended that you test timing with your audience to see which days yield the highest attendance.
The Best Time for a Webinar
According to the ON24 report, the best time to run a webinar is at 11 a.m. PST (2 p.m. EST). The idea being, it avoids conflicts on both American coasts and is early enough for Europe to catch your presentation at night. In fact, 39% of the webinars analyzed were hosted between 10 a.m. and 12 p.m. PST.
- 6 a.m. PST – 5%
- 7 a.m – 6%
- 8 a.m. – 8%
- 9 a.m. – 9%
- 10 a.m. – 12%
- 11 a.m – 17%
- 12 p.m. – 10%
- 1 p.m. – 5%
In summary, you should aim to host your webinar in the middle of the day for maximum attendance. While the best webinar times will be based to some degree on your unique audience’s schedules, aiming for 11 a.m. PST is your best bet if you’re trying to cover multiple time zones in the US.
Don’t be afraid to experiment with different times to see what works best for you and your audience. If your audience is 9-to-5ers and mostly in your timezone, consider running a webinar later in the evening.
How Long Should a Live Webinar Last?
Based on 2019 data, the average viewing time for live webinars was 56 minutes. Note that the ideal webinar length depends heavily on the topic, audience, and content in the webinar. Most webinars last about an hour, but can run much longer for more complicated topics.
The study also found a downward trend in webinar length, perhaps due to the fact that more viewers are watching webinars on the go from their mobile devices. In 2019, 9.4% of attendees watched webinars from their smartphone, up from 8.3% in 2018.
- 2020 – 56 minutes
- 2019 – 58 minutes
- 2018 – 56 minutes
- 2017 – 55 minutes
Overall, your webinar presentation should be long enough to effectively cover the topic but not so long that you lose your viewers’ attention. Keep in mind that this should include a Q&A session, so the actual presentation should often be under 45 minutes long. This allows time for Q&A which you should run as long as attendees are asking questions. Many of your sales or call bookings will happen during the Q&A so don’t cut it short just because you’re over the one hour mark.
5 Tips for Maximizing Webinar Attendance
According to ON24 data, 41% of webinars in 2019 attracted at least 100 attendees – up from 34% in 2018. In 2020, more people are watching webinars than ever before, making them a smart marketing tool for B2B companies, coaches, and consultants.
In case it wasn’t clear already, webinars can work wonders when it comes to attracting high-quality prospects and moving them along your sales funnel. You can cover just about any topic under the sun, draw viewers in with your mouth-watering offer, and expand your profits exponentially.
Now, the key is to attract as many attendees as possible to yield the best, money-making results from your webinar. Here’s how to maximize webinar attendance to grow your audience and close more deals.
1. Pick a time that works in all time zones.
The study found 11 a.m. PST to be the time that drew in the highest attendance, but this the average, not the rule. In hosting your webinar, you should aim for a time that works for the greatest number of people across time zones. Obviously this will depend on where your audience lives and what their schedules look like.
The reason why mid-day works the best, in general, is because registrants on the East Coast can tune in around 2 p.m. (after lunch but before the end of the day) while people in Central and Mountain time zones can tune in during their lunch break. Host it later in the day and you risk East Coasters dropping off; host it earlier and it will be too early for people on the West Coast.
Now, if your audience exists outside of the US, the same idea applies; aim for a time that works for the greatest number of people in whichever time zone(s).
2. Promote your webinar in advance.
ON24 found that the majority of registrants – 56% – sign up for a webinar at least eight days before the actual event. This reaffirms the idea that you should plan your webinar out in advance rather than wait until the last minute. About 25% of companies start promoting their webinars at least two weeks before the event. I recommend at least a week in advance with the majority of your email promotion coming within the final 3 days to increase your show up rate.
Want to get the message out? Email has been found to be the most effective channel for promoting a webinar, with Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday being the top days for promotion. These days account for 65% of all webinar registrations.
The larger window you have to promote your webinar, the more likely you are to attract attendees. So, start promotion early to get as many webinar sign-ups as possible.
3. Keep your audience engaged (and coming back).
About 70% of all webinars offered additional resources for attendees to engage with and/or download. In fact, two-way engagement – in the form of Q&As, polls, and surveys – is one of the key drivers of webinar success.
Encouraging engagement throughout the webinar is essential, especially if you want attendees to be itching to opt into your offer. One study from Experiences Everywhere showed that top-performing webinars incorporated additional materials and multimedia elements to boost engagement and personalize their content.
The top tools to boost engagement were:
- PowerPoint slides – 91%
- Q&As – 81%
- Polls – 78%
- Surveys – 73%
- Training certificates – 22%
As a result of using these tools, 81% of webinar hosts said that their audiences were engaged with their webinar content. High audience engagement is correlated with higher conversion rates and end sales. Increasing engagement on your webinars could even double your revenue numbers!
Even more, keeping your audience engaged keeps them from dropping off and encourages them to seek out your content in the future. So, it’s in your best interest to utilize engagement tools if you want to maximize attendance and sales.
4. Run the replay or a short version of your presentation.
Obviously your goal is to attract as many live attendees as possible, but the timing of your webinar may not work for everyone. That’s why you should consider offering an on-demand version to maximize your registration numbers.
70% of top-performing webinars used simulative tools that allowed them to record the webinar first while enabling live interaction. This provides that “live” feel while making your webinar as accessible as possible. The study also found that over 20% of people registered to watch an on-demand webinar after the live event had ended.
You don’t have to rely on a live-only webinar to drive sales; you can host a live version and an on-demand version to attract as many viewers as possible. Then, you can integrate this on-demand webinar into evergreen content, attracting new users for weeks and even months to come.
5. When in doubt, test it out.
While the above data provides a ton of insight into webinar success, you should always plan out your webinar based on the unique interests, goals, and schedules of your audience. This means testing the timing of your webinar, the content, the engagement tools you use, and your offer.
Webinars can be powerful tools in driving leads to your business. With 38% of survey respondents considering webinar leads to be above average, you can’t afford to sleep on this money-making content marketing tool. The key is to establish a rock-solid webinar funnel with the perfect offer to entice your audience.
Conclusion: Timing and Content Value Are Everything!
By now we have covered the top days and times for hosting a webinar, as well as some bonus tips for maximizing attendance. While the above data does reveal some powerful insights into how to host a successful webinar, the success of your webinar will be greatly dependent on you establishing your own unique, data-driven strategy.
That’s why I aim to help B2B companies, consultants, coaches, and service providers build audience-focused webinar funnels that drive results. With the perfect timing and content, you can start attracting high-quality leads and land more sales calls with engaging online presentations.
Schedule your free consultation to start building your webinar sales-generating webinar in no time.