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Online Learning: The Latest Webinar Trends and Benchmarks

By / Jun 12, 2015 (iStock/Thinkstock)

A new benchmarking report by ON24 reveals four webinar trends that increase audience engagement. Associations should take note, considering 80 percent currently offer them.

I spend a lot of time on this blog talking about in-person meetings and conferences, but that’s not to say that association learning is confined to face-to-face space.

In fact, according to Tagoras’ “Association Learning + Technology 2014” report, 88.7 percent of organizations provide some type of technology-based or technology-enabled learning. The most popular type: webinars, with more than 80 percent of respondents currently offering them.

With such a large majority of associations offering webinars, I’m sure just as many are curious if there any new trends or must-have features that would make potential attendees more likely to register or participate in one. A new benchmarking report—released earlier this week by ON24—analyzed more than 9,000 webinars conducted both inside and outside the association space in 2014 to reveal that information and more.

“The report can be used as a set of guidelines to create and deliver dynamic webinars for improved audience engagement and sales,” said Jayesh Sahasi, ON24 chief product officer and CTO, in a press release. Here are four trends the group highlighted:

Video use. Webinars that integrate video—whether through webcams, streaming, or video clips—increased from 9 percent in 2013 to 16.5 percent in 2014. “Companies are clearly trying to increase the level of engagement and visual appeal of their webinars,” the report says. It credits the increase to the evolution of video technology, reduced costs, and the ability for organizations to push video without bandwidth constraints.

Interactivity. The report says increased audience engagement is the result of growth in the use of interactivity tools. At 82 percent, Q&A is the most used interactivity tool. Thirty-five percent of webinars integrated social media applications such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, and 24 percent of webinars used polling as a way to directly engage audience members. Polling was also the most likely way audience members would participate in a webinar, with 31 percent saying they responded to polls. On the bottom of the list were group chats and collaboration, both at 4 percent.

Larger audiences. In 2013, only 1 percent of webinars drew more than 1,000 attendees, while in 2014, 9 percent of webinars passed the 1,000 mark. “This signifies that webinars that draw more than 1,000 attendees are no longer limited to events held by large enterprise brands,” says the report.

Viewing times. Compared to an average of 38 minutes in 2010, live webinar viewing—for an average one-hour webinar—has risen and held steady at the 56-minute mark for the past two years. “At a time when most marketers are talking about the need for ‘snackable’ bite-sized content to appeal to the limited attention spans of their target audiences, webinars continue to defy the trend,” says the report.

Is your association still investing in webinars and seeing demand for them? And, if so, what features or trends do your attendees consider most popular? Share in the comments.

Samantha Whitehorne

Samantha Whitehorne is editorial director of Associations Now. More »

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