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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Webinar No-Show Rates

I garnered some interesting information from of Elliott Masie's Learning TRENDS newsletters around webinar s and participation rates

Elliot reports, that Webinar No-Show Rates are one of the "dirty" secrets of the learning world as some organizations report no-show rates as high as 40 to 60%. In other words, for every 10 people who pre-register for a webinar, 4 to 6 do not attend live. 

He goes on to report that some of the factors include:

  • Life Gets Busy: When business realities change, attendance at a live webinar is often seen as less important - and individuals or their managers drive the no-show decision.

This is why at NovoLogic, we understand it will not only be important to properly promote the event but equally or as more important to promote how the event will be relevant and important for the potential attendees.

  • Watch it Asynchronously: A number of people decide that they were not planning to actively participate in the live discussion - so why not watch it streamed later - and even be able to use the fast forward feature that is missing on the live feed.

This is not necessarily a bad thing, as long as you do not really need the people to be there "live and in person". The ability to record a webinar and go back to it, provide it for viewing to additional people, those who could not attend, etc. is one of the huge advantages of using this type of technology.  What is important is to understand why people are not attending live and work to adjust the content, the timing of the content or the delivery of the content to make the events more accepted.

  • No Consequences: The rate goes DOWN when there are consequences - either in terms of certification, lost tuition or peer/manager comments. The rate goes UP when the partiticpant's absence has no ramifications.
This is the old carrot or stick dilemma. If you need people to attend your webinars and you can not force them through compliance or other means to attend, then you better be thinking about how to make the choice of attending your event more important, more exciting than anything else they could be doing during that time, and effectively communicate that value and experience to them.

  • Value Against Time: When participants feel that the total information shared will be low, against time, they make a decision to skip the webinar. I signed up a one hour briefing and then realized that I could read the author's PDF and get almost as much information in 5 minutes.
This is not the fault of the technology but rather the lack of focus by the people using in making them connection points for emotional connections and valuable knowledge transfers that bring true and relevant value to them "now"!
  • Outcome Objectives: I have watched fewer webinars framed as instructional events - with clear outcome objectives. Rather, the webinar is often framed as a content flow or even a thinly masked sales pitch for a product/service. As the outcomes are clearer and more valuable to the learner - the no-show rate goes down.
No surprise here, again make the content relevant valuable and memorable, and communicate that fact prior, during and after the event, and you will see your attendance soar.
  • We Need Creative Designs: When webinars first started, they were mirroring the classroom - with emphasis on PowerPoint and a few questions. As we have added video and other funcionalities, it is time to experiment with very different webinar designs - with the emphasis on interaction, collaboration and project based learning. Many people are choosing to no-show based on the "brand" of the webinar - which can be altered with creative design approaches.
At NovoLogic we could not agree more... that is why when we work with our clients we help make sure their events are;
  1. Memorable, and create an emotional connection
  2. Relevant, make sure that what the audience wants is what the audience is getting
  3. FUN ! - even the most dry information can be presented in a fun way
  4. Well Communicated, the purpose, intent, need and personal impact of the event must be well communicated in advance of the event, at the event, and even following the event, to make sure value is well understood by the participants
How do your event participation rates stack up?

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