Webinars have been a long-time staple in the marketer’s toolkit. As content marketing has grown over the years, webinars continued to gain traction. Now webinars are even more relevant due to the rising new emphasis on customer marketing and customer success functions.
Combine that with a move to video marketing and the need to build true customer engagement — the result is that webinars just keep on growing. In fact, 73% of B2B marketing and sales leaders say webinars are one of the most effective ways to generate quality leads.
So what’s to come in webinar marketing this year? As Director of GoToWebinar, I’ve hosted more webinars than I can remember. And just last year my team and I analyzed more than 350,00 webinars in an epic hunt for trends and best practices. Needless to say, I’m not making these predictions by shaking the Magic 8-Ball.
Here are my top three webinar marketing predictions for 2018:
1. On-demand webinars will increase in importance and impact.
Over the past years we’ve seen an increase in on-demand viewership. A survey of B2B consumers found that only 16% have a strong preference for live webinars, while our own research among webinar registrants shows that 26% only sign-up to watch on-demand. Based on this behavior and the progress the industry is making in on-demand B2B video platforms, this trend will continue.
I know you’d love to see more attendees during your live webinar, but the truth is, people are busy; there’s no getting around that. But on-demand webinars make it easy for attendees to watch when it’s convenient for them.
On-demand webinars also give you the opportunity to exponentially increase ROI on a single webinar. By making on-demand webinars available and promoting them on your website, blog and emails, you’ll continue to draw in new audiences.
One great way to do this is to post your previous webinar videos on GoToStage, our on-demand platform where marketers can host old webinars and reach entirely new audiences. Promoted the right way, your webinar library can be one of your most valuable marketing assets.
2. Webinars will become increasingly popular for customer onboarding and engagement.
Among the most common webinar use cases are customer onboarding and training, and this will continue through 2018. Webinars will become an increasingly popular form of ongoing customer communication and relationship management. Savvy businesses will continue creating rich-media, interactive customer onboarding tools, and informative visual content to help existing customers find new value in their products and to drive engagement with dormant customers.
We’re already seeing businesses building Customer Engagement Marketing teams to help with these customer-nurturing functions — onboarding, product training, engagement, etc. For these types of initiatives, webinars are the most cost-effective (and, in some cases, the only) way to build and maintain strong relationships at scale with a geographically diverse customer base.
Plus, using on-demand and Simulated Live webinar formats give customer success teams the ability to host reoccurring trainings without having to produce a new webinar every week or month.
3. Competition for audience attention will be fiercer than ever.
As webinar adoption increases, the competition for attention is going to heat up. According to GoToWebinar’s annual customer survey, 54% of webinar users plan to host more webinars in 2018. There may be more competition for audience attention, but that’s not a bad thing.
First, it demonstrates that professionals are seeing and expect to continue seeing healthy returns on webinars. So if you’re already producing webinars, you’re on the right track.
Second, greater competition means we’re going to see marketers up their game and experiment with new formats. There’s no rule that says a webinar has to be a speaker presenting a handful of slides. Marketers are beginning to take advantage of unique webinar capabilities. They’re adding live and playback video, using more interactive elements, and leveraging new types of webinars throughout the entire customer journey.
To learn more about driving audience engagement, watch our on-demand webinar, Riotous Fun: 9 Insider Tactics for Highly Engaging Webinars.
In 2018 you’ll have to level up your webinars or get left behind. Another big part of this will be putting webinar insights into action. Look at engagement metrics to see if your topic is resonating and where you’re losing attendees. You can also use attendee behavior to inform other marketing touches. Webinar insights are a tremendous source of actionable data.
Now that you know what to expect in webinar marketing, you’re ready to take on the new year. Here’s to a great 2018!