How to Observe Webinar Audience Behavior

By Sharat Sharan, John Carucci

Almost everything in life has a cause and effect, including webinar success and audience behaviors. If you leave a saucer of milk outside your back door for the local stray cat, guess what will happen? That local stray cat will keep coming back for more.

The same can apply to your audience. You just have to figure out what they want from your presentation. Finding what they want often comes from observing their behavior, much like the graphic.

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Behaviors to keep an eye on include

  • Increased activity: Maybe a certain speaker or segment shows increased activity on chat or social media.

  • Lure of the speaker: Many participants come to your webinar because of a particular speaker. Sometimes it’s obvious — like if your speaker is a big name — but other times, it has more to do with the participants activity during a speaker’s performance that lets you know. For example, it’s a positive sign when attendees tweet a speaker’s comments during the webinar.

  • What your audience is asking: The Q&A says so much about what the audience wants, not just a particular question, but even beyond the entire presentation. For example, pay attention to when they ask about products and services, or when they ask questions that go beyond the topic.

  • Exit survey: By using exit surveys, you can assess what your audience thought about the presentation and what else they expect.

It’s equally important to find out how long they stayed logged on to the webinar. Was it for the entire duration, or did they give up at a certain point?

Some of the common reasons attendees leave early include

  • Certain time spans: Look for a spike in drop-offs after specific times. Maybe it’s half past the hour, or when crossing into the next half hour. Sometimes it has to do with engagement over a longer period as people lose interest. Other times, it’s more random.

  • Lull in activity: Too many talky passages or boring speakers can act as viewer-repellant. Look for patterns when they’re leaving.

    For example, did you lose a lot of people when a certain speaker came on? Were there too many slides, or not enough? Although you won’t always know for sure, if the analytics show a drop-off happens during a specific period, it’s safe to say you need to reassess next time around.

  • Lengthy timeframe: It’s important to assess if people are dropping off due to the length of your webinar. Maybe there’s a big drop-off when you cross from a half hour to 40 minutes. Or did breaking the one-hour mark cause them to say “no mas?” According to ON24’s 2013 Benchmark Survey, the average time attending a webinar is 54 minutes.