Re-Thinking Webinars for the Modern Audience

For nearly two decades, the webinar has been a workhorse for B2B marketers. In the days before marketing automation and pervasive analytics, the ability to easily track registrations and engagement was a very big deal. The ability to reach out and re-touch the leads was equally splendid.

But a lot has changed in the past 20 years, especially when it comes to what's available online and how the audience consumes it. Twenty years ago was six years before YouTube was founded, and the online video experience at the dawn of the 21st century was shaky (sometimes literally) at best.

This is a story about two unstoppable trends that none of us can control -- the larger media landscape and demographics -- and a content format in the bullseye of each.

The Media Landscape

Our media consumption is increasingly dominated by on-demand viewing and listening. And because B2B buyers and prospects are the same people who walk around in the B2C world, this trend is carrying over to the consumption of business-related media. B2B content is also part of the story. There's a lot of it, it's being produced at high volume and it's being distributed to the audience at a high velocity. Forrester Research has gone so far as to refer to much of the B2B content being created as "crap." There's a word that will get your attention. But there's an important observation in the Forrester piece that also deserves your attention:

"Part of the explanation is that marketers haven’t kept pace with buyers’ preferences."

And that brings us to…


If you have children, or know any children, you know that it seems like you turn your head away, then you look back, and suddenly they've grown up. So it goes for Millennials. The oldest Millennials are now approaching 40 years old, and they are making up a growing portion of your buyers and researchers.

As for the B2B media consumption habits of Millennials with B2B buying power, I'm just going to leave this, from a survey by Sacunas, right here:


What Does This Mean for the Webinar?

There are a number of things B2B marketers love about the webinar.

  • They're relatively inexpensive
  • They play well with martech investments
  • They're easy to produce

There are a number of things the audience prefers from its content experiences today:

  • Short snippets available on-demand
  • Content that clearly states its purpose
  • Something that's helpful and interesting and short

We analyzed the data from dozens of webinars and more than 600 actual webinar attendees and found today's events simply aren't delivering for today's audience. They're too long, they're too uninteresting, and they take too much time to make their point.

Other observations:

  • The majority of the viewers in the webinar data we analyzed were age 46 or older.
  • It's getting increasingly difficult to get viewers to engage for more than 10 minutes.
  • The only effective way to increase engagement is to make the event shorter (the speakers, slide design, and format have seemingly no impact).

The bottom line is this: Events that don't deliver for the audience can't deliver for marketers.

Can You Get the Best of Both Worlds? We Think So.

At QuinStreet, we're taking the things marketers love about webinars – the relatively low cost, the ease of creation and the data -- and we're combining them with a format more appealing to today's audience. We call it a 10-Minute Take. Each 10-Minute Take uses as its title a question, which is then answered in the 10-minute, on-demand presentation that follows. The audience can explore additional resources and even submit on-demand questions to be delivered via email.

When people go to sites like YouTube or TED, they know exactly what they're going to get and how long they need to get it. It's time the webinar caught up.

Want to learn more about 10-Minute Takes and discuss how we can help you re-think the webinar? Contact us today.

Posted in Content Marketing, Lead Generation, Research on May 14, 2019

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