The Results Are In: Best Times for a Webinar
By Ken Molay, President, Webinar Success
What? Webinars on Fridays?
In public presentations and in client consultations, I often get a question as to what times and days are best for scheduling Web seminars. I answer the same way most people in the industry do, that is, "Tuesday through Thursday, a little before lunch on the West Coast, a little after lunch for the East Coast." It just seems logical: Stay away from early and late hours when you might miss some workers, stay away from Mondays and Fridays when people are either overloaded or enjoying a long weekend.
So I decided to ask the public their preferences. I set up an online survey that segmented each work day into four rough segments: Morning, Midday, Afternoon, and Evening. I then asked people to indicate on average whether each day and time tended to be Great, Okay, or Bad for allowing them the convenience of attending a Web seminar. I also asked them to pick a day and time that would be their number one preference for watching Webinars.
Best Day of the Week
Early results surprised me. Quite a few people indicated that Fridays worked well for them. But as more people voted, Fridays became quite polarized. Friday morning and mid-day events had equal numbers of people voting Great and Bad, with many saying they were Okay. It turns out you don't have to be as fearful of Fridays as you might have been. Fridays even got one more vote than Thursdays for the favorite day of the week to attend a Webinar! So if you are offering an event on multiple days to give your audience options, you might want to include a Friday session as a choice—just as long as it's not too late in the day.
In looking at the overall rankings, I decided to apply a simple scoring algorithm to the voting. I counted a Great as +2 points, an Okay as +1 point, and a Bad as -2 points. Using this system, the top audience preferences in order turned out to be:
The above set all had closely grouped high scores and matches the conventional wisdom. That's a good thing, otherwise a lot of companies would have been wasting their time and all of us in the industry would have egg on our faces!
Monday mornings, Friday afternoons, and all evenings scored extremely negatively, also matching expectations. The remaining group was fairly evenly spread out, although Thursday mornings scored higher than the rest of the second tier times.
What fascinates me is that when people were asked to pick a single day that they would most like to attend a Webinar, the results were different than the scoring above would indicate:
Best Time of Day
When asked to pick the time that would best fit their schedule, results followed a time zone trend that matches conventional scheduling for the U.S. People on the West Coast tended to pick times between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. People in the Central time zone more often picked midday, and people on the East Coast tended to pick 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Is this the result of "conditioning" by Webinar providers? Whatever the reason, it makes life a little easier for you if you are scheduling an event for a U.S. national audience.
Hopefully this information will help you when scheduling your Web seminars for a U.S. business audience (If you are wondering about international results, contributions from overseas were not high enough to make accurate statistics). It turns out that for the most part, we had it right after all.
Ken Molay has been producing and delivering business Webinars since 1999. He offers consulting services through his company Webinar Success (www.wsuccess.com) and is a prolific blogger on the subject of Web conferencing and its applications in The Webinar Blog (www.TheWebinarBlog.com) and Webinar Wire (www.WebinarWire.com).
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