Virtual Events Are A Part of “Core Strategy” For 1 in 3 Marketers Now

BrightTALK Primary Webinar Success Metric Dec2020Some 8 in 10 (79%) marketers report that they are currently running webinars. So says a survey [webinar sign-in page] of 1,000 marketing professionals from BrightTALK, which also revealed that 84% have increased their frequency of webinars due to COVID-19.

This year has presented marketers with a myriad of challenges, none the least of which is seeing budgets decrease. Half of the marketers surveyed say that their marketing budget decreased either dramatically (22%) or slightly (28%) because of COVID-19, while only 16% enjoyed a budget hike during this time.

Decreasing budgets and a global pandemic haven’t stood in the way of marketers setting priorities. Close to two-thirds (63%) indicated that converting leads into customers was one of their key priorities for the second half of 2020. Others also prioritized strengthening their position within the competitive market (47%) and increasing revenue from existing customers (42%).

While in the past in-person events were found to be very effective in top or middle funnel activities, such as demand generation and lead conversion, the current environment does not allow for these types of events. This is why in March 2020 6 in 10 (61%) respondents saw their virtual event strategies dramatically increase, and by September about one-third (34%) had made virtual events part of a core strategy, hosting them regularly.

Measuring Success of Webinars

In the past, marketers have found webinars to be effective in meeting objectives such as driving and nurturing leads. And, this recent survey found that 8 in 10 respondents believe that webinars are an effective channel to create pipeline.

As such, it appears that marketers are a little more likely to focus on demand metrics to measure the success of webinars than they are to use content metrics. The largest share use lead quality (23%) as their primary measurement of success, while others focus on pipeline conversion (16%) and lead volume (12%).

On the content side, an equal share say that registrations (16%) or audience interactions (16%) are their primary metric overall, with another 14% saying they look most closely at viewing (14%) to determine the success of a webinar.

Barriers to Running Virtual Events and Webinars

With most marketers believing that virtual events and webinars are here to stay, at least in some form, it’s worth having a look at why some organizations have chosen not to go down that path.

When looking at virtual events specifically, BrightTALK found that in the prior four months (from the time of the survey), the majority of respondents had hosted their own virtual events (64%). On top of that, others said they had hosted online meetups (42%) or sponsored a virtual event (39%).

For those who had not run a virtual event recently, the top reasons for not running one were a lack of time (34%) and content creation challenges (27%), while others noted that virtual events were perceived as an ineffective channel (22%).

The respondents who say they are not running webinar programs replied similarly, with 37% claiming they don’t have enough time and 34% being challenged by content creation. About one-quarter (23%) report that they have never thought about running webinars.

The presentation can be viewed here.

About the Data: Findings are based on a global survey of 1,000 marketing professionals.

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