How to keep your Webinars Binge-Worthy and Attention-Grabbing

Scott Sundy
May 17, 2023

Lights, Camera…Webinar

For content marketers, it’s important to understand modern digital consumption habits which are key for maximizing both the format and promotional strategy of your webinar programs.

In recent years, Netflix has completely changed the game and revolutionized how consumers watch movies and shows. After originally evolving from a mail-order DVD subscription rental service in the late 1990s, Netflix introduced live streaming in 2007.

This represented a monumental change for viewing audiences who no longer were constrained by live ‘showtimes’ and could now instantly watch their favorite content anywhere, at any time…hence, the beginnings of our on-demand video economy which has huge implications for webinars as well.

The 24/7/365 Audience

Since customers and prospects can now consume webinars on their terms at any time – the importance of having a strong on-demand strategy cannot be overstated. In the last few years, on-demand webinar views have risen from 33% to 38% across all industries, and this number is expected to continue growing.

Additionally, in the new normal of our Covid-19 world, restrictions on business travel and face-to-face meetings and conferences have resulted in an explosion of virtual events and webinars. Overall webinar volume has increased between 3-4x since before the pandemic, according to the ON24 Covid-19 Benchmark Report.

So while it’s now easier than ever to connect online, an unfortunate side effect is ‘virtual event fatigue.’ The enormous uptick in virtual programming (and all the related invitations, confirmations, and reminders) has resulted in many people feeling overwhelmed and disengaged – especially since late 2020 and throughout this year.

What’s the implication for marketers? With so much virtual/webinar ‘noise,’ we have to be that much more innovative to ensure that our events and messaging are noticed, amidst a sea of other similar requests.

Less Is More

In our virtual, attention-challenged times (average human attention span is now 8 seconds, about the same as a goldfish), the key to success is short and concise. How many viral videos are 40 min long…vs. ones that are 4 min, or 40 seconds?

To use the Netflix example again, there’s a reason why each video or show comes with a short trailer – to give curious viewers a quick flavor of what to expect, without forcing them to commit to the entire program. Webinars and video are an audience-driven market and consumers want and expect to ‘try before they buy.’

This concept is not new, as movie marketing has for years featured promotional trailers of varying lengths and themes to drive audience demand. It’s no different for webinars and creating short, compelling preview bits (when possible) is always helpful to increasing interest and participation.


Be Dynamic

One method of incorporating dynamic content into your webinar process involves creating a ‘preview’ trailer to feature on your registration page, as well as email and social promotions. Unless your webinar is entirely pre-recorded, you wouldn’t have any footage to edit down. So another technique that’s growing in popularity involves creating an animated GIF that highlights the key points and objectives, as well as the presenters.

Adding dynamic elements to promotions wherever possible is a great way to instantly grab audience attention since our eyes naturally gravitate towards motion. Social media is particularly suited well for sharing animated GIFs and/or short clips to really make your webinar stand out and generate interest, not to mention easy share-ability.

Make It Binge-worthy

Have you ever ‘binged out’ on Netflix content…and wondered where the last 2 hours went so quickly? Another useful feature of Netflix as applies to webinar recordings is the ability to easily access a deep library of content, all in one place. Offering audiences a one-stop location to register for both upcoming and previously recorded webinars is increasingly becoming the norm.

Marketers should make it as easy as possible for both new and repeat viewers to access webinar content. It’s 2021 and no one wants to have to keep filling out reg. forms each time, so strive for single sign-in capability whenever possible.

Get Personal

Another useful element of the Netflix model as pertains to webinars is the ability to filter and customize based on individual preferences. Modern audiences have very high expectations and now crave personalized content experiences. If possible, include similar filters on your webinar hub so viewers can sort by content category and persona, as well as ‘recommended for you’ based on their previous content selections.

Being able to track and remember your viewers’ viewing habits, and subsequently automate related content offerings is a valuable tool for increasing overall engagement. Additionally, this data provides valuable cues for marketers in understanding the customer journey and developing a holistic content conversion strategy.

The On-Demand Iceberg

As we discussed earlier, as live webinars are slowly giving way to on-demand in our busier-than-ever world, there’s more opportunity (and urgency) than ever for marketers to maximize use of webinar recordings…which often lie hidden underneath the surface.

Minimally, you’ll want to make the recording is available for all participants (both registrants/no-shows as well as live attendees) within 1-2 business days. But it’s also highly recommended to consider making some short highlight clips to use for post-live promotion and related content streams.

In addition to including clips on follow-up emails and social, it’s also recommended to add a short video or animated GIF to your on-demand registration page as well. Just like with Netflix, being able to provide a concise overview (trailer) of what’s to come is a proven model for stimulating viewing interest and driving optimal recording traffic.


1 ON24 2020 Webinar Benchmarks Report: COVID-19 Special Edition

2 History of Netflix: Timeline and Facts - TheStreet, 10/5/20