Webinar Scheduling Survey Results
Posted by Ken Molay
I have closed off my survey for webinar scheduling preferences. Let's take a look at the findings.
The first and most important finding is that it is incredibly difficult to get people to take surveys. I only collected 89 responses, which doesn't exactly count as a statistically representative sample of the world's total business and consumer population. I offer a big thank you to everybody who took the time to participate. Only 8 responses came from outside the Americas, so please assume that conclusions apply to our domestic market. Similarly, all but nine respondents indicated that they are employed full time.
To recap the question scenario, I set up an online survey that segmented each work day into four segments: Morning, Mid-day, 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.
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:
- Wednesday afternoon
- Thursday afternoon
- Tuesday afternoon
- Wednesday mid-day
- Tuesday mid-day
- Thursday mid-day
(By the way, those of you who read my column in the Bulldog Solutions newsletter will see some slight variations in results. That column was submitted for print earlier in the month, and the figures here include some additional responses.)
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:
- Tuesday 34.9%
- Wednesday 25.6%
- Friday 16.3%
- Thursday 15.1%
- Monday 8.1%
When asked to pick the time that would best fit their schedule, results followed a time zone trend that matches conventional scheduling for the US. People on the West Coast tended to pick times between 9am and 11am. People in the Central time zone more often picked mid-day, and people on the East Coast tended to pick 1pm-3pm. 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 US national audience.
I have made the raw data available for your own review (including a few comments from respondents). You can access a spreadsheet of survey responses by clicking on the hyperlink or by typing the following URL into your browser: www.wsuccess.com/download/survey.xls
My hope is that this information will help companies to better match the preferences of their audiences when scheduling web seminars and other online events. I welcome your comments on this subject.