Not all events are in-person. Webinars are a popular marketing tactic—especially for business-to-business (B2B) marketers—and research indicates many believe they can be highly effective.
Polling from Webmarketing123 in November 2014 found that two-thirds of US B2B marketers considered webinars effective content marketing tactics. They were considered more effective than any other content marketing format except videos, which won out by just 2 percentage points. In the business-to-consumer world, webinars were less effective, but one-third of respondents still favored them.
According to polling by Percolate, 20% of US marketing executives said their companies created webinars last year.
Another survey, from Demand Gen Report, found that 62% of US B2B marketers were using webinars as part of lead nurture campaigns in 2014. More than half of respondents also considered webinars effective for this purpose. Only white papers were more widely used, and they were slightly less likely to be rated effective. And Chief Marketer reported that 44% of US B2B marketers used webinars for lead gen last year, up from 29% in 2013.
Webinar prominence among customers has also gone up in recent years. Longitudinal research from Eccolo Media found that 34% of US B2B technology decision-makers used webinars to help them evaluate a potential purchase in 2014. That was up from 29% the previous year.
According to October 2014 data from Implisit based on its clients success with converting leads to opportunities, webinars had a success rate of 17.8% by this metric—better than any other channel except websites or customer/employee referrals.
Sponsoring a webinar in search of leads can be expensive, according to polling by Software Advice. September 2014 research found that third-party webinars had relatively high lead costs—20.0% of US B2B marketers said the costs per lead were “very high,” while another 45.5% said they were “somewhat high.”
But the high cost of leads wasn’t deterring respondents from using third-party webinars for demand generation—suggesting they are effective for this purpose. More than one in four respondents said they would be spending more on third-party webinars in 2015, while around half planned to hold spending steady. It’s also because lead quality is high. Nearly three in 10 webinar leads were considered “excellent,” and another 39.3% were rated “good.”
An Econsultancy survey of client-side marketers worldwide also found that 46% planned to increase spending on webinars and virtual events this year.
According to March 2015 polling from Regalix, webinars are most suitable for B2B marketing in the introductory and growth phases of the product lifecycle.
Image via Ronaldo Ferreira