Covid-19 was declared a global pandemic on the 11th March and since then, life has slowly been grinding to a halt. As social distancing continues to sweep across the world, businesses are having to quickly shift their focus from physical to online events to outlast the outbreak and meet the demands of remote working.
As detailed in our recent blog post, Agile in Action: Transforming Events at Pace, implementing an agile approach for day-to-day services and creating immersive virtual events is a very real and viable way to quickly adapt and join the digital revolution forced upon us. But to get started, we need to answer an important question — when is the best time to host a virtual event for a global audience?
Day of the week
At this point in our self-isolation, every day feels like a Sunday and all sense of normality feels like a long-lost concept. Whilst the days may seem to blur into one another, it’s still important to consider which day or days of the week would get the most views for your virtual event.
Win with #WebinarWednesdays
It’s long been suggested that Wednesdays are the best day for a webinar, and the hashtag is proof. However, it’s worth remembering how the data is comprised and that it’s also the most popular day to hold a webinar. Audiences may expect you to host it on a Wednesday, so attendance is likely to see a spike. But, if you don’t promote it well enough, there’s a chance your webinar may get lost in the noise.
Go rogue to stand out
Given the current working conditions, and with the hope of differentiating your virtual event from being put into the category of ‘another boring webinar’, choose an unexpected day of the week for your virtual event. We’re not advocating for a Saturday night presentation here, but opting for a ‘kick-start your week’ Monday session or a slightly more playful ‘fizz at four on Friday’, end-of-the-week kind of occasion may work in your favour — not least because you won’t be competing for virtual attendees.
Time of day
When it comes to timings of a virtual event, put the most important people first — your attendees.
For example, if you live and work in America, but you’re targeting UK audiences, you may need to get up at an ungodly hour to ensure you’re making the most of the effective ‘power hours’ in the UK, and vice versa.
Targeting specific audiences or regions
For most territories, hosting a webinar just before and after lunch works well — about 11 am or 2 pm. There is no indication that this will change as a result of the widespread remote working but, again, keep an eye on your website analytics to see if there have been any shifts in user behaviour, and adapt accordingly.
Targeting a global audience
Things start to get a little more complicated here. The very nature of time zones means that you can’t please everyone, so we recommend firstly prioritising your core target audience, and secondly, taking the necessary steps to limit the disadvantage of not being able to attend in real-time, thus making your event more appealing to all.
If you’re offering live chats as a networking channel for attendees during your virtual event, keep them live or move them into some kind of forum, where those unable to attend can catch up on the conversation and contribute as appropriate in an ongoing discussion. And for all-day virtual experiences, plan the schedule so that keynotes and the most appealing activities are at the most popular times, ensuring you can capitalise on these incentives.
Follow the data
Ultimately, don’t rely on your assumptions about what works best with your audience. To help you choose the best day and time for your virtual event, check out your Google Analytics to find out when users most frequently visit your site and interact with your content. That’s probably when you can expect them to tune in to your webinar.
Whether you’re looking to build pipeline or simply boost engagement with your customers during this challenging time, the day and time you choose can make or break a successful webinar. No matter what you choose, it’s important to adapt your timings to the behaviour of your audience, so always check your analytics as a first step. As we know from our agile marketing methodology, the only way to improve your results is to test, learn and build, ensuring a brighter future once this crisis has passed. For more content on Covid-19, check out our recent blog posts including the ultimate working-from-home survival guide and Staying healthy in the wake of Covid-19.