There are no standard rules for determining the duration of a webinar or webcast. However, there are guidelines for this, as well as a number of advices to ensure that the online audience is retained during the broadcast:
Generally 30-60 minutes is a good duration for marketing webinars. The basic principle is that a webinar should offer the possibility of deepening, so many experienced webinar participants recommend a minimum of 30 minutes. 60 minutes is usually the maximum duration, so that the webinar does not interfere too much with the participant’s daily work.
Exceptions to the ‘rule’ are webinars for which one has to pay. These are often training courses such as accredited webinars. The duration of this type of webinar is often 45-75 minutes and is laid down in regulations by an accreditation committee. Webinars for internal communication are also often longer.
Unlike webinars, for webcasts there are no guidelines regarding the duration of the broadcast. This is because they can be all kinds of broadcasts, such as a council meeting, announcement of annual figures or an event. Time is less important here, because it is not the online audience that is central, but the audience in the hall. The duration can vary from less than 20 minutes for a short, inspiring event, to conferences lasting a whole day.
Both webinars and webcasts are indexed on-demand within 5 minutes after the event. This makes the broadcast easily searchable by sub-topics. Moreover, participants do not have to watch the entire broadcast, but can choose to skip certain parts on-demand.
Also watch this webinar on “Benchmarks & Best practices”.
Regardless of the duration and type of webinar, it is important that the topic offers added value for the participant and is worth the time investment. Otherwise they will not participate or drop out. Furthermore, it is important that there is always sufficient interaction, so that participants remain involved throughout the duration of the broadcast. This can be done in many ways, such as polls, verbal handling of questions and call2actions. It is a missed opportunity not to do this, as it prevents people from dropping out and/or not learning enough from the session.
Finally, timing is very important in a webinar. Start on time, finish on time and deviate from this as little as possible to avoid irritating participants. It is wise to appoint one person such as the producer or host to keep an eye on the timing. A good script and (several) dry-run(s) also help ensure correct timing. In addition to practising the presentation, the dry run is also used to gain experience with interaction, such as dealing with questions and polls, which can take up a lot of time.