On-Demand or Simulive?

A dilemma we face fairly consistently when it comes to webinar content is whether it is better to promote the on-demand version of something or run it again as a simulive event. Both events have their benefits, though we have found simulive to work better. But before you exit out of this page and start setting up a bunch of simulive events, let’s walk through the differences between on-demand and simulive. You may find that one is more appropriate than the other for your needs.

What is the Difference?

An on-demand webinar is always on. Once the webinar is published viewers can access it whenever, and where-ever they please. It features all of the same engagement tools as a live/simulive webinar (though Q&A can be a little tricky). Both live and simulive webinars switch over to on-demand after the initial airing.

A simulive webinar simulates a live webinar by playing a rerecorded event at a specified time. Just like the on-demand webinar, this features all of the same engagement tools as a live webinar. For the viewer, this looks just like a live webinar.

Which to use

Strangely enough, the biggest feature of on-demand seems to also be the biggest drawback. Whenever we promote a straight to on-demand webinar vs a simulive, the simulive always wins. It seems that promoting a webinar as an “event” with a date and time drives people to register, whereas serving something that is instantly accessible allows people to put it off.

Whenever possible I always encourage the use of simulive. In our experience, it will allow you to generate more registration and attendance, and will always be available on-demand after. It will also allow you to have someone in the QA role to answer any questions people have during the airing.

Jack’s Hacks: ON24 or Marketo Forms for Registration?

Lately, I have had a few people ask whether they should use ON24’s built-in registration page tool or Marketo Forms/Landing pages. Unfortunately, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer, as deciding which tool to use to generate landing pages depends heavily on your team.

ON24 offers landing pages as part of the platform, and they are very easy to use. Each webinar that you create generates a registration page with very little effort. Things you need to do for an effective landing page:

  1. Add a promotional summary (we call them abstracts)
  2. Add a banner
  3. Select you page design (notice the new carousel option)
  4. Make sure you have the registration fields that you need

These are a great turnkey solution and are very handy for a smaller team that doesn’t necessarily have the time or the infrastructure for using Marketo Forms for each webinar.

Marketo Forms offer more versatility and allow for some more freedom. With Marketo, we’re able to embed forms for webinar registrations on many types of pages across our website. Here are a few of the reasons why we use Marketo Forms over ON24 landing pages:

  1. We use them for all other resources (pdfs, videos, contact us, etc) so it helps with continuity
  2. We use one form across (almost) all of our webinars, so if a change needs to be made it is a bit easier than updating each one individually
  3. I personally prefer to keep as much activity in Marketo as possible. I can sort form fills by date/region/etc, and trigger flows as we see fit
  4. We have more control over what the landing pages look like
  5. We use paid media to promote a lot of webinars, and it would be much harder to track via ON24’s built-in landing pages
  6. The leads appear in Marketo instantly upon registration, whereas leads from ON24 only sync over post-event

Of course, if we didn’t have the team and resources that we do, ON24 landing pages would be an easy solution!

Jack’s Hacks: The Anatomy of a Webinar Program Template

The Anatomy of a Webinar Program Template 09/13/2019

Note: We use Marketo here at ON24, but the principles of this post should be applicable across other platforms as well.

Here at ON24 we run a lot of webinars. A LOT. One of the keys to running a webinar program at scale is creating easy-to-use program templates that can be quickly cloned and set up with minimal work. There are three main components to a webinar program template: tokens, smart campaigns, and emails. I recently revisited one of our most used templates and made some changes, let’s take a look.


I am a huge proponent of tokenization. Tokens allow us to input information in one place and use it in many other places. Most of these tokens are fairly universal, but a few are designed for very specific uses.

Smart Campaigns

I categorize our operational smart campaigns into two categories, Status Changes and Follow Ups. The status change campaigns maintain proper statuses (and everything that goes with them). The follow-up campaigns send follow-ups based on the statuses of program members.

We have two registration smart campaigns. One listens for registrations via the webinar landing page, the other listens for registrations coming through via external promotions like content syndication, online advertising and sponsored emails. Here is what the flow looks like in the registration campaign (notice the use of one of our tokens).

We also have three different follow-up campaigns. The first runs one day after the webinar airs and sends either a “thank you” or a “sorry we missed you” email depending on member status.

Once the webinar has switched over to on-demand, we still want people to receive follow-up emails. This is where “020 No Show – On-Demand – Follow Up” and “021 Attendee – On-Demand – Follow Up” come into play. We want on-demand attendees to receive an email one day after watching the webinar. For those that register for the on-demand webinar, but never attend, we want them to receive a reminder to watch a few days later.

To accomplish this I have set up two smart campaigns. The attendee campaign is triggered by a status change to “Attended On-Demand.” To ensure the email is delivered the next day during business hours, we utilize a wait step that must end at 8:00 AM PDT on a business day.

The no-show follow-up email is a little trickier. We want to give people a few days to attend, so rather than utilizing a trigger we instead set up a batch campaign to run once a week and send an email to anyone that still has a status of “No Show” or “Registered.” We also ensure they did not receive the initial no-show follow-up that went out the day after the original broadcast. We set the smart campaign so that leads can only run through it once to keep this email from being repeatedly sent to members.


Our webinar programs start out with the six emails seen above. They end up with a lot more since we clone the promo emails depending on need, but the operational emails do not change.

Things you can tokenize in your emails:

  • Landing page URL
  • Webinar date
  • Webinar time
  • Webinar title
  • iCal link
  • GCal link
  • Image header
  • Next webinar URL/related content URL

Our confirmation emails are great examples of this as there are six program tokens used in each one.

Jack’s Hacks: Three Big Tips for Driving Webinar Attendance

One of the most common questions we get here at ON24 is, “How do I get people to sign up for my webinar?” There are a lot of tactics and strategies you can deploy to encourage registration. But one of the more underrated angles, to me, is making the most out of the registrations you have. Focus, especially for nascent programs, should be directed to driving webinar attendance.

For any given webinar, you’re only going to get a set number of people who register. Not everyone who registers, however, will attend the event. Your goal should be to keep the number of no-shows to a minimum and entice as many of your registrants as possible to actually show up to your live webinar. There are two ways to go about this.

Webinar Attendance Generating Tip 1: The Giveaway

The first and the most successful tactic for us, the giveaway, also requires a bit of budget. But, if you can afford to hold a raffle or drawing with prizes every now and then, you can see great results. You can also encourage a bit of engagement as a part of your raffle as well. For example, you could ask attendees for questions on a given subject ahead of the event and draw a random winner from that cohort live.

Keep in mind that you don’t have to break the bank for prizes that draws an audience. We’ve given away t-shirts, headphones and other items that have helped to draw an audience.

Webinar Attendance Generating Tip 2: Adjusting Your Messages

By default, ON24 sends emails to webinar registrants two days before an event and two hours before. While this is a good standard to employ, we decided to change things up with our email messages.

We had our presenter, in this case, Mark Bornstein, write and send a reminder email the morning of the event. The message is simple and is there to encourage people to attend and remind potential participants about any promotional giveaways happening during the webinar as well. Sending this very simple email has had a noticeable effect on webinar attendance.

There’s also one more message we’re experimenting with — and that’s a reminder email email sent from the platform 15 minutes after the event has started. It may sound counter intuitive, but we’ve noticed a distinct spike in webinar attendees after we’ve sent the post-15 minutes message. With these slight tweaks, we’ve seen as much as a 10% increase in webinar attendance on certain events.

Webinar Attendance Generating Tip 3: Driving On-Demand Viewership

Finally, there’s the on-demand webinar element to consider. Remember the drawing/raffle experiment I mentioned in tip one? Well, we’ve been playing around with picking people a week or so after the event to boost on-demand views.

What we’ll do is send out two reminders telling no-shows  about the webinar they missed. We’ll also another message from the speaker a week later recounting the event and, if there was a drawing and no one claimed the prize, that there’s still a chance they won. We’ve some fairly good success with that tactic as well.

That’s all for now. Good luck webinaring, webinerds!