New at ON24: ON24 Engagement Hub Updates, Functionality

At ON24, we are focused on tools and features that not only make designing and managing digital experiences effortless, but also ensure the audience experience is intuitive and engaging. With the latest ON24 Engagement Hub release, we focused on usability for both you and your audience as well as clean audience interfaces that improve content findability. Here’s a bit of what’s been cooking:

New ON24 Engagement Hub Hero Layout

We’ve introduced a brand new hero layout for your Engagement Hub that captures audience attention and drives increased content consumption. The hero layout offers new content design and organization flexibility and functionality. Leverage an eye-catching home page, newly styled category pages, refreshed landing pages and dedicated search to create the most immersive content experience for your audience.

Robust Search To Improve Content Findability

The new hero layout includes a dedicated search page so that your audience can find the most relevant content for their journey. They can search and filter by unique search terms, categories and custom filter groups. By making finding the right content easy, your audience will engage with more content—allowing you to understand more about their interest and your content’s impact.

Subscriptions Drive Continued Content Consumption

Audience members can easily subscribe to not only your entire Engagement Hub, but also the individual categories within your Hub, so they receive updates on the topics and content they care most about. After subscribing, audiences will receive a weekly digest email alerting them when there is new content added to your Hub.

And there are so many more enhancements! If you’d like to learn more about ON24 Engagement Hub, please contact us. If you’re an ON24 customer, contact your CSM to get started.

It’s Time to Get VIRTUALIZED

To help marketers navigate these unprecedented times, we’re putting on a little summit: VIRTUALIZED. It’s a first-of-its-kind live digital event and certification program designed to ensure professionals like you are educated and skilled-up the latest techniques and strategies that you need to succeed in a digital-first era.

Taking place today from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Pacific Time, VIRTUALIZED kicks off with a live keynote webinar featuring leading experts in webinar and experiential marketing. After the keynote, attendees can take a five-part on-demand webinar certification course that will provide participants with the knowledge of how to build digital experiences that engage across the entire customer journey.

Powered by the ON24 Platform, VIRTUALIZED features a line up of world-class marketers to share their insights and best practices in a post-COVID world. Jason Talbot, Managing Director of The Crocodile, will provide a keynote, “The Art of Human Connection.” ON24 VP of Content Marketing Mark Bornstein will host and also deliver a keynote.

Those keynotes will be followed by a decorated panel, whose speakers include: Ash Parikh, SVP of Marketing at Informatica, Steve Arentzoff, VP of Demand Generation, Medallia, Jack Foster, Senior Director of Demand Generation at SurveyMonkey, and Deanna Ransom, Global Head of Marketing & Marketing Services at Televerde.

Attendees can expect to learn:

    • A framework for running ongoing VIRTUALIZED campaigns
    • The set of tactics for omnichannel promotions, from email to chatbots social
    • Innovative production and presentation formats, from virtual talk shows to after-parties
    • How to supercharge live engagement and networking in virtual experiences
    • A playbook for putting engagement data to work

VIRTUALIZED comes after ON24 powered MINDSHIFT in May, a digital event assisting the fight against COVID-19 while connecting and inspiring professionals all around the world.

Want to transform your marketing in a digital-first world? Register today.

Two Webinars for Mastering Unusual Times

One way or another, the global COVID-19 pandemic affects every person. For many, the financial impact of quarantine and the economic repercussions of state-wide shutdowns are unknown and could remain that way far into the future.

Beyond personal financial situations, many small businesses are facing a stark decision: remain in business and hope things get better or close permanently.

With so much uncertainty looming, we want to share two finance-themed webinar opportunities with you: “Business Unusual, Big Ideas for Small Business” and “Master Your Money: Planning for the Future in Uncertain Times.

Business Unusual, Big Ideas for Small Business

Business Unusual, Big Ideas for Small Business is a new webinar series from AT&T Business and  Barbara Corcoran, founder of The Corcoran Group and “Shark” on ABC’s Shark Tank.

The series asks the question “Where Do We Go from Here?” and aims to share tips and recommendations from experts that businesses can act on now related to the current economy, business, finance and technology. Additional themes will be announced later in 2020.

The first webinar in the series airs on July 22 at 1 p.m. CT and is free and open to anyone! Register here. The series will also feature three additional webinars taking place each Wednesday in August. These webinars will investigate where retail, restaurants and hospitality businesses — industries hardest hit by COVID-19 — can go from here.

Each webinar in the series features notable guests like Amy Chow, CEO of AT&T Business; Matt Higgins, co-founder and CEO of RSE Ventures, vice-chairman of the Miami Dolphins and fellow “Shark” on ABC’s Shark Tank; Rachel Ray, celebrity chef, cookbook author and Food Network television host; Kim Nelson, founder of Daisy Cakes and former Shark Tank participant; and Oscar Munoz, executive chairman of United Airlines.

Master Your Money: Planning for the Future in Uncertain Times

Looking for something a little more personal? Well, Business Insider and Fidelity Investments have a webinar for you.

Entitled, “Planning for the Future in Uncertain Times,” this on-demand webinar discusses how millennials can make or adjust financial plans and achieve financial goals amidst setbacks, roadblocks, delays and uncertainty. The webinar is free and open to anyone! Register here.

The event is hosted by Tanza Loudenback, Personal Finance Insider correspondent, and features expert guests like Kelly Lannan, a member of Business Insider’s Money Council and VP of Young Investors for Personal Investing which is a segment of Fidelity Investments, and Anna N’Jie-Konte, CFP and founder of Dare to Dream financial planning.

Master Your Money is a four-part series designed to help millennials control their financial future. The four pillars of Master Your Money are Learn, Plan, Invest and Thrive, all of which provide education, advice, ideas and inspiration for millennials to achieve their financial goals. You can explore the series in more detail on Business Insider’s Master Your Money website.

Connection’s Three Steps for Turning Internal Trainings Digital

Each year, Connection holds an internal training session for its sales team. The session trains team members on the latest healthcare industry trends and how Connection can address IT needs. 

But Covid-19 changed things. The in-person event was canceled. To make up for it, and to keep Connection’s sales team in top selling shape, the Connection Team devised a plan to bring the in-person event into the digital world.

But first, the Connection Team needed a solution to make the plan a reality. After a short review, the team signed on with ON24 to make its virtual event a reality. The team now had 43 days to learn the ON24 Platform, train presenters, record sessions, produce design, test events and set up an experience Connection’s sales team would love.  

Here’s how they did it:

Train up all participants

A webinerd and her coworkers discuss optimization

First, the Connection team needed to familiarize themselves with the ON24 Platform. So, the team worked with ON24 to set up intensive training sessions for not only the internal Connection team, but also any sponsors that’d be involved in bringing the virtual conference to life.

With everyone trained up, the team bought themselves more time to make the annual Healthcare University Training event a success. 

Pre-Record all Session

With knowledge of the ON24 Platform under everyone’s belt, the team turned its attention to recording the sessions that’d go live online. To help coordinate, Connection teamed up with Melissa O’Conner, Connection’s Events Manager, to round up all the sponsor speakers, scheduled recording times and recorded sessions. Their plan? To turn each session into a simulive event. 

To make this happen, the Connection team collected and complied speaker recordings, uploaded partner slides to Webcast Elite and recorded partner audio over content.

With simulive in place, Connection could broadcast all 23 recordings while simultaneously providing value to its partners and giving attendees a live experience through ON24’s Q&A engagement tool.

One-Stop Hosting

To provide the sales team with an always-on, easy-to-access resource they can return to at any time, the team set up a specialized landing page using ON24 Target. With Target in place, the sales team could easily access each training session on their own time, allowing them to relearn as needed.

With everything in place, Connection managed to record an entire event, digitalize its training and provide its sales team with the information it needs to keep sales going in a digital-first world. And it did so in just 43 days. Now, the Connection team is planning several more internal training sessions that they’ll carry out utilizing the ON24 Platform.

How Australian Marketers Use Webinars to Raise the Bar

Do you remember the first webinar you ever participated in? It was probably a narrated slide deck with buffering issues that ended with a pretty hard sales pitch.

Thankfully, today’s webinars are far more sophisticated. Webinars are still being used to drive sales for businesses, but marketers see their value for a variety of other purposes including educational components, geographical reach and cost-effective participant engagement.

Because of webinars’ growing popularity, we wanted to share our State of Webinar Marketing Report so you can see how your program compares to industry standards.  We teamed up with managed webinar provider, Redback Connect, to help marketers raise the bar and make sure webinars remain interesting and effective for all involved.

The State of Webinar Marketing Report is filled with useful information about who uses webinars and how they use them along with information about how to increase engagement and measure success. You should definitely check out the entire webinar, but we want to highlight a few important areas for you now.

Webinar Use in Australia

Like popular podcasts, newsletters, and other branded content, high-quality, consistent webinar programs attract and grow an engaged audience over time. Overall, marketers in Australia are seeing results with webinars as 9 in 10 identify webinars as a “key part” of their marketing and communications strategy. We’ve also seen trends shift away from one-off webinars.

More than three-fourths of respondents (81%) now run six or more webinars in a year and 38% are heavy users, running more than 20 in a year.

Of the more than 20 business sectors represented in the survey, there are two main industries that commonly use webinars as part of their marketing strategy. Financial services are the heaviest user of webinars, representing 16% of all webinars, a four-point increase over the prior year. The education sector has gone up in cadence as well and now accounts for 12% of webinars. Other popular industries include software and healthcare.

The Ideal Webinar Presenter

Nothing is more important for a webinar presenter than passion and enthusiasm. For the past three years, the Redback Report on webinar audiences found the lack of engagement as the top reason attendees leave a webinar early.

Audience engagement is closely tied to the presenters’ enthusiasm, so much so that attendees rate the presenter as being more important than the content and the platform features.  This means the ideal webinar presenter is both knowledgeable about the topic and comfortable presenting online. In fact, 34% of respondents say that enthusiastic and knowledgeable presenters drive the most engagement in webinars — ranking higher in importance than the content itself (25%).

Knowing all of this, it is not surprising that 54% of respondents say they have at least two presenters in their webinars, and another 52% of respondents say they source their presenters internally.

How else can an organization source presenters? Looking outside an organization helps, with 13% of respondents saying they use their personal network to source presenters and another 2% say they lean on customers. All in all, one in three organizations use a combination of internal, personal and customer to source webinar presenters.

Increasing Engagement In Australia Webinars

Along with an enthusiastic presenter, the content and supporting materials of a webinar, such as slides and video content, are vital to retaining audience attention.  The more you can do to engage your audience, the better the webinar.

So it should be no surprise that video has finally overtaken audio as the most popular webinar format, with 31% of respondents saying they prefer video to audio. However, this doesn’t mean audio-only webinars are old news — in fact, 27% of organizations say they use slides and audio-only format in their webinars. Other popular webinar formats include screen sharing demonstrations (11%), one-on-one Q&A interviews with video (10%), and panel discussions (9%) or other Q&A sessions without slides (6%).

This shows a gap and an opportunity to differentiate your webinars from the masses by employing other formats that are more likely to increase engagement.  Webinars with interviews, panel discussions, debates and other live conversations are underutilized given their propensity for stronger audience interaction.

To learn more about how webinars perform in Australia, check out our on-demand webinar here.

 

Feature Friday: Simplify Webinar Design with ON24 Console Builder

Research proves that visuals are powerful drivers of engagement and conversions, with 80% of audiences remembering what they see, compared to only 20% remembering what they read. That’s why ON24 is a huge proponent of webinar customization opportunities that let you create immersive brand experiences that leave a lasting impression on your audience.

Though, for some, designing can be daunting. With ON24 Webcast Elite’s Console Builder, you can simplify your webinar consoles design without the need for any web design experience or HTML skills. Anyone on your team, no matter what skill level, can easily create beautiful and engaging webinar consoles!

Getting Started with Webinar Console Design

The Console Builder allows you to easily customize everything from backgrounds and layout to custom fonts and colors. Choose what engagement tools you want to leverage to engage audiences. Navigate to the Engagement Tools Manager and place it anywhere you want. To resize, you just need to pull and adjust the windows.

For backgrounds, you can choose a single color, utilize gradients or upload your own image. No need to worry about any coding.

Fine Tune Console Design with Easy-to-Use Tools

You can adjust and fine-tune your console design even further using the Console Customization settings. Using simple sliders, you can adjust:

  • Window Shadows: The shadow around the border of each engagement tool window.
  • Window Corner Radius: How rounded each window corner should be or you can just keep square corners.
  • Button Corner Radius: How rounded each button should be or you can utilize square corners.

Within the Console Customization settings, you can also change your button colors and adjust engagement tool labels, such as having a white, gray, black or transparent header. All of these customization selections are possible with just a few clicks.

To experience the audience’s view as you build your console, just click the preview button. This is the default view the attendees see upon joining your webinar. Aspect ratios can be locked to what you set or you can allow audience members to resize and move each window based on their own preferences.

Whether you’re new to webinars or have been creating webinars for years, you can create engaging and on-brand webinars consoles in a few simple steps. The Console Builder is easy to use so that what you create and see is what your audience members get.

How the Remote Work Landscape Is Changing Webinars

COVID-19 has transformed how businesses operate today. We work remote, jump in and out of video calls, Slack, chat and type all from the comfort of our homes. Has this remote work landscape changed how we interact with webinars? You betcha.

Get a quick overview of how the remote work landscape is changing webinars with our infographic below. In it, you’ll discover just how much webinars have changed — from consumption to interaction — in April 2020 alone. Check it out:

Webinar Benchmarks Report Covid-19 Special Edition: How Businesses Drive Digital Engagement in a WFH World

Over the past few months, marketers, salespeople, educators, managers and nearly every possible position you can think of has moved online and started working from home. From meetings and classes to company all-hands to — somehow — happy hours, everything is happening virtually.

They’ve also been happening through webinars. During April of 2020, the peak period of Shelter In Place in response to COVID-19, ON24 has seen a drastic jump in the number of webinars hosted on the ON24 Platform. For example, marketing-centric webinars in April 2020 have increased by 8%, a noticeable jump. But educational webinars have exploded by comparison; training and continuing education, for example, have leaped by 11% and 22% respectively.

Want to learn more about how webinars have changed after COVID-19? Check out our Webinar Benchmarks Report now.

An Amazing Webinerd Network

A webinerd and her community dancing happily in a virtual circle

The most impressive development by far, though, has to be how the ON24 network responded to our Covid-19 widget. Over the course of 60 days, we promoted a bespoke CTA widget to help raise funds COVID-19 response. During those 60 days, nearly 100 webinar producers incorporated the widget into more than 350 webinar events. That one widget reached more than 80,000 webinar attendees and drove more than 50,000 clicks — a 63% conversion rate in support of COVID-19 relief.

Let that sink in for a moment: one small button drove more than 60,000 clicks, for an average of 143 clicks per-webinar. And all contributing to a single cause: raising funds for the COVID-19 Solidarity Relief Fund.

What other neat stats did we see? Let’s take a look:

    • Triple-digit increases in the overall number of webinars and the live attendance and engagement within those webinars
    • More registrants convert to attendees than before, with a 53% conversion rate for webinars with more than 100 attendees
    • Ninety percent of webinars in April 2020 made use of the Q&A engagement tool
    • Finally, more webinars than ever are making use of video, with 55% of all live webinars featuring some kind of live video in April 2020

Great Digital Experiences Everywhere

But it’s not just the numbers behind the webinars that excites us. It’s the variety — from dance parties and conference DJs to full-blown multi-day conferences — and how they’ve been set up to make attendees feel like rockstars. Take Drift’s recent RevGrowth Summit for example: not only did they bring together sales and marketing professionals for two days virtually, but it even got a DJ to host its virtual after party:

Another company, Hoosh, managed to put together a whole virtual club:

But it’s not all typical conference fun-and-games. Organizations have rapidly adapted to the digital-first era, moving would-be in-person events online at a breakneck pace. For example, Fitbit completely revamped its event marketing strategy and transformed its trade show booth into a virtual experience complete with resources, direct chat with salespersons and even swag.

DOMO, too, made a major pivot, and translated its major event, Domopalooza, online in less than two weeks.

Community Done Right

More than anything, though, we’re impressed with how webinar practitioners have taken the initiative and adapted to today’s digital world. Time and time and time again we’ve seen the #webinerd community step up and create engaging digital experiences from even the most challenging of environments (our own homes, for example):

Marketers Need to Think Digitally on the Virtual Event Experience

Whether they had a physical event or not, many brands are launching digital events to help build their pipeline. But digital events are not easy to do.

You can’t just spin up some type of event software, get some well-known experts to speak, and assume that every person that attends is interested in your products and services. There’s a lot more to think about before and after your event.

This article originally appeared on diginomica.com. Shared with the author’s permission.

I had a conversation with Tessa Barron, VP of Marketing for ON24, about the increasing growth of digital events. She said that the evolution of digital events is not a surprise; we were moving in this direction for a while. But she indicated that for many brands, setting up a digital event was a panic move to make up for the pipeline lost from not having a physical event. Most brands simply try to do a direct transfer of the physical event to digital, she said, and that’s a huge problem.

Digital events can work, but the right technology is only part of the answer. You need a different strategy and process for digital events. When you do it right, the data you can get will be better and more useful.

Rethinking the digital event format

Some formats Barron has seen work well include having a live webinar-style event and then several break-out sessions on-demand or holding your event over two weeks with prepackaged sessions delivered in different formats, or across different timezones. Barron explained that her company held the same event across four timezones to bring a live event to everyone at a time that is best for them.

We talked about the difference between paid digital events and free ones; there have been a lot of free events available; however, some companies are having paid digital events. Barron said that’s fine, but when you are charging for attendance, you have to think carefully about what is the benefit to your audience. Content is not enough of a benefit for a paid event; there needs to be some tangible outcome.

She offered the example of WebinarWorld, ON24’s live event. As part of their event, they offered a form of event certification. After a live event, there was a five-part on-demand webinar-based certification. ON24 didn’t charge attendees to get this certification, but it’s an example of something you could offer to make charging for a digital event worth the money.

Digital means data – useful data

Data is probably the most significant advantage of holding a digital event over a physical event. If you have the right technology, you can capture your audience’s behavior and interactions in ways you could never do at a physical event. And you can use that information to create relevant conversations with the right people when the event is over.

With physical events, every person that attends is passed on to Sales, with an assumption of their intent and interest. But most of the time, Sales waste a lot of time figuring out which leads are viable.

You can do things differently with a digital event. Barron said you need to build events based on the data you want to collect. Run polls to engage your audience and to understand their intent (what do they want, what matters to them, are they interested in your product). Include things like surveys and embedded CTAs to provide similar insights.

Barron told me that it’s important to have the ability to differentiate intent. She said the typical field marketer has never dealt with more than 500 leads at a time, but with digital events, that number can grow into the thousands. Too many leads cause the process of sifting through MQLs to break down. Data from activities like polls and surveys, from QAs, from the sessions people attended, and the time they spent at the event, gives the field marketer the ability to segment people and prioritize leads for Sales.

When you have a physical event, you can create 1-1 experiences with some of the people that attend. You can’t necessarily do that with a digital event. Still, you can create an event strategy that enables you to create those 1-1- experiences after the event – with the most important people.

It’s not the end of the physical event

Barron doesn’t believe that physical events are over. There will always be a mix of the two. But she does see the physical event getting limited to a tent pole event – one of several major parts of a bigger campaign or set of campaigns.

It may be that in-person events will be held specifically for key prospects and customers – the ones a brand determines through one or more digital events and other campaign activities.

My take

I’ve appreciated the opportunity to attend events that were once physical that I am not usually able to attend (many like me are in the same situation). But what I found is that much of what I learned listening to sessions is information I could easily learn reading blog content or a book.

Physical events shifted to digital fast, a little too fast, and the time wasn’t taken to think about how to create a more engaging digital event experience. The suggestions Barron gives will help companies think more carefully about how they plan their events and what happens at them, but it will also help them think about what happens after.

Every person that attends a digital event is not a potential customer. But they are a potential audience and influencer. So you have to think about what the experience will be like for them during and after the event. Data will you figure out the best experience to provide, and it will help you figure out who will get what experience when the event is over and done.