Using Engagement Data to Delight Your Audience

When it comes to delighting your audience with surprises and turning attendees into brand advocates, engagement data goes a long way. Engagement data identifies your company’s biggest fans, gives them the recognition they deserve and shows your organization is invested in its community.

How do we do this at ON24 with the #webinerd community? Simple. Any person who attends a webinar hosted on the ON24 Platform has a tabulated 1-10 Engagement Score based on how they interacted with a webinar experience. Before we reach out, we ask ourselves if the audience member…

  • Answered the poll questions?
  • Completed the post-webinar survey?
  • Asked any questions?
  • Downloaded any of resources?
  • Or if they did all of the above?

The Engagement Score takes all of these webinar interactions into account. Many ON24 customers take this supercharged data point and include it strategically into their lead scoring models and lead routing, but there are additional high-touch use cases to consider.

Gamify your webinar, award prizes to top engagement scores

Using engagement data and gamification is a great way to encourage audience participation! When you’re promoting your webinar, advertise that you’ll be raffling off something, like conference tickets, a book or gift card based on audience engagement. Once the webinar is over, use your top engaged audience members to choose your winners.

For example, here at ON24, we’ve taken this approach when promoting free tickets to our annual conference, Webinar World, along with roundtrip travel and lodging.

Surprise your most loyal followers

Our friends at the Content Marketing Institute decided to surprise and delight their most loyal webinar follower. They ran a report on previous webinar attendees and realized that there was one customer who had attended every single webinar over the past six months with high engagement. To reward this super fan, they decided to gift a nice pair of headphones that he could use to tune into the upcoming webinar with.

You can do this too. Here’s how to find and delight your biggest fans in these easy steps.

Step 1: Pull the Data

With the ON24 Platform, you should be able to generate a Power Leads Report that’ll provide you with a lot of insights into your attendees. The reports show how many webinars an attendee has attended, the number of minutes they’ve had of viewing and their average engagement score. The higher the score, the more time they’re spending and interacting with your brand. This is a good indicator of a fan you might be able to connect with.

Step 2: Decide on an appropriate gift and who should say thank you.

Try to get creative or provide options. I’m a huge fan of Loop & Tie for gifting. Perhaps you have an internal SME that your audience looks up to. A few nice words from them goes a long way.

Step 3: Connect!

Send a gift and request a call to get to know them better. Along with your message, you can offer opportunities to highlight them on your blog. Sit down and ask your top advocates how they use your platform/technology and develop tips based off of those interviews. And, who knows, you can learn something new about your client in the process.

How to Improve Audience Participation in Your Webinar

Each year when ON24 releases its annual Webinar Benchmarks Report I look for the most interesting or unexpected statistic in their data. This year the benchmark that particularly caught my eye was listed under Audience Engagement Metrics. ON24 reported the overall percentages of attendees across all webinars who performed certain actions within a webinar.

All three numbers improved from last year, which is encouraging. But the absolute figures are still far lower than they should be. If you find similar attendee interaction percentages in your webinars, you have room for improvement in the way that you stimulate interaction and make audience members want to take an active part in the proceedings.

Let’s look at each type of interaction in turn and see if we can find some best practices to improve response.

Downloading Content Resources

The most common mistake made by webinar administrators and presenters is to place too many documents in the resource folder. This leads to “option paralysis.” Attendees are unsure of which resources are most important and valuable. Faced with a selection choice and no obvious clues as to which choice is best, people tend to make the fall-through choice of “no action.” It is the fastest and easiest way to deal with the problem.

If you really want to improve the uptake on your reference information, pick one – and only one – document to make available for download. Now attendees can take an immediate action without any selection or discrimination process.

If you want to make multiple documents available, place links to the resources on a customized web page. Then in your webinar, give attendees the link to the resources page. This again lets them take a single, quick click-through action with no decision process involved.

Submitting Questions

There are several tricks for getting attendees to interact through the typed chat or questions interface in your webinar. In the interest of brevity I will just summarize a few of the most important techniques:

  • Get them used to using the interface with a simple direct response at the start of the session. “I want to make sure you can hear me and that I see your submissions. Would you just type your first name and hit Enter?”
  • Refer to comments or questions throughout your presentation. Just sprinkle in a few references here and there to prove that you are paying attention. “Rick just commented that he always uses this technique. That’s great. Thanks, Rick!” Or “Betty, I see your question about statistical accuracy. I’m going to address that in just a few minutes.”
  • Use first names. When you say the name of a questioner or commenter, other people feel encouraged to type and see if you will say their name on the air.
  • Ask for something specific. Don’t use a generic request like “So, are there any questions?” Instead, give them a guideline as to what to type. “What is the top difficulty you have had?” or “What functionality do you think still needs more explanation and detail?”

Responding To Polls

Low response to polls is usually caused by insufficiently framing the poll in terms of value to the attendee. Far too often, presenters introduce polls as an information-gathering tool for the benefit of the presenter or hosting company. If you find yourself using the following kinds of phrasing, you are setting yourself up for poor participation, as you are asking the audience to do work for your benefit:

  • “I would like you to answer this poll for me.”
  • “Here’s a poll we created to get a sense of how these products get used.”

Instead, try setting up the benefit that the attendee will get by contributing to the poll:

  • “Here’s a chance for you to see how you compare to your peers in the audience.”
  • “Now it’s your opportunity to guide me. Your response will tell me how much detail I should go into in the next section.”

In each of these three interactions, the key is to think from the perspective of the attendee, rather than the presenter. The fact that you are offering an opportunity to engage and interact is not enough. You need to give each participant a reason to take the action, with clear and unambiguous instruction as to what they should do and how they should do it. Following these guidelines will improve the participation you see in your live webinars.

is president and founder of Webinar Success, a consulting firm that assists companies in producing and delivering effective and compelling web seminars. Molay combines a technical background with experience in corporate marketing and public presentations. He is a prolific blogger on the subject of web conferencing and its applications and has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal and industry publications. He is a frequent public speaker on the topic of more effective webinars.