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Chart: top 6 reasons webinar attendees bail

Webinars are like seminars - a group convenes to learn from an expert - except that you join from your computer. They're generally live, whereas webcasts are recorded content.

Today MarketingSherpa has just released a new chart showing the top 6 reasons webinar attendees say they bail on a webinar.

Chart: What Causes Webinar Attendees to Bail?

Chart: What Causes Webinar Attendees to Bail?

(A larger version of this chart available at


The top 3 reasons for bailing on a webinar were (paraphrasing): 

1. Bait and switch (content was not as advertised)

2. Boring presenter

3. Started with a commercial

You can apply this info to create stonger webinars

* Deliver as promised. As Sherpa says, “…presenters should always get a look at and sign off on the main topics being pitched by marketing. Opt to under-sell and over-deliver…”

* Don’t be boring. “People like presenters who grab their attention….Often, in technology sales, talented scientists and programmers don’t turn out to be dynamic speakers. What you gain in authority at a webinar, you will lose in boredom….”

(As someone who guides clients in planning B2B webinars, a big challenge for me is gauging whether a client will have great communication skills, or be a dry presenter. I’ve seen shy engineers light up the virtual room when given the floor. I’ve also seen senior sales professionals — who usually can be counted on to be superb communicators – use offensive language and mind-numbing cliches during presentations.)

* Be lowkey. Attendees want insights, not commercials. 

Is this data for real?

MarketingSherpa serves up extraordinarily fresh insightful data. Still, this sort of chart might need to be taken with a grain of salt. It’s not revealing actual abandon rates from webinars, after all. (Has MarketingSherpa uncovered a company willing to test different content and reveal abandon rates?) It reflects what professionals think makes them abandon. People are pretty bad at recalling events, much less introspecting about their own behaviors.

Worth the work

Done right, webinars can be a cost-effective way to educate and build trust with clients and prospects. You can talk participants through slides you’ve prepared about a top-of-mind topic or communicate through live video to communicate key messages.

Done wrong, webinars bleed participants by the nanosecond. Worse, they can make it harder to build fruitful relationships with new contacts.

By applying the findings summarized here to prepare insightful webinars, you can cost-effectively build the pipeline, client relationships, and – perhaps most importantly in the long run – goodwill. 

By recording and posting copies of your webinars, you can build a library of webcasts available at your website — and, with the right content and extra legwork, attract valuable inbound links from bloggers and media outlets who point out your content to their readers.

Your story

Have a webinar horror story? What about webinar follow up — how do you handle it?

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Topics: Performance Lead Generation