It’s about time: how long should your online event be?

Online events and webinars have grown in popularity over recent years, and the events of the Covid-19 pandemic since 2020 have shown that a great deal may be accomplished without face-to-face events and meetings among businesses and their employees or consumers.

As well as deciding which online webinar platform to use or when to host your event, it is just as important to plan how long your online event should be. An extremely long event could be slow and tedious, deterring participants from taking in relevant information. Therefore, you must stick to the right duration for your online event, which you can determine by considering these factors.

Leave time for a Q&A

Regardless of the duration you decide for your event, you must ensure that there is plenty of time for a Q&A within your chosen timeframe. This allows participants to ask any questions or queries they may have during the event, or in relation to your service or brand at the end of the event, without going over your allotted time.

Audiences and participant interaction can vary from each event – you could have a dozen questions in one event but just one question in another. Regardless, you must always ensure there is at least around 20 additional minutes at the end of the event to allow any questions to be asked by your audience, as this is the best way to really see what your audience has paid attention to and to really sell your point, product, service or whatever you are trying to get across to your audience.

How long it should last

The duration of your online event can really depend on the type of event you are hosting or what you intend on doing in the event. However, the majority of online events should stick to a similar duration. As they are all limited to just a screen, you can lose participants rapidly – people can get bored and easily leave the event with the single click of a button.

It is recommended that the average online event should last between 2 to 4 hours. Anything less than this could be too short and lack engagement, as well increasing the chances of you rushing through important bits and missing out on certain aspects such as the Q&A. Perhaps extending out to 5 hours could potentially maximize your engagement, but anything more than this is far too extensive and will lead to a slow and dragged-out event.

Attendee peak

Attendee numbers and attention often peak at around 2-3 hours into the event, and after this time engagement rates from some participants may fall – even if your event is enjoyable. In the modern world, everyone is busy! – people may have other things they need to get on with.

As some event attendees may have intentions of not staying for the full event because they have other priorities, it’s important that you don’t drag the event out and focus on getting the key information out within the first 2-3 hours so that this information is not missed by certain participants.


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