Virtual Takeover: B2B Brands Move Their Events Online

The COVID-19 crisis is driving B2B marketers to forego live events in favor of virtual content, according to new research from BrightTALK. And email is a prime way to promote these online experiences. 

Of the B2B marketers polled, 89% say they will have fewer in-person events and conferences in the near future. Instead, 61% have dramatically increased their use of virtual events, while 19% say their virtual strategy has remained the same. 

Moreover, 79% have increased their webinar creation, while 17% have remained at the same level and only 4% have reduced it. And 59% have reallocated their budgets.

These findings are from a two-pronged survey conducted by BrightTALK.

In the COVID-19 part of the study, the firm surveyed 700 B2B marketing professionals.

BrightTALK also surveyed 2,400 content consumers who have viewed at least two talks in the past year on BrightTALK. These findings might help brands moving to virtual events to understand the online audience. 



In general, the study shows that video-based content is the most popular format for learning:

  • Webinars — 85% 
  • Online courses — 69%
  • Short videos — 61%
  • Industry-related articles — 54%
  • Conferences — 54%
  • White papers — 47%

One of the best promotional vehicles is email, preferably when sent during the midweek period. 

In the recent period, emails delivered from Monday to Thursday drove an average 27% increase in conversion rates compared to emails sent on weekends.  

"Effective promotions are the cornerstone of a successful webinar program and email continues to be essential," says David Pitta, chief marketing officer at BrightTALK: "In a recent survey, 78% of marketers ranked email as a core channel driving pre-registrations, live attendance, and on-demand engagement"

BrightTALK helps brands send weekly recommendation emails, based on a user’s interests and viewing behavior. 

The study shows that 33% of users view online content weekly, and 94% view it at least monthly. In addition, 74% of those on buying committees view at least three content pieces before making a purchasing decision. 

B2B buyers are spending time online not only to choose products but to advance their skills. They seek to: 

  • Keep up to date with what’s happening in their industry — 76%
  • Improve the quality of the work they do — 70%
  • Discover new things — 67%
  • Acquire a new body of knowledge or skills — 66%
  • For the joy of learning — 52%
  • Innovate — 45%
  • Solve an organizational problem/issue — 40%
  • Gain inspiration  —38%
  • Increase their qualification for a desired job — 36%
  • Learn to do their job — 31%
  • Become compliant to industry standards/requirement — 36%
  • Maintain their accreditation — 26%

BrightTALK advises brands that audio and slides are not the only tools that can be used.

On the contrary, brands can engage viewers with webcam talks, live video from industry events and sponsoring of existing series — and these formats require much less work.  

And whatever the format, marketers should keep their titles concise and catchy, and avoid "salesy" language.


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