There is no set rule for how long a webinar or Virtual Conference should be, as the length of time should fit the content. If you’re turning a previously live event into a webinar, it’s important to not try to just jam in the existing content. For an event that was previously a one or two day conference, this could be compressed into a 3-4 hour webinar. 

This is what happened with Monkey Media’s Digital Utilities 2020 Conference. As detailed on Lifehacker, the COVID-19 lockdown and travel restrictions began less than a week out from the Digital Utilities conference. 

Chris Bland, Monkey Media’s Managing Director, said the decision was made to move it online on Friday, with the event starting the following Thursday. 

“This gave the production team only three work days to transform it into a completely Virtual Conference, including finding the best platform, and rejigging the program to work better in an online format, including working with all the speakers to ensure their presentations still had the same impact when delivered online,” he said.

“It was a steep learning curve and while it wasn’t perfect, we made sure to take the audience into account in terms of how they would be receiving the information presented.”

Most people also have short attention spans so try to keep the webinar length as short as the content allows, and vary what is seen on the screen. Monkey Media Managing Editor, Laura Harvey, said that generally webinars should go for a few hours, or if there are only one or two speakers presenting, keep it down to 45 minutes to one hour. 

“For our shorter webinars, which tend to focus on a specific or quite niche topic, we’ll generally just stick to one or two speakers, and keep the webinar to under an hour,” Laura said.

“For our longer virtual conferences, which will cover a number of topics under a broad theme, we might have three to four individual presenters, and a longer panel session in there as well.

“The trick with a longer virtual conference is to mix things up, with a variety of presentation styles, and audience participation through Q&A sessions.”

Take different time zones into account when choosing the optimal time, and make sure your speakers stick to their allocated times. Also, consider breaking up the event with a mix of individual presentations, panels and tea breaks, and don’t forget to keep it visual – having powerpoint slides with illustrations or short videos is more interesting for viewers.

This is part of a series of blog posts about running a successful webinar. Find other tips about audience, content, technology and follow up engagement here.

If you’d like more information about Monkey Media running a webinar for your businesses, or sponsoring a future Virtual Conference, get in touch at [email protected]