When it comes to group behavior, most of us - both anecdotally and based on research - cite the Pareto Principle (aka "the 80/20 Rule"). Generally, this principle states that 20% of the people create 80% of the value for an organization. This 20% group includes those standout leaders who make most organizations function more effectively - especially when it comes to volunteer-driven initiatives. That's not to say the 80% don't bring value - this theory reveals that they just don't put in as much time or have the impact of the 20%.
With online communities, that number changes a bit and has been adjusted to 90:9:1. Given a group of 100 people, 90% will be lurkers / readers who are not active and generally act more as a consumer of information. Nine percent will comment on blogs or discussions or share content beyond a website or platform, and there's just a small sliver of 1% that are actual content producers. There's been some debate about whether this notion still holds true -- that we've reached a new level of maturation in online behavior -- but generally this idea is ingrained in the thinking of people who monitor web-based interaction.
What I have not seen discussed much is the behavior of participants in online training, such as webinars. In fact, when I searched on "show up rates for webinars," I couldn't find much information (nowhere near the search results for "80:20" and "90:9:1"). One commentator said the average can range from 33% to 60-65%, depending on the target audience. What we are seeing at GovLoop for our online trainings is a pretty consistent "50% Rule." Generally, our online trainings gain hundreds of registrants (and our Virtual Career Fair topped 5,700 sign-ups). On average, what we've seen is a 50-55% show-up rate on the day of the live online event. In fact, more recently we've been seeing upwards of 60% participation, especially when you include archive views - but even live listening is on the rise.
That same principle held true earlier this week for a social learning pilot that we are running with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. We had 50 out of 100 participants attend our live online training session. It was the first of a six-week series, so it will be interesting to track people's participation levels over time. However, I believe we've seen enough data across a couple dozen webinars to be able to expect at least a 50% turnout rate.
If you host live online trainings, what percentages are you seeing?