Webinars continue to be a hot lead generation tool. According to DGR’s 2015 Content Preferences Survey, webinars remain among the top three types of content that buyers use to research purchases, with 75% saying they have viewed a webinar in the past 12 months.

Webinars are also one of the most productive content types when it comes to generating leads for B2B marketers. Approximately two-thirds (66%) of B2B marketers rank webinars as effective, according to the 2016 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends — North America report from the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs. Webinars rank second to in-person events, which were cited as useful by 75% of marketers.

B2B buyers also are highly engaged with webinar content, as 44% of DGR survey respondents said they spend 30 or more minutes on a webinar. Tools such as audience polling and quizzes are helping to hold attendees’ interest. In addition, forward-thinking marketers are sharing the webinar material ahead of the presentation to spark more lively and thoughtful discussions.

While webinars have historically been a lead generation workhorse at the top of the funnel, more marketers are deploying this content type throughout the buyer’s journey. They are using webinars for mid- and late-stage sales conversations, as well as post-sale activities such as onboarding new customers or rolling out a new product feature.

“We’re seeing a lot of people shaking up the webinar format, using this highly effective lead generation tool at all stages of the customer lifecycle, especially in the middle and the bottom of the funnel and even customer onboarding and ongoing training,” said Alissa Dettelbach, Marketing Manager of Demand Generation for PGi, a vendor of solutions for web, video and audio conferencing, calendar management, webcasting, project management and sales productivity.