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November 15, 2022

Webinar or Zoom Video Conference: Which is Right For You?

Webinars can be a fantastic way of reaching new clients and customers across the world — but where does that leave the humble video conference?

Are you planning to host an online event? If so, you may be wondering whether to use a video conferencing platform like Zoom, Teams, or Hangouts; or a dedicated online event platform like Tevent. Both platforms have unique features and benefits, so it's important to choose the right one for your online event.

Generally speaking, video conferencing is good for intimate events such as training sessions, business meetings, or one-on-one conversations. Almost 90% of Zoom users use it for business meetings. Many businesses are seeking an alternative to Zoom conferencing as, despite it's wide usage, it's not always fit for purpose.

Conversely, webinars are well suited for larger events, such as conferences or product launches. And, with an attendance rate of 40% and higher, it is no wonder webinars are used for those use cases.

At a glance, you might be tempted to use a different platform for each of your needs, but what if there was a Zoom alternative that was suited to both instances? Oh, there are… well, what if there was a platform with free tiers like Zoom? Oh, there is…

You can, in fact, host full-scale webinars on Tevent, and video conference on the fly or scheduled for the future. If you still need a little more information to make that all-important decision, read on to find out more.

What's a video conference?

‘Video conferencing’ is just a fancy way of saying ‘video call’, really. For all those one-off business calls, meetups with far-away friends, and one-to-one demos, tours, training sessions, and even strengthening work relationships. It’s not a new concept by any means — think of Skype, FaceTime, and even Omegle.

Most platforms that support video conferencing come with a standard set of features, all of which prove incredibly useful for any type of meetup. Some of the key features include:

  • HD video and audio
  • Screen sharing
  • Recording
  • Breakout rooms

Getting down into the nitty-gritty — there are some key differentiators amongst platforms that you should be aware of when making your choice. For the sake of comparison, here’s how Tevent stacks up to Zoom on both platform’s free tiers:

Zoom meetings at a glance

  • Host up to 100 participants
  • Unlimited meetings for up to 40 minutes
  • Automated Captions
  • 3 editable whiteboards with 25MB of cloud storage
  • Chats and channels for collaboration, file sharing, and more

Tevent meetings at a glance

  • Host up to 50 participants (25 video feed, 50 audio)
  • Unlimited meetings, unlimited duration
  • Unlimited collaborative whiteboards with Miro integration
  • Chats and channels for collaboration, file sharing, GIFs, emojis, and more
  • Recordings & OD Content

If you are looking to host a large-scale gathering, you might want to ask yourself whether a ‘video conference’ is the best option. From our experience, the event is diminished with more than 25 video feeds — with a wall of faces, and unmanageable audio interruptions.

There are, of course, a plethora of other video-conferencing alternatives to Zoom to be considered, such as Teams or Skype. Often these platforms require the need for an official account to attend — which could prove a barrier to some.

Platforms such as Google Workspace, GoToMeeting, and BlueJeans Meetings offer some choice improvements, though they don’t offer any free tiers to trial.

How long do video conferences last?

Video conferences, or video calls, are typically shorter than webinars. For some of you, the 40-minute time constraint on Zoom’s free tier will not be too bothersome. Zoom is fantastic for short, snappy check-ins — we’ll give them that.

Of course, you could just create a new link and send that out — but this might break the flow of conversation, and let’s be honest, it’s a touch unprofessional to do so. If, however, you’re worried that there may be an occasion where you run over the allotted time — Tevent is the platform for you.

If you have regular meetups, you could think about creating your own Space on Tevent to invite people back time and time again. Some meetups could benefit from permanence, and having the option is always beneficial.

How to use webinars as a Zoom alternative

Webinars are live, online events that allow you to reach a large audience. They can be used for a variety of purposes, such as:

  • Lead generation
  • Conferences & conventions
  • Product launches
  • Educational seminars
  • Group product demonstrations
  • Thought leadership events
  • Market research updates
  • Product tours & demos
  • Customer roundtables

The term ‘webinar’ has been banded about for years now, but spiked in 2020 for obvious reasons. It’s a rather loose term, but generally speaking, webinars tend to be presented from a virtual stage to an audience. Often they are more interactive and more engaging than video conferences when pulled off correctly.

Webinars are a fantastic way to generate leads for your business, nurture those leads throughout the pipeline, and also convert those leads into paying customers.

How long do webinars last?

Webinars are typically longer than video conferences. Some webinars can last hours on end, depending on the type of event that's going on. They also tend to be more formal, making them ideal for larger events with a more corporate atmosphere to them — however, this isn’t always the case.

They can be part of a series or standalone — and often center around a goal to educate, or share knowledge. When an event has more than one Stage, we like to think of it as a conference, or summit — however, the semantics here aren’t set in stone.

What are the key features of webinars?

Much like video conferences, webinars offer plenty of various features. Webinars can still facilitate debate and discussion, but without the need for every attendee to have their camera/mic switched on. Some of the key features include:

Which one should I pick?

So, which option is right for your online event? It depends on your goals as a host. If you're hosting a smaller, more intimate affair, such as a training session or group meeting, video conferences are a great option. If you're hosting a larger event, such as a talk or product launch, webinars are the way to go.

Zoom is, of course, the video conferencing giant that most turn to for a cheap alternative. It’s the name brand we’ve all heard of and trust. We trust big brands to deliver on quality, if they didn’t, they wouldn’t be so big, right?

If you are planning to host something quick, simple, and less formal, a video conference on Zoom might seem perfect. Bear in mind that you can still host on-the-fly meetings on Tevent, but be sure to check the specs above to figure out which is right for you.

On the other hand, if you're hosting a larger online gathering to discuss more serious topics, a webinar may be more appropriate. For networking events that could benefit from permanence, and post-event outreach, be it a formal survey, or informal chat. We’ve written before about how to generate great webinar content if you still need a helping hand.

Both options can offer you the interaction that you need to effectively share the message you want to share. As such, carefully understand your needs, and you will more than likely be able to pick the best route.

Tevent offers an incredible platform that makes hosting virtual events and gatherings simple and easy, making engagement easy to achieve and success easy to reach. If you are looking for online events software like Tevent for your online gathering, get acquainted with the features, or simply try it out yourself for free.

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