The other day I was having coffee with my good friend Chris. I must have been all amped up on my delicious non-fat latte because I was rambling on about how much I loved webcasting and how I thought it was going to evolve into the preferred collaboration tool of the future.
Chris, who I should now mention owns his own marketing company and specializes in online lead generation using web conferencing for his own clients, looked at me with a straight face and asked, “What is Webcasting? I don’t get how it’s different from web conferencing and the webinars I do.”
I was floored. I figured everyone knew about webcasting solutions and how they differ from web conferencing. If Chris, literally a webinar hosting pro, didn’t know the difference I’m pretty sure most people don’t.
So with that in mind here are the high level differences between webcasting also known as streaming, webinars, and web conferencing:
A webcast is a live or on-demand presentation streamed in audio or video over the web, often with PowerPoint slides. This format is ideal for engaging larger online audiences and is a “one-to-many” (one speaker—or panel of speakers—presenting to many attendees) broadcast over the internet which can accommodate thousands of simultaneous viewers. Webcast services are browser-based, require no additional software download, and audio is integrated into the platform so no phone line is needed—a user can listen to the presentation through speakers or headphones. A major element that separates webcasting from the other solutions is the ability to customize almost every component – from the front end registration, to the live event player, to the follow up, every piece can have custom design and branding elements. Another differentiator is a webcast is typically a professionally produced program in itself or coverage of a live event, streamed with almost any combination of interactive features, from Q&A tools to surveys, polls and social media sharing.
Common uses of webcasting:
Investor Relations Calls
Corporate Town Hall Meetings
Open Enrollment and Compliance
Corporate Announcements, and so on.
A web conference is an online meeting typically conducted by a combination of Web browser and telephone lines. You can share your computer’s desktop with other users to present a demo or slide deck. Audio is captured and transmitted through your phone line or by voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). In some circumstances, video can be captured using a desktop webcam. Web conferencing is ideal for smaller, “few to few” collaborative meetings where most if not all participants are communicating (i.e. collaborating) with one another. Most meetings range from 2-25 participants and can be ad hoc in nature. Think about meetings where you’re rolling up your sleeves and getting work done. In most cases, a web conference platform also requires users to download proprietary software before accessing the presentation and/or share content.
Common uses of web conferencing:
A webinar is a seminar delivered over the web — hence “webinar”. This one screams marketing and lead generation. Webinars’ main purpose is to generate quality leads. Often times the anchor is a thought leader related to the product being sold that can attract attendees during their lunch hour for some free and valuable information (in exchange for giving up some info like an email address and phone number). Presenters will often use features like Q&A and polling to cultivate even more information and further qualify potential prospects. Common features of a webinar service include a registration landing pages to capture audience information, automated reminder emails to promote attendance, source tracking URLs to monitor how users are finding your program, automated thank you notes and follow up emails, easy to extract reporting, and some include tight integration into your existing CRM like Salesforce.
Common uses of webinars:
Marketing programs/strategy, etc.
I hope that makes the distinction between these similar but very different collaboration tools a little easier. I’ve also put together a simple matrix below for a quick side by side comparison:
There you go Chris – these a just a few of the major differences between webcasting and web conferencing! There are also many different webcasting companies and webinar providers in today’s marketplace. Trying to decipher which one is the best webcasting service can be daunting at times. The good news is Lighthouse Conferencing partners with all of the industry’s leading webcasting providers and we can advise you on the perfect fit for your needs.
We are in the process of putting the finishing touches on a complete webinar guide that will discuss in detail the differences between webcasting and web conferencing, how to put together the perfect lead generation webcast / webinar, and include a check list of all the things you need to consider before, during, and after your webcast event. Please check back with our blog as we will release it here first.
For more information on webcasting or other Lighthouse Conferencing solutions, contact us at 877-234-3433 or send us an email. We’re here to help.
- Happy Holidays from Lighthouse Conferencing! - December 21, 2016
- Video or audio? Live or part-recorded? Time for a teleconference tune-up – IR Magazine - September 1, 2016
- How Does Lighthouse Conferencing Make Your Big Ideas Shine? - May 16, 2016
- The Secret to Big Ideas - May 12, 2016
- Why It’s Great that You Already Have a Conferencing Provider - May 4, 2016
- Why We Love to Hear That You Already Have Citrix GoToMeeting - May 4, 2016
- Building a Virtual Event is Like Building a House - April 11, 2016
- Team Collaboration: Reducing “Noise” in Your Company Inbox - April 4, 2016
- Tips for a successful earnings call - January 11, 2016
- Say Goodbye to Bad Meetings - January 8, 2016