Zoom has become a staple piece of software for many companies, and within their huge suite of products and features, there’s a lot you can use.
The Meeting and Webinar platforms that Zoom offers can be easy to confuse for one another, but it’s likely one of them has the features that would better suit your business needs.
What’s the difference between Zoom Meeting and Webinar?
In the Zoom Webinar vs Meeting comparison, it predominantly comes down to what type of event you’re holding and whether it’s more collaborative or as a presentation. To point you in the right direction, think about the audience input factor and this will lead you towards the best choice.
If you’re still unsure about the differences and similarities of these two platforms, we’re here to make matters easier, with a detailed comparison.
We’ll weigh up what Zoom Webinar and Meeting each have to offer and what types of users and businesses would benefit more from one or the other.
What is A Zoom Webinar?
Zoom Video Webinar is a platform designed to enable users to host webinars with Zoom.
The key distinction between a webinar and a meeting is that a webinar can have view-only attendees who have limited methods of interaction.
During a webinar, there can be a host, co-host, and alternative host, each with various controls and permissions, and it’s their role to present information.
The attendees, who are only watching and not speaking or being seen on camera, will be able to interact through options chosen by the host, including chat and Q&A sessions.
A webinar can be a combination of speakers, screen sharing, video and audio clips, and other ideas being presented.
The purpose of using this product is to have a virtual platform to share ideas and allow some feedback from the audience, so in terms of engagement, it’s higher than an uploaded video or similar produced content.
What Is A Zoom Meeting?
Zoom Meeting is the most common product used by the virtual platform, for both businesses and personal users.
A Zoom Meeting is a virtual meeting room where many people come together, share their video and audio through web cameras and smartphones, can see others participating in the chat, and have additional options like sharing their screen.
The use of a Zoom Meeting room is better suited for collaborative events like staff meetings or brainstorming sessions.
Rather than having one or two key hosts that are presenting, everyone can input whenever they want and share video and audio of themselves for the others to see, giving them a better chance to connect.
It’s easy to assume that Zoom only offers one type of product for users, as many of their platforms do the same thing, but that’s not the case.
When comparing Video Webinar and Meeting, they do have some similarities, including these features and functionality:
- Recording capabilities: You can record a session with Zoom using either Meeting or Webinar, and both platforms give the option for cloud-based or local recording. However, with a free Zoom Meeting plan, you’ll only be able to access local recording, which might not be ideal for your business. The host of the event will have access to recording and this is usually enabled automatically. You can also opt-in for registered on-demand viewing of the recordings with Meeting.
- Ease of use: Zoom has specifically designed its products to be simple and user-friendly. You’ll have no issues setting up meetings and events, changing the settings, and navigating your way around either of these products. As far as ease of use goes, Meeting and Webinar both get our ticks of approval and would be suitable for people who have never used web conferencing software before.
- Chat functions: Users are able to chat with each other and the presenter using text chat on both of these platforms. This enables people to interact without interrupting the speaker, and these chats will be recorded for viewing later when you choose to record a session.
- Extra features: There are lots of cool features available with both Webinar and Meeting, including screen sharing, file transfers, closed captioning, transcription, polling, international dial-in numbers, and password protection for rooms. Both options give users and hosts several ways to customize the experience and make sure everyone has what they need during a virtual event.
- Design: A webinar and meeting room both look similar on the surface when you use this software, so the main differences will only be seen by participants when looking at their capabilities and functions. Zoom has attempted to keep everything clean and modern, with many layout options depending on the product you’re using, and with minimal distractions.
How They Differ
The best way to decide on a Zoom platform is to look at how they differ, as you’ll likely find one of these products to have what your business needs.
These are the key ways that Webinar and Meeting vary to give you a better idea of what they’re all about:
- Participant capabilities: The capabilities of attendees differ depending on what platform you use, and there may be times when you want to limit these. If you prefer to present to an audience and only have minimal input, Webinar is a good idea because it only allows people to join the room in viewing-only mode, with some basic functions like text chat and Q&A available. However, Zoom Meeting enables all participants to share their audio and video, but the host has the ability to mute people if they see fit.
- Participant limit: A Zoom Meeting room can only hold up to 500 people on their most expensive plan, with the option to pay an added fee to take that number up to 1,000. If you have far greater needs than that, Webinar is the better option, as you’ll be capable of hosting up to 10,000 participants on their highest plan so you can reach a larger audience.
- Cost: A free version of Zoom Meeting is available with limited functions and room capacity, or you can upgrade to one of their paid plans to get a larger meeting size with some added features. Unfortunately, though, there is no free way to access Zoom Video Webinar so you must be a Pro member or higher to use this product. Pro members can pay for the Webinar add-on if they wish to create webinars using Zoom.
- Engagement tools: If you’re hoping to get your audience engaged, you’ll find great tools available with Meeting and Webinar. However, the types of engagement possible are different. Meeting allows for users to share audio and video, as well as text chat and breakout rooms, whereas Webinar allows text chat, Q&A, and polls. Depending on the type of input you want from others, one is likely a better match.
- Type of event: Meeting and Webinar are suited to different events, so think about it on a case-by-case basis and what you hope the user experience will be. If you’re having a study session, staff meeting, or small conference, Meeting will be better. However, Webinar should be used for conferences over 300 people, webinars, town meetings, and presentations. The number of attendees and how much input you want them to have can lead you towards a better pick.
- Livestreaming: Livestreaming from a virtual platform can be a great way to engage with others who weren’t able to register for the event. If you want the option to live stream yours, you’ll want to choose Zoom Webinar as it’s currently the only way to do this. You can set up a webinar to be streamed to a location of your choosing and grant access to users with a special code and registration, if necessary.
- Content sharing: While a webinar is a piece on content in itself, you might also want the option to share other content while you’re presenting. With Zoom Webinar, the hosts will be able to screen share with the room, however, on Zoom Meeting, all participants have the option to do this, as long as the host has enabled the function. Aside from this though, both platforms give users and hosts the chance to share files with each other.
- Extra features: The extra features that both Meeting and Webinar have independently set them apart, and depending on the purpose of your session, you might find some of these features better suited to meet it. Webinar allows for PayPal integration for paid registrations, practice sessions to run through your presentation, email reminders for upcoming events, and Q&A sessions. Meeting features waiting rooms, breakout rooms, and the ability to see a participants list.
Which Option Is Best?
A solid communications strategy would employ the use of both Zoom Meeting and Zoom Video Webinar to get the best platform for all types of situations.
However, if you only want to use one of these, it would depend on whether you use webinars as part of your marketing strategy.
Meetings should be reserved for times when you want to collaborate and come together to discuss ideas with others, or when you have a smaller group of people. However, a webinar should be seen as a presentation platform, and while it allows some forms of audience engagement and a higher capacity of participants, it might not always be capable of the type of interaction you want.
Zoom Meeting comes with a free plan option, although there are some restrictions, so you’ll only have to pay to use Zoom Video Webinar. There’s no reason not to have both as part of your communications and marketing strategy, should you have use for them, but it depends on the business.
Perfecting Your Communications Platform
Zoom has a lot to offer the modern business looking for ways to reach out to their audience, and whether you use their Meeting or Webinar function, you’ll find it easy to do.
To get the best solution for your communications and engagement needs, check out Zoom to see their range of platforms that make it possible to connect with ease.
Having access to an online meeting room or webinar platform at the click of a mouse can be a lifesaver in today’s busy world.
If you’re trying to find that perfect tool to help your business communicate and engage better, we’ve got the answers to some questions that can give you a push in the right direction.
Do I Need to Be On Camera For A Webinar?
A webinar is a video presentation that occurs in real-time and gives the host a chance to connect live with their audience, so you’ll usually need to share your face on the screen.
However, if you have a detailed visual presentation that goes along with the webinar, you might be able to avoid showing your face on camera that much.
When Should I Do A Webinar?
There are many reasons to host a webinar but the best use of these online presentations is when you want the chance to engage with an audience in real-time, rather than just sharing an idea or product.
The added engagement features of webinars like Q&As and screen sharing make it a more interactive experience for everyone involved.
What Are the Disadvantages of Webinars?
A webinar needs to be carefully planned so it avoids some of the common issues that can bring them down.
Some disadvantages of this type of virtual event are a lack of control over your environment, the potential for technical difficulties, and an audience that might be too shy to engage with the presentation.