Select the Zoom Platform that Works Best with your Online Event – Meeting vs. Webinar

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Zoom Meeting and Webinar platforms are similar in many ways but each have unique features that can impact the function and feel of your online event. Here we will help clarify the differences and best use case for each option.

Ryan Green – May 13, 2020

So you’re planning a large online event using Zoom, but do you really need the webinar add-on? A meeting can handle up to 1,000 participants and often works well for large gatherings, but there are times when using webinar will better serve your presentation. Both options share many features, but there are some key differences and price points to consider.

Zoom Meeting

Josh says:

“Meetings are like a conference room or classroom; highly interactive.”

Zoom Meetings can be imagined much like the in-person counterpart: a group of people gathering together to collaborate. There are some functions a host can use to control the activity (mute/unmute everyone, use the Waiting Room feature, limit those able to share their screen), but overall most people will be able to participate equally in a meeting. Zoom meetings are designed to be collaborative and all participants will have the potential to control their audio and video.

Super Power for Large Groups:

  • Break Out Rooms – only available in meetings, this feature lets the host divide up the large meetings into smaller groups. Great for running exercises during a workshop, or breaking out departments during an All Hands meeting.
  • Reactions – encouraging participants to use the Reactions feature is a great way to receive quick feedback. Everyone in attendance will be able to see the reactions in the participant list.

Best Use Case

Small to large groups that encourage collaboration:

  • Customer-facing meetings
  • Sales meetings
  • Training sessions

Zoom Webinar

Josh says:

Webinars are like an auditorium or lecture hall; only the host and panelists can share content, video and audio upon joining.

Zoom Webinars have functionality similar to an in-person seminar or conference. Roles for the event include Host/Co-Hosts, Panelists, and Attendees. These roles help manage the flow of information to the attendees so that it’s much like sitting in an audience, listening to the information, and then interacting when the host invites engagement. Webinar attendees can only unmute their audio when allowed to talk by the host, but can not share their video.

Webinars are built to manage large groups of people. They’re also useful for events or gatherings that are external to your company where you may not want the collaborative, team feeling. Webinars help the host provide a polished event that highlights information and speakers, but limits the audience interaction and potential for disruption.

Super Power for Large Groups:

  • Practice Mode – hosts and panelists can gather in a room to check audio/visual and get acquainted with each other before going live with the webinar. 
  • Post webinar survey –   redirect users to the survey platform of your choice to capture post-event questions or info.

Best Use Case

Large events and public broadcasts (50+ attendees) such as:

  • Town halls
  • Educational lectures
  • Conferences

If you need help selecting the best Zoom platform for your virtual gathering, we’re here to help. Schedule a free consultation or reach out and let’s do something great together.