Which Webinar Host?

So, you are ready to give your first webinar?  Your question is “what webinar hosting platform will work best for me?”  Over the past 8 years, I have helped produce hundreds of webinars for clients and for myself.   It used to be that the choices were pretty much limited to Go To Meeting – to share your screen ($$$$$ and not good with Macs),  Instant Teleseminar (Welcome to Call), and free teleconference lines.

Now, there are hundreds of options. How do you choose what’s best?

Instant Teleseminar (save $20 a month by choosing the white label version – Welcome To The Call.  $27-$47/month

Good if:

  • You really hate technology.  There is nothing techy at all about Instant Teleseminar. If you can make a phone call – this will work for you.
  • You are showing a powerpoint rather then sharing your screen.  Instant Teleseminar has an easy to use slide feature.
  • You want to display the video on your site – but you don’t care if it is on You Tube.

Cons:

  • Can’t share your screen – it is only slides.
  • Collects very minimal statistics on the people attending the webinar/teleseminar.  You don’t get a report of how long people stayed etc.
  • No automated reminders, etc.
  • Can be difficult to get old recordings – you need to write to them to get recordings that are over 30 days old reactivated.
  • Since this is a phone based technology, the audio quality is passable but not perfect (i.e. I would not re-use recordings a podcast episode, for example).

Recommended for: People doing teleseminars. Someone doing their first ever webinar/teleseminar. Someone who really doesn’t want to mess with technology at all.

WebinarJam 

$297/year

Webinar Jam is an all in one service that is based on Google Hangouts.  The service includes everything from registration pages, reminders, the ability to charge for webinars, to list your webinars on their promotion page, automatic replays, etc.   You can also show pre-made videos during your webinar, conduct polls, etc.  It is a very powerful program that is actually less expensive than Instant Telesminar.

Good if:

  • You are expecting a large crowd to watch your webinar
  • You want to conduct polls,  bring on guests,  show pre-made videos
  • You want a very professional presentation with lower-thirds (The information strip along the bottom of the screen)
  • You want to keep the recording on YouTube.
  • You want an all in one solution – from registration page – to follow up emails
  • You want really good data on conversion rates, who attended the webinar, how long they stayed

Cons:

  • It has a bit of a learning curve.  If you don’t like Google products – you won’t like this.
  • It is a bit buggy.  Sometimes it just doesn’t work (Hangouts can suffer from lag/bandwidth issues).  Most of the time it does.
  • Unless you bring your audience into the video with you – they can’t ask questions live – only through chat.

 Zoom 

$15/month

Zoom is a video conferencing platform.   You can also share your screen.   Attendees have the option of attending via computer/video or phone.  There is also a zoom app that allows you to attend meetings via phone.

Pros:

  • Very easy to use.
  • Automatically records the video and a separate  .mp4 track for audio only.  You can use this to record classes, podcasts, interviews, etc.
  • More stable than Webinar Jam – better sound quality than Instant Teleseminar
  • Seeing people’s faces leads to a very intimate experience
  • You can use the same link (conference Room) over and over – you don’t need to set anything up to do a call. We have a redirect – timetradersclub.com/clubhouse that we always use.
  • Participants can join via video on laptop or via phone app, or they can call in by phone.

Cons:

  • Limited to 50 attendees
  • Gets noisy with a lot of attendees – you need to mute them.
  • Like Go To Meeting, attendees need to download a file to make this work.  Very easy – but if your audience isn’t tech savvy – it might not work for them.
  • Doesn’t include statistics of who was on the call, how long they stayed, etc.
  • Doesn’t include reminder messages, registration forms, or follow up messages.
  • Video ends up on hard drive (mp4 format) – not on YouTube (but you can upload it to anywhere you would like afterwards).

Recommendation:  For people who teach classes and want an “intimate” setting.  Also, good for less technical people who need to share their screens.  Amazing for podcasters and other people who want a separate audio track.

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4 comments
sandrawilliams says October 4, 2015

Thanks for the breakdown

Ellen Finkelstein says October 4, 2015

I wouldn’t consider the $15 version of Zoom a webinar product — it’s a meeting product, equivalent to GoToMeeting. If you want to do webinars, they have a webinar module, for $49/month for up to 100 people.

People are automatically muted. You get reports, including the questions people asked/comments they made. Not sure about the time spent there. It can register people, if you choose that route — you can also do registrationless webinars. I usually go registrationless because I’m working with an affiliate and need to bring people to my website to capture the affiliate link. I really LIKE the fact that the recording ends up on my computer. I almost always edit recordings so with something that gets automatically posted, I’d have to download it, deleted it, edit it and repost it – UGH!

    meredith eisenberg says October 4, 2015

    Thanks Ellen for the heads up about the additional zoom option. Since I haven’t yet had over 50 people attend live on my calls (and I don’t mind muting folks as they come in) – the $15 a month options works for us for webinars.

Linda Larson Schlitz says October 6, 2015

I had not noticed until I went to doublecheck Zoom that they have a health care version with HIPPA compliant features and an educational version that has the blackboard feature and up to 1000 attendees! I have tried all the others and I like Zoom the best…my second favorite is http://www.freeconferencecall.com you can share your screen and it auto records everything as an audio (not the screen share part) You can upload documents and make the site look like a website all for FREE!!!

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