*This article was updated on November 13, 2019 based on new research conducted by the TrustRadius team*
There is no shortage of web conferencing tools out there, and determining which is right for your context is no small feat. Something that works great for chatting with a client — or your Grandma — may not work well for group meetings of 10 people or more.
Thankfully, TrustRadius has thousands of user reviews for different web conferencing options, complete with information about use cases and pros & cons, to help you make this decision.
In this post we walk through the answers to two important questions to ask when looking for a new web conferencing software: what you should consider when deciding on a solution, and which enterprise web conferencing products are recommended for large meetings.
Factors to Consider for Web Conferencing Software
Before jumping into what some of the best options are, we’ll first establish how to look for some of the best web conferencing software.
If you’re looking for a large group-friendly meeting tool, you most likely either manage a large client-facing team or work with a remote workforce. Either way, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. You’ll want to be sure you invest in a web conferencing tool that fits your needs.
These are a few factors to consider when making this decision:
- Take time to understand the real cost of the software. Some software options are based on the host, others on number of users, and still others have a per minute rate. Even with a premium package, web conferencing platforms will sometimes charge more for video recording or dial-in options. Understanding your own use case ahead of time will help to make sure you’re asking vendors the right questions about total cost – whether it be per user, minute, month, or year.
- Consider the implementation process. Let’s say you already have collaboration and communication tools in place — all you need is a virtual meeting space to video conference your larger team. There are a handful of questions to ask on this front. Will the software you choose be easy to install — or not require any installation at all? Will it be straightforward to invite (both internal and external) participants, schedule and start meetings with the platform? Will it integrate with any other collaboration and communication tools your already have in place? Knowing the integrations available and the implementation process ahead of time will better prepare you to get up and running with the platform.
- Prepare a list of your needs. Will you need to use specific devices or spaces for your web conferences? Do your meetings typically run longer than an hour? Will you have people joining both from web browsers and mobile phones? Is call recording a necessity? Since web conferencing vendors vary in both their focus and limitations (e.g. call length), knowing this information up front will streamline the decision-making process.
Finally, don’t forget about quality. Look at the audio and video quality promised by the video conferencing platform you’re considering, reading through customer reviews is a great way to confirm whether or not a product has high quality video and audio.
The Top 5 Web Conferencing Tools for Large Group Meetings
Now that we’ve covered the how we can jump into the what — what are some of the best web conferencing tools for large group meetings?
To be included in the list below, products must have met these three requirements:
- The product must be Customer Verified (See that little green check mark next to the product name? That means it has 10 or more new or updated reviews within the last year).
- The product must have multiple comments from reviewers regarding large group meetings, indicating that the tool makes sense for this context.
- The product’s pricing should be friendly to a higher number of users — meaning that either the low-tier option allows a high number of participants or the cost of entry per-user is relatively low.
Zoom: Host Large Groups for Free
Zoom is one of the most well-known options for web conferencing software.
The tool features video and audio calling through a desktop app, web app and dial-in numbers. While Zoom features tools like calendar integrations and video recording, many reviews point to the usefulness and cost-effectiveness of the platform for large groups.
One marketing business founder called it the “best group call software”, best used for “group calls, screen sharing, presentations, webinars, international calls, training and more.” The same user wrote that the cost of Zoom is reasonable and more affordable than some competitors, particularly for large groups.
Zoom pricing runs $14.99/mo per host — and the plan allows for up to 100 participants per meeting. The free option also allows 100 participants, but group meetings are limited to 40 minutes.
Lifesize Video: Engage Groups With a Budget
Lifesize offers HD video conferencing for businesses that need a more permanent system for web conferencing.
Along with their core video conferencing solution, Lifesize also offers meeting room hardware like the Lifesize Icon 400. The Icon 400 is webcam made for smaller conference rooms and teams, but higher-grade plans include additional phones, larger video systems, wireless sharing and more.
The hardware helps provide higher quality calls, but can also be limiting for larger remote teams. “Lifesize is great when we have a group of people in our office and others want to join remotely, and it is great for joining more than one location together that also has a Lifesize camera,” wrote one communications specialist. “It isn’t as great if everyone is joining from their own computer.”
Pricing-wise, Lifesize is on the other end of the spectrum from Zoom: their mini bundle runs $16 per user for up to 25 users. For 10 or more participants in a meeting, that translates into at least $160/month for meetings. Their small bundle runs $19 per user and includes up to 50 meeting participants — as well as some additional hardware.
BlueJeans: Room for More Participants
BlueJeans aims to bring people together across desktops, mobile devices, and their Rooms system (which are complete with branded video conferencing systems).
Users can join meetings via the web app from their desktop, mobile devices or by dialing in. “It is an easy and convenient way to connect our employees in all hands meetings as well as department meetings,” writes one Director of Engineering. “It solves the issue of combining room system codecs, personal computers, and mobile devices all calling into one meeting.”
The Rooms setup may work great for larger enterprises with the budget, but BlueJeans also has a lower-priced tier friendly to hosting large group meetings.
The ME package (described as an “inexpensive start for individuals and small businesses”) runs $14.49/month per host and allows meetings up to 50 participants. Bumping it up to MY TEAM ($16.65/month per host) includes 10 hours of recording, 75 participants and a centralized dashboard.
Webex Meetings: Built for Enterprises
Part of a larger suite of conferencing and collaboration tools from Cisco, Webex Meetings focuses in on the web video element of the suite.
Like Lifesize Video, Webex offers a host of devices for their meetings tool — including boards, room devices and tablets.
The hardware makes it well suited to large teams across multiple offices. One verified user wrote that Webex Meetings “allows us to conduct large-scale webinars on a fairly stable platform, and then distribute recordings of those webinars to internal or external stakeholders as needed.” One listed ‘pro’ is that the platform allows “webinars to be conducted with a large number of participants” with easy screen sharing.
Webex Meetings is an enterprise-level tool, with pricing available by request only.
GoToMeeting: Lightweight and Affordable
GoToMeeting is one of the most popular web conferencing tools on TrustRadius, with over 1,000 ratings and reviews.
With a dial-in option, meeting rooms, and desktop and mobile apps, GoToMeeting works well for large group meetings with participants joining remotely or from group offices.
“Meetings with large numbers of users are still very easy to run and work well,” wrote one verified user. The same user wrote that screen sharing and installation is simplified in these large group settings.
GoToMeeting is priced by user and feature — the Pro option runs $29/mo and includes up to 150 participants and 25 webcams. The most popular option also includes screen sharing, unlimited meetings and meeting recording.