I recently sat down to have a conversation with Jane Menyo and Tiffany Beddow, Senior Director of Solutions Marketing and Director of Customer Marketing at ON24 (a leading webinar software). We discussed what makes for the best webinar software, and what webinar trends are on the horizon for 2020.
Despite the emergence of Unified-Communications-as-a-Service Platforms (UCaaS) which aim to consolidate every online communications tool into one, a majority of buyers actually enjoy having separate tools for web conferencing, webinar, and even VoIP. There are several reasons why buyers want to invest in a webinar-focused tool for their online events. Let’s dig in.
Jane and Tiffany shared that one of the biggest benefits of webinar software is its demand generation capabilities. Using webinars for demand generation entails creating informative and engaging sessions that drive leads and accelerate them through their buyer’s journey. Leading webinar tools on the market will provide you with attendee analysis and reporting to analyze the performance of your webinar and its surrounding outreach campaigns.
Remember that webinar software is ideal for larger group meetings or online events with wide audiences of up to hundreds or thousands of participants. Owing to this, webinars are typically much more structured and may require more extensive scheduling features than standard web conferencing solutions offer. Namely, competitive webinar software will provide tools for promoting and sharing the webinar details with a wider audience.
For example, if you’d like to host an online event promoting your product or service to prospective customers, investing in webinar software is a better choice than web conferencing software.
Key Features of Webinar Software
Performance and Compatibility
Most of the following capabilities are important for any type of online event, regardless of size or use. They can ensure that online events happen on time and can be accessed from a variety of devices and operating systems. In terms of performance and compatibility.
- High-quality audio and video
- Compatible with multiple browsers
- Compatible with multiple operating systems
- Mobile support
Online Event Management
These features allow hosts to schedule, run, and record the webinar, attendees to register and view the webinar. Event registration is the main differentiator here from web conferencing tools, which use individual invitations sent by an organizer rather than a registration form.
- Event registration flow
- Calendar integration
Webinars include a degree of audience participation, but its collaboration is usually more structured than with web conferences and other kinds of online events, due to the one-to-many format of webinars. Audience participation features allow presenters to distribute materials to the audience as a whole, or allow individual attendees to submit questions, comments, and opinions individually to presenters.
- Audience polling
One of the major trends in the space of online meetings is continued product divergence. According to Jane and Tiffany, webinar software and web conferencing solutions will continue to separate themselves from one another and specialize themselves to meet the unique needs of webinars and web conferences.
Another trend to watch out for is personalization. Users not only want a tool that has the features, they also want a tool that enables them to create unique online events that let them stand out. Many of the products on our Webinar TrustMap support customized online event interfaces and campaigns. These include On24, GoToWebinar, Cisco Webex Events, and Zoom Video Webinar.
Another important trend to be on the lookout for is simulive webinars. Simulive is a combination of the words ‘simulated’ and ‘live’, meaning broadcasts are pre-recorded webinars that allow for live interaction. Simulive webinars allow you to pre-record a webinar which can prevent problems like last-minute cancellations and technical issues. Even better, you can edit them ahead of time to make sure the presentation stays on schedule. They’re a great way to ensure your webinars go off without a hitch.
On and Ever Onward
Organizing large online meetings and training is easier than ever with webinar software. Read peer reviews to learn more about which webinar tools will help you reach your target audience and host engaging online events with them. Perhaps 2020 will be the year you take your webinars to the next level!