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Webinar, Webcast and Web Conferencing: What’s the Difference?

Yesterday you met with clients in New York, San Francisco, London and Singapore – without ever leaving your house. Isn’t it amazing? With technology, you can meet with clients, colleagues and industry leaders from all over the world. Online communication tools make it easy to collaborate across time zones, but not all digital solutions are cut out for the same task. With that said, are you sure you’re using webinar, webcast, and web conferencing platforms to their fullest potential?

To answer that question, you must first understand the difference between all three technologies.

Webinar, Webcast, and Web Conferencing Defined

webinar is a live event (or simulated-live, pre-recorded event) that viewers can access online in real-time. Furthermore, webinars are typically online seminars or informative presentations for demand generation, customer engagement, thought leadership and product marketing. A webinar is a two-way presentation experience, where attendees can participate through interactive features that allow for shared screens, question-and-answer sessions and topic discussions. In fact, 92% of webinar attendees state they want a live question and answer session as part of a webinar.

On the other hand, webcasts refer to a live-stream or on-demand broadcast over the Internet. A webcast is a one-way experience, with the host speaking or presenting to the audience. While webcasts can also include interactive participation, the features are geared more towards enterprise and high-profile events. Common uses of a webcast include corporate town halls, investor relations meetings, training sessions, and HR communications.

Web conferencing software allows users to communicate via video. Web conferencing is often used for online client or internal meetings, content sharing and video chatting with friends and family. Since the COVID-19 outbreak, web conferencing tools across the market have seen a 500% increase in sales.

Finding the Right Tool for Your Goals

The most significant difference between a webinar, webcast and web conference is scale.

Webinar and webcasting technology is better suited for large group meetings and events with robust audiences and a defined presentation. Another difference is the need for real-time or pre-recorded streamed content. Webinar and webcasting tools are often the most effective way to deliver targeted, relevant content that promotes products and services to prospects and customers.

In contrast, web conferencing is a far more intimate, interactive two-way experience, designed to let small groups collaborate in real-time. They provide users with a series of helpful collaboration tools such as chat, file sharing and video controls. Web conferencing is better suited for personal demos or sales proposals with a single client and brainstorming sessions with your team. If you are looking to shift a casual conversion into a professional presentation, try hosting a webcast.

Using the right tool is imperative for the success of your event or goal. For instance, using a web conferencing tool for a large presentation to thousands of participants will likely end in poor communication and ineffective use of your client/colleagues’ time.

Think you know which tool is right for your company? PGi offers multiple types of online events solutions to suit your needs. See how PGi’s solutions can help you accomplish your goals.

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