The Pros and Cons of Web conferencing

If you want to do live webinars to build your audience online to engage an online audience and as a powerful marketing and selling tool has been around forever. It is perhaps the OG. The original player in the webinar space. Years ago it seemed like basically any webinar you could find was hosted on and we ourselves have been a user of for a long time and have done easily over events. But the question is - in 2019 and beyond is it still relevant? Especially now that so many other players are in the market?

 

That's what we are here to find out. We mentioned we've been a user for a long time and we have personally experienced the powerful tool that is webinars. It really is an amazing marketing and sales tool and there is one particular reason why we've been a user for so long and we'll get back to that in a moment. But right now we are on a mission to find out if really is still relevant and if it is the best platform to use or if one of the many competitors has overtaken it in terms of features, pricing, value and soon over the next few weeks we'll be testing every webinar platform and software we can get my hands on. We’ll be reviewing them and we'll do a big round up comparison in the end and we want to  start with Webinar because like we said it's been around forever and let's get right into why it's been around for so long and what's good about it. The number one thing that I think made webinar as successful as it is  just reliability and stability. You see, the last time we looked for alternatives to webinar many years ago we tried a few alternatives and basically all of them had huge issues. They would crash they would just freeze in the middle of stuff. They would just stop working or they did have like a two minute lag or something or just the video or audio quality be so bad that you know your chat or your questions in the webinar were just full of people saying "this doesn't work", "we can't hear you", "we can't see what's going on" and we were just the only platform where you could reliably do a webinar to 500 people , 700 people, 1000 people even and, you know, while  it would slow down a bit (there'd be lag and so on) it would keep going, it would keep working.

 

Web conferencing

 

 

 

And of course if you're using webinars as a marketing tool, if you're doing a sales webinar, that is just priceless. You just cannot afford to be doing a sales webinar to hundreds of people, and then the thing just stops working. That isn't to say Webinar has a perfect track record. We’ve had occasional issues with it as well. But again, out of, you know, hundreds of webinars done it has basically almost never let us down whereas there are several other platforms that we've tried a single time and they just immediately failed , also still covers all the basics that you'd want from a webinar which means that it's not just for presenting. You can also do polls, interactive polls where people can click on answers and then you can show the results which is we think a great way to engage the audience and also to collect some insights about your audience.

 

 

You can have surveys and handouts and people can ask questions and so on so there's various ways to interact and the thing we like about go to webinar is that you can use it for kind of group coaching so you can unmute people and have them actually ask a question you know rather than just typing. And that's something that we think can add a lot of value to something like group coaching or even just a regular webinar where you're adding kind of more real deeper interaction with your audience. So it has all of these basics it has basically everything that you would expect from a webinar platform go to webinar also is pretty solid reporting and analytics tools so it gives you good reports about like the attention and retention rates of your audience it gives your report of all the questions that were asked and so on. And we've found that often very useful even after the webinar and just go through that data and learn a bit more about my audience.

 

 

Now having said that there's also quite a lot that we dislike about. So for example it does feel a little ancient at times. Now, they've made various attempts at modernizing it and especially recently, they really have modernized the UI but it still feels lagging in some regards. So for one thing you can do a web event - a webcast or a regular webinar. The webcast is basically more convenient for your visitors they don't need to download anything they can just visit the webinar on the browser the regular webinar where people do have to download a thing and run an installer and so on before they can access your webinar that does have some advantages though. So for example the thing we mentioned before about being able to unmoved someone in your audience and have a conversation with them. This is only possible using the regular webinar and not the webcast webinar. Also the user interface while you're hosting webinar, well it takes a bit of getting used to. It’s not the prettiest user interface you know it's functional. The questions feature and chat features are just not very great. We will end up with a huge list of questions from people and it's very difficult to navigate it's difficult to kind of pick out what should we answer and it's you can't like you can't even copy and paste to questions who can't like paste the important ones into a notepad or you can't display the questions on screen. Really the way the questions and answer thing works is just not very user friendly. Another thing is that it's mainly made for audio and screen sharing. You can share your webcam as well but it's a bit awkward.

 

 

                     Basically so in the live event people will see the screen and your webcam at the same time if that's what you're sharing. But in the replay the webcam will just not show up and even if you record separately. So if you don't use the built in recording feature it's quite difficult to make that work with your webcam and screen sharing basically we haven't found a satisfying way to do that and to make that work. Speaking of recordings and replays there is an automatic recording feature but after the webinar event you have to convert the recording file from one format into another before it's usable and the quality is not that great. It has gotten better. The audio tends to be a bit tinny and there's a delay and stuff. So it's generally better if you record your screen locally you record your screen and audio while you're doing the presentation on the webinar than how to clean a recording. But then if you have guest hosts and things that makes things more complicated. So again it's just it's not terrible but it's just not very convenient. So that's what we mean when we say that yes it has been modernized but you can kind of feel the legacy of this thing it feels like kind of an old piece of software in many ways. And finally and this is one of the main reasons we've started looking at alternatives the pricing of is pretty steep.

 

 

              Like, you have to get, you have to pay 200 dollars or more to get what we would consider all the basic features. There’s higher price tiers which have additional features that we think most people won't need. But you have to pay something like 200 dollars a month before you get really, you know, all the stuff you'll probably want to use for doing webinars. That’s a pretty steep price tag. And that puts me in a position where we feel like we can't really recommend this to the typical startup entrepreneur or, you know, trying to keep your budget under control you're not going to just spend another 200 dollars a month to do a couple of webinars and this has me searching for better alternatives.

 

It has its pros and cons and we think that the cons clearly outweigh the pros especially considering the price tag and that's why we can't really recommend. But we do want to be able to recommend something so that even if you are on a smaller budget you can make use of the audience building and marketing power of live webinars. And so over the last weeks and still as we are recording this we've been doing a lot of webinars on many different platforms and we'll be releasing reviews of each of these platforms as we get them done.