Webinar or Video Conference package? Which option is right for my meeting?

Most video conference systems offer a standard video conference package, and an additional webinar hosting package, often at a much higher cost as the latter aims to sell to commercial education providers.

Often the information provided around which is right for your hosting needs can be confusing, and presented in a way that may make you think a webinar bolt-on option is necessary for some of your educational meetings or lectures.

Before making the investment, it can be useful to consider a number of things to be certain that an investment in a webinar package is the right thing for you or your organisation:

Consider the average number of attendees

Consider how many participants will likely attend, and how many participants your license currently allows. The license of a standard conference package usually already allows a sufficiently high number of participants for live webinars in a patient community (e.g. Zoom Pro: 100 participants, Zoom Business: 300 participants).

Consider the absolute “must-haves” for your webinar to run successfully

Compare the standard conference plans with the webinar packages critically. Do you really need e.g. the pre-registration and payment features offered in the webinar package? What else is not offered in the standard package?

Webinar environment: participant control and spotlight on speaker

If needed, using participant control, you can set the meeting to “spotlight a speaker” so that cameras don’t change from the speaker. You can also keep all participants muted, turn off participant details (i.e. keep them hidden for everyone except the host), and also you can turn off chat functions.

This is part of the standard Zoom package and does not require a Webinar upgrade license.

Pre-registration of participants

If you want to require pre-registrations for webinar participants, you can use free third party services for a registration function so you do not need a costly webinar package. One example is eg https://zmurl.com/ which is currently free for free events.

Functions on Zoom that can support a webinar experience

Consider the following meeting options in Zoom when hosting a webinar:

  • turn off chat
  • end of meeting feedback survey
  • polling
  • disable screen sharing for participants
  • turn off annotation and whiteboard
  • turn off remote control
  • hide profile pictures in a meeting
  • identify guest participants – turn off
  • Invitation email
  • E-Mail invitations

Table of Contents

  1. Consider the average number of attendees
  2. Consider the absolute “must-haves” for your webinar to run successfully
  3. Webinar environment: participant control and spotlight on speaker
  4. Pre-registration of participants
  5. Functions on Zoom that can support a webinar experience

License terms

This is released under Creative Commons NonCommercial-ShareAlike (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) license. You may share (copy and redistribute) and adapt (remix, transform, and build upon) this. However you must give appropriate credit to WECAN, a license notice and a link to the original material. For example “Adapted from (title of this document, link to this document) of WECAN under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0“. If you build upon this material, you must distribute your version under the same license as the original (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0).

Written by Julia Tolley, 11/6/2020, V1.0. If you have any suggestions for changes or amendments, we would appreciate your email to [email protected].