Zoom Webinars vs. Zoom Meetings

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Zoom Webinars and Zoom Meetings are both parts of the Zoom ecosystem—they’re both video conferencing solutions that are designed to help you stay connected with colleagues, customers, and students.

Zoom Webinars are designed for large-scale events with up to 50,000 attendees, making it one of the most robust webinar platforms on the market. It is designed to make long-form sessions like lectures, keynote presentations, and product demos easy to deliver and easy to attend.

Zoom Meetings are meant for smaller groups of up to 1,000 participants. It’s a more versatile solution that can be used for everything from team meetings to one-on-one coffee chats. Zoom Meetings also include features like breakout rooms and group chat, making them ideal for collaboration.

So, which one is right for you? Let’s dive into the key differences between Zoom Webinars and Zoom Meetings.

Company logos for Zoom Webinar vs. Zoom Meetings

Zoom Webinars and Zoom Meetings Compared to the Best

We’ve tried our fair share of conference call platforms. We refer to the best of the best conference call services as the Golden Eggs.

Nextiva is the best conference call platform for most. It does everything a VoIP phone provider can do, yet has one of the most robust video calling services on the market.

RingCentral is the best standalone conference calling solution. It’s packed with features like group chat, video messaging, and SMS messaging.

GoToMeeting is the best for remote teams. With GoToMeeting, you can host meetings with up to 3,000 participants with an incredibly simple user interface.

Zoom Webinars Compared to Zoom Meetings

Now that we’ve presented our Golden Eggs, let’s look closely at Zoom Webinars and Zoom Meetings.

Zoom Webinars Highlights

If you need to host a big event, Zoom Webinars is the way to go. It’s one of the most scalable webinar platforms on the market, with support for up to 50,000 attendees.

Zoom Webinars also offers a host of features that are designed to make your event run smoothly. You can imagine webinars as virtual lecture halls or auditoriums. Webinars are well suited for audiences consisting of hundreds or thousands of people.

Typically, webinar attendees do not interact with one another. Zoom allows you to get more social with your participants, but the typical webinar has only one or two individuals speaking to an audience.

Live Q&A and polling features, as well as features like hand raising, help you keep your audience engaged. Zoom Webinars is perfect for hosting town hall meetings, classroom lectures with hundreds of students, enterprise product demos, and other large-scale events.

Zoom Meetings Highlights

Chances are, you’re already familiar with Zoom—it’s the gold standard for video conferencing. And for good reason: Zoom is incredibly easy to use, with a user-friendly interface that anyone can pick up in minutes.

If you’re looking to host a more interactive session with plenty of audience participation, Zoom meetings are the perfect option. You can also break your session into smaller groups for added convenience.

This makes Zoom Meetings perfect for team huddles and briefs, collaborative classroom environments, introductory calls, and training sessions.

Zoom Webinars vs. Zoom Meetings: Pros and Cons

While testing out each conference call service, we found several pros and cons of each. Let’s take a closer look at where Zoom Webinars and Zoom Meetings shine—and where they could use some improvement.

Where Zoom Webinars Shines

Surveys and Polling for Large Groups: Webinars are meant to be a one-way street, with the presenter talking and the audience listening. That said, you can use features like surveys and polling to increase engagement and ensure that your attendees are paying attention. This is especially useful if you have a large group of people on the call. It’s much easier to get a sense of what everyone is thinking when you can poll the entire group at once.

Webinar Scheduling: Planning a webinar can be a lot of work. You have to promote your event, get people to sign up, and send reminders leading up to the big day. Luckily, Zoom Webinars has built-in scheduling tools to make your life easier. It’ll also remind your participants ahead of time so that they don’t miss the webinar.

Screenshot of a live Zoom webinar

Large-Scale Events: If you’re looking to host a large-scale event, Zoom Webinars is one of the best options on the market. It’s scalable and reliable, with a host of features designed to make your event run smoothly.

PayPal Integration: If you want to monetize your event, you need to have a way to accept payments. Zoom Webinars seamlessly integrates with PayPal, so you can easily collect payments from your attendees. This gives you an easy way to collect payment from your audience securely without having to compromise the overall user experience.

Live Streaming: Interacting with a live streaming audience is one of the best ways to captivate them. Zoom makes it easy to live stream webinars on Facebook, YouTube, Workplace by Facebook, and custom streaming platforms (e.g., Twitch, Periscope). You can even stream multiple platforms simultaneously.

Platform Agnostic: You’re not locked into using Zoom if you don’t want to be. The company offers a host of integrations, so you can use the tools that you’re already comfortable with. For example, you can start or join a meeting from Microsoft Outlook, Google Calendar, Slack, and more. Users also aren’t required to download the app in order to attend a webinar, so attendees aren’t inconvenienced by having to download yet another app. This feature ensures that more people who sign up will actually attend the event.

Unlimited Online Session Recording: Have you ever wished you could go back and watch a presentation again? With Zoom, you can. All online sessions are automatically recorded and stored in the cloud, so you can access them anytime, anywhere. When your webinar is over, you can download the recording and share it with your attendees via email.

AES 256-bit Encryption: With military-grade encryption, you can rest assured that your webinars are secure. All data is encrypted end-to-end, so you don’t have to worry about anyone eavesdropping on your conversations.

Where Zoom Webinars Needs Improvement

Too Many Subscriptions and Add-Ons: Zoom is a multi-tiered subscription-based platform. But one subscription isn’t enough. The lower-priced tiers are reasonable for the value that they offer, but in order to host events with thousands (or tens of thousands) of people, Zoom Webinars could cost you thousands of dollars per month. Additionally, several features are only available as add-ons at different tiers. Since many of these features are only necessary a few times, switching between subscriptions can be a hassle, but also something you have to do to avoid overpaying.

Lack of Comment Control: There are ways to boot people from meetings for being vulgar or disruptive, but there’s no way to moderate comments in the chat box. This can be a problem if you’re hosting an event with hundreds or thousands of people, as it only takes one person to spoil the chat for everyone else. This is especially true if you allow anonymous users to join the webinar (which is an option).

Inconsistent File Sizes: When you download a recording of your webinar, the file sizes can be all over the place. Sometimes they’re small, and sometimes they’re huge. There’s no way to know ahead of time how big the file will be, so you have to be prepared for anything. This isn’t a huge problem, but it can be annoying if you’re trying to save space on your computer.

Where Zoom Meetings Shines

Free to Use for Anyone: Zoom’s free license is more than enough for most people. You can host an unlimited number of meetings with up to 100 participants as long as they are 40 minutes or less.

Breakout Rooms: For teams who need to collaborate more closely, breakout rooms are one of the most useful features Zoom has to offer. You can break your participants into smaller groups and then easily move between them. This is perfect for team meetings, training sessions, and employee onboarding.

Meeting Polling: With webinar polling, you can quickly get feedback from your audience without interrupting the flow of your presentation. Simply create a poll and let your participants vote. You can then share the results with your audience in real time. This is a great way for professors to engage their class and get an understanding of how well they know the course material.

Zoom Rooms: With Zoom Rooms, you can turn any room into a meeting space. This is perfect for companies with multiple locations or remote workers who need to connect with the rest of the team. Zoom Rooms comes with everything you need, including a touch-screen controller, speaker, and microphone.

Stable and Reliable: Zoom is one of the most stable and reliable video conferencing platforms on the market. It’s been tested by hundreds of millions of users and has proven to be a reliable platform for both small and large meetings.

Screenshot of Zoom Meetings analytics dashboard

HIPAA Compliance: Today’s climate requires health organizations to safeguard the privacy of patient health information. There is no exemption in the HIPAA security criteria for video conferencing and other forms of online collaboration. Zoom was created with this in mind, with a security architecture that guarantees end-to-end, HIPAA-compliant encryption. Zoom also provides better security than other systems because it allows for the participation of many people in a secure, HIPAA-compliant environment. This means that patients, family members, and medical staff may all participate in the conversation without having to worry about data breaches. Firm access control, encryption, and other security techniques are used to further ensure patient privacy.

Partner Integrations: Zoom integrates with practically everything. Salesforce, Skype, Slack, and Google Suite are just a few of the many platforms that work seamlessly with Zoom. This makes it easy to connect with people no matter where they are or what tools they’re using.

Screenshot of Zoom Meetings "Join a Meeting" pop-up to type in meeting ID or personal link name

Users Can Easily Join From Anywhere: Without needing to download an app, meeting attendees can join a Zoom meeting by clicking on a link in an email or text message. Alternatively, they can enter a meeting ID to join from the Zoom desktop or mobile app.

Consistent Quality: Whether you are in a large, medium, or one-on-one setting, the quality of your Zoom meeting will be consistent. With other video conferencing platforms, the quality of your call can vary greatly depending on the number of participants and the location of each person. This is not an issue with Zoom, as it uses adaptive bitrate encoding to automatically adjust the quality of your call based on changing conditions.

Screenshot of Zoom webpage that shows a Zoom recording that can be shared via link

Works With Conversational AI: Zoom’s video and audio quality is so good that it can be used with conversational AI applications. This means that you can use Zoom to communicate with people who are not in the same room as you, or even in the same country. You can also use Zoom to make calls to landlines and mobile phones.

Where Zoom Meetings Needs Improvement

Heavy On System Resources: One of the biggest drawbacks of Zoom is how much processing power it requires. If you’re using Zoom on an older computer, you may notice that your system lags significantly. This is because Zoom uses a lot of CPU and memory resources. It requires between 600MB and 1.70GB of data each hour, on average.

Limited Features In the Free Version: Zoom meetings ending after 40 minutes can be very frustrating, especially if the meetings have several participants. You can always start a new meeting and invite everyone, but this can be tedious and time-consuming.

Less Integrated Than Some Competitors: Since Zoom is a separate app, it’s not as deeply integrated into other tools and platforms as some of its competitors. Google Meet, for example, is integrated into Gmail, Calendar, and Drive. This means that you can start or join a meeting with just a few clicks—and you can do it from your web browser if you wanted to. With Microsoft Teams, you can also do things like share your screen, chat, and collaborate on documents without ever leaving the app. If you want to communicate after your call is over, you’ll need to use a different app like Slack or MS Teams.

The Last Word On Zoom Webinars Compared to Zoom Meetings

Zoom Meetings are perfect for hosting collaborative sessions where you need lots of involvement from your attendees or want to break your session into smaller groups. With features like breakout rooms and screen sharing, it’s easy to get everyone on the same page—literally.

Zoom Webinars are ideal when you need to share a presentation or deliver a lecture with a large number of people. The webinar format also allows you to have more control over who can speak and when, which can be helpful if you’re running a panel discussion or interview.

Out of all of the conference call tools, we’ve narrowed it down to just eight. Click here to learn about our Golden Eggs.

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