Are you thinking about the best online method to communicate with your clients, colleagues or partners?
If you are still on the fence, this article will help you understand the differences between various modes of online communication: online meetings, video conferences, web conferences, webinars and masterclasses.
An online meeting is an event held over the internet, usually via browser or a specific application. There are two types of online meetings:
- Web conference
- Video conference
A web conference is an online meeting that involves audio and video communication between people from all over the globe. The three most cited types of web conferences are:
- Peer-level web meetings
A webcast is a live broadcast over the internet that does not allow for any interaction with the audience.
A webinar is an online event that provides limited options for communication between a presenter and their viewers: chat, polls, Q&As.
A peel-level web meeting is a virtual event where participants can interact with each other and the host via audio and video. Any participant can become a presenter.
You can usually connect to a web conference from your desktop, laptop, tablet, or mobile device.
A video conference is a real-time virtual event that features audio and video broadcast and allows for group discussions. Every participant is a presenter, and every presenter is a participant.
You can connect to a video conference from your desktop or a special huddle room in the office: there are web-based and room-based video conferences.
In the latter case, video conferencing requires quite advanced hardware and software to function smoothly. Thus, not all companies can afford to organize them.
Take a look at some of the best video conferencing platforms of 2019.
Let’s explore the differences between web conferencing and video conferencing in more detail.
Cost of Video Conference and Web Conference
Let’s be pragmatic and start with the most fundamental factor – the price.
If you opt for a regular web-based video conference, then the price won’t be much different from a web conference.
However, if you select a room-based video conference, the costs can be higher, especially if you decide to install a telepresence system for the ultimate experience of your colleagues or partners.
This may include expensive LCD screens, custom mics with noise cancellation, speakers with surround sound audio, 4K Ultra HD cameras, etc.
Audience of Video Conference and Web Conference
Here are some factors to take into account:
Web conferences, in general, tend to be less interactive than video conferences.
When webcasts do not allow any audience participation at all, webinars at least offer chats and polls.
There are also peer-level web meetings, but, due to technical limitations, they are more suitable for quick impromptu communication rather than full-fledged events.
Video conferences give much more freedom to the audience. They are not presenter-centric, but rather group-centric.
Some may argue there is no audience at all, as every participant can share their thoughts and become a presenter during a video conference, even if for just a minute.
What is more, everyone can see each other, so people are less tempted to get distracted and do something else.
Even though video conferencing wins in terms of interactivity, it is not the case when it comes to numbers.
Web conferences allow much more people to join your event since they do not require advanced hardware and software to function.
For example, MyOwnConference allows for up to 2,000 attendees to join your webinar, while a video conference can only be held for up to 10 people.
Purpose of Video Conference and Web Conference
Due to a bigger outreach, web conferences, and in particular webinars, are much better for marketing, product reviews and demonstrations.
Not only do you have a chance to reach out to thousands of potential customers, but you also ensure that nobody interrupts you in the process.
Read also: Benefits of Web Conferencing
If you want to target a very specific group of people, such as potential partners and investors, a video conference is a much better solution.
Of course, for life-changing negotiations, it’s best to meet in person. If it’s not possible, however, a video conference is as close as you can get.
Not only do you get to see their reactions and understand how well the negotiations are going, but you also let them express their ideas and concerns face-to-face.
What is more, if you go for room-based video conferencing, you get to emulate a real boardroom-like environment, which is often absent in a more casual world of web conferencing.
As a result of these factors, you get to immerse your potential partners/investors into an office environment without having to sustain any travel or venue costs.
Presenters of Video Conference and Web Conference
If your goal is to portray yourself as a thought leader and grow your personal brand, then you should definitely lean towards a web conference.
Webinars put you in a position of power and authority. You talk the most, since you are an expert, and your attendees gather to listen to you and you only (unless you invited someone to co-host, of course).
Video conferences put everyone on an equal footing, thus, they are perfect for panel discussions and negotiations. Sometimes there is no presenter assigned, since the goal here is to listen to everyone and find a common denominator.
Training, Workshops and Masterclasses
A training is a process of teaching someone practical skills, often conducted by companies for its employees.
A workshop is usually a paid and interactive type of training for a small group of people with different backgrounds.
A masterclass is a class given to people with already existing qualifications by an industry expert.
All three can be held in both web conferencing and video conferencing format. To choose the best format, you need to first establish your goals.
If you want to reach out to the biggest audience and make the most money off registrations, a webinar is a way to go. If your goal is to train about 10-20 people, then you may want to give preference to video conferences.
Online meetings include web conferences and video conferences. Web conferences can be broken into webcasts, webinars and peer-level web meetings.
There are also trainings, workshops and masterclasses, which can be conducted as a web or video conference: that depends on your ultimate goal.
Here are some key takeaways:
- Web conferences are better for outreach, while video conferences provide more engagement
- Video conferences work better for business negotiations, while web conferences are better for marketing
- Web conferences position a presenter as an expert, while video conferences often don’t even have a single presenter