Modern Internet can hardly be imagined with no webinars, which are an online analog to educational conferences and seminars. They have become a solid part of the marketing and sales system of many companies. Yet, particularly good track record they have got in distance learning.
Advantages of webinars are obvious: they allow people from different regions and even countries meet in the same room; they cut transportation and organizational expenditures. Another considerable advantage is their availability. To organize a webinar, not really much is required. A computer with broadband Internet connection, a webcam, headphones and a special webinar platform will suffice.
Today we will speak about intricacies of webinar platform selection.
Webinar platform is software for holding online conferences, seminars, trainings over the Internet. Often, the webinar system operates directly from a web browser with no need to install the application onto a computer. This means you can use the webinar system without any help from either software developers or system administrators.
Main Possibilities of Webinar Platforms
All basic tools that webinar systems provide can be divided into four categories. They are communication, work with materials, statistics and recording. Communication is done via chat, as well as using the webcam and headphones, when one person or several ones speak to the audience.
Working with materials implies demonstration of presentations, images and video to webinar participants. Shared access to the files allows providing all webinar attendees with all required materials and documents. At the same time, the special mode of screen sharing offers a possibility of demonstrating your attendees in real time how to work with any application.
After a webinar is over, the organizers get broadcast recording and statistics. The latter contains information about attendees, results of polls and tests, and the chat history.
How to Select Webinar Platform
For those new to webinars, selecting a webinar platform may turn into a real problem. The market of webinar services is overloaded with dozens of webinar providers.
We have outlined seven basic criteria, by paying attention to which you will be able to select the webinar platform that suits you best.
Price. There are free and paid webinar platforms out there. We do not recommend using free solutions, as they do not guarantee proper quality.
Price for paid services may vary on the number of attendees and tools available. Choose the platforms that provide a wide tariff range. This way, you will be able to get the most suitable tariff and pay nothing extra over what you actually need to have.
Number of attendees. Pay attention to the number of attendees that a webinar can host. Typically, this ranges from 20 to 1,000, though some webinar platforms offer a possibility to host up to 2,000 attendees and even more.
Availability of necessary tools. Make sure the platform offers all basic tools. For some, webcam broadcasting and a text chat might be enough, while there is a set of functions, with the help of which even the novices would be able keep the high level of their webinars:
- Ability to give attendees a chance to speak
- Demonstration of uploaded videos and videos from YouTube
- Screen sharing
- Pointer and drawing
- Surveys and testing
- Chat filtration and pre-moderation
- Social networks integration
- Adjustable webinar design
- Webinar recording
- Integration into web pages
- Integration with Google Analytics
Platform localization. There can be webinar platforms and support only a single language and those with multi-language interfaces. It is much better when your audience has got no issues with understanding the interface.
Support. Be sure to check whether the selected webinar platform offers online tech support. Tech support engineers will help you to learn the system faster and solve any issues arising.
Simplicity of use. Most likely, you do not have enough time to get familiar with complicated interfaces. Choose the platform that will be most understandable. Read the guides to cope with the new service faster.
Access on the go. Over a half of all webinar attendees log into webinars using their smartphones and tablets. This is why the selected webinar platform should operate on portable devices as well as it does on computers.
We hope this article helped you to get familiar with the webinar platform tools and will allow choosing the correct webinar services provider in future.