This year, we have seen an unprecedented explosion in the use of webinars due to Covid-19, as people are forced to work and run their businesses from home.
Take for example, market intelligence firm SensorTower reported that first-time installations of Zoom’s mobile app have skyrocketed 728% since March 2, 2020.
As specialists in Webinar marketing, we get asked all the time, “Which is the best webinar marketing software platform to use?”
We have selected 6 top webinar software platforms to review.
Of course, there are many more out there, but we have chosen these 6 due to their popularity and we personally experienced a few of them.
In no particular order of importance, the 6 webinar platforms are Zoom Webinar, WebinarJam, GoToWebinar, Demio, EasyWebinar and WebinarNinja.
We will review these platforms based on a list of factors which I think are the most important to ensure a smooth and productive webinar experience for both the presenter as well as the attendees.
When you’re presenting live, it’s good to have a nice, uncluttered interface so that it’s easy for you to get to the different functions and locate your presentation materials.
A simple, user-friendly interface also helps the attendee to know how to change their cam and microphone settings, give feedback to your questions and to ask questions.
Demio and WebinarNinja stand out as having a really minimalistic interface.
Most of the platforms have a relatively simple intuitive interface except for GoToWebinar.
GoToWebinar has all the functions in a dropdown bar on the right which is independent of the main screen.
Some people have found its interface to be slightly complicated and even outdated.
Practice/ Test / Waiting Room
This feature goes by different names but basically it is just an area of the live room where the presenter and his co-hosts can do a test session before officially going live.
It is never a good idea to start a live session at the very last minute without going through a test run first.
Murphy’s Law “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong” has a strange habit of manifesting itself during live webinars when you have a really important presentation with lots of attendees watching.
A waiting room gives you and all your fellow presenters the chance to go in early, test your camera and microphone, preview the slides and videos and get familiar with the entire interface… without having early attendees watch what you’re doing.
The platforms that have this feature are Zoom Webinar, WebinarJam, GoToWebinar and Demio.
For EasyWebinar and WebinarNinja, once you start the session, you’re live and anything you do will be broadcasted to anyone that’s in the room.
Although latency is seldom mentioned in most webinar platforms’ list of features, this could be the most important factor because it can result in a negative webinar experience for both the presenter and the attendees.
Latency refers to how much time it takes for a signal to travel to its destination and back. The lower the latency, the better. A latency of 150ms or better is recommended.
Most of the webinar platforms that we have tried have reasonably good latency with the exception of WebinarJam.
When using WebinarJam, we noticed a long delay of a few seconds between asking a question in the chat box and getting back attendees’ responses.
This wasn’t good for engagement and participation.
Every webinar platform has a chat feature where participants can send messages to ask questions or post feedback. They can use public chat where everyone can see the message or private chat where only both the sender and receiver can see the message.
WebinarJam has a great feature in its chat box called Sticky Message. You can make a chat message as “sticky” and it will be pinned to the top of the chat box so it will not be lost among all the new messages that come in.
This is a really useful feature and we are surprised that so far, only WebinarJam has this feature.
Four platforms (Zoom webinar, EasyWebinar, Demio and WebinarNinja) also let attendees post emojis in the chat box.
We like this because the attendees can be more expressive and create a fun atmosphere during the webinar, which normally tends to be very serious and business-like.
All of the platforms allow the presenter to share his or her screen. However, this creates a problem in itself.
When the presenter is looking at his screen in sharing mode, he can’t see the chat responses unless he sets up a separate monitor just to see that. Most people don’t have an extra monitor for doing webinars.
GoToWebinar has a great solution to this problem. Their chat box is separate from the main screen so the presenter can still see everything on one screen while sharing his screen.
All the platforms except for Zoom Webinar and GoToWebinar allow you to upload Powerpoint or PDF slides in advance so that the presenter can show the slides inside the interface without sharing his screen.
By doing this, he can still interact with the attendees in the chat box.
While showing the slides, the presenter can pause and show a video and then come back to the slides.
All the platforms handle this perfectly except for EasyWebinar which has an annoying quirk.
In EasyWebinar, if you stop the slides to show a video, then when you start your slides again, you’ll find that you’re right back at the beginning of the slides.
If you have a lot of slides, you will have to do some unprofessional scrolling through all the previously shown slides while everyone waits for you to find your place.
All the platforms except for Zoom Webinar allow you to upload a video in advance to be shown during the presentation. This can disrupt the flow of your presentation as it may take time for you to locate the video.
Different platforms accept different video formats and hosting locations so you will have to check to find one that’s suitable for your needs. Some only accept Youtube videos and some only accept MP4 videos that are self-hosted on your own sites or Amazon S3.
The whiteboard feature is where the presenter can use a virtual pen to write, sketch and draw stuff on a whiteboard screen. This is not a commonly-used feature for webinars because most of the time, the presenter would be sharing his screen or using a pre-made Powerpoint presentation.
However, it can come in useful in certain situations. Only Zoom Webinar and WebinarJam offer this feature.
The annotation feature is similar to the whiteboard feature in that the presenter can sketch on the screen with a virtual pen. The only difference is that he can draw on his screen share or his slides without a whiteboard.
Zoom, WebinarJam and GoToWebinar offer this feature.
This is a useful feature provided by Zoom Webinar, WebinarJam and GoToWebinar. It allows any attendee to display a “raised hand” picture in the chat box to catch the attention of the presenter.
Its original purpose was to be a virtual implementation of the act of raising your hands to be allowed to speak. However, now it’s often used as a “show of hands” gesture to indicate agreement with the presenter.
It’s a simple tool to get engagement from the audience which is essential in a Webinar presentation.
Q & A Section
The Q & A feature is a separate section of the interface where attendees can post their questions so that they are not lost in the chat. This allows the presenter or moderator to easily address them.
We think this is a great feature to have and it really helps to keep the questions organized apart from the chatter in the chat box. All the platforms have this feature except for EasyWebinar.
The Polls feature lets you set up survey questions in multiple-choice or other formats to be shown to the attendees during the webinar. Once they enter their answers, you can view the statistics and sometimes you have the option to show the results to them for social proof.
All of the webinar platforms offer this.
Offering a free download as a bonus to stay till the end of the webinar is a great way to improve attendance rate and keep the attendees from leaving early before you even start your sales pitch.
With a handout feature, you can upload ebooks, videos and even software installer files in advance to be shown during the webinar for them to download.
All platforms except EasyWebinar and WebinarNinja offer this feature.
The offer feature allows you to set up call to action links in advance and then show it to the attendees during the end of the webinar. This is usually used to get people to book a consultation appointment or to buy your product.
We think this is an essential feature to have because if you have done your job right during the presentation, the attendees will be ready and primed to take up your offer at the end. This is the best time to make your call to action.
Once they go off the webinar, it will be much harder to get them to accept your offer once the excitement dies down.
WebinarJam, Demio, EasyWebinar and WebinarNinja have this feature.
The ability to record a live webinar is a must-have feature for the purpose of providing replays to attendees and those who couldn’t attend. Our clients often get as much as 50% of their total sales from their replays.
Fortunately, most platforms provide this.
The difference, however, is that some platforms have the ability to set up automatic recording so that the presenter or the moderator doesn’t have to remember to press the record button.
During a live webinar, the presenter is busy organizing the presentation. And it’s no surprise that many will forget to press the record button until they’re 15 minutes into the presentation.
If that happens, you have no way to retrieve the part which you missed.
All the platforms have automatic recording except for EasyWebinar.
Sometimes a technical problem can disrupt the webinar so badly that you just have to reset the webinar and start a fresh session. Because if you ask everyone to logout and then login again, you are likely to lose a ton of people.
Two platforms, WebinarJam and WebinarNinja, have an elegant solution for this. There is a “panic button” right inside the webinar interface that the presenter can click and the platform will instantly reset itself with everyone still logged into the session.
CRM integrations is another key feature to think about. If you’re doing marketing in any way, you will usually be using a CRM software like Aweber, GetResponse, ActiveCampaign or others to get leads on to your list and sending email campaigns later.
So you want to be able to pass the registrants from your webinar platform over to your CRM software. You can always use Zapier to do the integration but the best way is to use the webinar platform’s native integration if available.
Therefore, you need to make sure that whichever webinar platform you choose, it has all the native integrations that you need so your job is much easier.
All the platforms have integrations with the common CRM software except for Zoom Webinar and GoToWebinar.
Analytics is definitely a must-have feature so you can know all the important details – what is working and can be improved with your Webinars.
For example you would want to track:
- Total registrations
- Number of people who showed up
- Number of people who were at different points in the webinar
- Number of clicks on your offer
All the platforms have this feature. Some have more detailed reporting so you will have to check them out to see if the webinar platform that you are considering provides the information that you require.
Besides just doing free webinars, you would want to have the option to do paid webinars if needed. In this case, the webinar platform needs to have a way to collect payment from the attendees before they can join the meeting.
In this regard, all of the platforms have integrations with the common payment systems like Stripe or Paypal, except for Demio.
Now let’s look at the pricing plans for these platforms. I will only be comparing their starter or basic plans because this is usually the one that most people use.
If we compare them on a benchmark of 100 participants, WebinarJam offers the best value for money, costing just $8.32 for 100 participants. The downside is that they only offer annual plans and no monthly plans.
Demio is the most expensive platform because you need to take their second level plan that costs $99 per month to accommodate 100 participants.
It can be difficult and confusing to remember which features are provided by which platforms, so we have prepared a convenient summary table listing all the features and the platforms that offer them.
We will be constantly updating this table to incorporate new webinar platforms that may come out and any new features that may be introduced.
|Q & A Section||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔|
If we look at the features alone, I would say WebinarJam is the most impressive one and it has all the features in our evaluation list. Their features are great for marketers and anyone who wants to use webinars to sell products and services.
We did use WebinarJam for some time but on more than one occasion, we experienced some really bad lag time between the presenter posing questions and then getting back the attendees’ response.
The delay was so bad that initially, we thought that the crowd was not responsive because there was an awkward silence after the presenter’s questions. Then when the presenter moved on to the next point, all of a sudden there would be this flood of answers from the preceding question flowing into the chat.
In addition, in 2 events we experienced such a lag in video and audio that we had to abandon the Webinar completely.
We also used Zoom Webinars. The good thing about it was that most people were familiar and comfortable with the platform. However as mentioned before, they seriously lack integrations with other pieces of marketing software.
In addition, there was a month where we paid for the Webinar add on, but the software didn’t work. We sent several support tickets which to date, have not been answered (3 months and counting).
In the end, we finally settled on EasyWebinar.
We hope that this review has been helpful. There is no ‘perfect webinar solution’ out there that we have found yet. The best you can do is to find one that is most suitable for your needs.
We will continue to update this article to keep up with the latest webinar software that comes out in the market.
On a side note, if you’d like a specialist to help fill up your Webinars consistently, simply click the button below to schedule a chat with us.