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Webinar tips and tricks

Webinars vs. Webcasts

Despite their similar sounding names, webinars and webcasts are not the same thing. So let’s go back to the basics. Here's the big differences between these two types of communications.
July 12, 2016 • About 1 min. read

There are so many different types of technology out there that talking about webinars can sometimes get a little confusing. For example, some people think that webinars and Skype meetings are the same thing. And if you start talking about webcasts, things gets even messier.

Webinars and webcasts are actually pretty different. We wrote this post to establish, once for all, a definition for webinar and webcast.

What is a Webinar?

By now you're probably wondering, what is a webinar? A webinar is a live presentation that takes place online. Participants can join the webinar to hear and ask questions to one or two presenters.

Unlike a meeting call, you only have one stream and several people attending the webinar. It is mostly a top-down, one way conversation.

A webinar has educational purposes in every sense. You can offer educational content. Yet, most webinar examples are sales webinar. They are meant to educate customers about certain products.

The reason why webinars are used so often in sales is because you can reach out to a relatively large audience at once. Plus, when people attend a webinar, they are half way down the conversion funnel.

What is a Webcast?

There are slight differences between webinars and webcasts. Hence the confusion.

A webcast is video content that has been distributed online. It’s not necessarily produced 100% online. It can be an offline event filmed and broadcasted at the same time over the Web.

Another difference, is that usually webcasts have a larger audience than a webinar.

Both need interaction capabilities such as a chat system or polls. Yet, most of the time webcasts are not in real-time. Just like on Youtube Live, you often get a strong delay between what is happening IRL and what you see on screen.

Semantics battle

What’s interesting is that many people started using other terms to define a webinar.

There are two main reasons for that. First, the term "webinar" used to imply something corporate, boring, and pushy. Second, as we mentioned, there’s still lot of confusion with webcast or meetings.

So, when you see things like "live events", "live workshops" or even "live sessions" you can think "webinar".

So, should you call them webinars or live workshops? There’s no easy answer unfortunately. It’s up to you!

Apparently, some companies are getting significant results by calling webinars another name. Just like everything else, you should A/B test and see what works and what does not. You can even invent a term that fits your branding!

In the end, what matters is the format. Don’t do 45 minutes webinars if you get drop-offs after 15 minutes. Don’t talk about topic A if people prefer topic B. Invite a guest if your audience is more engaged when you are having a conversation. Don't be afraid to experiment.

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Gilles Bertaux
Co-founder & CEO @ Livestorm

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