Webinar software is a tool for hosting seminars, presentations, meetings, or any other kind of one-to-many event online. Webinar software can be downloaded and installed on a computer or streamed directly from a browser. Webinar software is designed to distribute webinars to large audiences. Downloadable software is useful for live events that need to be video streamed.
Most webinar software that is hosted online comes with a dashboard. The dashboard is the space where an organizer can create a new webinar, edit registration pages, and build automated emails. The dashboard also hosts information about webinars such as the number of attendees per webinar.
There are two main types of webinar software:
Browser-based webinar software works directly in a browser without having to download any applications. This kind of software is accessible anywhere there is an internet connection. The software is updated automatically making it easier to add user licenses and manage. Browser-based software is easier to access, which leads to higher attendance rates than downloadable software.
Webinar software that is accessible from a web browser is subject to the security measures in place by the browser itself. Meaning that since the browser does not have access to the files found on a computer terminal, neither does the software being used.
Webinar software that is downloaded from the internet requires users to install applications on their computers.
The additional steps required to download and install software can discourage attendees and lower attendance rates. If there are issues during the installation webinar registrants are less likely to follow through with the process. In addition, software updates oftentimes have to be done manually. This makes it difficult to manage and scale downloadable software for growing teams.
There are also questions of concern about security vulnerabilities like user privacy surrounding downloadable software. It is important to make sure that the application being downloaded has stringent security measures in place.
There are some basic technical requirements that need to be met in order to run webinar software. If the software is browser-based the choice of browser will impact functionality. Browsers should be updated to the version that works best with the software. This information varies depending on the platform of choice.
It is also possible to access browser-based software from mobile phones or tablet computers. Any device that can access the internet should be able to connect to the webinar software. There may, however, be a delay of a few seconds between what is occurring in the webinar and what the audience sees.
It is always recommended to run a compatibility test. Compatibility tests will check the video and audio quality, plus overall internet connectivity. They will alert users if there are any firewalls, low connection speeds, or connection stability (the number of people joined to the same connection).
In some cases, attendees who have trouble watching or listening to the live stream, due to their network, firewall, or environment can call a number to join the event by phone.
The best webinar software offers the following features depending on the phase in the planning process.
Features designed for the planning phase of a webinar are made for marketing and distribution purposes. Registration pages that can be customized to fit a brand are often built-in to modern webinar software. Emailing can be done directly from a platform, meaning that organizers can schedule emails in advance. And webinars are recorded automatically to be redistributed at a later date.
Webinar features help organizers gather information and heighten engagement. Polls can be planned in advance and submitted to the webinar room periodically throughout the webinar. Polls gauge opinion and can elicit feedback. Chat and question features allow the viewers to engage directly with presenters during the webinar.
All of the information gathered from the live event can be exported and analyzed after the webinar is over. Most webinar software comes with a host of features designed to help market and distribute the webinars. Features like polls, questions, and chats enable audience members and speakers to interact during the webinar.
Organizers can then analyze this information afterward to better understand their audiences. Advanced webinar platforms provide in-depth analytics about registrations and attendance, including what time attendees left the webinar room. It is sometimes possible for platforms to track the source of registrants.
There are many different use-cases for webinar software. Webinar software is ideal for sales demos, lead qualification, customer support, and education. It is also frequently used for internal communications and human resources. Any professional events or presentations that need to be scaled are great candidates for webinars. The engaging nature of webinar software makes it ideal for onboarding and training purposes. Webinars can be used to present results, share documents, and communicate in a professional environment.
To choose what kind of webinar software to use, it is important to consider the features that are needed to reach certain goals. The type of webinar you will host will impact the choice of software. Most webinar software has limits for the size of the audience that can attend each webinar. It is important to check that the platform will correspond with the expected audience size.
For marketing purposes, the webinar software must come with analytics and information about attendees. Select software comes with automated email systems and premade landing pages for easy promotion. Live events benefit from software that has engaging features like polls, questions, and chats. The information gathered from these features can be analyzed at a later date.
Customer training and demonstrations need software that enables screen sharing. This way customers can follow along during the training sessions and see firsthand what steps to take. Being able to upload pre-recorded videos is also useful when training customers at scale. Engaging features like chat tabs assist clients who may have additional questions.
Recurring events, like team meetings, benefit from software that allows for multiple sessions to be planned at once. Email invitations can be scheduled in advance and sent automatically. The right webinar software will also offer replays that can be made available after the events to be distributed across teams.