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Which Platform/Community Should You Use For Your Webinar?


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​Webinars are a stellar way to generate qualified leads, but how do you choose from among dozens of webinar providers? Webinars are a balancing act between interactivity and scale, and no two companies run their webinars the same way. From industry veterans like Citrix and Cisco, to startups like BrightTALK and InXpo, we'll show you how to select a webinar platform for your next campaign.

Published in: Business
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  • Hey Rob, great article. Have you tried Crowdcast? It's the best webinar platform out there, IMO. It's simple, easy to set up, registration & replays are all in the same page as the event (one link for everything), and it's highly interactive with chat, Q&A, polling, etc. It's also got analytics, integration with 500+ tools (MailChimp, Infusionsoft, etc.) and has a beautiful & clean design. I highly recommend.
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Which Platform/Community Should You Use For Your Webinar?

  1. 1. Which Platform/Community Should You Use For Your Webinar? Rob Gurley (@bullcityrob), Content Strategist/Technologist, Centerline Digital
  2. 2. • Some level of interactivity. Audience questions, “hand raising,” surveys, post-webinar feedback, etc. • Organizer/Presenter has full permissions set. Audience members have limited permissions (can be muted, kicked, or allowed to share screens). • Almost always centered around a slide deck, with one more more speakers providing live narration and commentary. • In B2B marketing, webinars are lead generation tools that are normally used for mid-late stage buyers. What is a Webinar?
  3. 3. Formal vs. Informal, Interactive vs. Presentation “One to One” Conversations - Audience has own webcams, can speak to presenter UserInteractivity Formality At one extreme are tools like Google Hangouts, which are highly interactive and personal, but scale very poorly. At the other extreme are tools like On24 and INXpo that can handle thousands of audience members, but at a cost to interactivity. Webinar tools differ on their support for interactive components (e.g. moderated question/answer, surveys, chat tools) and suitability for large/formal events. Presentation includes Question and Answer segments, chat boxes, surveys with shared results Technical Demos, Slide deck presentations, Presentation of recorded content Sales-organized demonstrations, screen-shares, Daily “journal”-type presentations Selection Criteria
  4. 4. Budget/Contracts Are you planning a one-off event, or will this be part of a multi-webinar series taking place over multiple months? Will your audience size require upgrading in the future? Integration with Marketing/CRM platforms Many webinar platforms interface directly with automation systems - allowing you to update leads as they register/attend the webinar, and giving you follow-up flexibility Landing Pages / Registration Will you be creating your own landing pages for registration? If so - how will your registrant data be synced to the webinar platform? Will you use the webinar platform’s landing pages? Can you brand the pages? Format What type of video format do you need? Will you be using your recordings for later viewing on your website/ video sharing site? Do you need to embed a video player in your own site? Support for Streaming Video Some webinar platforms allow streaming video and screen-sharing, while others limit presenters to non- animated Powerpoint presentations. Community Features While most webinar platforms provide only the technical framework for the webinar, some also promote the webinars to existing communities that have signed up for similar events. Technical, Format, Creative Other Considerations
  5. 5. There are four main phases in the webinar, each with their own operational tasks and design requirements. Promotion Registration Follow-upEvent It is critical to look at the event itself as a small part of the overall campaign Webinar Event-Flow Generating qualified traffic to the webinar landing page, sending invitation emails to your database, promoting the webinar on third-party sites/email lists Creating one or more landing pages, either on-site or off-site, for leads to register for the webinar. Using personalized content and best-practice design to increase registration rates. Sending reminder emails the day before/of the webinar, allowing viewers to send questions/comments to the organizers, Recording the event for use in future campaigns Ensuring sales teams have the information that they need to follow up with attendees. Sending non-attendees the recorded webinar and slide deck. Sharing video highlights of webinar on social channels.
  6. 6. Webinar Platform Comparison
  7. 7. Citrix GoToWebinar Probably the most widely-used single-purpose webinar software. Popular in mid-sized and large companies, and shares an account with Citrix GoToMeeting if they are both enabled. Requires both the presenter and the viewers to download a proprietary software package on their computers - and this extra step can impact viewership rates. There is support for streaming video and the ability to record the webinars, but the recordings are unreliable and must be manually converted to mp4 before sharing. Pricing: $320 per month for one organizer account, up to 500 attendees per event Scalability+ + Streaming Video - Reliability VIEW
  8. 8. BrightTALK is a lot LESS about the event itself and more about cultivating an audience for a series of events. Catering mostly to IT professionals, there are hundreds of brands on BrightTALK that each have “channels” of webinars, kind of like a YouTube webinar. People watch your webinars either live or on-demand and you can choose to use BrightTalk’s registration page or embed the BrightTALK viewer/application in your own page. BrightTALK automatically promotes your webinar to members of its community with similar interests, and PPC/CPL options exist for additional exposure to the BrightTALK community (email lists, ads, etc.) Pricing: $1700 per month for one admin, 20 videos at a time, and 5,000 total subscribers to the channel. BrightTalk BrightTALK Community+ + Quick/Easy Registration - No Streaming Video VIEW
  9. 9. WebEx is another enterprise player on the same caliber as GoToWebinar. The biggest difference between the two is the quality of the recordings. With WebEx, recording is far easier to do and has more consistency in high-quality. WebEx should be a first consideration for companies that record their webinars to distribute later. Because of WebEx’s size, it has out-of-the-box integrations with most CRM systems and/or marketing automation systems. This is good, since the landing page and email templates that come with WebEx are very limited, and customer service charges extra for modifications and branding on those simple templates. Pricing: $379 per month for up to 500 participants on each event Cisco WebEx Quality of Video/Audio/Recordings+ - Pricey, Limited Templates VIEW
  10. 10. Google Hangouts wasn’t originally designed for webinars, rather, it was built to supplant tools like Skype and Lync that were being used for multi-participant virtual meetings. Hangouts on Air is a modification of the original Hangouts platform for broadcasting Hangouts to mass audiences - with the requisite administrative permissions set. This can be used for question/answer and for discussions/roundtables. With Google+ disintegration, the social media component of Hangouts is no longer as much of a draw. Google Hangouts doesn’t integrate directly with tools like Eloqua, Adobe Campaign, etc., so you will need an external lead management and registration system. For example, leads would be registered through your marketing automation system, and then sent a non- gated link to the Hangouts (with the understanding that the link wouldn’t be shared) at the event time. Pricing: Free Google Hangouts on Air Interactivity+ + Mobile Experience - Lead Management VIEW
  11. 11. On24 has been around for longer than many of the other webinar/ webcast tools, and it has a feature set comparable to WebEx and GoToMeeting. The biggest advantages of On24 are the advanced integrations with marketing automation suites (including the ability to score people based on whether or not they minimized the webinar window), the interactivity, and the ability to present files (like PDFs) alongside the webinar to the viewers. On24 is somewhat hard to use for first-time users that aren’t familiar with the interface, so it usually requires an organizer in addition to the presenter to handle the various audience-engagement tools, field questions, and start/stop the recordings as needed. The screen-sharing can be choppy when used. Pricing: $600 a month for 250 streaming users or 100 “call in” users per event On24, Inc On24 Option to Present Files+ + Custom Portals - Complex VIEW
  12. 12. ReadyTalk is a bit newer to the webinar scene than some of the larger players like Citrix and Cisco, but it currently receives the highest marks from customers (aggregate review scores on G2Crowd) of any webcasting solution. ReadyTalk works within the viewer’s browser and it provides a great desktop experience and reasonably good mobile experience. On the other hand, it strips animations and videos from PowerPoints and removes speaker notes - so a separate computer is necessary for the presenter to see their notes. Existing recordings can be interwoven in a live event, so a company could present recorded content and then do a live Q&A session at the end, or a live introduction at the beginning, cutting down on scheduling conflicts. ReadyTalk can handle the registration and pre/ post event emails or can integrate with Marketo/Eloqua/etc. Pricing: $310 a month for 500 viewers per event ReadyTalk ReadyTalk High Customer Satisfaction+ + Live Operator Option - Static Slides Only VIEW
  13. 13. Adobe Connect is part of the Adobe marketing suite but can be purchased as an individual service. Adobe Connect is mostly intended for webinars that require a very high level of preparation and user engagement, such as online learning lectures, or training programs. 
 The design tools are stellar, with very good customization options for the landing pages, registration emails, etc., and with total customization of the actual video portal itself. Users can display live webinars interspersed with other types of content (like quizzes, videos, etc.). On the downside, Adobe doesn’t have good support for lead management solutions outside of Eloqua. If you use Pardot, Marketo, or another automation system, you might have to export your attendee list only after the conclusion of the webinar without the live updates to status that you would get from a better integration. Pricing: $375 a month for 500 viewers per event Adobe Adobe Connect Best Design Tools+ + Live Video/Broadcast - Limited Marketing Automation VIEW
  14. 14. YouTube is the most popular video-sharing site on the internet and you probably already use YouTube to host your archived event videos and other videos from your company. YouTube Livestream is basically live- streaming video that can be viewed by anyone with the streaming link, making them perfect for quick sharing with your existing YouTube audience and for promotion on social media. Downsides of Youtube include a lack of registration options, since the streaming video is not gated and can be accessed through the link. Youtube streaming events are thus best for brand awareness, driving traffic to another gated form of content (like a contest or event), or engaging your existing customer-base. WARNING: Chat is enabled by default on live streaming video, but there are no moderation tools. Enable at your own peril. Pricing: Free Google YouTube Livestream Harness YouTube Audience+ + Easy Setup/Promotion - Lack of Interactivity and Registration VIEW
  15. 15. Questions? Tweet Me @BullCityRob CENTERLINE.NET Thanks!