Zoom Webinars vs Meetings: A Definitive Guide to Help You Choose the Right Tool

Zoom Webinars vs Meetings

Zoom has become the standard for online meetings since the pandemic. While many of us started  to experience “Zoom fatigue” during the lockdown era, this handy tool has proven itself an easy, quick and convenient way to connect with others remotely.

Every day, 11 million meetings are held in the U.S., with more events taking place online than ever. But these virtual events aren’t just limited to meetings. There’s an entire digital world of online forums, virtual conferences, and more. However, one of the biggest trends to come from online events is webinars. But what is a webinar, and how is it different from a regular business meeting? 

Zoom is one of the most popular communication tools today, and it offers comprehensive technology that allows for all kinds of virtual events. That’s why knowing the difference between a Zoom Webinar vs. Meeting features can help you to select the right communication tools from your arsenal. In this article, we’ll discuss the difference between Zoom Meetings and Zoom Webinars, the advantages of each, and when you should use one over the other.

Zoom Webinar vs. Meeting: What’s the Difference?

Zoom Meeting vs. Zoom Webinar might seem like two different brands for essentially the same product, but this isn’t true. Each solution offers several unique features relevant to each type of event. Zoom Webinar is an add-on service you can subscribe to as part of your primary account, whereas Meeting is available for free.

The primary difference is that Zoom Meeting is geared toward hosting interactive sessions for small teams. According to Zoom, Meeting is best used for groups of up to ten people. That makes it ideal for the average business meeting, since 73% of virtual meetings consist of two to four people. Zoom Meeting is also ideal for connecting with clients, conducting corporate sessions, and encouraging teams to improve collaboration and productivity.

Some of the primary features of Zoom Meeting include:

  • Audio sharing
  • Mute/unmute functionality
  • Video sharing
  • Waiting rooms
  • Breakout rooms

The big difference between Webinar vs. Meeting on Zoom is that the Webinar function is designed to interact with a larger audience. If you want to conduct an online class or hold a virtual conference, Zoom Meeting isn’t designed for this type of communication.

That’s where Zoom Webinar comes in. Running a webinar means you need the ability to control the event in order to prevent interruptions and maintain engagement. Some of the added features of Zoom Webinar include:

  • Audio-only mode
  • Listen-only mode
  • Exclusive unmuting for the host
  • Host-only video sharing
  • PayPal integration
  • EventBrite integration

In short, holding a Webinar vs. Meeting in Zoom gives you access to features designed for a presentation format to inspire and educate a larger audience.

Advantages of Zoom Meetings

Chances are you’re already familiar with Zoom Meeting software. As the gold standard of workplace video conferencing software, 300 million people already use it to conduct everything from sales pitches to team huddles.

So, since we compared the features of a webinar vs. meeting software, let’s explore the advantages of Zoom Meetings.

  • Free – Zoom’s free license allows for up to 100 participants in meetings for 40 minutes or less. With the free license, you’ll benefit from unlimited meetings.
  • Breakout Rooms – Collaborate more closely by breaking participants into smaller groups, like during employee onboarding or team building events.
  • Zoom Rooms – Turn any location into a meeting space, bringing remote workers together.
  • Compliance – Zoom’s meeting software runs on robust end-to-end encryption. Zoom may be free, but it complies with the strictest compliance regulations, including HIPAA.
  • Integrations – Use your meeting space anywhere, anytime with strong integrations to tools like Slack, Skype, Google Suite, and Salesforce.
  • Streaming – As a licensed user, stream your meetings live on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitch.
  • Polling – Launch up to 25 polls in your meetings to determine what your team thinks about a particular issue. Instant polling is a far more efficient way of canvassing participants while keeping your meeting on track.

These robust features are the reason why Zoom took the world by storm. With the rise of remote working, Zoom Meeting is easily the best choice for communication for smaller teams.

The Advantages of Webinars

A quick comparison of a Meeting vs. Webinar Zoom presents the obvious problem of being limited to 100 participants and 40 minutes as part of your free license. Zoom Webinar can host up to 50,000 participants simultaneously without any limits on your time.

Zoom has also provided several exclusive features for its webinar solution, but this begs the question: is a webinar like a meeting? Not on Zoom. Let’s look at the benefits unique to Zoom Webinar: 

  • Registration – Schedule your webinar and require registration as a condition of entry. All fields are completely customizable, providing the perfect opportunity to learn more about your guests.
  • Branding – Add your own branding to your registration page to enhance professionalism. Include everything from your logo and color scheme to speaker information.
  • Source Tracking URLs – Create unique links to give valuable insights into the location of your attendees. You can also use these URLs to gather information about different channels, such as signups on Facebook vs. Twitter.
  • Q&A – The Q&A feature allows attendees to submit questions during the webinar. You can also allow attendees to answer and upvote other questions to lighten the load on your panelists.
  • PayPal/EventBrite Integration – PayPal integrations enable you to monetize your webinars, and EventBrite lets you sell tickets and synchronize the information of everyone who makes a purchase.
  • Post-Webinar Survey – Send customized surveys to all attendees after the event. Feedback is essential to any brand, and this is the easiest way to solicit it when the meeting is still fresh in people’s minds.
  • View Management – Three-screen support simultaneously shows the panelists, presentation, and active speaker to your guests. You can also rearrange the order of your screens according to your preferred format.
  • Streaming – Stream to YouTube, Facebook, or any other custom platform to enhance the reach of your webinar.

As you can see, a comparison of Zoom Webinar vs. Meeting allows you to access a whole host of features designed to professionalize your webinar. You can also choose to upgrade to Zoom Events, which is an event management platform. If you’re considering Zoom Events vs. Zoom Webinar, it’s important to note that Events is better suited for separate sessions, multi-day events, and multi-session conferences.

How to Choose Between Zoom Webinar vs. Meeting

Most businesses don’t need fancy software — they just need a reliable and convenient meeting option. If your needs are limited to conducting weekly team meetings with smaller groups, Zoom Webinar likely won’t be worth the investment. 

If you’re thinking about utilizing Zoom for more than its basic features, Webinar might be right for you. Here are some considerations to help you determine the right communication tool.

Purpose of Meeting and Size of Audience

If your huddle consists of more than 100 people and you need more than 40 minutes, Zoom Webinar is the choice for you. Zoom’s limitations on its Meeting feature mean you’ll have no choice but to upgrade. 

Webinars are best described as virtual auditoriums that aim to lecture, educate, and inspire. On the other hand, a smaller meeting among colleagues requires greater interactive collaboration. When team interaction is a priority, Zoom Meeting is the best solution.

Level of Collaboration

The big difference between a team’s webinar vs. meetings held weekly is that the Zoom Meeting function is designed for collaboration.

If you need to deliver a presentation, opting for the Webinar feature will ensure participants   remain in a listen-only mode. Webinars are designed to be more educational than interactive. That’s not to say Webinar offers no room for collaboration, but Zoom Meeting is the best way to allow conversation and collaboration between team members. 

Zoom Meeting goes the extra mile by featuring breakout rooms to create smaller groups for even more personalized collaboration options. You can also send private messages for one-on-one conversations. None of these functions are conducive to a successful webinar, but they are helpful features for Zoom Meetings.

Level of Control with Audience Members

How much control do you require over your audience? Webinars are interruption-free zones where audience participation is limited. With Zoom Webinar, you have several features to control audience members.

For example, only the host, or a designated moderator, can unmute an attendee. The format of any participation is also far more structured, with Q&As replacing fast-flowing brainstorming sessions. This level of control is vital for a webinar-based environment because you may not know most attendees personally and can’t predict how they might behave. In contrast, an internal meeting doesn’t require this level of control because everyone already knows each other.

Your Goals

Step back and consider your goals for your upcoming event. Are you going to be teaching a group of executives? Will you be welcoming guest panelists to share their wisdom? Are you disseminating your company’s quarterly reports? Is this a weekly team meeting?

These questions are designed to help you identify the purpose of the virtual event and pick the  solution best suited for the occasion. Think of a Zoom Meeting as the equivalent of an in-person meeting in your office. Meetings are designed to serve as an opportunity for everyone to share their knowledge and raise any concerns. Opt for Zoom Meetings for one-to-one client meetings, co-worker collaboration, and employee performance reviews.  

If your goal is to educate or instruct a large group of people, Zoom Webinar is the better option.  If you’re addressing an external audience or looking to monetize your next event, only Zoom Webinar provides the features you need to maximize the value of your webinar.

Automatically Convert Video and Audio to Text With Sonix

Whether you choose to host webinars or meetings, one of the most valuable features of both is that virtual events can be recorded, transcribed, and shared with others. Other benefits include automatic transcriptions and subtitling, which are both essential for bolstering the reach and accessibility of your virtual events. 

Whether you’re using the Zoom Webinar vs. Meeting feature, enhance your next event with state-of-the-art, AI-powered Zoom transcription. Sonix makes it simple to transcribe audio and video files into text in minutes. Our AI solution can also help you become a global brand, offering audio translation in over 40 languages. 
Get the most out of your Zoom events and try Sonix for free today!

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