Today there are several communication tools available to capture the attention of an online audience. Podcasts, webinars, and webcasts are the top three options to help you stand out in your attempt to relay information to your audience. But what are the differences between a webcast vs. a webinar? Is a podcast vs. a webinar better? How can you engage with customers and stand out from your competition?
Webcast vs. Webinar: What’s the Difference?
Don’t be surprised if someone uses the term “webcast” interchangeably with the word “webinar.” These forms of electronic communication are quite similar. When you consider a webcast vs. a webinar, they seem on the surface to be the same type of virtual meeting using video and audio to communicate with an audience online. However, there are some differences, because despite the similar titles, they’re different solutions that your video conferencing service may offer.
First, webinars are live events broadcast online by using video conferencing technology. These are great vehicles for engaging with an audience, because webinar events use features in the video conference software to interact with participants. This could include live chat breakout sessions, virtual whiteboarding, and screensharing, or an audience Q&A poll, for example. Most webinars are designed to solicit input live from an audience, but they’re often also recorded for on-demand viewing. When a live video conference event is offered as a taped show, that’s called a webcast.
By contrast, a webcast doesn’t specifically seek to engage the audience with interactive features. A webcast could be live or pre-recorded, but rarely do they ever solicit audience input in real-time during their viewing. Your focus during the webcast should be on the presentation, not your reaction to it. Webcasts typically lack the chat feature common to webinars. There’s no screen sharing, either. A webcast is generally there to inform in a one-way flow of information.
There are implementation differences between a webcast vs. a webinar. For example, webinars are there to build collaboration between an audience and a presenter. Webinars usually happen live at a specific time, while webcasts can be on-demand and viewed at your convenience. A webinar can have a live studio audience in addition to remote viewers (think TED Talks). However, both make use of video conferencing features that allow crisp, clear HD-video and audio, which is what you’ll find at MegaMeeting.
Finally, when considering a webcast vs. a webinar, consider your audience. There is usually a difference in the size of the audience between a webcast and a webinar. A webinar engages a full audience—at MegaMeeting, that’s up to 500-people for the typical event—but a webcast is the gift that keeps on giving, reaching potentially thousands or even millions of viewers over time.
Podcast vs. Webinar: Which is Better?
Now let’s talk about podcasts, which are an increasingly popular form of entertainment. Today, more than 16 million people say they are avid podcast fans; and that number is increasing. Podcasts offer one benefit that a webinar or a webcast does not; while these can be recorded and watched in video form, all of them offer an audio-only option. That means you can listen to a podcast when you’re in your car or on your bike—or anywhere at all.
When comparing a podcast vs. a webinar, there are pros and cons for marketing your business. Both can be highly sophisticated pieces of content, but both also have some benefits and drawbacks. For example:
· Webinars allow for live Q&A, chat, and other types of audience interactions.
· Podcasts are more accessible; you can listen to them when it’s convenient for you.
· Webinars have multi-media features that use both audio and visual communication.
· Podcasts are great for sharing stories and specific expertise of interest to listeners.
· Webinars provide an immediate influx of leads to a business.
· Podcasts leads are more of a regular trickle, because people can listen anytime.
If you’re considering the merits of a podcast vs. a webinar, the trick is to determine what venue works best with the audience you’re targeting. Both communications vehicles are quite popular, though. Social Media Today surveyed a national group of marketers and found:
· They had an average registrant-to-attendee conversion rate on webinars of 55%.
· Webinars had an average view time of 56 minutes.
· Around 70% of the U.S. population is familiar with podcasts.
· Most podcast listeners are on the move when they take in a podcast; 65% are in their cars.
It seems like there are benefits to both a podcast and a webinar, but there are also benefits to conducting a webcast. The real question is this: which one should you choose for your audience?
Should You Do a Podcast Vs. Webinar Vs. Webcast?
The key to marketing communications is always answered by one seemingly simple question: Who is your target audience? That should dictate whether you select a webcast vs. a webinar or a podcast vs. a webinar—or something else entirely.
We would suggest a live webinar if you’re trying to engage with multiple customers or prospects simultaneously. You can incorporate multiple presenters in remote locations or have one speaker. You could also use engagement tools to really solicit the engagement of your audience. Use a webinar to:
· Teach a class or educate an audience.
· Hold a product demo.
· Provide your customers with information.
It’s a good idea to stretch your use of the live webinar by recording it and then offering it as an on-demand webcast later on. You can even monetize it and charge a fee for the download.
A webcast is also a great tool to use on your website to share information about your products. These online events are used for evangelizing about a particular product or to answer questions (with no audience feedback). They’re also good for testimonials from your customers or anything else you’re trying to communicate. What’s missing, again, is the live interaction with an audience. The rest is up to you.
Podcasts often take as much work to put together as a webinar or a webcast. They are also growing in popularity and have the added benefit of being on-demand for your business audience. On the flip side, this is a one-on-one communication between you and the listener. If you want to reach a lot of people quickly, a podcast (unless it goes viral) is a more gradual process.
So, which is better for you? A webcast, webinar, or a podcast? Each of these marketing channels takes some work and requires the best communication tools to pull off your online event. That’s why your video conferencing vendor is a top prerequisite no matter if you’re scheduling a webcast, webinar, or a podcast. MegaMeeting is proud to support our clients in their pursuit of the most effective and compelling online event—no matter what vehicle they choose. Call on us to find out what we can do to help your webcast, webinar, or podcast be a success.
MegaMeeting solves the biggest challenges of modern video conferencing. For users, it is an all-in-one platform that delivers both video conferencing and webinars in a single, simplified interface. For attendees, it is 100% browser-based, making it highly accessible; joining a meeting is instantaneous from a single click. For enterprises, it is highly customizable, with white-labeling options for a private branded solution. For developers, it is API-driven and easy to integrate.
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