A Survey of 6 Top Webinar Platforms for Business

WEBINARS

Ben and I are planning a webinar for the month of January to help educate businesses on how to get their websites making more money (or any at all!) and we’re interested to find the best webinar platform for our needs.

Neither of us had ever conducted a webinar before so I began to research webinar tools to find the best one suitable for our needs. We were looking for a service that can accommodate at least 25 attendees, was affordable, easy to use (both for us and our attendees), professional and… past that we really didn’t know what else webinar tools might offer that would be useful to us. Turns out…there’s a lot!

I found out there are a lot of awesome features available that I’d never even considered. I’ve included those features in the article.

Here are some of the webinar services I came across in my research.

Webinar Platforms

Webinars OnAir

 

Price

Free 7-day trial for up to 5 attendees
Basic: $19.97 up to 25 attendees
Professional: $59.97 up to 100 attendees
Premium: $99.97 unlimited attendees
*Webinars OnAir is a pay-as-you-go service.

Features

  • Tools to monetize every single webinar you host
  • E-mail auto responder and social media integration
  • Personal branding, bigger rooms, half the cost
  • Integrates with major email marketing service providers; iContact, MailChimp, GetResponse, AWeber, and Sendy.
  • Integrates with PayPal and WOA does not take any percentage of sales
  • One-click offers before, during and after to increase sales during a webinar
  • Guaranteed Traffic to Your Site- WOA automatically re-directs attendees directly to your page (no other platform I’m aware of does this)
  • Take polls and surveys
  • Record your webinars to share for future marketing
  • 10 Speakers at Once
  • Public and Private Q&A
  • Share Your Desktop
  • Interactive Chat with attendees
  • Export registrant lists for future marketing
  • Autoresponder integration
  • Social media integration
  • Customizable templates
  • Private labeling & customization

My Comments

Since writing this article back in January, I’ve since learned about a new platform, Webinars OnAir, that absolutely smokes the competition of other platform in terms of features, usability, and the potential to MAKE MONEY. Although not all of us host webinars with the purpose of making money, for those of us who are, then I would definitely pay attention to this platform. Webinars OnAir takes the already successful and widely used Google+ Hangouts and transforms its into a highly functional and interactive webinar tool for communicating with your audience before, during and after the presentation. And because WOA “piggybacks” off of Google Hangouts, they are able to offer the service as a more than affordable price ($99.97 for unlimited webinars and attendees).  If you have used WOA, I’d love to know what you think, so please share in the comments. Check back soon for a full review of WOA.

and CLICK HERE to try Webinars OnAir for FREE today

1. AnyMeeting

Any Meeting

Price

FREE for up to 200 Attendees with ads
$17.99 for 25 Attendees (no ads)
$69.99 for up to 200 Attendees
They offer a 30-day free trial

Features

  • Send Email Invitations
  • Create Custom Registration Forms
  • Sell Tickets to Your Webinars using Paypal
  • Promote Meetings on Twitter and Facebook
  • Meet with up to 200 Participants
  • Share Anything on Your Screen
  • Create Custom Surveys or Tests
  • Free support
  • Completely web-based
  • Chats, polls
  • Meeting recording
  • Follow-up capability

My Comments

Free plan! Compared to other free web conferencing tools, AnyMeeting had a much wider variety of tools available for use. I was surprised to find out the tool also comes with free support… a free tool with free support!? Also, they were the only tool I came across that can incorporate selling tickets via Paypal.

It’s hard to believe they can manage up to 200 attendees on the free plan when most of the paid plans from other companies start at only 25. Very impressive.

One thing it doesn’t have that I’d want for our webinar is mobile and tablet capability or the ability to customize the meeting screen. And oh yeah, the ads…yuck. I guess depending on the purpose of your webinar, ads may or may not be a big deal. In our case, it would not be favorable.

2. Adobe Connect for Individuals

Adobe Connect

Price

Individual  (up to 25 participants per meeting)

  • Monthly $55/month/host (up to 9 hosts)
  • Annually $540/year or $45/month
  • One-Time Use $.32/min/user

Features

  • Customizable event landing pages and emails- templates and content can be customized using several rich components, including images, tables, charts, and carousels.
  • Measure real-time engagement
  • Qualify leads on demographic and behavioral dimensions
  • Measure promotion effectiveness
  • Mobile campatible
  • Manage participation, track progress, and assess course effectiveness
  • Built-in analytics powered by Adobe SiteCatalyst®
  • Live 27x7x365 support available for attendees and presenters during meetings

My Comments

Voted #1 Web Conferencing Solution by PC Magazine (June 2011). It’s no wonder as I was really impressed with all the advanced features offered by Adobe Connect. In my research, I found that a lot of other websites that review webinar services favored it. I only included the service for individuals, but here is a enterprise level as well.

They also offer an E-Learning component for rapid training and mobile learning.

To try it free, all you need is an Adobe account- you can sign up for an account here.

3. Cisco WebEx Meetings

Screen Shot 2013-01-02 at 2.34.46 PM

Price

Free basic plan:

  • 3 people per meeting
  • 1 host license
  • Standard quality video

Premium 8 Plan

  • $24/per host/month
  • 1 host license
  • High-definition video
  • up to 8 people per meeting

Premium Plan

  • $49/per host/month
  • 25 people per meeting
  • Up to 9 host licenses
  • High-definition video

*corporate licensing is available for more than 500 participants.

Features

  • Unlimited meetings for up to 25 people
  • WebEx is supported on every platform including mobile devices
  • Easy to join- just one click
  • Users can easily share their desktops, documents or any application on their computer
  • It is quick and easy to change presenters, create whiteboards and pass keyboard and mouse control
  • Survey capabilities

My Comments

WebEx does an excellent job of allowing participants to interact with each other while giving the majority of control to the host.

The guys at Cisco remind us that by meeting online, we help reduce our carbon footprint!  I guess everyone who participates in webinars is helping save the environment (back pat) by not driving to meetings. You can check out the WebEx carbon calculator here.

4. GoToWebinar

Gotomeeting

Pricing

$49.00/mo or $468/yr *this service is called GoToMeeting

  • Host Unlimited free online meetings from a Mac® or PC
  • Attendees join free from a Mac, PC, iPad®, iPhone® or Android device
  • Up to 25 attendees per meeting
  • Free product training and 24/7 support

$99.00/mo or $948/yr

  • Up to 100 attendees
  • Unlimited webinars
  • Includes GoToMeeting

$399.00/mo or $3,828/yr

  • Up to 500 attendees
  • Unlimited webinars
  • Includes GoToMeeting

$499.00/mo or $4,788/yr

  • Up to 1,000 attendees
  • Unlimited webinars
  • Includes GoToMeeting

Free 30 trial available

Features

  • Full-service registration
  • Customized branding
  • Pre-webinar practice sessions
  • Toll-based phone and VoIP audio conferencing options
  • Audio conferencing via phone and computer
  • Full desktop sharing
  • One-click web and audio recording
  • Invite others on the fly
  • Instantly change presenters
  • Transfer keyboard and mouse control
  • Mac and PC support
  • Chat
  • Dashboard
  • Audience view (thumbnail of presentation)
  • Q & A
  • Polls

My Comments

GoToWebinar, Webx, Adobe Connect were very comparable in per/month cost. All of them are offering a fairly comprehensive plan for around $99/month. GoToWebinar’s usefulness is mostly limited by the fact that smartphones or tablet computers can’t access it. A mobile application that would be compatible with iPhone, Android or Blackberry operating systems could propel this product to frontrunner status among webinar services.

5. MegaMeeting

MegaMeeting

Pricing

I found the website very difficult to navigate for my research needs. Also, NOT COOL to make me give contact info to watch a demo! I had to track down pricing, and to be honest, I’m not really sure if I completely understand their pricing structure. I think this is how it works for their professional pricing.

$39/month for 2 users/seats (additional seats $20)

$99/month for 5 users/seats (additional seats $20)

$149/month for 10 users/seats (additional seats $20)

$249/month for 25 users/seats (additional seats $20)

$349/month for 50 users/seats (additional seats $20)

$400/month for 100 users/seats (additional seats $5)

Features

  • No downloads are required- 100% Browser based
  • Live High Quality Video Feeds
  • Mobile Apps - Free to download from the iTunes App Store or Android Marketplace
  • Custom DNS - Get a meeting URL with your company name YourCompanyName.MegaMeeting.com
  • Custom Skin – You can customize all of your meeting rooms
  • Multiple Log-ins - Assign a MULTIPLE # of log-ins to your account for other employees or departments.
  • One-on-one Training – MegaMeeting provides two, 90 minute training sessions, helping you maximize the usage and benefits you receive from your account.
  • Built-in registration tools
  • MultiMedia Video Player – Stream and control website hosted videos in real-time.
  • Private Branding
  • Move People from One Room to Another – Set-up multiple concurrent rooms and move attendees from one room to another.
  • Live Help Add-on
  • Record Meetings – Server side and Local side recording (extra fee applies)
  • Industry Leading Customer Service and 24/7 Support

My Comments

Wow, for an service that seems so thorough, my user experience on their website left little to be desired. So much so, that despite many recommendations across the board for this service, I think I’ll go elsewhere. Some different features they offer or the option to do private branding. You can make the rooms look like they are YOUR own video/web conferencing service by removing all references to MegaMeeting for $200/month.

They also have a super cool “Live Help Add-on”  that would be useful by enabling your sales or support staff to assit your participants LIVE.

6. FreeScreenSharing.com

Free Screen Sharing

Pricing

Say what?! Free! Yep, this tool is 100% free for up to 96 attendees.

Features

  • Unlimited FREE meetings
  • Up to 96 participants
  • Meet anytime, anywhere
  • FREE audio conferencing
  • Design your own lobby
  • Chat feature

My Comments

To get started using the free service you supply your name, email and password and you’re ready to go.

A negative is that there is nothing within the service to record the visual (audio only). You could solve that problem by combining it with a tool like screen flow, which is a one-time fee of $99 forever.

No ads!

This is one of the few tools I reviewed that requires the attendee to download software. This might deter some folks from participating.

Wrapping it up

I came across a lot of webinar services but only reviewed these that, at a glance, seemed to meet our needs for the webinar we are planning this month for 25 attendees. I’ve added all these and some others to our UX Directory.

Oh yeah, before I forget, here is a crazy-thorough chart from Top Ten Review comparing some of the major webinar tools available.

List your favorite webinar service in the comments!
Webinar Services Reviewed

About the Author

Director of Marketing at Little Wing Marketing in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina. Specializing in User Centered Web Design, Web Analytics & Strategic Planning, User Testing & Design Iteration & Effective Internet Marketing. Twitter @jennacurry LinkedIn, Google+

21 comments on “A Survey of 6 Top Webinar Platforms for Business

  1. Hi Jenna,

    Thanks for including GoToWebinar in your article! I just wanted to let you know that our free iOS and Android GoToMeeting Apps can also be used for attending GoToWebinars. Also, GoToMeeting allows up to 25 Attendees and only costs $49/mo or $468/yr.

    Thanks,

    Glenn Dobson

    Community Leader, Social Media | Global Customer Support
    Citrix Systems Inc.

  2. Hey. In addition to above web meeting tools such as WebEx, anymeeting etc. one can even consider having web meetings by deploying on premise solutions for e.g. packages software like Microsoft’s Lync or appliances such as RHUB appliances etc.

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  4. Hey Jenna..great job! Could you go back at some point and discuss the mobile side of these solutions? My situation is that I want to interview people and then use the webinars as an up-sell on my new membership site..I need to have control to do this…

  5. Hi Alan,

    Thanks for reaching out. Sounds like you are woking on a cool concept. I wish I knew more about mobile for webinars but there has to be some good solutions available. if I write a follow-up article, you’ll be first to know.

  6. NICE POST! What a great review of some of the better webinar platforms in the marketplace. Jenna, well done… very informative and such a time saver for anyone interested in getting themselves a quality webinar platform.

    Thanks for bringing the value!

    Brian

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  8. THANK YOU THANK YOU!! I need to teach webinars and was so overwhelmed by all the options…so as it’s been said – you have saved me hours of work AND potentially a lot of trial and error and potentially looking like a fool if it’s not right platform!!

  9. Hi,
    This is great! I’m wondering which is the best platform if I want video in my webinar? I’d like to pre-record 60 – 90 minute lessons where you have good quality visuals over my audio track. What do you recommend? It does not need to be live.
    Thanks!
    Susie

  10. Hi Jenna. Found your reviews when looking for an alternative to “Start Meeting” (which is horrible by the way). Has Webinars OnAir still been good for you? Are you using them and still happy?

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