Zoom Webinars Review:
Useless for Marketing? (+Alternatives)
Zoom is most known for meetings. But what about webinars? In this Zoom Webinars Review, we’ll fully answer 3 burning questions:
You’ve probably attended more than a few Zoom meetings in the past year. Zoom surpassed 300 million daily meeting participants (not to be confused with daily active users) in April 2020
Understandably. It’s been gaining some wild popularity recently.
So, the entire Zoom meeting interface is familiar to you and you’re wondering if you can host webinars on it as well.
The answer is yes. It costs an extra $40 per month to enable the webinar feature.
Read more about the pricing here.
Here are the commonalities and differences between Zoom Meetings and Zoom Webinars.
In this Zoom Webinars Review, we’ll dive deep into the features and comprehensively answer the itching question: Is Zoom any good for webinars?
Zoom Webinar Setup & Different Types
The webinar setup itself is quite minimalistic and you can set your webinar up in a minute.
You’ll experience a very small learning curve if you’ve used Zoom to host meetings before.
The webinar setup is super straight-forward and with very few options to configure.
After setting up the webinar, you’ll see the event details and the add-to-calendar buttons.
On Zoom Webinars you can host one-time live webinars and recurring webinars.
Recurring webinars can happen:
Recurring webinars scheduling is very flexible. They can be recurring any number of days per week.
Remember, you and all your attendees have to download the Zoom app in order to join the webinar.
If you’re running a marketing webinar, this is definitely going to put a dent in your attendance rate. Not everyone wants to download and install an application just to join a webinar.
The Webinar Registration Page is Very Basic
The registration page allows for very little customization.
Basically, you can only add a custom text, your logo and choose a color scheme.
You can tell that Zoom Webinars is not meant for hosting marketing webinars, because you:
You have almost no way of making your webinar appear attractive and the registration page has an outdated feel to it.
There’s one good thing that I noticed on the Registration Page configuration – you can create different registration links for different sources. This helps you to track which channels brought you the most webinar sign-ups.
The webinar landing page standard layout looks very dull and outdated. It just lists the basic info:
This is how the end result would look like for the attendee.
Clearly, Zoom Webinars landing pages are not meant for marketing or making the webinar attractive in any way.
After an attendee has signed up, they’ll see the registration confirmation page, which has:
Confirmation, Reminder & Follow-up Emails
After registering for your webinar, the registration confirmation email will be sent.
It looks very sterile and the focus of the email is on instructions how to join the webinar.
The webinar email reminders can be sent to attendees 1 hour, 1 day or 1 week before the webinar.
So, the webinar reminder email scheduling is not flexible at all.
Like the registration confirmation email, the webinar reminder email focuses on the instructions to join the webinar.
You can add a text snippet below the email, but that hardly draws any attention.
In terms of making the webinar feel attractive and maximizing the webinar attendance, these emails do a horrible job.
At least there are the “Add to calendar” links, which help to increase the attendance rate.
You can also send a follow-up email after the webinar. They can be scheduled to send 1…7 days after the webinar.
One upside for the follow-up emails is that you can craft a separate message to the attendees and the absentees.
However, the follow-up emails do not include the webinar replay recording link.
If you want to send the replay recording link to your attendees, you’d have to manually insert it to the follow-up email.
As you can see, there’s starting to be a pattern in this Zoom Webinars Review.
The product is just not made for maximizing sales.
Live Webinar Audience Interaction Tools
For the host, all the attendees are visible in the Participants tab.
During the live webinar, the attendees can send chat messages to:
But they can’t message the host privately. They can only message all panelists.
To personally get the host’s attention, they’d have to “Raise hand”.
Promoting an Attendee to a Panelist
In Zoom Webinars, all attendees are muted and can’t share their webcam or screen.
That means the attendees can’t see each other’s webcams or hear each other. That’s how it’s different from meetings.
However, if an attendee wants to share a story, then the host can enable the “Allow to talk” option.
After that, the attendee will be asked to unmute their microphone and speak. But this gives no permission to the webcam.
To enable the webcam, the host has to promote them to panelist. And then convert them to a host. So, in short:
After each role change, they would have to rejoin the webinar. Luckily, this happens automatically.
Once the attendee receives host powers, they can do practically anything and can’t be demoted to an attendee again.
They would have to rejoin the webinar to appear as an attendee again.
Launching Polls During the Live Webinar
Before the host launches the poll, he can review it.
As the host launches the poll, it would immediately appear for all the attendees. Here’s how the polls would look like for the attendees.
After the host closes the polling, he can choose to share the results with the attendees.
The poll results are not shared with the attendees by default.
Asking questions using the Q&A. Upvoting on questions.
The Q&A must first be enabled in the webinar setup.
There’s an option to allow Q&A questions to be anonymous.
Here’s how the attendee should ask a question using the Q&A feature.
A useful feature for the Q&A is the upvoting. That means other attendees can upvote questions which they’re also curious about.
This makes it easier for the host to browse through all the questions and find the ones with the most upvotes. The host can answer them live.
For the less popular questions, the host (or other panelists) can provide a written answer.
After the questions have been answered live or with a written answer, they move to the “Answered” tab.
This makes it even easier to track all the questions that are left to answer.
A big downside for Zoom webinars is that there are no interactive offers you can launch. Most webinar software today have this feature, but not Zoom.
This is clearly a sign that Zoom is not really meant for marketing purposes.
Webinar Video Engine & Tech Support
Before you actually start your webinar, you can run a practice session option to get to know all the controls and tools.
Once you start the webinar, you can also stream it to YouTube or Facebook Live.
There’s an option to enable the HD video in the video settings.
This really boosts the video quality – it’s really clear. That is one of the main benefits of using Zoom to host webinars.
What I was surprised to see during this Zoom Webinars review is that enabling the HD video doesn’t cause any lag for the attendees.
The Zoom desktop app can utilize the hardware (processing powers & the webcam) in a more efficient way.
Zoom has been around for many years and they’ve had the time to perfect their audio and video quality. The connection quality is also reliable.
As for the tech support, your best help are the video tutorials and the less helpful interactive chat bot.
Webinar Presentation Tools
The presentation tools are nothing special. It’s missing some important presentation features that are commonplace in most modern webinar software today. For example, there are:
So, to show your slideshow, you’d have to share your screen.
To show a video, you’d also have to share your screen.
It’s not ideal, because screen-sharing decreases the slideshow and the video quality on the attendees’ side.
However, there is one quite versatile presentation tool in Zoom – the annotate feature.
It’s pretty useful for illustrating and emphasizing something on your slides. For example, you can:
Additionally, you can save the illustrations.
Zoom Webinars on Mobile Devices
Any attendee who wants to join your webinar on a mobile device has to download the Zoom app – either on Android or iOS.
Like on the PC or Mac, they can’t join without having to download something.
This is definitely a barrier for some attendees and it’s going to decrease your attendance rate.
The webcam quality on the Zoom Android app is crisp and it runs pretty smooth.
One thing I didn’t like is that the webcam window minimizes too much once I start sharing my screen to show the slides.
The interaction tools are well done.
Once the host launches the polls, it pops right up for the attendee. This is great for maximizing the poll participation rate.
The user interface if clear and easy to understand.
The Q&A is easy to navigate and it’s clear how the attendee can ask a new question or upvote existing questions.
Zoom Webinar Recording and Replay
The webinar can be automatically recorded and the webinar recording file can be stored to:
If you store the recording in the Zoom cloud and want to share the replay recording, it’s password protected by default.
You can turn it off and configure other replay recording settings.
In either way, the webinar replay recording is just a video file – all the interactions that happened during the live are lost. That means there are no polls and no Q&A during the replay.
Only what happened on video is recorded – the webcam and the screen sharing (which is used for the slideshow and for showing videos).
The entire chat log is also visible during the webinar replay. But chat messages don’t appear as they were sent during the live webinar – they’re all instantly visible right from the start of the replay recording.
You can also somewhat trim the replay recording video. That means you can set the starting point and ending point for the replay recording.
Zoom Webinar Reports and Analytics
There are 5 types of reports available to download for each Zoom Webinar:
These reports are available to download as CSV file after the webinar has ended.
Perhaps the most important information that these reports can give you are:
Dumping a bunch of CSV reports on you is a lazy solution in my opinion.
Modern webinar software have built insightful and concise analytics dashboards to give you the most vital information to learn and improve upon your webinars.
Zoom Webinars + Meetings Pricing & Trial
You probably already know that the Basic Package on Zoom Meetings is free.
This is what makes Zoom such an attractive choice for meetings – Reliable video conferences for free.
But if you want to get Zoom webinars, you need to upgrade. More specifically, you’ll need both:
This together will set you back $ 54.99 / month.
This package gets you:
If you want to get more attendees, then the pricing increases at a pretty steep rate.
So, contrary to popular belief, Zoom Webinars is not actually that cheap. Especially if you’re looking for a scalable option.
There’s no trial for Zoom Webinars.
Zoom Webinars Review Conclusion
So, let’s summarize what you’ll be getting and what you’ll be missing out on.
|Very slight learning curve, if you’re already using Zoom Meetings||Attendees have to download & install an application just to join the webinar|
|Reliable webcam and screen sharing||Webinar landing pages have no customization options and minimal analytics|
|Q&A has upvoting||Webinar reminder emails are not optimized for increasing the attendance rate|
|Rich whiteboard (annotation) tool||No interactive offers|
|No automated webinars|
|No slideshow upload|
|Steep pricing. Actually, rather expensive|
When to Choose Zoom Webinars?
Zoom Webinars is clearly not made for marketing purposes.
Don’t get me wrong – Zoom Meetings is one of the best software for team meetings and video conferences because its reliable video engine.
That’s why it’s great for companies and corporations for in-house webcasts that are meant for one-way information sharing.
Should I Host a Zoom Meeting or Zoom Webinar?
Choose Zoom Webinars over Zoom Meetings when you:
What are Better Alternatives to Zoom Webinars?
If your goal is marketing and selling online products, courses or a trainings, then there are far better alternatives to Zoom Webinars.
Some important features that you should look for when choosing a webinar software for marketing:
Here are some of the best webinar software that tick most (if not all) of the boxes above. I’ve reviewed these webinar platforms in great detail and trust to recommend them.
WebinarJam is one of the most popular webinar software. They greatly focus on the marketing features like landing page conversion optimization and audience interaction tools.
Best features: Live interactive offers during the webinars to maximize the sales. Also, the email segmentation options. WebinarJam is actually more than 3x cheaper, too.
BigMarker is a jack-of-all-trades of webinar software. It goes above and beyond with their marketing features and webinar presentation tools. And, it has so many different types of webinars you can host.
Best features: You can set up audience interaction tools (polls, offers, Q&A) inside the webinar replay. That means all your replay attendees will be more engaged and you can increase the sales.
Also, there are Live, On-Demand, Evergreen and Automated webinars on BigMarker.
There are even Live Streams available. The Automated Webinar builder is a convenient way to create webinars that run on autopilot.