For over a decade now, online trainers and digital marketing experts have relied on various techniques for lead generations and it turns out that again and again it comes down to webinars being the best way to do this since educating customers increases the chances of them listening to you and buying your story – it’s a world proven fact.
But what are webinars really and how are they different from online video conferencing?
If the name rings a bill, the ‘webinar’ is just like a ‘seminar’ but over the web. It could be a small presentation, lecture, workshop or a general online event where the purpose is to educate or inform a mass of people simultaneously.
And yes, if there’s one thing you should know about webinars, it’s that they are resource intensive because you are trying to bring a huge crowd of people online together (anywhere from 25, 50 to 100 or even more) so you can imagine that whatever tool or service you are going to use to host a webinar should have huge amount of bandwidth and cpu resources which makes it all the more hard to find a service that would let you do this for free.
Below, we will take a look at some of the best webinar tools that the web has to offer along with their pricing and features.
GoToWebinar is a product created by Citrix and comes under the GoToMeeting product umbrella that has been around for more than a decade and is undoubtedly the best webinar hosting service available on the web but is only suitable if you have large volumes of webinars and is not recommended for individuals or small businesses since they don’t offer a free version.
Same is the case with BlueJeans which is a rather new but amazing webinar service that has garnered quite a loyal following but the issue with both of these services is that they don’t offer a free version so if you want to webinars just once in a while and don’t want to pay for it, GoToMeeting and BlueJeans are not recommended.
Free Online Webinar Tools & Services
As such there is no webinar tool or service that is completely ‘free’ but there are some webinar tools and services that offer free features but with constraints and in the post below we are going to discuss which of these services exist and which ones are the best in terms of ‘free’ value.
Hangouts, which are originally part of Google+, is one of the best free services available online that you can use to host a webinar.
- Works in the browser
- Screensharing and Presentation sharing
- Remote desktop sharing
- 3rd party apps integration for record and presentation (Slideshare, YouTube etc)
- Works on desktop, iPhone and Android
- Requires you to install a plugin once.
- Only 15 participants can join simultaneously.
- Organizer and all participants must have Gmail email / Google+ profile
One of the unique features about Google Hangouts is Hangouts on Air which lets you broadcast your hangout to an unlimited number of users but the disadvantage there is that your users won’t be able to interact with your via chat, audio or video.
Skype, now owned by Microsoft, is one of the those services which actually started the trend of video calls when it was launched back in 2003 (almost 11 years ago). Today, Skype is so much more and now it lets you do all sorts of stuff – messaging, calling, video conferencing, screen sharing, online presentations etc
- Microsoft backed service.
- Integration with Facebook.
- Works on desktop and mobile.
- 3rd party recording apps available.
- Requires you to install Skype
- Only 10 people allowed with screen sharing with video
- Maximum 25 people while screen sharing with no video
- All participants must have a Skype ID.
Join.Me is a product of the famous Boston-based remote access and remote desktop sharing company LogMeIn
- Powered by LogMeIn
- Only 10 participants allowed
- Apps for iPhone and Android
- Recording not available
- iPad Presentation feature not available
- Desktop app only available for Windows
- Join.me account needed
- Viewers will be shown ads on their screen
MeetingBurner is a fast and simple online meeting platform that can be used for screen sharing, online presentations and webinars.
- Host Unlimited Webinars
- Only 10 participants allowed
- No Ads for viewers
- Mac and PC compatible
- Streaming video of host
- Customisable registration page
- Facebook Promotion Tool
- Old app for iPhone / Android
- No Recording allowed
- No Meeting Analytics
And now for our favourite.
Zoom.us is a web and video conferencing service that offers unique solutions such as conference room to iPad connections and the world’s first ever iPhone/iPad screen sharing solution. It gathered a lot of press recently as it managed to win $30 million in Series C funding.
- Up to 25 participants allowed
- Dual stream for dual screen
- Join by telephone call-in
- HD video and HD audio
- Dynamic voice detection
- Share iPhone/iPad screen
- Windows, Mac, Android and iOS
- Whiteboarding & Recording available
- Attendees don’t need to have an account
- Browser plug-in needed
- 40 minutes per meeting
It seems like it was a tough battle between MeetingBurner and Zoom.us but when it comes to number and uniqueness of features along with reliability and value – Zoom.us wins hands down. Not only does Zoom.us offers a higher number of attendees as compared to other free webinar tools and services, it also offers a range and variety of features that other services don’t have and the $30 million venture backing tells us that its here to stay in the market for long.
If you have any other free webinar tools or services that you would like us to review, please share in the comments below.