Here at Fridge, we have been running weekly webinars for nearly 18 months. Plus I have run some personal webinars as well.
I have been working on my new start-up to create a WordPress Membership Plugin that deep integrates with ActiveCampaign for over six months now. And I know the best way to market and sell our plug-in is via webinars.
This means that the requirements for our webinar tools have changed, as I needed to find a platform that would work for the fridge webinars and webinars to market the WordPress plugin.
So in my quest to find a platform that would work for us long term, I had some requirements and nice to haves in mind.
- ‘Great’ audio and good video quality on all Internet connections (including my slow Australian Internet)
- Easy webinar signup process
- Able to handle at least 250 attendees
- Detailed attendee
Would Like To Have:
- A simple way to brand the webinar platform depending if it’s a Fridge or WordPress membership plugin
- Easy replay setup
- Easy and customizable email communication settings
- Ability to run automated webinars.
In this article I’m going to go through all the webinar tools, I have used to date. Their pros and cons plus when and where you should use them if at all.
And hopefully, the below advice will save you $1500 or maybe more, by not making the same costly mistakes I have to date.
Table of Contents
In no particular order, these are the webinar tools I have used, and can comment on from being hands-on with them.
GoToWebinar is the most well-known webinar platform around. It grew out of Citrix’s GoToMeeting platform many years ago, and you can still see a few of those corporate presentation features at the heart of it. It has features to burn, and endless reports you can dig through if you want. So I was quite hopeful of being blown anyway…
$89 – Up to 100 attendees
$199 – Up to 500 attendees
£299 – Up to 1,000 attendees
Free Trail: Yes
- Great visual quality even over poor internet connections (like mine in Australia)
- Pretty good sounds quality
- Good integration with popular landing page platforms such as LeadPages or Zapier if you want to create your own sign-up
- Good in-webinar control’s, including freezing the presenters screen so you can do some behind the scene’s stuff is necessary, and brilliant chat facility.
- The ability to invite attendee’s to talk live.
- Detailed attendee reports
- Dedicated account manager
- Poor out of the box landing/sign up page options, forcing attendees to give their first & last name + email address.
- Lack signup and in webinar analytics. So no ability to have any deep integration with CRM’s or email providers.
- Even though Citrix say it can handle up to 1000 attendee’s, sound and visual performance tends to suffer above about 500 attendee’s in my experience.
- Questionable customer service, the disconnect between sales/my account manager/the accounts department, drove me mad. Being promised one deal by sales, then being charged for my trial and not giving me the deal that accounts promised me.
- The recording option has crashed on my a few times
- No easy system to run replays
- High monthly cost other options
Note: with the recent release of Centre by Leadpages, you can now tag contacts based on their behavior in your GoToWebinar, in any of the major email marketing systems out there. This isn’t quite as nice of a solution as WebinarJam, but it brings the two platforms very close when it comes to reporting analytics.
WebinarJam Studio uses Google Live Events for the presenting part of the webinar. Then add’s its own chat, poll, in webinar offers and other features around the video stream inside the webinar itself.
$397/Year (that’s $33 a month) – Unlimited attendees
Free Trial: No
- Good sound and audio, yes it’s still slightly behind GoToWebinar but with Google investing so much in their live streaming services, I wouldn’t be surprised to see this overtaking everyone soon
- High converting, pre-made landing/sign up page templates that integrate directly with all the major email marketing systems
- Deep integration with email provider to allow you to tag contacts based on events
- Facebook Ads & Google Analytics integration throughout the experiences, so you can easily understand your audience, and create custom audiences based on leads actions
- Good email sending options, that are easy to set up
- Super easy recording and replay systems that don’t require any extra work.
- Easy to set up webinars with different branding, so I can run Fridge webinar’s and my personal webinars from of one account.
- Unlimited attendee’s
- People could, in theory, find your live webinar via YouTube, but it’s unlikely, and you can just unlist the video when you finish your webinar.
- I have heard from some WebinarJam users that the video and sound can be delayed by up to 10 seconds between the presenter and attendees, but I haven’t seen any significant
EverWebinar is identical to WebinarJam, except it is an automated webinar version. So you can just point the system to a .mp4 file or previous WebinrJam recording, and it will run a Hybrid (automated webinar with some optional live elements) webinar whenever you want.
$497 / year ($41.42 / month) – Unlimited Attendee’s
Free Trial: No
- Has all the same features as WebinarJam
- Looks and feels the same as a live webinar
- Access to still be involved in the live chat while the automated webinar is playing.
- Great to be able to scale your webinars that are proven to convert.
- Automated webinars a useful method of presenting drip fed training courses.
- If this is your only way of doing webinar’s you will miss out on that in moment feedback you do get on live webinars.
Google Hangouts/Live Events are Google’s live video streaming services. This along with Skype mentioned below was my first real attempts at presenting webinars.
- No cost, so easy to get started with.
- The robust platform, that the number of attendees has no effect on the quality.
- You can embed the YouTube video in your webinar and add your own chat box from a service on the internet.
- Sending customers to a YouTube page just doesn’t look professional, plus they are guaranteed to get distracted
- No easy way to register and track attendee’s to the event
- No useful stats from a webinar and marketer point of view. So you don’t know who attended and more.
Skype is meant for one-on-one conversations and also small conference set ups. I didn’t think it would be perfect for webinar’s but it kind of worked…
Max attendee’s 25.
- The sound and audio quality is fantastic
- Easy to interact with attendee’s
- Perfect for small product demos.
- It’s just not what people expect when you say webinar,
- It doesn’t scale as a long term solution to running webinars.
- No way of muting everyone else
- Pretty much every time I tried this method someone either didn’t have a Skype account or had forgotten your password.
Join.me says it’s for ‘meeting’ but has a max of 250 attendees so was quite a contender to be webinar system.
Free – Up To 10 attendees
$20/month – 50 attendee’s
$25/month – 250 attendee’s
Free Trail: Yes
The sound and video quality was great
Easy to fully brand the attendee experience with your own custom URL etc.
- It didn’t have a good webinar chat feature
- There is no real registration process so everything had to me managed via our email marketing system, ActiveCamapign
- The experience didn’t feel very webinar’y; it more felt like an expensive Skype.
Webinar Ignition is a WordPress based plugin that can use any video feed such as Google Hangouts or UStream as a video source. I can code, so figured even if this plugin didn’t have it all, I could customize it a bit to fit my needs. Wanting to provide the full webinar feel to attendees, this was the second webinar tool I paid for…
From $97 one-off fee for a single site install license, to $297 for unlimited installs.
Free Trail: No
- Uses the robust Google Hangouts as the live webinar part.
- Good email communication options
- Great value, $297 is a steal as a one-time free, the features you receive.
- Easy to customize the look and feel of pages, with no coding needed.
- For attendee’s it just felt a bit of a clunky process right from the landing page, to reply other solutions.
- From day one it felt were a way to internet market’y for me and the brand I have.
- The automated webinar’s felt so automated; there was no way I would have ever sold anything via an automated webinar.
MeetingBurner was the first paid webinar service I used. When I started using Meeting Burner it cost about $50/month for up to 1000 attendees. Coming from the reliable, but unprofessional looking Google Hangouts, I thought I had struck gold at this price…
Free – 10 attendees
$39.95/month – 50 attendees
$99.95/month – 250 attendees
Free Trial: Yes
Loads of advertised features you would expect from a solid webinar platform.
- Terrible audio and video on every connection I tried
- No way to register attendees via an external landing pages system. And the built in form was shocking
- When I called customer support to try and sort the connection issues, I was told it was my internet, even though I had someone else on a super-fast internet to run tests for me with no better results.
- Pretty much every webinar I did with Meeting Burning I did over my 3 month usage went wrong at some point.
Note: Since I stopped using MeetingBurner 18 months ago they seem to have refreshed their offering and changed their features and prices. So if you tried them today, you might end up with better results. However, there are other solutions that still offer a lot better value.
In this article, I have summarized the pros and cons of all of the webinar tools I’ve used to date.
I started my journey using free webinar tools. Then I moved through a number of paid webinar tools at great expense and stress. Then I settled on GoToWebinar in mid-2015. As of the start of 2016, I moved Fridge to WebinarJam. Plus I am also be running my WordPress membership plug-in marketing through WebinarJam and EverWebinar as well.
If I had to start all over again I would do a few free Google hangouts, and hacks some crazy webinar page together just to get my feet wet. Then for me, there are only two realistic options when it comes to running professional live webinars, GoToWebinar and WebinarJam.
For now, I have chosen WebinarJam with EverWebinar, because of its marketing-friendly approach, and great performance. However, I wouldn’t rule out using GoToWebinar again if they open up their platform to more up-to-date integrations e.g. facebook ad tracking & 3rd party scripts.
These are just my experiences of the many webinar tools out there. If there’s any of missed please add them and your experiences in the comments below.