Define Web conferencing
The explosive popularity of virtual events has been accompanied by an understandable degree of user confusion. In a world of webcasts and web conferences, many incorrectly assume that the terms (and technologies) are interchangeable. In reality, these channels represent very different types of interactions, each with varying capabilities and business use cases.
Where web conferences are intended for small, collaborative groups of 50 people or fewer, webcasts are designed to support one-to-many broadcasts best suited for workshops, townhalls or marketing events. Here are five important nuances to consider when deciding how to format your next web meeting:
Presenters and audiences
Web conferences rarely have designated speakers and are designed to facilitate fluid transitions from speaker to listener for participants.
Webcasts offer more structure and allow for a defined audience and presenter(s).
Where web conferencing participants can be both listeners and speakers, the roles in a webcast are usually static. In practice, this means that webcasts are most effective when presenting to large audiences, allowing multiple speakers to present, sometimes even from virtual “rooms” when necessary for breakout sessions or small group learning.
Both web conferences and webcasts support interaction between speakers and attendees, but that communication differs depending on the event type.
Web conferences typically include both audio and visual components, in addition to instant messaging, document collaboration and sub-conferencing capabilities.
Webcasts excel at condensing large audiences’ feedback into chat, polling and Q&A formats. Webcasts also facilitate a single video broadcast, typically at a higher streaming quality.
Web conferences demand little in the way of preparation, beyond an agenda and a PowerPoint deck; they also offer a quick, simple setup process.
Webcasts can require months to orchestrate, from finalizing speakers and content to creating invites and other event promotions.