How to host a webinar

Webcasts Vs. Webinars - A Comparison

Learn about the difference between webcasts and webinars! Choose to engage with your audience with a webinar, or broadcast your discussion with a webcast!
Hubilo
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December 1, 2022

Webcasts and webinars are usually confused for one another, but they both have different characteristics and even serve different purposes! By understanding the differences between the two, you can present your data to the correct audience, all based on your marketing goals.

Webinars

What is a Webinar?

A webinar is simply a seminar that takes place online! There is typically one host, but can also have several different hosts. These hosts can present information and data to all of the guests within the virtual room. Attendees can join the webinar from any location, all over the world. One of the biggest advantages to hosting a webinar is that the audience can interact with not only one another, but also the hosts in the form of live chats, polls or a Q&A session!

Characteristics of a Webinar

  • One host presents data and information to a maximum of 1,000 guests.
  • Guests can attend from anywhere in the world.
  • Interactive - guests can use polls, live chats and Q&As to interact with other guests as well as webinar hosts.
  • Webinars can be recorded and saved to be used for future reference.
Equipment needed to host a webinar

When To Use a Webinar

If you are looking to speak to your guests on a larger scale and be able to interact with them one-on-one, then a webinar is the way to go! With the use of interactive tools like a shared whiteboard and a live chat feature, both webinar hosts and guests can share their thoughts and ideas with everyone! Webinars can also be a teaching tool, especially if you are presenting a new product or data! If a guest has a question, they are able to use the live chat feature to ask the question, and the webinar host can answer the question in real time!

Webcasts

What is a Webcast?

A webcast is similar to a webinar, however, there is no engagement from the audience. Much like a webinar, guests can attend from anywhere in the world, but there are no features like a live chat portion or shared whiteboards. If there are any questions from the audience, they will have to be saved for another time. 

Characteristics of a Webcast

  • One person broadcasting to hundreds or even thousands of people.
  • Event takes on a “broadcast” format, with a single stream sent to the audience.
  • Webcasts can be live streamed to any and all social media platforms.
  • No interaction between webcasts hosts and audience.
What is a webcast?

When to Use a Webcast

Webcasts can be used, for example, when a company wants to make a corporate announcement. The information can be presented, directly to the audience, without any interruptions. Webcasts can also be used for town hall meetings, music festivals, and more popularly, TED Talks. The speaker presents their data to the audience, either fully virtually or a hybrid audience, and they speak about their topic for a certain amount of time. If your marketing goal is just to present data and facts without any audience interaction, then a webcast is the best route to take!

Webcasts vs. Webinars: The Differences

There are a few differences between webcasts and webinars, and knowing the differences can help event organizers choose the best way to present your information. This guide can help you choose the best course of action, so read on to learn about the differences between webcasts and webinars!

Differences in Features

Webinars, as previously mentioned, are interactive for everyone involved! Guests can feel like they are truly a part of the webinar by asking questions, answering live polls and interacting with other guests. RTC, or real time communication plays a major role in webinars, as guests can speak directly to the webinar hosts and vice versa. Webinars also have the ability to have file sharing; if there are files that the webinar hosts wants their guests to see, they can send out the file to every guest, and everyone will have immediate access to it. Webinars are typically educational, with the host educating the guests on the topics at hand.

Webcasts on the other hand, are more focused on the presentation itself, as opposed to webinars which are focused on the guest interaction. Because of the lack of communication between everyone, the webcast host is able to continue on with their presentation, without any interruptions of questions or concerns. Webcasts also use a PowerPoint presentation or a slideshow to show pictures, videos or information. Think along the lines of a TED Talk. There is one host, speaking to an audience, both in-person and virtually. They continue to speak for a certain amount of time, presenting as much information as possible.

Differences In Implementation

Webinars have the audience engaged throughout the entire webinar, which creates a more in-depth user experience! And there is more than one way to have your guests interact with one another- through the use of live chats, emoji reactions and Q&A sessions, guests have a more hands-on learning experience as they retain the information being given. Keep in mind that when you allow your guests to be interactive, the conversation has the ability to be moved away from the original topic at hand.

Webcasts, because there is no guest interaction, have the ability to keep the information flowing in one direction. The guests can truly focus on what the presenter is saying as they listen and observe the information. By live streaming webcasts on social media, guests from all over the world can attend as they absorb the information being presented. 

Differences In Audience Size And Make Up

As mentioned before, webinars are interactive for the audience and hosts. Webinars can host up to 1,000 people, from all over the world, and they are virtual for everyone! Think of a webinar as an interactive discussion meeting, and a webcast as a giant conference. There are going to be less people at a meeting, and everyone can have a chance to speak, if they wish. A webcast can hold more people, like a conference, and the host is the main speaker. 

Webcasts have the ability to host hundreds or even thousands of people, both in-person and virtually! Webcast hosts can present their findings in a one way direction. There are no questions asked by the audience, and people from all over the world can join! Webcasts are usually live streamed and shared on social media, which can be viewed by thousands more people, as opposed to a smaller webinar.

Differences In Interaction Levels

Webinars focus their attention on the interaction between the host and guest. The attendees are able to ask their questions to the hosts in real time, and they can be answered in real time as well. With the use of live chats and a Q&A session, guests can learn more about the event or the host themselves by asking questions to keep the audience engaged as well as informed. 

With a webcast, the main focus of the event is for the host to speak about the selected topics, without any interaction from the audience. The interaction is one sided, with the host doing all of the speaking. This allows for the speaker to have the most time allotted to fit in all of their facts and information they need to present. 

Differences In Timing

Both webinars and webcasts are presented in real time, but the duration is what separates the two! Webinars usually last anywhere between 30 - 45 minutes, with any additional time for questions or comments. This allows guests to listen to what the speaker has to say, then ask any questions they may have before they get too distracted with any outside forces. Webinars can also be recorded to use again for a later use, such as a training or a new product demonstration.

Webcasts, like webinars, are presented in real time, and they usually have a longer duration. For example, a music festival can be broadcasted like a webcast, tuning in live from wherever the music festival is. Guests from all over the world can tune into the music festival, and share the link on their social media. If guests of a webcast wish to interact with others within the webcast, they can then take to their social media and use a hashtag to discuss with others!

How to create an interactive webinar

Differences In Engagement

As previously mentioned, webinars are able to engage their audience by way of live chats and polls, making engagement a great goal to strive for. Guests are able to connect with one another by asking questions, sharing thoughts and even networking. Guests can also interact with the event host and ask any questions they may have. 

Webcasts, unlike webinars, have no interaction between anyone. These broadcasts can be shared on social media, and if there is a hashtag created for these broadcasts, guests can then use that hashtag on social media to chat about the webcast. The live stream can happen at any time of day, and guests from all over the world can attend in whatever time zone they’re in!

Webcasts Vs. Webinars: Which Should You Use?

Parameters Webinars Webcasts
Other Names Seminar, Summit, Conference Livestream, webisode, radiocast
Pros Engaging, 2-way communication, flexible, better control, effective for teaching No scheduling, shareable, easier access to attend,Less interruptions
Cons Limited number of participants, internet disruptions Poor interactivity, less flexible, no interactive tools
When should you choose If you want to have open communication with guests, When you want to use the interactive tools, like chats and polls When the audience is bigger, if you have no time restrictions
Types Trainings, workshops, product demos & new employee onboarding Big event streams, TED Talks, music festivals gameplay
Size One single host or multiple hosts Up to 1,000 attendees Hundreds or even thousands of guests can attend at once
Features Real time audio, live chats, polls, Q&A sessions Large discussions, panels, broadcasting new information, music festivals, radio shows

How To Host A Webinar Or Webcast

Depending on what your event goals are, you may choose one over the other. If you’re not sure where to begin with your planning, try reaching out to a virtual event hosting platform like Hubilo! They will help you plan the perfect webinar or webcast depending on what works best for your event goals. Whatever you choose, you can be sure your audience will receive the information you need to provide to them. If one of your main goals is to engage with your audience, then a webinar would be the right choice. If you need to provide information to your audience without any feedback or interruptions, then choosing a webcast is best for your company!

<span class="mid-size-title">Conclusion</span>

However you choose to relay your information to your attendees, they will benefit from either a webinar or a webcast. There are some event hosts that wish to engage with their audience, while others wish to have no engagement! Webinars engage the hosts with the attendees directly, by the use of a chat feature or a Q&A session. Webcasts are live streams of a single host, speaking about the topics at hand, without any audience engagement. No audience engagement can be for a multitude of things, such as the audience size or type of webcast. Whichever way you choose to send out your information, your audience will be full of the knowledge that you provide them.

Author
Hubilo

Hubilo is the event professional’s event platform for live, hybrid, and virtual events. Founded over 5 years ago to revolutionize engagement at in-person events, the company makes it easy to bring people together anywhere, anytime. Hubilo’s powerful engagement features, personal client experience team, and custom branding tools have helped create over 12K events and counting. Headquartered in Bangalore and San Francisco, Hubilo’s nearly 400 employees are dedicated to co-creating the world’s most important events: yours.

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