Differences Between a Webinar and an Online Meeting

Over the past few years, technology has made a remarkable change in the way of communication. Earlier marketers and businesses used to focus on in-person meetings for connecting, discussing, sharing, and collaborating with their teams or employees. In layman’s language, traditional methods of communication were the most preferred form of communication. Seminars were the medium for sharing knowledge among large groups. But restrictions due to Covid19 have compelled businesses to embrace technological advancement and adopt digital communication. As many of their employees still are working remotely. 

Online meetings and webinars are the two most prominent mediums for connecting and collaborating with remote teams. These two terms are often used interchangeably, but they both are different and have their specific purposes.

Let us understand how online meetings and webinars are different from one another. 

What is a Webinar?

Webinars are online seminars. In other words, a webinar is an online event where a speaker or presenter delivers informative information to his audience using an online platform. Webinars are often one-way interactions, where a presenter, speaker, or group of speakers share addresses with the audiences, and audiences usually listen to them without many interactions. However, attendees interact with the hosts and speakers through chat bars, polls, and questions.

What is an Online Meeting?

Online meetings are meetings or meet-ups over an online meeting platform, attendees, hosts, speakers, or presenters gather at one online platform and share their thoughts, ideas, and brainstorming. Online meetings are more interactive than webinars, it is a two-way interaction, enabling attendees and hosts to communicate with each other using audio-video tools. 

These meetings are usually real-time. The right online meeting platform enables you to replicate the in-person meeting experience. 

Now that you, what is the online meeting? And what is a webinar? Let us move ahead in the blog and know how these two are different from each other.

  • Online meetings allow businesses or corporates to meet and discuss the shared objective with their remote team. In an online meet-up, all the team members can talk, see, and hear each other using audio video features offered by online meeting software. On the other hand, webinars allow businesses to connect with potential targeted audiences with the intent of educating them about their products and services. In other words, the purposes of hosting a webinar are marketing and lead generation. The webinar also allows attendees to ask questions, and raise their doubts and queries about the topic content of the webinar. Moreover, you can use a webinars platform for online meetings. 
  • One of the significant differences between an online meeting and a webinar is the number of attendees. Online meetings are hosted for internal team meetings ensuring all the valuable members and stakeholders of an organization can join meetings at the scheduled day and time, regardless of their location. Usually, online meetings are conducted for meet-ups of small remote teams or a limited number of attendees. On the other hand, webinars are hosted to share information with a large number of attendees. 
  • Online meetings are the best and most affordable way to foster a professional relationship with clients and colleagues in a personalized manner. Whereas webinars are often used for generating high-quality leads. It is why webinars are more structured, planned, and well polished. 
  • For boosting the morale of remote team members online meetings are the perfect solution, as these are the best way to stay in touch with them. Meeting your remote employees regularly via online conferencing can encourage them to better productivity. Whereas, webinar software can also be used for training employees and demos of products. It is so because webinar software offers multiple interactive features like chats, polls, and quizzes for creating an interactive environment which is crucial for the training. 
  • Another difference between webinars and online meetings is the accessibility to interaction. In online meetings, all attendees have the access to take part in discussions and share their thoughts and ideas with other fellow attendees and the host. Whereas, most webinar software gives access to interaction to a limited number of attendees between all the present attendees. Other attendees have a view-only option; they can not take part in interactions and discussions.
  •  An online meeting platform provides more features for an online conference like screen sharing, application sharing, files, presentations, document sharing, and e-whiteboards. These features enable remote teams to have communication, collaboration, and interactions in a more effective way. 
  • On the other hand, webinars are often one-way communication, with limited attendee interaction, even though there is always a scope for chats, polls, and Q&A sessions to keep attendees engaged during the webinars.
FeaturesWeb ConferencingWebinar
Role of AttendeesParticipantsViewer
Nature of  InteractionHighLow
Size of eventSmallLarge
Attendees size2-50100-1,000 or more
AdvantagesOnline meeting, team meeting, brainstorming sessions, etc.Marketing, demos, product launch, training, workshop, educational seminar, etc.
Best SoftwaresMixhubb, Zoom, GoToMeeting, etcMixhubb, GoToWebinar, WebinarNinja, etc.
  • In online meetings, attendees are known as participants because they are actively involved in the discussions and share their thoughts, ideas, and valuable opinions with other fellow participants. Most Cost-effective webinar platform offers features like screen sharing, app sharing, and an e-whiteboard to discuss brainstorming during online meetings and conferences. Whereas in webinars, attendees are known as a viewer, because they only view or listen to the speakers, occasionally, they participate in the discussions using chat bars, polls, and Q&As.

Both webinars and online meetings are robust, powerful, and cost-efficient mediums for remote connection and collaboration. However, both serve different purposes and requirements. For internal small business meetings, business hosts online meetings, while webinars are often hosted or you are hosting an online meeting or you are conducting a webinar, do not ever miss out on selecting the right modern software. Right and proper communication can boost your business. Because we all know communication is the key to personal or professional success. So be cautious while selecting a webinars platform for online meetings.