What makes a great online conferencing platform?
In today’s “new normal” of online learning and remote working, virtual events, conferences and meetings have allowed us to function as close to “business as usual” as possible – including working with colleagues, reaching and delivering value to our customers and growing our business.
With virtual and hybrid events expected to be a mainstay in how we conduct business, choosing an effective and reliable online conferencing tool or platform is crucial. What features do you need to look out for? Below is a sample list of features and functions to consider, loosely grouped according to when they are used in the event (before, during or after).
|Before the Event||
|During the Event||
|After the Event||
Apart from features and functions, it is also important to consider what types of support the platform provider can offer you like virtual event planning assistance and live event monitoring to address any unexpected technical or security issues during the online event.
8 most popular virtual conference platforms
In this article, we list some of the most widely-used and highly-rated online conferencing platforms available in the market today. They are:
- Webinar Jam
- Click Meeting
- Cisco Webex and Zoom
Webinar Jam, https://home.webinarjam.com/
This cloud-based broadcasting technology allows you to reach up to 5,000 attendees, with up to six speakers in high-definition glory across all types of devices (desktop, laptop, tablet or phone). Its browser-based solution means no plugins or apps to download and install, minimizing user confusion and technical hiccups.
It provides many of the common features and functions for virtual event platforms like online chat, polls & surveys, automated recording among many others. A useful feature is their attendee spotlight that allows any attendee to take the stage to share their insights, experiences, and testimonials. Once they’re done, the speaker or host can switch them back to attendee-mode only.
Event organizers will also like their page builder feature which allows you to create and customize your registration page, choosing from a selection of professionally-designed, mobile-responsive templates.
Plans & Pricing: Webinar Jam offers four standard packages, and 30-day money-back guarantee.
- Starter: US$ 39/month (up to 100 attendees, 1 host)
- Basic: US$ 79/month (up to 500 attendees, 2 hosts)
- Professional: US$ 229/month (up to 2,000 attendees, 4 hosts)
- Enterprise: US$ 379/month (up to 5,000 attendees, 6 hosts)
Click Meeting, https://clickmeeting.com/
If you’re planning to host large events, then ClickMeeting might be the platform for you. Its “Huge Online Events” solution allows you to host up to 10,000 attendees, providing support from selling tickets to engaging the audience with promotions and email invitations. Similar to physical events, the platform allows you to run panel discussions with up to four speakers at the same time.
One of the key selling points they highlight is their European origins and values that put a premium on security, privacy, stability and innovation. As a European company, they must strictly comply with GDPR laws, providing the highest standard of protection to your audience’s data.
Plans & Pricing: ClickMeeting provides three payment plans (Live, Automated, Enterprise) from US$30/month to custom pricing. They also offer a free trial for 30 days and up to a 20% discount for annual billing.
If you’re a trade show organizer looking for a wow factor beyond talking heads on a screen, then request a demo from vFairs stat. We’re talking 3D immersive environments which makes you feel like you are physically there in the event venue. It provides your attendees with a real-life trade show experience, making it familiar and more enjoyable – and helps you market your event easily.
Immersive rooms transport your audience to the venue with a visually rich rendition of your venue lobby, exhibition halls, auditorium and networking lounge. Each of the exhibitor booths can be personalized and custom-designed as per your client’s desires. Meanwhile, event organizers can strengthen branding by simulating your physical venues into the virtual world.
What’s more, you can use animated avatars of different ethnicities, ages – even apparel – to make the event more immersive and fun.
Plans & Pricing: Request for a personalized event quote
This platform boasts of having the highest rating among webinar software on third-party sites Capterra and G2. Users praise the hassle-free attendee experience with their no-download software, while organizers appreciate spending less time on event administration.
The platform assists you every step of the way – from planning and setting up your virtual event, to going live and engaging your audience and collecting important sights. Livestorm supports all the workflows around video engagement including registration pages, invitations, email follow-ups and dashboard analytics.
Many reviewers and users rate Livestorm as best for detailed analytics and participant reports. They also provide registrant profiles, as well as track the source of registrations and referrers for each registration.
Plans & Pricing: Livestorm starts with a Starter plan free of charge, up to Enterprise plan billed by usage.
- Starter: Free
- Premium: US$ 109/month
- Enterprise: custom
Demio provides a simple, no-download webinar experience for your audience, along with the marketing tools organizers need to generate more results. Some of its key features include easy branding capabilities such as fully customizable domains and featured colors, easy registration with their native registration pages or embed a form of your own, a suite of engagement tools such as chats, polls and featured actions, and event analytics.
This webinar platform also easily integrates with your current marketing solutions like Drip, Hubspot, MailChimp, Marketo and others.
Plans & Pricing: Demio runs three pricing plans and a 14-day free trial so you can test before you commit. For long-term use, they offer a 30% discount for annualized billing.
- Starter: US$ 49/month (50 attendee room)
- Growth: US$ 99/month (150 attendee room)
- Premium: custom (500 or 1,000 attendee room)
Another one of the well-integrated virtual event softwares available in the market today, GotoWebinar offers extensive features and a myriad of tools while being easy to use. At the planning and promotion stage, organizers can rely on their features such as custom registration forms, branding, webinar templates and more. Enjoy extra event promotion with GotoStage where you can publish webinars for free from your GotoWebinar account to reach even more audience.
During the virtual event, their engagement dashboard helps you keep an eye on your audience’s activities. Meanwhile, attendee reports, source tracking and event analytics help you analyze and improve your event performance after it’s done.
Plans & Pricing: GotoWebinar provides three pricing plans and is offering up to a 20% discount (at the time of this writing).
- Starter: US$ 109/month (100 participants)
- Pro: US$ 249/month (500 participants)
- Plus: US$ 499/month (1,000 participants)
Eventzilla markets itself as an all-in-one event registration and engagement platform for in-person, virtual and hybrid events.
Putting a premium on easy registration and event marketing, its key features include a no-coding, drag-and-drop page builder that allows you to tailor the registration experience to your requirements and standard. Payments are processed securely and immediately, making it ideal for paid conferences, training/classes and fundraisers.
The event platform offers many built-in SEO and marketing features, including allowing you to send personalized emails to up to 1,000 contacts for free (additional email credits can be purchased as needed). You can also send discount coupons, as well as easily embed your registration link on your website, blog and social media for wider promotion reach.
Separate mobile apps for organizers and event attendees mean each group can quickly access event data and information that is relevant to them.
Plans & Pricing: Eventzilla offers three plans priced per registration. But it is completely free to use for simple events like social gatherings, meetups and other small events where you do not charge attendees anything to participate. Custom pricing for year-round events is also available.
- Basic: US$ 1.50 per registration
- Pro: US$ 1.50 + 1.9% of ticket cost, capped at US$ 12.99 per registration
- Plus: US$ 1.50 +2.9% of ticket cost, capped at US$ 19.99 per registration
Our list won’t be complete without including two of the most popular video conferencing tools in the market. Zoom’s popularity has shot up since the start of the pandemic that it’s now considered a verb on its own (ie, Let’s Zoom later) and new terms have cropped up related to it (ie, Zoom-fatigue, Zoom parties and Zoom-bombing).
Meanwhile, Cisco WebEx has been a trusted platform used by many companies for their remote meetings and training long before we even heard of Covid-19.
Both platforms have gone beyond use in office settings and staying in touch with friends and family. With WebEx, you can host webinars and virtual events with up to 3,000 participants and get access to many innovative features. On the other hand, Zoom video webinars can host up to 50,000 viewers, stream live via YouTube and Facebook, as well as integrate with Salesforce, Marketo and other CRM tools.
Plans & Pricing: WebEx pricing starts free of charge, up to Enterprise plan with customized solutions and pricing. Zoom video webinars offer paid plans from US$ 79/month for up to 500 attendees to custom pricing for 10,000+ attendees.
We hope this article has helped you shortlist your options among the many virtual conferencing platforms out there today. If you need more help to decide what’s best for you, contact us at Vootprint for professional advice.
Check out more GEN Blogs available at https://globalexpo-net.com/blog/ for more articles and tips about virtual events.