Zoom Webinars Review: Useless for Marketing? (+Alternatives)

Zoom is most known for meetings. But what about webinars? In this Zoom Webinars Review, we’ll fully answer 3 burning questions:

  1. What are the most important Zoom Webinars features that you should know about?
  2. What are the pros and cons of Zoom Webinars? What are the use cases for it?
  3. Are Zoom Webinars worth the money? If not, what are some alternatives?
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You’ve probably attended more than a few Zoom meetings in the past year.

Understandably. It’s been gaining some wild popularity recently.

So, the entire Zoom meeting interface is familiar to you and you’re wondering if you can host webinars on it as well.

The answer is yes. It costs an extra $40 per month to enable the webinar feature.
Read more about the pricing here.

Here are the commonalities and differences between Zoom Meetings and Zoom Webinars.

Zoom Meetings vs Zoom Webinars
Zoom Meetings vs Zoom Webinars

In this Zoom Webinars Review, we’ll dive deep into the features and comprehensively answer the itching question: Is Zoom any good for webinars?

Zoom Webinar Setup & Different Types

The webinar setup itself is quite minimalistic and you can set your webinar up in a minute.

You’ll experience a very small learning curve if you’ve used Zoom to host meetings before.

The webinar setup is super straight-forward and with very few options to configure.

After setting up the webinar, you’ll see the event details and the add-to-calendar buttons.

Zoom Webinar Setup
Zoom Webinar Setup

On Zoom Webinars you can host one-time live webinars and recurring webinars.

Recurring webinars can happen:

Recurring webinars scheduling is very flexible. They can be recurring any number of days per week.

Recurring webinars on Zoom
Recurring webinars on Zoom

Remember, you and all your attendees have to download the Zoom app in order to join the webinar.

If you’re running a marketing webinar, this is definitely going to put a dent in your attendance rate. Not everyone wants to download and install an application just to join a webinar. 

Downloading and installing the zoom webinar app
Downloading and installing the Zoom Application

The Webinar Registration Page is Very Basic

The registration page allows for very little customization.

Basically, you can only add a custom text, your logo and choose a color scheme.

Zoom color themes
Zoom color themes

That’s it.

You can tell that Zoom Webinars is not meant for hosting marketing webinars, because you:

You have almost no way of making your webinar appear attractive and the registration page has an outdated feel to it.  

There’s one good thing that I noticed on the Registration Page configuration – you can create different registration links for different sources. This helps you to track which channels brought you the most webinar sign-ups.

Registration source tracking
Registration source tracking

The webinar landing page standard layout looks very dull and outdated. It just lists the basic info:

This is how the end result would look like for the attendee.

Zoom Webinar Registration Page
Zoom Webinar landing page (attendee view)

Clearly, Zoom Webinars landing pages are not meant for marketing or making the webinar attractive in any way.

After an attendee has signed up, they’ll see the registration confirmation page, which has:

Post-registration page
Attendee view: Thank you page after registration

Confirmation, Reminder & Follow-up Emails

After registering for your webinar, the registration confirmation email will be sent.

It looks very sterile and the focus of the email is on instructions how to join the webinar.

Registration confirmation email example
Attendee view: Registration confirmation email

The webinar email reminders can be sent to attendees 1 hour, 1 day or 1 week before the webinar.

So, the webinar reminder email scheduling is not flexible at all.

Like the registration confirmation email, the webinar reminder email focuses on the instructions to join the webinar.

Zoom webinar email reminder options
Host view: Zoom webinar email reminder options

You can add a text snippet below the email, but that hardly draws any attention.

In terms of making the webinar feel attractive and maximizing the webinar attendance, these emails do a horrible job.

At least there are the “Add to calendar” links, which help to increase the attendance rate.

You can also send a follow-up email after the webinar. They can be scheduled to send 1…7 days after the webinar.

follow-up email example
Webinar Follow-up email example

One upside for the follow-up emails is that you can craft a separate message to the attendees and the absentees.

However, the follow-up emails do not include the webinar replay recording link.

If you want to send the replay recording link to your attendees, you’d have to manually insert it to the follow-up email.

As you can see, there’s starting to be a pattern in this Zoom Webinars Review.
The product is just not made for maximizing sales.  

Live Webinar Audience Interaction Tools

For the host, all the attendees are visible in the Participants tab.

During the live webinar, the attendees can send chat messages to:

But they can’t message the host privately. They can only message all panelists.

To personally get the host’s attention, they’d have to “Raise hand”.

Zoom Webinars Raise Hand example
Zoom Webinars Raise Hand example

Promoting an Attendee to a Panelist

In Zoom Webinars, all attendees are muted and can’t share their webcam or screen.

That means the attendees can’t see each other’s webcams or hear each other. That’s how it’s different from meetings.

However, if an attendee wants to share a story, then the host can enable the “Allow to talk” option.

Zoom Webinar Allow to Talk example
Zoom Webinar Allow to Talk example

After that, the attendee will be asked to unmute their microphone and speak. But this gives no permission to the webcam.

To enable the webcam, the host has to promote them to panelist. And then convert them to a host. So, in short:

After each role change, they would have to rejoin the webinar. Luckily, this happens automatically.

Attendee made a host
Example of an attendee who was gives host permissions

Once the attendee receives host powers, they can do practically anything and can’t be demoted to an attendee again.

They would have to rejoin the webinar to appear as an attendee again.

Launching Polls During the Live Webinar

Before the host launches the poll, he can review it.

As the host launches the poll, it would immediately appear for all the attendees. Here’s how the polls would look like for the attendees.  

Zoom Webinar Polls example
Attendee view: Answering polls

After the host closes the polling, he can choose to share the results with the attendees.
The poll results are not shared with the attendees by default.

zoom webinars polls ended example
Host view: Ending polls and sharing results

Asking questions using the Q&A. Upvoting on questions.

The Q&A must first be enabled in the webinar setup.

Host enables the QA
Host view: The host has to enable Q&A before the webinar

There’s an option to allow Q&A questions to be anonymous.

Here’s how the attendee should ask a question using the Q&A feature.

Q&A example
Attendee view: Asking a question during the webinar on Zoom

A useful feature for the Q&A is the upvoting. That means other attendees can upvote questions which they’re also curious about.

This makes it easier for the host to browse through all the questions and find the ones with the most upvotes. The host can answer them live.

For the less popular questions, the host (or other panelists) can provide a written answer.

host Q&A example
Host view: Answer questions live or written answer

After the questions have been answered live or with a written answer, they move to the “Answered” tab.

This makes it even easier to track all the questions that are left to answer.

Zoom Webinars Q&A Answers
Host view: Examples of answered questions

A big downside for Zoom webinars is that there are no interactive offers you can launch. Most webinar software today have this feature, but not Zoom.

This is clearly a sign that Zoom is not really meant for marketing purposes.

Webinar Video Engine & Tech Support

Before you actually start your webinar, you can run a practice session option to get to know all the controls and tools.

Once you start the webinar, you can also stream it to YouTube or Facebook Live.

Zoom Webinar Stream to Facebook or YouTube
Zoom Webinar Stream to Facebook or YouTube

There’s an option to enable the HD video in the video settings.

This really boosts the video quality – it’s really clear.

Zoom Webinars webcam quality HD
Zoom Webinars webcam quality (HD)

What I was surprised to see during this Zoom Webinars review is that enabling the HD video doesn’t cause any lag for the attendees.

The Zoom desktop app can utilize the hardware (processing powers & the webcam) in a more efficient way.

Zoom has been around for many years and they’ve had the time to perfect their audio and video quality. The connection quality is also reliable.

As for the tech support, your best help are the video tutorials and the less helpful interactive chat bot.

Zoom chat bot
Zoom chat bot can't understand simple questions

Webinar Presentation Tools

The presentation tools are nothing special. It’s missing some important presentation features that are commonplace in most modern webinar software today. For example, there are:

So, to show your slideshow, you’d have to share your screen.

To show a video, you’d also have to share your screen.

It’s not ideal, because screen-sharing decreases the slideshow and the video quality on the attendees’ side.

However, there is one quite versatile presentation tool in Zoom – the annotate feature.

Zoom Webinar annotate tool
Zoom Webinar annotate tool

It’s pretty useful for illustrating and emphasizing something on your slides. For example, you can:

Additionally, you can save the illustrations.

Zoom Webinars on Mobile Devices

Any attendee who wants to join your webinar on a mobile device has to download the Zoom app – either on Android or iOS.

Like on the PC or Mac, they can’t join without having to download something.

This is definitely a barrier for some attendees and it’s going to decrease your attendance rate.

The webcam quality on the Zoom Android app is crisp and it runs pretty smooth.

One thing I didn’t like is that the webcam window minimizes too much once I start sharing my screen to show the slides.

Zoom Webinar on Android 1
Attendee view: Zoom Webinar webcam
Zoom Webinar on Android 2
Attendee view: Slideshow + webcam

The interaction tools are well done.

Once the host launches the polls, it pops right up for the attendee. This is great for maximizing the poll participation rate.

The user interface if clear and easy to understand.

The Q&A is easy to navigate and it’s clear how the attendee can ask a new question or upvote existing questions.

Zoom Webinar on Android 3
Attendee view: Polls on mobile
Zoom Webinar on Android 4
Attendee view: Asking questions on mobile

Zoom Webinar Recording and Replay

The webinar can be automatically recorded and the webinar recording file can be stored to:

If you store the recording in the Zoom cloud and want to share the replay recording, it’s password protected by default.

You can turn it off and configure other replay recording settings.

Zoom Webinar recording settings
Zoom Webinar recording settings

In either way, the webinar replay recording is just a video file – all the interactions that happened during the live are lost. That means there are no polls and no Q&A during the replay.

Only what happened on video is recorded – the webcam and the screen sharing (which is used for the slideshow and for showing videos).

Zoom Webinar recording example
Zoom Webinar recording example

The entire chat log is also visible during the webinar replay. But chat messages don’t appear as they were sent during the live webinar – they’re all instantly visible right from the start of the replay recording.

You can also somewhat trim the replay recording video. That means you can set the starting point and ending point for the replay recording.

Zoom webinar recording trimming
Zoom webinar recording trimming

Zoom Webinar Reports and Analytics

There are 5 types of reports available to download for each Zoom Webinar:

These reports are available to download as CSV file after the webinar has ended.

Zoom Webinars Reports exports example
Zoom Webinars Reports exports example

Perhaps the most important information that these reports can give you are:

Dumping a bunch of CSV reports on you is a lazy solution in my opinion.

Modern webinar software have built insightful and concise analytics dashboards to give you the most vital information to learn and improve upon your webinars.

Zoom Webinars + Meetings Pricing & Trial

You probably already know that the Basic Package on Zoom Meetings is free.

Zoom Pricing
Zoom Meetings Pricing

This is what makes Zoom such an attractive choice for meetings – Reliable video conferences for free.

But if you want to get Zoom webinars, you need to upgrade. More specifically, you’ll need both:

This together will set you back $ 54.99 / month.

This package gets you:

If you want to get more attendees, then the pricing increases at a pretty steep rate.

Zoom Webinars Pricing Scalability
Zoom Webinars Pricing Scalability

So, contrary to popular belief, Zoom Webinars is not actually that cheap. Especially if you’re looking for a scalable option.

There’s no trial for Zoom Webinars.

Zoom Webinars Review Conclusion

So, let’s summarize what you’ll be getting and what you’ll be missing out on.

ProsCons
Very slight learning curve, if you’re already using Zoom MeetingsAttendees have to download & install an application just to join the webinar
Reliable webcam and screen sharingWebinar landing pages have no customization options and minimal analytics
Q&A has upvotingWebinar reminder emails are not optimized for increasing the attendance rate
Rich whiteboard (annotation) toolNo interactive offers
No automated webinars
No slideshow upload
Steep pricing. Actually, rather expensive

When to Choose Zoom Webinars?

Zoom Webinars is clearly not made for marketing purposes.

Don’t get me wrong – Zoom Meetings is one of the best software for team meetings and video conferences because its reliable video engine.

That’s why it’s great for companies and corporations for in-house webcasts that are meant for one-way information sharing.

Should I Host a Zoom Meeting or Zoom Webinar?

Choose Zoom Webinars over Zoom Meetings when you:

What are Better Alternatives to Zoom Webinars?

If your goal is marketing and selling online products, courses or a trainings, then there are far better alternatives to Zoom Webinars.

Some important features that you should look for when choosing a webinar software for marketing:

Here are some of the best webinar software that tick most (if not all) of the boxes above. I’ve reviewed these webinar platforms in great detail and trust to recommend them.

WebinarJam

WebinarJam is one of the most popular webinar software. They greatly focus on the marketing features like landing page conversion optimization and audience interaction tools. 

Best features: Live interactive offers during the webinars to maximize the sales. Also, the email segmentation options. WebinarJam is actually more than 3x cheaper, too. 

BigMarker

BigMarker is a jack-of-all-trades of webinar software. It goes above and beyond with their marketing features and webinar presentation tools. And, it has so many different types of webinars you can host.  

Best features: You can set up audience interaction tools (polls, offers, Q&A) inside the webinar replay. That means all your replay attendees will be more engaged and you can increase the sales.

Also, there are Live, On-Demand, Evergreen and Automated webinars on BigMarker.
There are even Live Streams available. The Automated Webinar builder is a convenient way to create webinars that run on autopilot.