Video marketing has exploded in popularity over the past few years and, over the past 2 years in particular, more and more marketers are now leveraging the power of webinars for lead generation and qualification.
According to recent studies, over 95% of marketers consider webinars to be an important element of their content marketing strategy. In addition, a staggering 73% of B2B marketers believe that a webinar is the best way to generate high quality leads.
According to recent studies, webinars are driving digital-first engagement across industries — not just in Ireland, but around the world. Steve Daheb, CMO at ON24, believes that companies are favouring digital-first approaches as they are ‘a cost-effective way to capture buyer attention, drive deeper engagement and gather insights and data’ that can generate more revenue.
Data from the ON24 Webinar Benchmarks Report 2021 indicates the following:
- Around the world, the use of webinars increased 162% and attendance nearly quadrupled to more than 60 million people.
- 99% of marketers cite webinars as key to their plans.
- 66% of sales teams prioritise leads that come from webinars.
Statistics from the global report also indicate a growing preference for on-demand content, and marketers are responding by making their content available beyond a live event. In fact, 58% of those surveyed say they are focusing on creating on-demand webinars.
The launch of Microsoft Teams webinars
Microsoft Teams allows people to connect, engage, and collaborate in a multitude of ways, and in April 2021 they introduced a powerful new feature: the ability to create professional webinars and interactive meetings for up to 1000 attendees.
This new capability is included as standard in many of the Office and Microsoft 365 plans you’re already using, so there’s no need to purchase a new licence.
With Microsoft Dynamic 365 Marketing, you’ll also have the option to export attendee data directly from Teams, enabling the seamless creation of campaigns for ongoing nurture sequences. This opens up a whole new world of possibilities when it comes to engaging with your audience and driving conversions after the webinar.
Webinars vs Meetings in Teams: What’s the difference?
Essentially, a webinar is a meeting — but with added functionality. Let’s take a look at some of the key features that set them apart:
- You can host up to 1000 attendees in a webinar, but only 300 in a meeting.
- You have full control over the attendees’ individual audio and visual settings, enabling you to disable cameras and microphones if you wish.
- You can set up breakout rooms before the webinar begins, allowing the webinar to flow seamlessly (currently in Meetings this is only an option once the meeting is underway)
- You can schedule and obtain reporting data from third-party apps.
- You’ll have access to a dashboard that shows information about your attendees.
- You can view reactions in real-time, as well as spotlight the videos of up to 7 participants.
- Improved closed-caption and translation capabilities means that your content is accessible to more people.
- Attendees can join with a code instead of needing the full link.
- Minimise distractions by preventing people from joining after the meeting has started.
- You can make use of apps, enabling you to add more interactive and engaging content to your webinar.
Teams vs Zoom: Which one is better for webinars?
Let’s take a look at how they stack up against each other.
- As long as your internet connection is up to the task, both Zoom and Teams take advantage of up to 1080p@30fps video (although you’ll need to configure this manually in Zoom’s settings).
- In a Teams webinar, you can have up to 1000 participants (and this number can increase to 20,000 listen-only attendees with certain subscriptions)
- Zoom’s free plan allows you to start video calls with up to 100 participants but if you want more than that (up to 500), you’ll have to pay.
- Both can be used on Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS, or a web browser.
- Zoom uses end-to-end encryption, which means data is encrypted in your device, then sent privately and deciphered only when it reaches its destination.
- Microsoft uses in-transit and at-rest encryption, which is less secure. However, Zoom has had several issues with privacy and accounts being stolen, so it’s really down to personal preference.
- With Zoom’s free plan, you are limited to 100 participants and 40 minutes of meeting time. If you want more, they offer a variety of paid monthly subscriptions.
- Microsoft Teams also has a free plan with a decent amount of functionality. However, if you really want to take advantage of all that it has to offer, then you can opt for one of their more feature-rich paid plans.
You can find a more comprehensive comparison of the two options here.
Guide to hosting a Teams webinar
Now that we’ve explored and compared all the new features and capabilities, let’s look at how to create and host your first Teams webinar.
From the Team’s calendar, select the drop down next to ‘+New Meeting’ and select ‘Webinar’.
Click ‘Require registration’ and choose between ‘None’, ‘For people in your org and guests’, or ‘For everyone’.
Enter the details of your event such as the date, time, location, description, and the names of any additional presenters.
Select ‘View registration form’ and customise it to your needs. You can choose how much personal information attendees are required to provide, and you even have the option of adding an image or your logo to the form.
Note: When you have completed those steps, you can preview the form as an attendee by clicking ‘View in browser’.
At the top of the page you’ll see an option to ‘Copy registration link’. Use this link to advertise the webinar, invite attendees, and to accept user registrations.
Attendees will receive a confirmation email with the registration link. Once attendees have joined the lobby, you (or the meeting organiser) can admit them individually or all at once. As a presenter, you can manage participants and chat, see audience reactions, view raised hands, start/stop the webinar recording, create a poll, and use breakout rooms. You’ll also have a lot of control over video, audio, chat, and content sharing settings during the meeting.
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