Zoom Webinars vs. Zoom Meetings: What’s the Difference?

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Zoom Webinars vs. Zoom Meetings: What’s the Difference?

Key Points

  • Zoom Webinars and Zoom Meetings have different use cases, with Webinars designed for hosting large presentations and Meetings geared towards collaboration and participation.
  • Zoom Meetings allow any participant to use video and audio, while Zoom Webinars only allow the host and approved guests to speak and present shareable files.
  • Zoom Webinars can facilitate up to 50,000 participants, while Zoom Meetings allow up to 100 participants with the free plan and up to 1,000 with add-ons.

If you’re new to Zoom, you may wonder about the difference between Zoom Webinars and Zoom Meetings. After all, they sound the same. Also, whichever you choose, ultimately, the goal is to meet online. In truth, Zoom Webinars can be quite a different experience when compared to a Zoom Meeting. So if you’re wondering which is which and which one you should choose, keep reading because we have all the pertinent information you need to help you choose between Zoom Webinars and Zoom Meetings. 

Zoom Webinars and Zoom Meetings sound the same but have different use cases. Zoom Webinars are designed to facilitate a host or a panel of hosts to speak and share content, such as in lectures or other large presentations. While they may have large audiences, only the host and their approved guests will speak and present any shareable files. Conversely, we use Zoom meetings more collaboratively. Zoom meetings are geared toward participation and sharing content, and any participant can use video and audio. In other words, anyone can speak freely while on or off camera. 

Let’s look at both and see how they compare side-by-side.

Zoom Webinars vs. Zoom Meetings: Side-by-Side Comparison

AspectZoom WebinarsZoom Meetings
Waiting roomYesYes
Breakout roomNoYes
Meeting passwordsYesYes
File sharingHost-onlyYes, everyone
Screen sharingHost-onlyYes, everyone
ChatYesYes, everyone
Note and whiteboardHost-onlyYes, everyone
Silent reactionsNoYes, everyone
Steaming via YouTube, etc.YesYes
Calendar and third-party app integrationYesYes
Transcripts and recordingsYesYes
Source Tracking (where the guest came from)YesNo
Q&A, which allows attendees to ask questionsYesYes, with chat
Post-event surveysYesNo
Reporting features to note drop-offs and interest
Price149.90 USD a year (required) and optional upgrades for features and attendee options.Free to use basic plan, monthly fees for additional features, and attendee options.
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Zoom’s free plan allows up to 100 concurrent participants in a Zoom Meeting.

Zoom Webinars vs. Zoom Meetings: What’s the Difference?

Zoom Webinars and Meetings are valuable tools in the workplace, school, or while planning a virtual event. While they have similar features, there are several ways they stand apart. We’ve been looking at how each application differs in terms of how we use them and what we use them for. Let’s continue our journey and look at their key differences to help you decide which to use. 

Understanding Zoom Time Limits and Pricing

When it comes to operating costs, Zoom time limits and pricing go hand in hand. For example, those using the free version of Zoom Meetings will have 40 minutes before their meeting automatically ends. While anyone can use Zoom Meetings for free for a short time, you can always pay more for longer meeting times.

Alternatively, you can opt for the webinar option. If you opt for a Zoom Pro account, you can hold Zoom Webinars for 79.00 USD a month. This price will get you one host and up to 100 inactive participants. Also, we should note that if you get the paid license, your meeting will last 30 hours. However, if you have a paid license and only one person shows up, your session will automatically end after 40 minutes. 

When to Use

Zoom Webinars

If you’re a speaker, lecturer, or another type of presenter who will be speaking to a large audience, Zoom Webinars is probably your best choice. Zoom Webinars, designed to facilitate a sizeable virtual event, offer interesting analytics and insights. For example, when using webinars, you can see where your attendees originated from, be it a link on social media, an email, or a website. Knowing how your attendees got to your webinar can be helpful in marketing efforts and reaching a broader audience.

Additionally, webinars allow you to post Q&A sessions and surveys before, during, or after your speech. These sessions and surveys can be invaluable if you want to measure how well people understood your presentation or if you’re an employer looking at employee feedback.

Another feature of Zoom Webinars is the ability to let your attendees to see you while simultaneously viewing what you’re presenting. And with the three-screen option, attendees can see the rest of the audience. The only people who can address the attendees are the host or those pre-approved by the host (such as a panel or guest speaker). Plus, as the host of a Zoom webinar, you have the ability to unmute specific people if need be.  

Finally, you can analyze how well your presentation went with reporting features that track the engagement of your attendees. 

Zoom Meetings

Zoom Meetings are an excellent way for teams, students, and like-minded-folks to share ideas and content. In fact, Zoom Meetings are much more collaborative than Zoom Webinars. Meetings typically facilitate this collaboration, allowing everyone to talk, be on camera, and share their screen. 

Zoom Meetings are also often used in the workplace to conduct interviews, daily scrums, and one-on-one meetings. In Meetings, users can annotate and make notes on the screen, which is an easy way to suggest edits or ideas while sharing or presenting. 

Zoom meetings allow for more individuality and creativity than Webinars. For example, in Meetings, people can change their backgrounds to reflect their employer, team, or even something fun, like their favorite tropical beach. Also, amusing, but silent emoji reactions allow you to share how you’re feeling without interrupting.

Zoom Meetings also facilitate breakout rooms. These breakout rooms are simply meetings within the meeting, just with fewer people. Breakout room sessions are typically helpful when meeting cross-functionally and intend to have smaller teams make joint efforts on something or otherwise brainstorm before taking ideas back to the larger group in the meeting.  

Webcam laptop screen view many faces of diverse people involved in group videoconference on-line meeting lead by indian businesswoman leader, team using video call app work solve common issues concept
During a Zoom Webinar, only the host and speakers designated by the host can speak.

Zoom Webinars vs. Zoom Meetings: Must-Know Facts

  • You can record and save transcripts of both Zoom Webinars and Meetings. 
  • Zoom Meetings allow polls and silent emoji reactions.
  • Zoom Webinars allow Q&A Sessions as well as post-event surveys. 
  • The free version of Zoom Meetings allows up to 100 participants.
  • The maximum number of participants during one meeting is 1,000 if you opt for add-ons.
  • A Zoom webinar can facilitate up to 50,000 participants. 
  • Zoom Webinars and Meetings both enable one or more simultaneous live streams on YouTube, Twitch, Meta, and other streaming platforms. 

Zoom Webinars vs. Zoom Meetings: Which One Is Better? Which One Should You Use?

Zoom Webinars are for large amounts of people. They are less collaborative and intimate than Zoom Meetings. Therefore, use Zoom Webinars when you need to address a large audience that will remain primarily inactive participants. Webinars allow you to connect to audiences while presenting announcements, large company meetings, or school lectures and lessons. 

In contrast, Zoom Meetings are more social and team-oriented. They help facilitate collaboration by allowing everyone to speak, be on video, and share their screen. You should use Zoom Meetings when you need to meet with one or more people you want to talk to or present. For example, if you’re conducting an interview, a team meeting, or even a best friend catch-up session, Zoom Meetings are the better option. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you be seen on a Zoom webinar?

In a Zoom Webinar, the attendees cannot see each other. They cannot use webcams or microphones. However, hosts can use Q&A polls or a chatroom.

Do you need a Zoom account to join a meeting?

No, you don’t. You can join a Zoom meeting without creating an account.

Can everyone see you on a Zoom meeting?

While in a Zoom Meeting, you can leave your camera on or off. If you turn your camera on, everyone can see you.

Can my Zoom meeting start without me?

Yes. Guests can join your Zoom meeting without you as the host being present.

Does Zoom kick you off after 40 minutes?

How long does a Zoom webinar last?

Basic users can host webinars for up to 30 hours. However, if you have less than three people join, your max time is 40 minutes.

What time of day is best for a Zoom webinar?

If you schedule a webinar during the late morning and early afternoon hours, you have the best chance of the most people joining. This is due to time zones and people’s lunch schedules. 
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