How to Choose and Implement a Webcasting Solution

Cost

To a degree, the most significant advantage of the LSSP class of products is cost. Many are free, some with limitations on the number of viewers or video quality; some are advertising-supported, which may be inappropriate for many presentations. Still, if the budget dollars aren’t there and you need to get the word out, LSSPs are an alternative.

At the other end of the spectrum shown in Table 1 are traditional webcasters. While the most expensive option, traditional webcasters also come with technical hand-holding, which may be required for some users. On a single event basis, expect to pay around $600 or more for a base number of viewers, though you can reduce this price with volume.

Google+ Hangouts on Air is free, and, not surprisingly, the feature set is very basic from a webcast perspective. Most corporate users would be better served looking at products such as Adobe Connect and GoToMeeting, which start at around $20 per month, or higher with webinar-oriented features. For example, the base version of GoToMeeting costs $19 per month for up to five attendees, while GoToWebinar starts at $99 per month for up to 100 viewers.

When pricing potential solutions, identify the modules that you need and their cost for the expected number of viewers. Then identify what happens if you exceed the selected threshold. For example, with some vendors, if you choose a pricing tier of 1,000 viewers, additional viewers will get turned away. This sounds awkward, but it may be preferable to receiving an invoice for unbudgeted additional charges.

Registration and Lead Generation

If you’re producing webinars for sales and marketing purposes, the ability to capture customer information is key (Table 2). No LSSPs provide these capabilities, though there are workarounds I’ll discuss later.

All webcasting products offer sophisticated lead-generation functions that let you create a fully branded registration page for viewers, choose the required data fields, and export the contact information for later use. Most let you offer Outlook and other calendar reminders to registrants to promote attendance. However, while some webcasting services let you send reminder messages, “thank you for attending” notes, and “sorry you missed the webinar” emails, some do not, usually citing concerns about being identified as a spamming site. If these types of emails are important to you, and they should be, make sure to enquire about the email capabilities included with the service.

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