The rate of change in communication technology is rapidly accelerating and webinars, while far from new, are one of the fastest growing trends right now. Many companies, large and small, as well as individuals have come to realize the many benefits offered by webinars. Users are growing by the day.

Webinars have the ability to reach a large number of highly targeted people virtually anywhere on any device. They are increasingly being used for, amongst other things, marketing, market research, training, recruitment and brand building as well as being used internally for company communications. They are interactive and engaging, allowing for collaboration and sharing of ideas.

There is an art to creating and running a successful webinar and the sooner you start getting familiar with the technology, they sooner you will start getting it right. It is an on-going process, like most things in business, and you should constantly evaluate your webinars to see where they can be improved.

There are a number of software applications and platforms available that will assist you in making your webinar more professional and more effective. We are going to look at two of the leading options, ClickMeeting and Go To Webinar and see how they measure up.

ClickMeeting

ClickMeeting is a popular platform for web-based conferencing that is used by many businesses as well as individuals. It works on all major platforms and is accessible from all major devices or by phone or VoIP from any browser. It provides a flexible solution from a few users up to 1000. ClickMeeting offers secure communications, 6 hours of recording as well as desktop sharing and presentation tools. Another great feature is the ability to personalise the branding of the meeting room giving it a very professional look and feel. It offers moderated private chat as well as chat translations.

It is a highly user-friendly platform and prices range from $30 upwards, depending on the number of users.

It is a perfect application for the home or business user, particularly due to the competitive pricing and ease of use. It boasts many customers all over the world and is suitable for a wide range of users.

To summarize:

Social media activity:

Clickmeeting has an active Twitter account where queries and comments are responded to. They also have a Facebook page sharing their latest news. They post regular blogs with advice and new features.

Security:

They make use of HTPS security and are TRUSTe compliant. There was no negative feedback from any security monitoring web sites

Price:

Basic plan for           5 users $10

25 users $30

Clickwebinar             50 users $40

1000 $280

Payments:

They accept all major credit cards as well as debit cards with the Amex, Visa or Mastercard logo.

Features:

Up to 1000 attendees

Recording of 6 hours

Maximum 4 presenters

Rebranding of the meeting area

GoToWebinar

gotowebinar

GoToWebinar is a Citrix product that also provides software for the effective creation and management of webinars. Citrix have been around since 1989 and provide a range of cloud-based and data sharing solutions.

GoToWebinar is suitable for webinars in excess of 1,000 users and it has lead generating software built in. It also provides HD video conferencing and recording.

It is somewhat more expensive than ClickMeeting with packages starting at $99, also increasing according to the number of users.  They make use of 128-bit AES encryption.

GoToWebinar offers a poll and survey feature and also has screen sharing facilities. They have a number of clients including some of the larger blue chip companies. It runs off a number of global data centers for greater reliability.

Social media activity:

They have a fairly popular Facebook page with regular updates and their Twitter account is updated daily. They have a growing Google+ account. They lack a blog.

Security:

All security monitoring sites provided positive feedback.

Price:

Basic plan for :Standard plan is $49/month and $469 annually Max 25 users

Gotowebinar  :There are three tiers starting at $99/month and $948 annually

Payments:

Credit card is the only means of payment.

Features:

HD recording and archiving

Maximum 1000 participants

Surveys and polls provided

There is no doubt that the use of webinars will continue to grow exponentially and if you are not already using this technology, now is the time to get on board. Those that have been using it for some time are starting to fine tune and perfect their use of the technology. Nothing remains the same for very long and new features and applications will develop over time, changing the way we use webinars.

Conclusion:

Both ClickMeeting and GoToWebinar are good solid platforms with a host of useful features and benefits. I would have to say, based mainly on price and the user interface, I would go the ClickMeeting route. Webinars of 1000 plus users are very much the exception and will not be achieved by the vast majority of clients.