Jul 27, 2020

What is an eWebinar and how does it differ from a traditional webinar?

Todd Parmley
Todd Parmley
Head of Product + Content
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Most people are familiar with webinars — web-based seminars. Webinars let you host virtual seminars without having to find an actual meeting place. The speaker can share his or her presentation and the audience can attend without having to physically be in the same place. Everyone must join a traditional webinar at a set time, since the speaker uses a webcam to present the session live to attendees.

So then how is an eWebinar different from a traditional webinar?

An automated webinar

First and foremost, an eWebinar is an automated webinar.

Here, "automated" means a few things:

Pre-recorded video

Every eWebinar is built around a pre-recorded video. Video has three main benefits. It lets you perfect your presentation. It creates a consistent experience for attendees. (Videos never have an "off" day.) And video is less prone to latency issues like freezing or out-of-sync audio that can sometimes ruin traditional webinars.

Recurring schedule

eWebinars are set on a regularly recurring schedule and can be made available to potential attendees as often as you like for as long as you like, on any day, at any time, and in any timezone, including (dynamically) in the local timezone of the registrant, wherever that may be in the world. You can even make eWebinars available on demand effectively by using the "just in time" and “replay” features.

Pre-set interactions

You can program a series of interactions to pop up for attendees at exactly the right moments during your eWebinar. You can take polls, make special offers, pose questions, suggest helpful tips, give away content, send personal messages, and more. Pre-set interactions are extremely useful in engaging your audience and identifying high-quality leads.

A live experience

Although an eWebinar is unquestionably automated — It's a video! — the experience of one for attendees happens in the moment.

Three things bring the experience to life:

Chat

Attendees can interact with a real person in real time through live chat. Having someone there to answer questions makes all the difference. Unlike in a traditional webinar, attendees can get their individual questions answered while the presentation is still going on!

Interact

Making a presentation engaging means giving people opportunities to engage. Pre-set interactions — Remember those? — help people stay present. They give attendees a way to participate and stay engaged in the experience, which keeps them there until the very end.

React

Similar to Instagram live, if attendees see or hear something they like, they can give it a "thumbs up". These reactions are visible to future attendees and accumulate over time. So not only are people able to react themselves, they can learn from how others reacted (are reacting?) to the same experience.

Both automated and live

In the end, a traditional webinar is different from an eWebinar because it is presented live by the speaker. An eWebinar is automated, a pre-recorded video made available on a recurring schedule.

However, just because an eWebinar is automated doesn’t mean it isn't also live. With an eWebinar, it’s not the video that’s live, it’s the chat. Traditional webinars and eWebinars are both live experiences, just in different ways.

Live chat combined with pre-set interactive moments and real-time audience reactions create a uniquely engaging experience for each person who attends an eWebinar, an experience which for them is very much happening "right now".

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