Audio v Video Webinars: Which is Right For You?

By redback

Webinars are now one of the most popular marketing and communications channels for both small and large businesses. That’s because they’re affordable, effective, productive and can keep attracting viewers if you make them available on-demand.

When it comes to planning your next webinar, one thing to consider is whether you need video, or whether audio will suffice? The answer generally depends on what you want to achieve.

There are many situations where an audio-only webinar can add a lot of value, not to mention lowering risk and providing peace of mind. In other cases, however, video is a better option, especially when you have a key message to get across and you want to inspire interaction and collaboration.

Here are 5 advantages of both audio and video webinars, to help you decide which is right for your next virtual event:


5 Advantages of Video Webinars


1. Video conferencing is more engaging than just audio

Being able to see the people you’re listening to creates a greater connection and leads to higher levels of engagement. In fact, research has found that non-verbal communication makes up around two-thirds of communication between people.

Video removes the sense of distance you might still feel over an audio link, and keeps everyone involved because it reduces the chance of presenters being ‘out-of-sight’ and therefore ‘out-of-mind’.

Video also builds familiarity. If, and when, it comes time to meet face-to-face, your customers or prospects will already have a face to put to your name.


2. Video boosts the quality of communication and learning

When it comes to your brain processing information, the eyes have it. That’s because it’s estimated that 30% to 50% of the surface of the brain is devoted to processing visual information, compared with around 8% for touch and 3% for hearing.

We also process visual information faster and more effectively than text or audio alone.

Video makes it easier to steer the focus of your audience toward what you really want with short, emotive videos that complement the main points of a presentation.

Visual aids also allow the audience to see what you’re discussing in an easily identifiable way, as opposed to compiling a list of bullet points that just repeat what you’re saying.


3. Video webinars are easier to manage than you think

The best video webinar services today are hosted in the Cloud, which means you don’t need expensive infrastructure or new scripts for your IT team to learn.

It also means they’re suitable for an enterprise of any shape or size, from sole traders to the world’s biggest corporations, and anyone in your business can host one.

The best video webinars are also easy for users to access because participants don’t require any software to participate and can join from any device.


4. Video webinars facilitate collaboration

Video webinars can easily be customised to suit different formats, such as whether your audience is likely to connect via mobile devices or desktop, and offer a suite of different functions that improve collaboration.

Whiteboards, live chat Q&A and the ability to share screens and files make it easier to collaborate and give all participants a chance to provide input.

The ability to vote, take part in a poll, ask a question and join an after-event forum can also increase the opportunity for more people to get involved.

Video webinars also let you tailor your event staging to match your messaging. Seeing a panel of presenters seated at a desk, or an interviewer and a single interviewee casually seated on a couch, can help create the right environment for your audience.

When it comes to a more structured, formal environment where the message is key, you might have one single speaker addressing the audience from a studio environment, taking advantage of a green screen and visual branding opportunities.


5. Video webinars can be edited to make great video clips

The demand is great for cost-effective online video, and video webinars enable organisers to edit and re-use sections of their main webinar for social channels and other promotional channels, to help promote their event and also their brand.


5 Advantages of Audio Webinars.

Connecting with a mobile workforce

While we’ve seen a massive uptake of video webinars as a result of COVID-19, that doesn’t mean video should be the only medium you turn to when it comes to communicating with remote teams or clients — especially if they’re not always near a reliable internet connection.

For example, if your sales team is literally on the road, the logistics of finding a reliable internet connection, or pulling over to the side of the highway and joining a video webinar can be prohibitive. In such cases, an audio-based event may be more effective.


2. When connectivity isn’t guaranteed

While the rollout of the NBN in Australia has improved the speed and reliability of internet connections for many of us, it’s still not the case for everyone.

If your remote presenters have an unstable broadband connection or they’re connecting from a rural area, it’s definitely worth thinking about audio only, or giving them the option of connecting via teleconference.

Showing a slide of the speaker with clear audio is better — and preferred by virtual event attendees — than showing a glitchy video with poor sound.

Trying to use a hotspot on your phone to stream video can also be limited by the lack of quality mobile service.

On other occasions, your target audience might not always have access to a computer or laptop — but they are more than likely to have a phone.

Adding a teleconference to your event means they’ll be more easily able to join whether they’re located across the country or the other side of the world where the internet isn’t up to scratch.


3. When participation matters

When it comes to formal business events like Annual General Meetings (AGMs) where it’s a legal requirement that all members are able to participate in proceedings (including on some occasions to vote, comment and ask questions) providing an option for participants to join via an audio-only teleconference can be critical.

Incorporating a managed teleconference into your Annual General Meeting, with facilitated Q&A and voting by phone, will mean you won’t fall foul of regulators.

You can still conduct your virtual AGM via webinar with a video feed and visual presentation online, as well as live poll votes and Q&A submitted via online chat.

But if your provider offers teleconferencing as an option, you’ll have the added reassurance of knowing your AGM is as equitable as possible — a key requirement of the corporate watchdog’s new guidelines allowing virtual AGMs for the first time.


4. Audio lets your audience multitask

Despite the many predictions that technology and automation would create more spare time for us to do more of the things we want, for most of us it seems the reality is somewhat different.

Audio webinars let users multi-task safely, because they can do other things while listening in, such as driving, sitting on a bus or preparing dinner.

That doesn’t mean they can’t also view or download the slide presentation at the appropriate time.

With smart devices registrants can also listen on via smart speaker, headphones or other devices while getting other jobs done.


5. As a back-up plan

Sometimes technical difficulties arise, and there should be a back-up plan for every event.

What if your network goes down or your video feed freezes? A teleconference is a great plan B for those occasions when you can’t postpone the event and you don’t want to disappoint your audience.

If you’re communicating with important stakeholders such as investors, it’s also important to make sure you come across in an effective, professional way — this is no time for technological hiccups.

When you’re hosting a webinar, you can cover all your bases by choosing a provider that offers hybrid teleconferencing in case connectivity difficulties arise.

Investor briefings and roadshows often include a slide presentation. By providing everyone with a slide pack before the event, you can cover all your bases in case someone is forced to, or prefers to, follow along with audio only.

And some people — including presenters — don’t like video and are more comfortable with traditional audio webinars.

So while video is right for some webinars and virtual events, it may not be right for everyone. Consider your needs to determine whether a traditional audio webinar, perhaps with teleconferencing included, would better suit your needs.

For more tips on organising great webinars, download The Webinar Organiser’s Handbook here.