With each webcast service, we went through every step you would in creating a live event. We customized the platforms to display our brand and logo, created presenter biographies, sent out bulk invites with Microsoft Outlook if the feature was supported, and customized invitation and registration pages. The invites included specific instructions for attendees on how to connect to an event, including downloading applications or plug-ins, if applicable, and forwarding passwords or codes to access the program via phone or internet.
We found that programs that allow you to access the webcast on your internet browser were the easiest to set up and use from an attendee standpoint. Both ClickWebinar and ReadyTalk were the easiest programs to set up. The services allow presenters and attendees to access webcasts from a browser without having to download any extensions or plug-ins.
Throughout the webcasts, we tried the various presentation and moderating features, including using live video streams, previewing presentation slides, sharing screens and applications, muting attendees, and monitoring the raise hand feature. We used the phone-in features to ensure a positive experience for attendees that cannot access the event from a computer. We also accessed the webcast as both a presenter and attendee using a mobile device to ensure the app offered the same performance and usability of the online solution. We used the recording and editing features and noted the overall quality for the finished product.
As part of the webcast, we conducted a Q&A session that included feedback about the overall ease-of-use and quality of the webcasting service program from the attendees' point of view. We took careful note of the overall quality of the live event, including how simple it was for the attendee to use the program. We ranked webcasting services based on usability for both the presenter and attendee. We also considered the amount of features and functions included to calculate the overall score of each service.
Our hands-on testing is designed to simulate typical, real-world experiences with webcasting services. For our tests on these services, we received access to them from the companies. The manufacturers have no input on our testing methodology, and our rankings are not shared with them prior to publication.
Our Verdict & Recommendations
While all of the webcasting services offer quality solutions to hosting live events, we found that three of the services out-performed the others in usability and performance. Cisco WebEx, Onstream Media and Adobe Connect offer a combination of high-functioning webcasting services with numerous presentation features, moderator tools and monetization features.
We found these are the best webcasting services. Each of these programs is easy to use for both presenters and attendees. In addition to being able to provide quality live stream of your business event, these solutions have recording and editing features so that you can provide your seminars and press releases for downloading and listening later. And since all of them are mobile-friendly, your clients can access both the live stream and the recording from their web-enabled phone, tablet or other device, making these services convenient and easy to use.