Zoom Meetings vs. Webinars

Though Zoom Meetings and Zoom Webinars provide comparable features, there are some differences to be aware of when deciding which tool best suits your need. Below you will find a key feature comparison and a use case comparison chart.

Get a Webinar License: If, after reviewing the charts below, you decide a webinar fits your need, you will need to complete the U-M ITS Meeting vs. Webinar form to automatically and instantly grant yourself a Webinar license. We also recommend you review our 30 Minutes to Becoming a Webinar Subject Matter Expert documentation.
Zoom Meetings Zoom Webinars
Participant limit: 300 Participant limit: 500 or 1000 (10,000 with a special U-M Webinar license)
Content Sharing: All Participants Content Sharing: Host, Co-host, and Panelists Only
Audio & Video: All Participants Audio & Video: Host, Co-host, and Panelist Only
Chat: Host to All Participants and Participant to Participant Privately and Publicly. (Hosts have the ability to disable Public and Private Chat.) Chat: Hosts, Co-hosts, Panelists, and Participants can publicly. (Hosts have the ability to disable chat completely for participants.)
Polling: Available Polling: Available
Breakout Rooms: Available Breakout Rooms: Not available
Waiting Rooms: Available Waiting Rooms: Not available
Q&A: Available Q&A: Available
Livestream: Not available Livestream: Available with some restrictions. Refer to Live Stream a Zoom Webinar.

Use of Zoom meetings or webinars should also be considered based on the experience you want to provide for your participants. Meetings are more interactive and provide different ways for participants to engage. Webinars provide the host the opportunity to have full control over presenting to a very large group with full permissions to manage the webinar, panelists, and attendees.

Use Case Considerations Solution
Staff meeting Less than 300 participants, video and audio of all participants, and ability to content share. More participant engagement. Meeting
Training session With less than 300 participants, breakout rooms are an option as well as polling. Includes a Raise Hand feature that is ideal for training sessions. The host can mute all participants and toggle on when appropriate to allow for interaction. Meeting
Professional conference

More than 300 participants, more control for the host, co-host, and panelist. Audio, video, and content are shared by the host, co-host, and panelist only. Includes polling feature, which is often utilized for professional conferences.

Class under 300 Ideal for interactive sessions where you’ll want to have lots of audience participation or utilize breakout sessions for small group discussions. Meeting
Class over 300 A virtual lecture hall or auditorium with a very large audience. Ability to use Q&A feature for attendees to ask questions during class. Webinar
Patient visit May be used with some types of sensitive data, including Protected Health Information (PHI), and provides end-to-end encryption. Ability to lock meetings. Meeting
Daily stand-up Ability to see all participants. Everyone has audio and video and can chat publicly or privately. Meeting
Town Hall Large audience/event that is open to the public and needs little audience engagement. Webinar

Also, consider accessibility for Zoom meetings and webinars. Refer to Videoconferencing Captioning Tools for Zoom and Videoconferencing and Digital Accessibility at the University of Michigan for detailed information.