Webinars allow you to share your expertise at scale, helping you connect directly with new customers and deeply engage with existing ones. But there’s more to webinars than just the content—you also need to invite and manage attendees, run the online event, facilitate real-time engagement, and measure success.
That’s where webinar software comes in. The best webinar platforms help you streamline and automate all the logistics related to running a webinar so you can focus on sharing your knowledge with your audience—whether you’re leading a demo for potential customers, running a paid workshop, or sharing best practices to generate leads.
I’ve been writing about software and productivity for 10 years and have run dozens of webinars myself. To help you manage your webinars more effectively, I tested all the top webinar tools and narrowed it down to the six best.
The best webinar software in 2023
Demio for a no-frills webinar experience
BigMarker for built-in webinar automation
Crowdcast for streaming to multiple services simultaneously
eWebinar for automated, pre-recorded webinars
Zoom for a familiar user experience
Livestorm for a simple app to manage multiple webinars
What makes great webinar software?
How we evaluate and test apps
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Marketers look for different things in a webinar platform. Some only need a simple tool to live stream a presentation. Some want various tools and features that allow them to interact with their audience, while others want the ability to record their webinar once, then release the recording as a separate event.
The wishlist for a webinar app varies quite a bit. What doesn’t vary is the need for:
Simple and quick webinar registration
Opportunities to interact and engage with attendees
The ability to record webinars
The ability to track key webinar metrics (such as attendance and attentiveness)
I spent almost a week testing more than 20 webinar tools that offer free trials. I only considered apps that were primarily focused on webinars and excluded ones that offered webinar features as part of a much larger marketing suite.
To review, I signed up for each app, evaluated the user interface, scheduled both live and on-demand webinars, experimented with various engagement features (like polls and giveaways) during the webinar, and created reports to analyze the webinar’s success. I hosted the webinar, but I also used a separate login to “attend” the webinar. I logged my notes in a spreadsheet for comparison, and if I ran into any issues, I read the help docs, watched tutorials, or contacted support.
One last thing: If you’re looking for a solution that does webinars and then some, an enterprise virtual event tool like Adobe Connect, BlueJeans, or ON24 may be a better option. And for a more robust events platform that helps you make seriously engaging and interactive webinars, Brandlive is worth a look. I wasn’t able to fully test it within the timeframe of writing this article, but the app offers robust, accessible tools to help you create well-designed, dynamic videos, and the audience interaction features are extensive.
With that, here are my picks for the six best webinar hosting apps.
The best webinar software for a no-frills webinar experience
If you want to spend more time focusing on your audience and content than learning how to run webinars on platforms with a lot of complex features, Demio offers a no-frills yet intuitive interface.
Demio lets you create a live, scheduled webinar; a series of scheduled sessions; or an on-demand, pre-recorded webinar. It takes less than two minutes to create a live, scheduled webinar—you simply add the title of the webinar and then select the date and time.
Of course, there are additional features to help you customize your webinar if you want. You can update the registration page with your branding; build a custom thank-you page; create polls, handouts, or calls-to-actions; and set automated email notifications 24 hours, one hour, and 15 minutes before the webinar starts.
When it’s time for the webinar to begin, the hosting experience is just as simple. Unlike some webinar apps that have a cluttered presenter screen, Demio’s webinar experience is clean and minimal. There’s a toolbar on the bottom where you can control your microphone and camera, and another bar on the right to manage chats, polls, and handouts.
You can do more with Demio when you connect it to your favorite apps through Zapier. Automatically register customers for your webinar, put registrants into your marketing campaign, and more. These pre-made workflows are examples to get you started.
Demio pricing: From $49/month for the Starter plan with 50 attendees per webinar.
The best webinar software for built-in webinar automation
BigMarker (Web, iOS, Android)
Small, manual tasks—like managing the waiting room, pressing “play” to start the webinar, posting in the chat, and ending the webinar—add up and can cause extra stress for webinar organizers. You can offload this work with BigMarker: it’s automated webinar software that offers built-in automation.
In the Automation tab, you’ll see a timeline of activities you can customize and trigger for your webinar. You can automatically open the waiting room and have it disappear when the content begins. You can draft messages and polls ahead of time and have them post to the chat at a pre-set time. Or, schedule downloadable handouts, giveaways, and pop-up calls-to-action to push attendees to the next step.
In addition to automation features, BigMarker has a number of unique capabilities that I didn’t see in other webinar apps. For example, you can set a pop-up inside the webinar that attendees must click to show that they’re paying attention or conduct a lucky draw inside the webinar to award prizes.
You can automate BigMarker even further with BigMarker’s Zapier integrations, which will help you connect it to all the other apps in your stack. Here are a few examples.
BigMarker pricing: Historically, BigMarker was a bit more expensive than the other apps on this list, but now you’ll need to request a quote from the BigMarker team.
The best webinar software for streaming to multiple services simultaneously
There’s one feature Crowdcast has that other webinar hosting platforms don’t offer, and that’s the ability to simultaneously broadcast on multiple platforms. There’s built-in support for streaming to Facebook Live and YouTube, and you can also stream to any service that supports RTMP, including Twitch and LinkedIn Live. This is ideal if you have followers on all of those platforms—you can meet everyone where they are, instead of trying to pull them to another service.
The actual webinar features are somewhat sparse. There’s chat and support for polls, Q&A, and hand raising, like most apps offer. You can also add clickable buttons for links, which is perfect if you have a call-to-action, like a product to sell or an event you want viewers to register for. You can set up any of these features before the webinar or on the fly during the webinar itself.
Crowdcast also offers in-depth reporting with analytics on everything from basic attendees and traffic to detailed conversion rates, funnels, referrals, UTM tracking, and more.
Sparse as the webinar features are, in one way, Crowdcast is more powerful than other webinar tools—if you’re willing to put the work in. Users who want a truly custom setup can use RTMP Studio to connect to live streaming software like OBS, Wirecast, or Ecamm Live, instead of the included webinar features. These advanced tools, while not easy to set up, allow for all kinds of advanced configurations: custom on-screen graphics, support for quickly cycling through multiple cameras, and more. It’s about as close to a professional broadcast as you can get.
You can also connect Crowdcast to Zapier, which will let you do things like automatically add event attendees to your mailing lists.
Crowdcast pricing: From $49/month for the Lite plan with support for up to 100 attendees and ten hours of streaming per month.
The best webinar software for automated pre-recorded webinars
Almost all the best webinar tools featured in this roundup offer the ability to schedule pre-recorded webinars, but eWebinar takes this to the next level. eWebinar focuses solely on automating pre-recorded webinars on a schedule, complete with real-time interactions and live chat to deliver an engaging experience.
Upload any video, webinar, presentation, or training, import from Zoom, or paste a link to your video if it’s hosted on YouTube, Vimeo, S3, and other supported providers. Then, set the webinar’s schedule. Select a start and end date, the days of the week your webinar will run and the time, and any blackout dates (like country holidays) you don’t want the webinar to play. You can also allow “just-in-time sessions,” where attendees can register and join the webinar in as little as five minutes.
Due to its very nature, pre-recorded and on-demand webinars lack interaction, but eWebinar allows you to engage with attendees in real time—without committing to hosting the webinar. Attendees will be automatically greeted with a custom welcome message in the chat. When they respond, you’ll get a notification so you can continue the chat, live. If you’re not around or busy, they’ll get a custom away message, and you can respond via email later.
You’ll also have the ability to add interactions wherever you want in your webinar. The interface is impressive—it looks like video editing software, where you’ll see a timeline on the bottom of your video that you can drag and then drop interactions, like pre-populated questions, polls, downloads, tips, and offers, at any time.
You can do more with eWebinar when you connect it to your favorite apps through Zapier. Automatically add webinar registrants to your CRM, automatically register people for your webinar after they make a purchase, and more.
eWebinar pricing: $99/month for the Level 1 plan, which allows you to publish one webinar, with unlimited attendees and team members; $199/month for the Level 2 plan for up to 5 published webinars.
Best webinar software for a familiar user experience
Zoom (Web, iOS, Android)
Zoom is best known as a video conferencing tool, but the same reliable, powerful, and intuitive interface used to run meetings also makes it ideal for webinars, especially those that are video-heavy or feature multiple panelists.
Zoom allows you to feature up to 1,000 panelists and host up to 50,000 attendees. Customize your presentation style to match your content with a mix of video, screen sharing, and streaming video of your presenters. You can show two views side-by-side: for example, keep presenter video up while running a demonstration on a shared screen. Presenters can also view audience questions in a pop-up window, so you can run highly interactive, panel-style webinars with very little friction.
Zoom also allows streaming to Facebook and YouTube. On Facebook, you can give your webinar a custom name, and choose whether you want to live stream it from your personal account or from a page or group where you have admin privileges. Select your options, and Zoom will take care of the rest, broadcasting your webinar on Facebook, with the content only delayed 20-25 seconds from your original webinar.
The feature works similarly on YouTube. Assuming your YouTube account is enabled for live streaming, just name your video, choose your desired privacy setting, and you’re set. Zoom will notify you that you’re live in the left corner of your webinar screen, where you can toggle, view, or share your live stream on either Facebook or YouTube.
To make things even easier, you can automatically register attendees for your Zoom webinar, put registrants into your marketing campaign, and more by connecting Zoom to Zapier.
Zoom pricing: From $690/year/license for up to 500 attendees and unlimited webinars.
One of the first widely-used webinar tools, GoTo Webinar, is another option for a familiar yet powerful webinar experience, making it a good Zoom alternative for webinars. Running a webinar in GoToWebinar is every bit as easy as running a meeting in its sister app, GoTo Meeting. This meeting-first mentality makes it very easy to add multiple presenters and share screen controls between them. Here are the top ways to automate GoTo Webinar.
Best simple webinar software for running multiple webinars
If you’re running marketing webinars on a regular basis, you need a webinar tool that helps you focus on the content, while keeping track of your broader webinar schedule. After all my testing, I’d say Livestorm is the best option for this use case.
The app offers a simple interface and workflow, but it doesn’t skimp on features. You’ll find a fully customizable registration form that you can send via email, share via link, or embed right on your website. Each new event you create comes with a pre-built, automated email flow you can edit or send as is. And you can automate event start and end times, video plays, and redirects.
Within the webinar, you can add the free Custom Design app to add your brand colors and logo, change the background image, and more—or stick with the clean and minimal default Livestorm player. Send a custom call-to-action any time during the event, and break down performance with in-depth event analytics, along with a handful of cumulative reports.
The calendar—found in the left-hand menu—is one of my favorite Livestorm features. It may sound simple, but when you’re running multiple webinars each week, having a clean and up-to-date view of your schedule is crucial. You can even one-click to create a new event during one of your open times right from the calendar view.
You can also connect Livestorm with the other apps in your stack via Zapier. With the Livestorm and Zapier integration, you can automate new registrant notifications, changes to your CRM data, and more.
Livestorm pricing: Free plan available for up to 30 active contacts per month and limited features; upgrade to the Pro plan for $88/month to get up to 500 active contacts per month, 500 live attendees per event, 4 hours per session, and HubSpot integration.
How to pick the best webinar software for marketers
The success of your webinar is about creativity and how well you engage your audience before, during, and after the webinar. So as you’re browsing these platforms and choosing a tool for your webinar, ask yourself: which webinar app will best help you and your company engage your unique audience?
Originally published in November 2017 by Emily Irish, this article has also had contributions from Justin Pot and Kiera Abbamonte.