Hosting Your Virtual Event: Zoom Webinars vs Zoom Meetings

This service is for faculty, staff, and students.

This document will help you determine whether a Zoom webinar or a Zoom meeting would be a better choice to host your virtual event. If you have further questions, please email  

How do I get access to a Zoom webinar license?

If you decide that a webinar is the right choice for your event, Event Support can assist you by scheduling a webinar on your behalf with one of our 500- or 1000-seat licenses. There are some limitations to the webinar features and number of webinars that we can support with the Event Support licenses: 

If you need to host webinar events more than once every two weeks, or if your webinars require any of the features listed below, your department will need to purchase their own webinar license: 

  • Advance registration in Zoom
  • Custom branding or custom Zoom email invitations 
  • Built-in Zoom polls

The cost for a 500-seat webinar license is approximately $1,400/year. If you are a faculty or staff member and department is interested in purchasing a license, please send an email to to start the process. 

What are the key differences between a meeting and a webinar?



Zoom meeting 

Zoom webinar 


300 attendees 

500-1000 attendees

100 panelists

Pre-event practice session 



Dedicated Q&A function 



Attendees are visible to one another 



Breakout groups 



File transfer 



What are the advantages of choosing a meeting?

Zoom meetings are best for hosting interactive sessions. A meeting will allow all users to interact, send files, share presentations, and speak at will. Think of a Zoom meeting like a large group meeting where you would like to engage all participants in the discussion. 

A Zoom meeting is likely a better choice for your event if... 

  • you would like all attendees to be able to speak freely and have group discussions 
  • you would like any attendee to be able to able to share their screen for presentation 
  • you require breakout groups for your event 
  • you need to transfer files among the participants 

What are the advantages of choosing a webinar?

Zoom webinars are best for hosting events that are more like a traditional lecture, large presentation, or panel discussion. Only a select group of users, called panelists, can present to the group. The rest are attendees and can only view the presentation and submit questions. 

A Zoom webinar is likely a better choice for your event if... 

  • you expect 50+ attendees, and most of the attendees do not need to speak during the event 
  • you only need a select number of users to be able to speak and show video during the event 
  • you need a dedicated Q&A function for attendees to submit written questions 
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Article ID: 110159
Tue 6/16/20 10:51 AM
Fri 10/14/22 11:14 AM

Related Services / Offerings (1)

St. Thomas offers Zoom and Microsoft Teams that allow you to host virtual audio/video meetings.