By Jessica Vionas-Singer

Anyone who has followed my posts on SmartBug Media’s blog knows I’m a huge fan of webinars. I write about this marketing medium quite frequently, and I even gave a session at Inbound 2016 on creating a webinar program from the ground up, which we repurposed as a SmartBug webinar.

For HubSpot users who are adding webinars to their strategic marketing plans, the question of which software to use comes up almost immediately. Most marketers know they want a webinar platform that integrates with HubSpot, but what makes integration crucial?

  1. Integration gives you control over the registration page and email branding templates (most webinar software only gives you limited control of branding elements).
  2. All of the data lives in one place: HubSpot.
  3. You can segment leads, enroll lead nurture paths, and attribute results based on webinar activity in the past using the closed-loop reporting that HubSpot provides.

There are many comparisons of webinar platforms out there. Here we break down the pros and cons of the various options for webinar software as they specifically relate to integration with HubSpot.


Option 1: GoToWebinar

GoToWebinar is the only software platform that has a native integration with HubSpot. This means that integration is easy and the information is managed in the back end of HubSpot with ease (i.e., pulling lists, automated lead nurtures, and so on). Once a webinar is created in GoToWebinar, all you have to do is flip a toggle switch in HubSpot and you are ready to go.


Pricing:

$89/month for 100 attendees (when paid annually)


Pros:


Cons:

  • HubSpot will not receive information such as questions asked during the webinar or interest rating from GoToWebinar.
  • HubSpot won’t let you toggle webinars on by default. It also doesn’t work with prerecorded webinars in GoToWebinar.
  • The unique join link won’t populate from GoToWebinar into HubSpot, so your confirmation emails must come from GoToWebinar. (Or you can purchase Zapier to do this step for you. This excellent post by Jonathan Rudolph explains how.)
  • You cannot include calendar invites with a person’s unique join link in confirmation emails from HubSpot. (You could create calendar links using these instructions, but these invites won’t have someone’s link to join.)
  • GoToWebinar has a nice feature that pops open a survey when someone closes the webinar window to ask a few questions that you specify about the content of the presentation. If you use this feature, it’s not integrated with HubSpot (you’ll need to upload answers manually). If you create a custom survey in HubSpot, you can send it out via email, but it won’t open up automatically when someone closes the window.

Need some tactical help on the process of creating a webinar program from  scratch? Check out our on-demand webinar.

 

Option 2: Zoom Webinars

Zoom Webinars has a lightweight integration that utilizes webhooks to transfer information between the two platforms.


Pricing:

$54.99/month for 100 attendees ($14.99 for pro plan, plus $40 webinar add-on)


Pros:

  • Affordable platform for marketers looking to try out webinars without a large dollar commitment.
  • The unique join link for each registrant is copied from Zoom to HubSpot so that confirmation and reminder emails can be sent from HubSpot with your organization’s branding.

Cons:

  • While setup is not difficult, it takes a couple of extra steps compared to a native integration to get it going. Check out my blog post on how to set up the connection from scratch.
  • The integration will bring in registrants, however, you will not automatically get data in HubSpot on whether people attended or not. These lists have to be downloaded in Zoom and then uploaded manually into HubSpot.
  • Any database management of ongoing webinars will need to be carefully thought through ahead of time. For example, you may want to create a series of custom fields per webinar to track data over time, such as:
    • Webinar: “Cats vs Dogs” Registered (checkbox)
    • Webinar: “Cats vs Dogs” Attended (checkbox)
    • Webinar: “Cats vs Dogs” Time in Session (number field)
    • Webinar: “Cats vs Dogs” Rating (scale of 1-5)
    • Webinar: “Cats vs Dogs” Comments/Suggestions (open text field)
  • Although Zoom adds a participant’s unique join link to HubSpot, this feature only works if you have one webinar going at a time. If, for example, you have three webinars at once and someone registers for all three, the integration between Zoom and HubSpot doesn’t support that. (The person will only get one of the three unique join links.) Alternatively, you can have an open Zoom webinar that does not require a unique join link, however, this means that you may not get all of the attendee data if someone passes the open join link to their friends or colleagues.
  • Like GoToWebinar, you cannot include calendar invites with a person’s unique join link in confirmation emails from HubSpot.


Option 3: ReadyTalk

Similar to Zoom, integration between HubSpot and ReadyTalk is accomplished through webhooks. However, unlike Zoom, the integration brings over a lot more information.


Pricing:

$119/month for 150 attendees (when paid annually)


Pros:

  • ReadyTalk makes sure you have all of the fields in HubSpot every time a new webinar is created.
  • For an extra fee, ReadyTalk will host the recording of your webinars. If your organization goes this route (versus uploading the recording yourself), this link is available to use in HubSpot in follow-up emails without any extra steps.
  • Calendar links are created automatically for inclusion in HubSpot emails.

Cons:

  • Setup can be a bit intense due to the robustness of the integration.
  • Creation of webinars and integration of the various moving pieces take more time and effort than the other options.
  • Every time you have a webinar, ReadyTalk will create a new set of fields in HubSpot. If you have a lot of webinars, this will become a lot of custom fields to manage, which can make your database messy over time.

Option 4: AnyMeeting + Zapier

AnyMeeting does not have an integration with HubSpot, however, you can use Zapier to move data between the two platforms. Although I don’t have any experience with this approach, my research indicates the integration is limited.  


Pricing:

AnyMeeting: $40/month for 50 attendees (when paid annually)

Zapier: $20/month


Pros:

  • If you already use AnyMeeting and don’t want to switch platforms, there is at least an option for you to integrate the basics with HubSpot.

Cons:

  • The data you can move between the systems is limited to actions available in Zapier, which as of this writing is only New Webinar Registration and New Attendee.
  • There is not very much out there in terms of documentation or articles on setting up the webinar process and integration steps—although, given the limited nature of the options, you probably won’t need any help.

Other Options

You can also integrate BrightTALK with HubSpot via a web service called Bulkloader, you can integrate Webinar Jam with HubSpot via Leads Bridge, and you can integrate Livestorm with HubSpot within the Livestorm software.


Conclusion

As you’ve noticed, every webinar platform has its own set of pros and cons, so which one is the winner? If you are looking for an integration that’s easy to set up and easy to maintain, go with GoToWebinar. If budget is your primary concern, go with Zoom. You’ll get the basics and you can work around the rest. And if you have a lot of webinars going at once and need a super-robust integration, go with ReadyTalk.

Of course, I can only relay what I’ve learned from our experience with the various platforms. I’d love to hear what you think—is there a software that I missed? Any pros and cons in your experience with each platform? Feel free to chime in!

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Jessica Vionas-Singer

About the author

Jessica Vionas-Singer is a Marketing Strategist at SmartBug Media where she leads the strategy behind inbound and content marketing activities to help a portfolio of clients exceed their sales and marketing goals. She fell in love with marketing at her first job at a technology company specializing in credit evaluation software. Prior to joining SmartBug, Jessica was the Director of Marketing at a B2B company that built software for analyzing genetics. Her background includes more than 17 years of marketing experience in content creation and lead-driving tactics, online presence and blog creation, social media engagement, budgeting and project plans, webinar and trade show event management, public relations, comprehensive promotional campaigns, and analytics. Jessica has a BS in Sociology from Montana State University – Bozeman. Read more articles by Jessica Vionas-Singer.