How to Decide Between Live and Pre-Recorded for Your Next Online Event

Should you pre-record your next online event or instead present it live?

Last Updated on November 1, 2021

As recently as two years ago, you might not have even considered this question. Why contemplate holding an online event live when simply holding an in-person event would bring much of the same immediacy? However, the pandemic era has abruptly rendered many in-person events impractical. 

So, now, the real question is likely to be not whether you should deliver your next event online but instead how you should deliver it online. Should you replicate the in-person experience as closely as possible, or capitalize on the opportunity to record yourself in advance? 

How quickly would you like to foster engagement?

Numerous statistics shared by Estate Agent Networking shine an interesting light on how deciding between a live and on-demand format for online events affects engagement. 

While Facebook audiences have been found to spend three times longer watching live-streamed videos than viewing conventionally uploaded videos, analysis of one event’s live and pre-recorded sessions indicated that the latter held attendees’ attentions for longer. 

Do you want to advertise your brand or yourself?

If you are thinking of taking to Facebook’s live-streaming platform Facebook Live, heed Social Media Today’s warning that audiences here “are not looking for a sales pitch. It’s a social medium, so they’re tuning in to find out more about you, not to get sold to.”

When you stream, there is a stronger focus on you as an individual – even if viewers know you are representing a company. A live feed would make it easier for your personality to come across. 

Would you like to collect live feedback from attendees?

You might have asked yourself at one point: “What is a webinar?” As Business 2 Community points out, the portmanteau “webinar” combines the words “web” and “seminar” – and one dictionary definition of the latter is “a meeting for giving and discussing information”.

You could say the interactivity of a seminar is what sets it apart from many other online events. Polls and surveys are especially easy to hold live using a webinar platform from a company like ON24.

How elaborate is the information you want to provide?

Some complex concepts can often be explained much more easily on a pre-recorded video than live – for the simple reason that, when pre-recording yourself, you would have the freedom to review the footage and redo any bits that don’t come across quite as clearly as they should. 

Nonetheless, when holding a live event where you ask for questions from the audience, you could garner a better idea of exactly which parts confused the audience. 

How disciplined do you have to be with the event’s running time? 

When performing live, you can too easily lose track of the time and end up outstaying your welcome – especially if your event concludes in a Q&A section. 

At this stage, one of the attendees could ask you a question that takes longer for you to answer than you had originally anticipated. If you opt to pre-record an event, however, you would be able to subsequently trim it to fit your allocated time slot. 

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