Of all the webinar software reviews I've done, this one was the most frustrating... and the most heart breaking.
ClickMeeting is a webinar platform with a long list of impressive features, that inititally showed so much promise. But it also contains a fatal flaw, which is a complete deal breaker. Because of this problem, I'll structure this review differently than I usually do.
Note: Reviews + Final Roundup
You're reading one of my may reviews of webinar tools. Here's a list of all the other tools I've published reviews on:
- GoToWebinar Review
- Webinar Ninja review
- Crowdcast review
- Demio review
- ClickMeeting review
- EasyWebinar review
- Zoom Review
- WebinarJam Review
- BigMarker Review
After publishing all of these, I also created one massive roundup review, pitching them all against each other! Check it out here.
How (and Why) This Review is Different
In my online marketing career, I have hosted well over 100 webinars and to test different webinar platforms, I didn't only look at and compare their features. I signed up for each one and did a real, live event, to a real audience.
This ClickMeeting review shows why this approach is so important: the fatal flaw I mentioned above is one I couldn't reproduce in a "dry run". It only happened live, with an audience of over 150 people actually attending my event.
I will start by explaining what went wrong and why, in my opinion, this is a total deal breaker.
After that, I will still list all of the things I love about ClickMeeting. I can't recommend this solution, but I still want to give it credit where credit is due.
With that said, let's get into it.
Screen Sharing: Catastrophic Failure
I was hosting a webinar on ClickMeeting during which I would be switching between presentation slides and demonstrating things in my browser. The most convenient setup for this is to just share your entier screen and switch between slides, browser and other apps on screen as needed.
Screen sharing failed catastrophically. There's no mild way to put it.
As an example, here's what I had on my screen (and was trying to share with my audience):
Here's what I was seeing in my ClickMeeting admin interface:
In my interface, I could tell something wasn't right. It would show the shared screen correctly for a moment and then glitch out and show a strange, distorted view of the slide I was trying to share, instead.
I would keep jumping back and forth between a correct and distorted view of the screen, with no discernible logic.
I don't know what my attendees saw, but from the chat messages, it was abundantly clear that the screen sharing was not working. The messages imply that people were seeing a mix of:
- The correct screen, but highly pixelated and/or greatly delayed.
- A distorted or unrecognizable representation of the screen.
- Nothing at all.
Attempted Recovery & Support
I attempted to fix the issue by trying all the screen sharing options: sharing the entire screen, just a portion of the screen, just a specific app. I tried closing and restarting the screen sharing app as well. There was no discernible cause for these technical issues and my attempts at troubleshooting failed.
I reported the issue to ClickMeeting support, after the event. They were at first dismissive, but eventually accepted that I'd encountered a real issue on my event. However, I have not heard back from them since my initial report (which is more than two weeks ago, at the time of writing).
A Lesson in Not Reinventing the Wheel?
When you share your screen in ClickMeeting, you have to download and install a desktop app first. It then opens this screen sharing window, separately from the ClickMeeting host view (which is browser based):
I'm not a developer and I don't claim to understand or be able to fix the technical issues I encountered. Here's what I do know:
- Modern browsers like Chrome and Firefox have native screen sharing tools.
- All the other browser-based webinar tools I've tested use these native browser features for their screen sharing.
- I have not had any technical issues with screen sharing in any of my other tests.
It seems to me that creating a proprietary app for screen sharing was a bad move on the part of ClickMeeting. Don't reinvent the wheel when there's a perfectly good wheel for you to use, already built into everyone's browser.
Why Not Upload Your Presentation Slides?
In ClickMeeting, there's an option to upload presentation slides and present directly from within the webinar room. This is great, if you're only presenting slides and if those slides are simple. You have to keep in mind that:
- The slides are essentially converted into static images, which leads to some quality loss and in some cases poor font rendering.
- Uploaded presentation slides don't support any animations.
- If you want to show anything on your screen other than a slide, you're back to the screen sharing problem.
Was This Problem Limited to Screen Sharing?
I've described this issue so far in the context of screen sharing. This is where things most clearly went wrong. However, even if you don't intend to ever use the screen sharing feature, I'd caution against using ClickMeeting. From the feedback and messages I got, I conclude that there were other technical issues for attendees as well. For example, one attendee wrote "...technical quality was poor [...] videos were breaking up and sound too."
There were a few attendees that messaged they had to leave or restart because they couldn't hear or see anything. This indicates that there were issues with the broadcast in general.
Everything Else About ClickMeeting
Okay, now you know the one major issue I had with ClickMeeting and why I don't recommend it. With that out of the way, let's take a tour through some of the great things in ClickMeeting, along with some notes about the so-so things.
Scheduling & Event Options
ClickMeeting makes it easy to create all kinds of events, from an ad hoc meeting you can launch into right away, to carefully planned, scheduled and automated events. It even comes with a handy timeline builder, in which you can string together videos, surveys and calls to action, to craft an automated webinar.
Plus, it supports open, gated and paid webinar events and does all this in a user interface that just makes sense. It's easily the best set of scheduling options, presented in the most succinct way, out of all the platforms I've tested.
The Webinar Room
ClickMeeting events are browser based. That means that both hosts and attendees can join a webinar online, without having to download any extra software (save for the screensharing thing, mentioned above).
The webinar room is well designed and gives the host easy access to all the tools you could ask for. On the right hand side, there's a sidebar with access to all the features you might be using during the webinar:
The survey feature in ClickMeeting goes a step further from what I've come to expect in webinar software. Instead of being limited to asking one poll-style question at a time, you can actually create rich surveys. Here's an example:
You can have single choice, multiple choice and open questions, you can add images to questions, you can have multiple questions in one survey, you can time the appearance of surveys in your live and automated webinars, the survey and results show up in recordings and you can easily re-use surveys you've created in past events.
In short, ClickMeeting ticks all the boxes and I wish other webinar platforms had a survey feature as good as this.
You can activate Q&A mode in ClickMeeting. This isn't the most intuitive thing to do, but once it's active, your participants can submit messages in the chatbox either as regular messages or as questions.
As a host, you can then switch to a view that gives you a list of all the questions and the ability to pick which ones to answer. When in this mode, here's what attendees will see:
Anyone watching the webinar, either live or as a replay, can see the question you're responding to, written out on screen. This makes Q&A sessions much more efficient for everyone.
I love how this feature is implemented. The only thing missing is an option for attendees to upvote questions.
ClickMeeting provides simple pages for your webinars. There are basic customization and branding options, but you can't choose from different templates and the features provided aren't enough to create a truly custom, conversion optimized webinar funnel. For this, you'd have to use your own landing pages.
Let's take a look at the pricing plans on offer, so we can compare them to the competition:
The "MyWebinars" pricing tier doesn't make much sense to me and it's capped at a maximum of 50 seats in your webinar room. The "MyWebinars Pro" plan comes with all the features and the following prices, scaling with room size:
- 50 seats: $45/month
- 100 seats: $79/month
- 500 seats: $179/month
In my opinion, there should be a price plan between 100 and 500 seats, as that is a big leap, both in room size and in cost. But the real conclusion is that the pricing doesn't matter. You should never use an unreliable webinar platform, even if it were free.
ClickMeeting Review Summary
You already know the conclusion, but let's summarize anyway:
ClickMeeting does so many things right... in fact, it does many things notably better than the competition. Unfortunately, none of that matters when there are technical issues preventing people from attending an event. Like I mentioned in my GoToWebinar review, reliability/stability matters more than anything else on a webinar. And because of that, I cannot recommend ClickMeeting to anyone.
That's my take on ClickMeeting. Since first publishing this review, I have completed my roundup and comparison of a total of 9 different webinar solutions. Check it our here!