Live Vs. Pre-Recorded Webinars: Pros, Cons, and Case Studies

October 15, 2021


Once you’re ready to start building your online course, you need to decide on a few important things before you begin compiling content together. One of the things you need to decide is whether you want to use live webinars or pre-recorded ones in your online course or as a part of your membership program.

Ideally, you want to choose the option that’s more convenient for you according to your business, your audience, and the content you decide to produce. In this article, we’ll compare the pros and cons of using live webinars vs pre-recorded webinars. We’ll also go over a case study example for both options.


Live vs Pre-recorded Webinars: Pros

First, let’s take a detailed look at the pros of both options: live webinars and pre-recorded webinars. This will give us a better understanding of the advantage of using both options and how they compare against each other.

Live webinars

Live webinars

Live webinars are known for their “real” connection and interaction with audiences and event hosts. This is because live webinars tend to give you a better connection with your audience and allows you to interact with them in real-time. This means that it can offer your audience or webinar attendees a better learning experience and help connect with them easily. It not only helps improve brand loyalty but can also encourage people to join your next webinar.

With live webinars, you can also host live Q&As for your students. This not only helps them interact with you but is also a great way for your audience to understand topics better. For instance, during your live webinar, you can let your audience ask you questions and get a response back from you in real-time. As a result, you address the learner’s questions in real-time while enhancing the learning experience your webinar delivers. In addition to this, you also get a sense of your students or the people who are always interested in your content and events. You may consider offering students and members discounts or coupons. This way, regular attendees will be encouraged to become subscribers or members to enjoy the discounted offers.

You also need to factor in the time needed to initially set up and start your live webinar compared to pre-recorded webinars. Live webinars are much faster to create in a hurry, all you need to do is set up your content, camera, and microphone and click the “go live” button.

Pre-recorded webinars

Pre-recorded webinars

Pre-recorded webinars are easier to work with, especially if you tend to make a lot of mistakes. With pre-recorded webinars, you can afford to make mistakes as retakes are easier to do so you don’t have to worry about making it perfect the first time. You can record the same clip many times over so that it’s exactly how you want it to be. Once the clip is recorded, you can also edit out any mistakes or imperfections to make the footage look perfect. As a result, this lets you craft high-quality, professional webinars that provide value to attendees and learners.

Pre-recorded webinars are not only easier to work with but also allow you to re-record or remake sections that don’t fit the quality level you were aiming for. This means that you can take your time and create exactly what you want, how you want to.

Additionally, it offers a much more comfortable environment for you to record in. This is because you don’t have to feel the pressure of so many people watching you live. This way, you’re more likely to make fewer mistakes and focus on showcasing your skills and knowledge in a way that’s more convenient for you.

Another great thing about pre-recorded webinars is the fact that you can add graphics or animations to your webinars after you’re done recording. Making changes or adding visuals in the post-production process proves to be a great way to add more value to your webinar. You can enhance the learning experience by making it easier for students to understand concepts with the help of animations and graphics.

Live vs Pre-recorded webinars: Cons

Before deciding on any option, you also need to consider the various drawbacks of using both options.

Live webinars

Live webinars

Live webinars tend to attract many live visitors, however, this also means it invites some unexpected people too. This creates the risk of trolls and spam users sneaking into your live webinar and ruining the learning experience for all attendees. Since it’s a live event, it distracts you from your main work and you have to deal with such potential problems immediately.

If you’re thinking about hosting a live webinar, deciding on the right time to start it can be tricky. Going live at the right time is important as you don’t want to host a live webinar when the majority of your audience might be asleep or is unable to attend. As a result, you can waste precious resources on hosting the live webinar only to find out there are only a few people prepared to attend it.

Live webinars can be a challenge to run and operate properly. It can become a disaster if you start to have technical issues in the middle of your live event. Compared to pre-record webinars, you cannot restart or do retakes if something goes wrong. This makes it a challenge to host a live webinar “perfectly” without running into any technical issues. For instance, you may face potential issues such as internet problems, device problems, or software-related issues when you decide to host a live webinar.

Pre-recorded webinars

Pre-recorded webinars

Pre-recorded webinars lack the “engagement” some people may be looking for when joining a webinar online. As a result, pre-recorded webinars can become quite boring for some people and as well as for you. Compared to live webinars where you get real-time feedback from your audience, pre-recorded webinars do not offer the same engagement with your audience.

With pre-recorded webinars, you’re stuck with some people or attendees not feeling emotionally invested in your content. Pre-recorded webinars are not for people who prefer the live feedback and engagement from the course instructor while they are attending your webinar. It’s more suited towards attendees who have an easier time learning and understanding the concepts or topics by themselves, privately.

Live vs Pre-recorded webinars: Case studies

For a better understanding of how each option works practically, here, we’ll go over case studies for both live and pre-record webinars.

Live webinars

Live webinars

The Arketi Group managed to run a successful live webinar that was about the importance of data and document control. They also educated their audience by explaining the best practices for data and document control.

After the webinar ended, the group had managed to boost sales by more than 30% than they had first predicted. This is mainly because they offered a special discount to everyone who registered before the live webinar started. This not only helped boost attendance but also proved to be a great way for building their email list.

Pre-recorded webinars

Jenna, CEO of generated over $15,000 from two webinars. They hosted two webinars, one was live and the other one was pre-recorded. The live portion of the webinar didn’t do as well as the pre-recorded portion. This is because more people prefer learning with real-time interaction.

Jenna also used the live webinar to drive more sales to the pre-recorded webinar. Since most people were already familiar with their content, it was much easier to drive more sales. To everyone’s surprise, none of the webinars made her sufficient profit but sending out emails after the webinar ended up making her over $10,000 within 24 hours.

The main takeaway from Jenna’s example is that you can simply post your pre-recorded webinar on a landing page and invite people from your email list to your next webinar.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the difference between a live webinar and a pre-recorded webinar?

A: A live webinar is a webinar that happens in real-time, where the presenter is hosting the webinar live and interacting with the audience in real-time. On the other hand, a pre-recorded webinar is a webinar where the presenter records the webinar in advance and then it is played back to the audience at a scheduled time.

Q: What are the pros and cons of hosting live webinars?

A: The pros of hosting live webinars include the ability to interact with the audience in real-time, answer questions on the spot, and create a more personal and engaging experience. The cons of hosting live webinars include the need for careful planning and preparation, the possibility of technical issues during the live event, and the requirement to be available at a specific time.

Q: What are the pros and cons of using pre-recorded webinars?

A: The pros of using pre-recorded webinars include the flexibility to record the webinar at a convenient time, the ability to edit and polish the content before it is presented to the audience, and the freedom to host the webinar at any time. The cons of using pre-recorded webinars include the lack of real-time interaction with the audience, the inability to address questions and concerns immediately, and the potential for the content to become outdated if not regularly updated.

Q: Can I use both live and pre-recorded webinars?

A: Absolutely! Many webinar platforms provide the option to use both live and pre-recorded webinars. You can choose to host some webinars live for a more interactive experience and use pre-recorded webinars for topics that don’t require real-time interaction.

Q: How can webinars help my business?

A: Webinars can help your business in multiple ways. They can help you generate leads, establish your expertise in your industry, engage your audience, educate your audience about your products or services, and even generate sales or conversions. Webinars serve as a powerful marketing and communication tool.

Q: What are some best practices for hosting successful pre-recorded webinars?

A: Some best practices for hosting successful pre-recorded webinars include ensuring the content is high-quality, rehearsing and editing the webinar before sharing it with the audience, providing a way for participants to ask questions or get in touch with the presenter after watching the webinar, and promoting the webinar in advance to attract a larger audience.

Q: What factors should I consider when choosing between live and pre-recorded webinars?

A: When choosing between live and pre-recorded webinars, you should consider factors such as the level of interactivity required, the availability of the presenter at the scheduled time, the need for real-time engagement with the audience, and the nature of the content being presented. Additionally, you may also consider the technical capabilities and limitations of the webinar platform you are using.

Q: How do I record my webinar?

A: To record your webinar, you can typically use webinar software or platforms that offer recording capabilities. When setting up the webinar, select the option to record the session. Once the webinar is finished, the recorded video will be saved and can be used for future playback.

Q: How do I host a live webinar?

A: To host a live webinar, you need to choose a webinar platform that supports live webinars. Set up the webinar by selecting the date, time, and topic, and invite your audience to join at the scheduled time. During the live event, you will be presenting the content and engaging with your audience in real-time.

Q: How do I host a pre-recorded webinar?

A: Hosting a pre-recorded webinar involves recording the webinar in advance and then using a webinar platform to schedule and play back the recorded webinar at a specific date and time. You need to upload the pre-recorded video file to the webinar platform and set up the details for the webinar, including the date, time, and any additional materials or resources.


Choosing the right option can be a challenge, especially if this is your first time hosting a webinar for your audience. You need to consider your content, the people who will attend your webinar, and your brand before choosing any one option.

Let’s quickly go over a few key tips you should keep in mind when making the choice between live webinars and pre-recorded webinars:

  • Live webinars provide more engagement for your audience while pre-recorded webinars don’t offer any real-time interaction with your audience. It’s also worth mentioning that with the live event or the live webinar, you also have to deal with bugs, issues, and trolls in real-time too. On the other hand, pre-recorded webinars offer a much secure, customizable environment.
  • Pre-recorded webinars offer more flexibility when it comes down to the quality of your content. You can re-take video clips, edit them to remove any imperfections, and customize your webinar according to what you need. Compared to live webinars, it offers a much easier and more convenient approach to hosting your webinar, especially if this is your first time.

What are some other pros and cons of hosting live webinars and pre-recorded webinars? Let us know in the comments box below.

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