Part 1: What is Teams Webinar – Explained

Microsoft Teams Live Events or “TLE” has up til recently been the only “better” option to conduct digital gatherings with a larger amount of attendees like webinars, town hall meetings and so forth. This has somewhat changed now with Teams Webinars and several new meeting options available for Teams meetings.

This raises questions like “how does a Teams Webinar work?” and “when to use this feature instead of a Live Event?” I’ll try to answer both these questions in this 2-part blog post series. But let’s start with the first question!

This is not a step by step guide to how to create/configure and conduct a webinar, but rather a guide to explain what it is and how it works. I recommend reading Vesa Nopanen’s blog post that goes into the first mentioned a bit more”

How to create Webinars with Microsoft Teams – Vesa Nopanen – My Teams & Microsoft 365 Day (myteamsday.com)

What is Teams Webinars?

The Webinar feature in Teams is basically an extension to a Teams meeting. What this means is that it’s practically a “normal” Teams meeting with a few additions:

  • A registration page is created for the meeting. This registration page can be customized in some ways like
    • add an image to the registration page
    • adding additional questions to answer before anyone can register
    • adding speakers and speaker bio

You also have the option to set this webinar as internal only, meaning only authenticated users in your organization can register. It’s also good to know that the name and email fields will be auto populated for internal users! “For everyone” means anyone can register.

When you’re done customizing the registration page you get a link to it which you in turn can publish/send somewhere in order to get attendees to register.

Upon registration attendees will recieve a mail with a one click button to join the webinar.

Speakers / moderators in this webinar are directly invited the usual way as with a teams meeting but instead of “add required attendees” it will say “add required speakers” for a Teams webinar. Invited users will then get the normal Teams meeting invite.

This works in a similar way with TLE when you get a attendee link and a internal link for producers and presenters.

During and after registration you can follow up on registred attendees by clicking the “Registration” button in the webinar details or by going to the new “Attendence” tab for the webinar. This tab will also be available for normal meetings but will only show attendence.

That’s really the “webinar” part! Aside from the registration part there’s not much else that differs. There’s no producer mode and attendee mode. What it does though, is utilizing the teams meeting presenter and attendee roles and sets the meeting options in a certain way for Teams webinars as default. Let’s have a look at the meeting options for a scheduled webinar:

What it does here is the following:

  • The people I specifically invited will bypass the lobby, also meaning all registred attendees will end up in the lobby.
  • Only the invited users (my presenters) will be able to present (share) – This meeting option sets the presenter and attendee roles for users in the meeting. The users I specifically invited will have the presenter role.
  • Mic and video is disabled for people with the attendee role (all registrants)
  • The meeting chat is set to only be enabled during the meeting.

These meetings options are available for all Teams meetings and not something that’s exclusive for the Webinar feature, but these settings are set as default for you when creating a Teams Webinar. These can of course also be changed if you prefer a different setup!

To learn more about meeting roles in Teams, see here:

Roles in a Teams meeting – Office Support (microsoft.com)

What about the number of attendees limit?

Microsoft also recently increased the maximum number of people in a meeting from 300 to 1000! This increase has often been promoted together with the Teams Webinar feature since these two goes together logically, but it’s important to know this limit applies to all Teams meetings and not only when you set up a Teams Webinar. Furthermore, there’s also the “view-only” feature now available for meetings, making it possible for up to 10 000 attendees to get a view only experience similar to that in a Live Event.

Read more about the view-only experience here:

View-only meeting experience – Microsoft Teams | Microsoft Docs

Availability

The Webinars feature is available to all E3,E5,A3,A5 subscriptions. It’s also available for Business Standard/Premium with the exception that the Teams meetings attendee limit is still 300 and you don’t get the view-only experience.

It’s the user creating the Webinar that needs one of the above licensing SKU’s assigned!

You can use meeting policy’s to enable or disable the Webinar feature for the whole organization or for individual users as well as allow/disallow the public registrations option. Read more about how to do this here:

Set up for webinars in Microsoft Teams – Microsoft Teams | Microsoft Docs

Summary

With the ability to include a registration flow and using the many different meeting options available, Teams Webinar is a great contender to Microsoft Live Events.

The recent additions of features to Teams meetings apart from above mentioned, like new sharing modes, using apps, moderation options and so forth, further adds to this and excels the possibilities you have by default in Live Events!

With upcoming features like “private attendee mode” and auto recording, we will definitely see an increase of using Teams Webinars instead of Live Events!

Although, Live Events is still a better option in some situations, which I will discuss in part 2 – Teams Webinars vs Live Events!

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