The Best Online Conferencing Platforms for your 2021 Virtual Conference

The Best Online Conferencing Platforms for your 2021 Virtual Conference

There are many online conferencing platforms out there, so it can be difficult to figure out which are the best for your virtual event.

An effective way to narrow your search is to find platforms that use communication tools best suited for online conferences.

The best online meeting platforms for virtual conferences are easy to use for attendees and admins. They should also fit seamlessly into your virtual conference.

However, a primary goal of your virtual conference is to engage your attendees and sponsors. Therefore, it is vital to find a virtual conference platform with a meeting tool that encourages engagement.

You might have found virtual conference platforms that use different video conferencing tools like Zoom, GoToMeeting, and WebEx. These conferencing software are great in their own right, but some are better than others at encouraging engagement for all conference participants.

In this article, we will first discuss the difference between a virtual conference platform and a virtual meeting tool. Then, we’ll get into why we rank our top meeting tool choices based on conference participant engagement. Last, we’ll rank the three most popular virtual meeting tools.

Let’s get started!

Virtual Meeting Tools vs. Online Conferencing Platforms

In a previous post, I explained the difference between virtual conference tools and a virtual conference platform.

To summarize, a virtual conference tool is a specific software within a virtual conference platform. On the other hand, a virtual conference platform contains many tools to help run your conference.

What is an Online Meeting Tool?

In the context of online events, a meeting tool is a software application within an online conference platform that allows participants to communicate.

Online meeting tools are also referred to as A/V software, conferencing tools, and more. However, to keep it simple, we will stick to “online meeting tools” or “meeting tools.”

What Makes Meeting Tools Good for Virtual Conferences?

As previously mentioned, a meeting tool’s main purpose is to allow users to communicate. However, this does not mean that all meeting tools are the same.

Some tools are better in different formats than others. For example, a meeting tool like FaceTime is great for one individual chatting with another. However, it will be a nightmare to try to use FaceTime as a tool to host a webinar. It’s just not made for webinars!

The main reason organizers use meeting tools at a virtual conference is to connect participants with one another. When I say participants, I mean conference attendees and sponsors.

If your conference is engaging enough, attendees will return. Also, if your attendees are engaged, they are more likely to interact with sponsors. Your sponsors will likely return as well because attendees interact with them.

3 Best Meeting Tools for Virtual Conferences

    1. Zoom

Find a virtual conference provider that uses Zoom as its online conferencing platform
We went into greater detail as to why Zoom is the best meeting tool for virtual conferences in a previous post. To sum it up, Zoom is the best choice because it is reliable, scalable, accessible to all participants.

Most notably, Zoom’s breakout session feature makes it easy for attendees and sponsors to engage. More engagement means happy attendees. Happy attendees means happy sponsors. Happy sponsors and happy attendees means more non-dues revenue! Yay!

OpenWater utilizes the single sign-on capabilities with Zoom’s meeting tool. If your attendees have a username and password for your website, they don’t need to create a new one to enter the platform. They can just use the one they already have!

To learn more about why Zoom is the best choice for virtual conferencing, feel free to check out OpenWater’s free office hours.

To see how Zoom is incorporated into OpenWater’s virtual conference platform, schedule a time to meet with us!


  • WebEx
    The WebEx tool is great for conferencing as well. There are features such as screen sharing, one-on-one and group messaging, and calendar integrations.


WebEx also has a sleek design and great user experience. At a free starter level, you’re limited to 100 participants. At the business level, you’re limited to 200.

  • GoToMeeting
    GoToMeeting was intended for business meetings, but it’s good for smaller virtual conferences as well.


Features to increase engagement include drawing tools, personal meeting rooms, and keyboard & mouse sharing.