While the Zoom app was quietly revolutionizing business platforms before the pandemic, it saw its peak success with the arrival of COVID-19. The founder of Zoom, Eric Yuan, created the first app for video calls that was optimized to run well on mobile and the web. When COVID-19 hit and millions of meetings had to be held at home, Zoom became an overnight phenomenon. For months, it’s been the go-to for all things that would have been otherwise canceled by the coronavirus, including events.
But just because Zoom is the world’s leading video conference platform doesn’t mean it’s perfect. The virtual space is a competitive one, and it can be challenging to monetize online events. Apparently, Zoom saw the opportunity to capitalize on the universal need for better virtual events, and seized on it. Enter OnZoom and Zapps.
What’s Different About Onzoom?
Let’s tackle OnZoom first.
You’re probably wondering the obvious: What’s the fundamental difference between Zoom’s regular platform and Onzoom? Onzoom has introduced itself as a “comprehensive solution for paid Zoom users to create, host, and monetize events like fitness classes, concerts, stand-up or improv shows, and music lessons on the Zoom Meetings platform”. According to Zoom Aleks Swerdlow, Zoom’s product manager, Onzoom has added event discovery and monetization features to the traditional platform. It’s designed to help transition in-person events to engaging, immersive online experiences.
With Onzoom, users can schedule and host events with up to 1,000 attendees. This is monumentally important when you consider how many large events and conferences have had to be cancelled in the wake of COVID-19. Now more than ever before, it’s integral for businesses to connect remotely with consumers, partners and sponsors, and educational resources for professional development. If Onzoom can simplify and enhance remote engagement in the upcoming months, companies could see their revenue from virtual events increase.
OnZoom is also recognizing the marketing limitations that COVID-19 restrictions have placed on companies. For this reason, the new platform allows users to not only list and sell tickets, but share and promote events via social media and email. Even before the pandemic hit, online strategies were essentially the lifeblood of event marketing campaigns. Now more than ever, it’s vital for businesses to build long-term, meaningful relationships with attendees. They continue to do this by engaging in ongoing conversations with them on social media and via email. Because OnZoom is geared toward content creation and sharing, it’s compatible with the highly visual, interactive strategy that the industry has adapted.
Perhaps the most exciting advantage of a virtual world is the ability to reach new audiences far outside a business geographical location. Yes, the platform seems admittedly simple and similar to other popular mainstays (Eventbrite comes quickly to mind). But its easy-to-use features are accompanied by a mobile-friendly video platform that works well even with poor or unstable Internet connections. The combination of the company’s popularity, its ability to accommodate massive audiences, and its high-engagement features could exponentially improve virtual events.
OnZoom is indeed easy to use. Once logged into their account, users can search the directory of public events and buy tickets online using Paypal or major credit cards; they can also gift friends or family members with tickets. Like Eventbrite, OnZoom makes it possible for users to share and rate events as well. It also allows users to schedule and host event series and drop-ins as well as one-time events. It’s also worth noting that event profs can turn their events into fundraisers without paying a fee. The platform makes it easy for users to donate to non-profit organizations.
Right now, OnZoom is only available within the U.S., but Zoom has plans to change that soon.
OnZoom is Already Backed by Big Industry Names
Unsurprisingly, OnZoom has already partnered with several big industry names, including WW (formerly known as Weight Watchers). During the first months of the pandemic, WW used Zoom to provide its members with virtual workshops. Zoom enabled them to continue to give guidance, support, and connectivity to their members during an unprecedented health crisis in the nation.
WW is also hosting an event called WWeekend hosted by its Head of Nutrition and Wellness, Jaclyn London, MS, RD, CDN. The event’s focus will be building healthy lifestyle and eating habits while working from home. It will be presented as part of the OnZoom launch.
Beautiful Destinations is a creative agency, media, and entertainment company that often partners with tourism brands to create virtual travel experiences. While most of us would agree that virtual travel is a poor substitute for actually experiencing new places and cultures, it brings people together to connect, plan trips, and share content. The company plans to use OnZoom by bringing more interactive content and trip planning to audiences.
If you’ve never heard of Life Rolls On, it’s an organization dedicated to help improve the quality of life for people living with disabilities. For over ten years, it has worked to provide adaptive skating and surfing events for people with disabilities. When COVID-19 hit, people could no longer spend as much time at skate parks or at the beach, and quality of life decreased for many as a result. To lift spirits, raise hope, and plan for the future, Life Rolls On founder Jesse Billauer, two-time World Adaptive Surfing Champion, is bringing communities together with OnZoom.
Zapps Could Change the Game for Developers
Set to launch by the end of the year with over 35 partners like Slack and Hubspot, Zapps is markedly different from the Zoom Marketplace. The Marketplace is home to over 800 apps, but its focus is integrating Zoom with other applications. Zapps goes a step further to bring apps into the Zoom space with just a simple click.
The apps help exist to improve productivity, collaboration, and engagement in the virtual space. With Zapps, companies will finally be able to avoid the hassle of switching between more than one desktop application. Navigation to apps within the Zoom interface makes it easier to share documents and collaborate on screen.
For just one example, Dropbox can work as a Zapp in a video conference, allowing data, notes, and agendas to be shared in real time. Zapps is set to be a real game changer for developers in 2021 and beyond.
What Are Zapps Partners Up To?
According to the Zoom website, Zapp launch partners like Asana, Atlassian, Dropbox, Slack, and more are building apps for collaboration. Kahoot! And Coursera are already building education apps for the interface.
Some notable partners who are building apps that enhance the meeting and webinar experience:
Slido for Q & A and polls
Exer (an AI-based fitness coach)
Cameo, an online marketplace where users can receive personalized messages from celebrities (Unfortunately, we’re serious, but it can have some promotional value)
If there’s ever been a time to get organized and motivated with “personal productivity” apps, that time is now. Superhuman optimizes your email experience, Woven is an efficient scheduling tool, and Smartsheet keeps your workflow, well flowing. Pitch offers the best in collaborative presentation software. All of these apps are partnering with Zapps to optimize meetings and collaboration.
If all of this virtual living feels overwhelming, that’s because it is. Although event profs spent a significant amount of time online before, they now spent virtually all of their time online (pun intended). Take a minute to empty your mind, breathe deeply, and recharge. There’s so much information to digest that it’s easy to get ahead of ourselves and become overwhelmed. It’s one of the many reasons we look forward to anything that will make the virtual space easier to navigate, including OnZoom and Zapps. Will they be all they’re cracked up to be? That remains to be seen, but things look promising.