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Online marketplaces have been hyped for more than a decade. New marketplaces launch and new features become trendy.
Video calling is one of those trendy features so far. And needless to say, it is still gaining momentum.
A while back while developing our product – Clarity.fm-like while-label solution (marketplace for online video consulting) we surely needed to integrate video conferencing software. At first, we decided to start with the most popular video, API – Zoom. However, as it turned out Zoom was not applicable to this kind of marketplace at all. Thus, we went with Twilio.
Here, we want to share our experience and what you have to consider when choosing and implementing video conferencing software for your online marketplace.
1) Usage of Video Conferencing Solutions in Online Marketplaces
The industry of video conferencing software is growing and it has been funded heavily by many VCs. Since 2010, over $1.1 billion have been put into the video conferencing industry. As a result, the quality of online videos has notably changed, and it has been embraced by many industries and sectors, including online marketplaces.
In 2020, video content is booming and the online marketplace can use video calls for a wide range of purposes.
The niche of online consulting is growing. And it goes without saying that modern consulting marketplaces need to have audio and better video ability to enable live-like consultations.
Talking about creating some kind of Clarity.fm-like platforms, they assume the ability to receive a video consultation from experts in the field.
Online consulting can also be in the form of mentorship. This type of counselling marketplace helps people with career guidance. And here again – video calls facilitate the trust between career counsellors and those who seek career advice.
Not long ago, we built a counselling marketplace for people from the UK who want to find their passion in life. For this marketplace, we integrated a video conferencing system with the help of VideoNor, another cloud-based video conferencing platform.
Remember the days when interpretations were done in person?
Nowadays, interpretations can be done through online interpreting marketplaces like Ablio or Lingoking. Our client, TikkTalk, Norwegian marketplace for online interpreting, went even further by enabling video calling for their customers. This feature helped TikkTalk to distinguish itself on the market and boost its customer growth.
For the TikkTalk platform, we decided to implement two video providers and it turned out to be a better choice for this platform.
Besides using video conferencing cloud solutions for providing interpretation services, such marketplaces can also use video services for checking interpreter’s skills. This is particularly relevant for marketplaces that offer interpretational services for rare languages.
The ways to educate people have diversified.
And marketplaces have become those facilitators between those who give knowledge and those who seek it. With the support of cloud-based video conferencing, educational marketplaces become interactive, are able to hold as many participants as needed, and become a worthy alternative to offline studying.
One of the bright examples of successful implementation of video conferencing to e-learning platforms is Skyeng, one of the most expensive learning platforms. Skyeng started by connecting a tutor and a student via Skype and then created a whole platform with an in-built video conferencing software.
Call Centre / Support
Let’s face it: even when we do our best, users can’t always figure out how to use certain features or can’t even get the whole idea of complex products.
Sure, calling a support team is a solid minimal solution here. But what if you want to bring more personalized value?
That’s where video calls may come in handy.
Thanks to using software for video conferencing, the managers can conduct almost real-life demos and dramatically improve the customer’s experience.
NB: Though online demos are a great way to introduce personalization to your online marketplace, this service may appear to be pricey for your product. So here, it is worth starting with calculating and considering your customer acquisition cost.
However, as an alternative, you can enhance your customer support with other services provided by such cloud communications platforms as Twilio-customizable interface for accessing customer records, field notifications, masked phone numbers, SMS support, and order notifications. This is exactly how Airbnb and Lyft marketplaces are using the Twilio API.
2) Twilio vs Zoom: How to Choose
When it comes to implementing video conferencing on marketplaces, there are usually two main options that companies choose from. Zoom is the most rapidly growing platform for video and audio conferencing while Twilio is the other younger cloud video conferencing services – Twilio. Although using Zoom for a largely scaling marketplaces can get expensive very fast.
Zoom is a company that provides conferencing services by means of cloud computing. Zoom was founded in 2011 in California. Uber, Slack, and Dropbox are the brightest examples of companies that use Zoom on their platforms.
Twilio is a company that offers cloud-based video conferencing services that can be integrated into the platform via a video conferencing API. It was founded in 2008 in San Francisco. Twilio is used by many famous companies, including Netflix, Zendest, Airbnb and Lyft.
Both video providers offer messaging, video recording, media storage and downloads. They are both suitable for Mac, Windows, IOS and Android.
And though these 2 services seem to be pretty equal in terms of provided services, the choice is not that easy as the core factor of choosing a video service is out of focus here.
3) How to choose a video system for your marketplace?
When choosing a video service, it is worth considering such standard parameters as price and provider abilities. When choosing between Zoom and Twilio the number of allowed participants must be considered.
Number of Simultaneous Calls
Zoom has a system host, a kind of virtual room for video conferencing. And using one host, there is access to a video call only for one supplier at a time. So your marketplace needs to have as many hosts all to accommodate as many simultaneous calls as it needs to have. Bear in mind that Zoom provides only one free subscription and one free host, a marketplace would need to buy each additional required host.
This wouldn’t be a big deal unless you need to hold a big number of calls at once. In such a case, the integration of video conferencing with Zoom is going to cost the marketplace a fortune.
Similarly to Zoom, Twilio has its virtual rooms, “places” where both parties can communicate with each other with a video. With a Twilio room, you can have as many simultaneous video calls as you want as there are no restrictions on the number of suppliers.
When deciding on the best video conferencing software for our white label solution (Clarity-like marketplace), firstly we didn’t see quite yet that Zoom would just make the whole product unprofitable. Later on, we decided to stick to Twilio since it makes this product applicable to a large number of simultaneous video calls.
The first and probably the most influential factor is the price of integrating a particular software for video conferencing.
So let’s compare Zoom and Twilio:
– Zoom: has both free and paid plans with additional features.
Calculating your final cost of applying Zoom to your marketplace, you’ll have to choose a suitable subscription plan and multiply its price by the number of needed hosts or needed simultaneous calls.
– Twilio: there is no free plan. Here, you’ll be paying for a number of video participants and the time they spend on a call. If the call was scheduled but didn’t happen, a marketplace won’t be charged.
NB: Not paying for the failed calls may save you a good deal. But you or your development team have to make through calculation and find out what is going to be cost-effective for your online marketplace: paying hosts or for the number of users.
There is also one major difference between Zoom and Twilio: with Zoom, you won’t need to pay for additional features like messaging or file sharing. It’s all included in a package. However, with Twilio, you’ll have to pay if you want any additional features.
Both video providers are pretty simple to integrate. They both have APIs (Application Programming Interfaces), an interface protocol between various parts of a computer program intended to ease the implementation and support of communications software. Video conferencing APIs can be integrated into an online marketplace.
Another peculiarity is that with Twilio, any additional feature that you buy (video recording, file sharing, media storage) is a separate API. So, besides having a video conferencing API on your platform, you’ll have messaging, file sharing or any other APIs.
Twillio and Zoom have pretty much similar abilities:
- Wireless content sharing
- HTTP access to the users
- Protection from spam and fraud
- Speech recognition
- Call recording
- Multiple language support
- Conference calls
Moreover, Twilio and Zoom can identify local-friendly numbers and can be integrated with any programming language. They also allow you to stream dual screens and offer single sign-on which is extremely important to the marketplace security.
However, Zoom does not provide any player, so you’ll need to build one yourself. Twilio does offer one but it’ll still require a lot of customization.
3) Market Alternatives to Zoom and Twilio
Even though Twilio and Zoom have become quite popular among online marketplaces, there are some alternatives that might also fit you better.
Nexmo OpenTok is a cloud-based platform that enables video calls via an API. Just like Twilio, Nexmo offers pay-per-minute pricing. The monthly subscription starts from $9.99 which includes 2,000 video minutes.
Nexmo also offers video recording and live streaming for additional costs.
Mirrorfly is an API solution for video integration. Unlike Twilio and Zoom, Mirrorfly offers one-time payment for a WebRTC setup, meaning video conferencing API integration.
MirrorFly allows both individual and group calls, it protects the data and maintains privacy. Plus, it can be integrated on Android, IOS, and Web and more importantly it gives full customization of the product.
Moreover, MirrorFly allows video call recording, screen sharing, whiteboards and picture-in-picture.
VideoNor is a cloud-based video conferencing solution. It offers virtual video rooms by giving unique virtual addresses.
Same as Twilio and Zoom, it can also be accessed via almost any device. It has clear documentation and is pretty easy to integrate what is particularly important for startup projects. Thus VideoNor appeared to be the most cost and time-effective for our Norvegian client, TikkTalk.
This is a B2B, B2C and B2G Norwegian marketplace that offers access to different interpreters over video phone conferences. We built this platform from scratch and implmented 2 core video solutions in this marketplace-Twilio and Videonor.
Currently TikkTalk connects users from 72 countries video video conferencing and has raised over $1M for its further growth.
Read full case study: TikkTalk
This a sub-marketplace for a UK online platform for that connects job consultants with job-seekers and provides them with career – guidance services.
This marketplace was created specifically to enable video conferencing on the marketplace. For this client we chose Videonor integration as it was the best fit for this product.
Read full case study: B2C Consulting Marketplace
The bottom line is that online marketplaces can use video calls for a number of goals: support, online consulting, mentoring, interpretation, and many others.
And fortunately, today’s market offers us a number of good cloud-based video conferencing services. It is always worth considering the API’s documentation and price.
But I also encourage you to check the pitfalls waiting for you like an additional cost for each other simultaneous call, the number of call participants, or available necessary features.
But if you are still doubting about the implementation of video conferencing, ping us for a free consultation, and we will be happy to advise you.