The Key Differences Between Loom and Zoom

Elizabeth Wellington

Elizabeth Wellington

The difference between Loom and Zoom is that Loom is a video messaging tool and Zoom is a video conferencing tool. Yes, they rhyme. No, they’re not the same — but they’re not competitors either.

Both tools bring a much-needed dose of humanity to the digital workspace. Anyone who has used video at work knows how much it helps to see people’s expressions and body language, and hear the tone of their voice with either tool. 

Here’s everything you need to know about communicating with Loom versus Zoom: 

The big difference between Zoom and Loom 

Organizations often use video conferencing as a substitute for in-person meetings or events. In between, they use instant messaging or email to collaborate. Putting those two ideas together creates a new way of collaborating at work: Loom.

The main difference between Loom and Zoom is that Loom is asynchronous, while Zoom is synchronous. Asynchronous communication isn’t simultaneous; people can consume, process and respond on their own time, like an old-fashioned letter. It doesn’t require scheduling or coordinating.

Synchronous communication, on the other hand, happens in the same exact moment for everyone involved. It requires that two people “synch” up for a set period of time in person or through a device, like a phone. People’s schedules have to align and overlap for synchronous communication to work. 

Related Reading: When to Choose Synchronous Versus Asynchronous Communication

A Loom recording on the left, and a Zoom meeting on the right

Zoom participants meet in real-time over video and talk in real-time. With Loom, you can send a one-way video message the way you would send a text message, Slack note, or email, and recipients can respond in their own time. Plus, the video can include a recording of your screen for more technical or visual topics (with a video inset from your camera).

A comparison of Loom vs. Zoom

Zoom and Loom are complementary  

Loom harnesses the benefits of video conferencing without the drawbacks of other asynchronous tools like email and Slack. But that doesn’t make Zoom — and real-time communication — any less powerful. 

Everyone at Loom uses Zoom for their meetings. A good rule of thumb: Anything you need to schedule on a calendar or that requires an in-depth, two-way conversation should be a Zoom meeting.

5 examples of when it makes sense to use Loom

With video messaging, people benefit from a human experience with the ease of sending an instant message. Here are five ways you can use Loom to complement video conferencing and Slack or email: 

1. Replace status updates or briefings

You know those daily status briefings that drag on or those faculty-wide announcements? Replace those meetings with a Loom. Whether you have an audience of one or one thousand, sending updates through Loom allows people to watch them in their own time — the flexibility goes a long way.   

2. Send context for a meeting or lecture ahead of time

When you need to collaborate in real-time, you can still incorporate Loom into your workflow. Send any context or updates ahead of time, so participants can watch beforehand and come prepared with comments or questions. When people have the information they need before a meeting or class, they make much better use of everyone’s time. Conversations stay on task and on time. 

3. Record conversations so you can reference them later

When you record video meetings using Loom, they become an artifact you can go back and reference. You don’t have to multitask and take notes on the spot.

An example of a Personal Library in Loom. You can go back and reference anything you recorded previously.

The best part about Loom is that the recordings are instantly available and ready to share with a link for those who may have missed the meeting. Plus, you can play it at faster speeds to breeze through meetings to get to the important parts. 

4. Collaborate across schedules and time zones 

If you’ve ever been in charge of getting 20 busy people on a video conference call, you know it’s a challenge — even when everyone’s in the same time zone. When you add in the complicated nature of a distributed team, it’s almost impossible. 

Every time you share a video message with Loom, you’re saying to people, “Here’s everything you need to know when you’re ready to watch it. Get back to me in your own time with any questions.” People can absorb and process what they see. This approach means that colleagues don’t feel like they’re squeezing in unnecessary meetings or that they’re left out because they just can’t make it that time.

5. Make the space for deep work

When people spend all their time in video calls, they have no room in their schedule to get “deep work” done. Instead, they’re hopping from meeting to meeting, many of which may not be essential to their primary responsibilities. 

When you leverage Loom every day, people can make progress on the work they need to complete. Instead of feeling at the mercy of their schedule, they can set aside time to watch looms (and speed them up) to move through the information at their own pace. 

The magic of video messaging 

Speaking with colleagues face-to-face over video — whether they’re halfway around the world or in a nearby office — makes for better communication. Otherwise, it’s all too easy to get lost in a tangle of confusing Slack messages or long emails. 

But spending all day on video calls isn’t ideal, either. Both extremes — no video meetings and all video meetings — are their own kind of torture. The best teams use a mix of remote meetings and video messages to keep everyone connected. Loom is an essential tool for striking that balance. Combined with video conferencing, it can help you to communicate with extra clarity and efficiency. 

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Elizabeth Wellington

Written by Elizabeth Wellington

Liz writes about creativity and making meaningful work in the digital age.

More than 7 million people across 90,000 companies choose Loom

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