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Co-Browsing vs. Screen Sharing: what’s the difference?

By Laura Moldenhauer, Marketing Manager DACH & EE, Unblu

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Unblu Conversational Platform

The Unblu Conversational Platform enables advisors and customers to engage, converse, browse & collaborate in the same web asset or mobile application simultaneously. Our customers leverage their existing investments in digital channels, increase the number of customer interactions and reduce the total cost of ownership. We provide highly secure engagement and...

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by Unblu
| 02/07/2020 12:00:00

With the Global Screen Sharing Software Market continuing to boom, we are constantly getting asked to differentiate between Co-Browsing and Screen Sharing. Where does it make sense for a financial institution to implement Co-Browsing, or could Screen Sharing be “enough”? Is Screen Sharing less compliant? Pros and cons? We laid it out below so you don't have to gather the facts.

Industry Challenges
Customers tell us that with all the convenience of digital banking, something is still missing. Most of the time, it’s simply the need to get help or advice. Financials are not always clear and self-service is just not enough. Offering human advice through digital means has a direct effect on customer satisfaction, sales conversion, and customer loyalty.

Co-Browsing can power up the experience an agent and customer are already having during a phone call, a chat session, or a messenger conversation. The tool enables a bank, insurance or wealth management firm to collaborate in real-time and create a more personalized experience for every single customer.

Screen Sharing comes in handy when an advisor is looking to share an Excel file or an internal application whilst being in a session with a customer. Both parties involved can share part or all of their desktop, plus any media on their devices, without having to send or download files.

Co-Browsing is different from Screen Sharing in that it doesn’t involve viewing or controlling a presenter's screen that has open web browser tabs or applications. Unlike Screen Sharing, Co-Browsing only shares your web browser or mobile application, not your complete desktop. Ideally, a Co-Browsing solution should be 100% browser-based, without any download component for the customer. This makes the contextual interaction more secure and quicker for both you and your customers.

Using Co-Browsing, a customer service agent can:

  • Join the customer in their browsing session in real-time
  • Securely share and view documents together
  • Guide customers through transactions when they need help
  • View contextual information to drive a more efficient interaction, by upgrading a phone or chat interaction

In terms of technical implementation, Unblu’s Co-Browsing solution relies on DOM (Document Object Model) for capturing and recreating the visitor browser for the agent. ‘DOM capturing’ runs in the visitor browser, and transfers a “clone” of the visual state of the browser to the agent, without any installation required for the visitor. Find out more about how our patents have led the way forward for secure, convenient customer-agent interactions:

On top of that, Unblu’s Co-Browsing solution ensures that a sales or support agent can’t see customer’s sensitive information like credit card numbers or login credentials. Due to the Secure Field Masking, sensitive data is hidden, allowing the agent to accompany the customer throughout the entire Co-Browsing session, without having to drop off. The financial institution can additionally block websites for agents to use during a Universal Co-Browsing session, hide elements of a website, etc. Core idea here: make every Co-Browsing interaction compliant. Screen Sharing on the contrary will not allow a bank or insurance to intervene on this level → the entire screen or application will be shared, without any restrictions.

Screen Sharing on the other side takes screenshots that are then sent over the network to other participants — usually frame by frame and taking large amounts of bandwidth. The downside of this approach is that screen updates are slow and low quality. But Co-Browsing actually enables you to browse the internet together, rather than look at an image of a website on someone else’s computer.

Co-Browsing and Screen Sharing side by side:  


Assurance to only share the chosen content (securely limited to the browser, not showing any other content outside a browser)

Yes No

Field masking chosen customer elements (no transmission/visibility for agents)

Yes No

Agent tool: scrolling to see parts of the page, even if customers did not scroll to it

Yes No

Agent tool: filling out forms for customers

Yes No

Agent tool: clicking on elements for customers

Yes No

Available on all browsers

Yes No

Integration in existing apps

Yes No

Agent tool: Highlighting the customers screen

Yes Yes

Nothing to download / install for the customer

Yes Yes

See the entire screen

No Yes

Sharing excel files

No Yes

Sharing internal applications

No Yes


Key takeaway here: In order to improve support times and enhance engagement, a financial institution has two options: Securely interact with a customer on any web content or documents with Co-Browsing or literally simply share a screen or application without any marking or controlling tools. Unblu offers both, but we will always recommend opting for Co-Browsing, because that is where you get to do effortless live engagement whilst staying 100% secure.

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