So, I’ve been using Kajabi for the past 2 to 3 years, and recently, I started exploring Circle too.

And, I thought this is would be the right time for me to compare them!

In this comparison, I’ll mainly focus on course creation, funnel building, and communities.

  • Course Creation: How easy is it to create and structure your courses?
  • Funnel Building: Can you build effective sales funnels to maximize your conversions?
  • Communities: What features and tools are available to foster engagement and interaction within your community?

In the past, choosing between these tools was relatively simple.

However, now the decision has become more challenging than ever before, with Kajabi significantly enhancing their community features and Circle introducing automation workflows!

I’ve contemplated on this for months!

Now, let’s dig deeper and find out which platform is the best fit for you!

First the overview!

Overview

Kajabi logo

Kajabi was founded in 2010 by Kenny Rueter when he faced difficulty monetizing videos on YouTube.

From the beginning, Kajabi’s mission has been to serve entrepreneurs and course creators by providing a comprehensive platform for building, marketing, and selling digital products.

Today it offers various features such as selling online courses, coaching, host podcasts, communities, and email marketing. One of the strongest features of Kajabi is its automation engine, which allows you to seamlessly integrate all the provided features in one platform, similar to having Zapier within Kajabi.

Over the years, Kajabi has raised significant funds and is currently valued at around $2 billion. This has enabled them to scale their team and make strategic mergers and acquisitions to roll out impressive features. They are sitting on cash!

Circle logo

On the other hand, Circle is an all-in-one community platform founded in 2019 by Sid Yadav, who was Teachable’s first designer. It was later backed by Ankur Nagpal, the first for Teachable, when Teachable was sold to HotMart in 2020.

Circle has gained significant traction due to its track record and is currently valued at $200 million.

In fact it the best community platform I recommend!

Circle is a well-thought-out modular platform built from the ground up using first principles thinking, following the footsteps of new-age startups like Notion and Slack.

Unlike other conventional community platforms such as Mighty Networks, Circle places extreme emphasis on UI/UX, integrations, and automations. They are rolling out innovative new features rapidly, and also the fact they are from the founding team of Teachable, has given me high conviction in this platform.

Quick decision

FeaturesCircleKajabi
Pricing starts at 💲$49/mo$149/mo
Transaction fees 💸4% on the lowest plan and 1% fee on the Professional plan0%
Mobile apps 📱iOS and AndroidiOS and Android
Courses 📚Yes (more coming soon)Yes (more features)
CommunitiesYesYes
Has native live streaming? 📷YesYes (also for coaching calls)

What do we like about Circle.so over Kajabi 👍?

  • Intuitive UI/UX: Circle’s interface is clean and user-friendly. If you’re already familiar with platforms like Slack or Notion, you’ll feel right at home.
  • Modular features: Circle is a flexible platform that allows you to build a community that fits your vision. It provides building blocks for various layouts like post view, list view, and card view, to customize how a particular space should look. Think of Notion, but for communities.
  • Embed widget: With Circle, you can embed spaces or groups on other platforms, such as WordPress or even Teachable, to promote and motivate students to join the spaces.
  • Live rooms and spaces: Circle provides live rooms and live spaces for small meetings (limited to 30 participants), similar to Twitter spaces.
  • Community moderation: Circle comes with security features like keyword blockers and profanity checkers, essential for preventing spam in large communities.
  • Rapid feature rollout: Circle is rapidly introducing new features. Leveraging their experience with Teachable, they are focusing on advanced goals, features, automations, and community AI.

What do we like about Kajabi over Circle.so👍?

  • All-in-one platform: Kajabi not only provides the ability to create courses and communities, but also offers website building, funnel building, email automation, and feature-rich marketing functionalities, and also other extras like Podcasts, video repurposing tool, making it a comprehensive platform.
  • Specialist course features: Kajabi’s main forte lies in its highly advanced course creation capabilities. You can build various types of courses, create assessments, issue certificates, and also it has student level progress tracking with heatmaps and retention graphs.
  • Sales and marketing: Kajabi excels with its built-in funnels, automation rules, and blogging platform. Also it has a solid page builder to optimize your landing pages for conversions. In contrast, Circle.so requires additional tools like ClickFunnels at an extra cost for creating funnels.
  • Email automation: It comes with the ability for you to send out broadcasts and email sequences right within the platform based on various triggers and conditional filters.
  • Community gamification: Kajabi acquired Vibely to enhance online community engagement. It provides features like points, leaderboards, challenges, live rooms, and events, eliminating the need for third-party integrations. It’s even ahead of Circle here!

Similarities

  • Automation features: Both of these tools have excellent automation engines to run various workflows. Based on triggers, you can execute actions, thus making your course and community management more efficient.
  • Premium platforms: Both Kajabi and Circle are premium platforms. They are not cheap – if you want to get access to all their automation features, you need to shell out around $200 per month.

Upfront verdict

Kajabi is an all-in-one platform to run your entire business from website, landing pages, email marketing to courses and communities all glued with its automation engine. It is a mature platform that has been around for a while.

On the other hand, Circle is a relatively new platform that is well thought out and built to be flexible and modular. It’s main focus is on community and course creation. I believe even in the near future, they will not focus on introducing a website builder or email marketing functionalities.

However, for most people, Kajabi is a comprehensive platform with many features. Also, it offers good value for money compared to Circle, which only includes Automation Workflows in its highest plan.

Community

Community organization

Kajabi and Circle.so both include built-in communities.

A couple of months ago, Kajabi acquired Vibely, an online community-building tool for creating highly engaging communities.

Let’s take a look at all the features they support.

kajabi communities

When you create a community, you need to create various access groups or the different membership levels.

For instance, you can create a free access level and create some more premium access levels only available to certain subscribers.

Your “Access Groups” can include the following features:

  • Circles: Encourage discussion within the group through a feed or chat feature.
  • Challenges: Engage your community with activities, assignments, or check-ins.
  • Meetups: Organize online or offline events with email and push reminders.
  • Announcements: Broadcast important messages to your access group.

For instance, by creating a group called “Diamond members,” you can access exclusive challenges, circles, meetups, and announcements specifically designed for this group.

First about Circles.

Kajabi Circle Types

Think of “Circles” as little spaces within your community where people can get together, share ideas, and have meaningful discussions.

It’s like having separate rooms for different activities.

In Kajabi, you even have the option to choose between two layouts for your Circles:

  • Feed layout: The feed layout in Kajabi creates a forum-like atmosphere, encouraging discussions.
  • Chat layout: The chat-based interface promotes more dynamic and engaging conversations, mirroring the experience on platforms like Slack or Discord.

So, in a nutshell, circles in Kajabi offer both a sense of community and a touch of chatroom charm.

With Circle, things are quite different.

You have the ability to create communities.

circle space templates
Different space types available in Circle.

Each community can comprise multiple groups, and these groups can further include numerous spaces, such as posts, chat, events, and courses.

Unlike Kajabi’s separate course function, Circle integrates courses as a space type. This is logical and feels modular but can clutter the sidebar as both courses and discussion areas end up in the sidebar.

Gamification

About Circle, gamification is not a built-in feature, but an emergent one.

It offers the following features that can be used for gamification:

  • Member tags: Tags can be assigned based on member behaviors and displayed as badges.
  • Activity scores: Members are assigned a score based on presence, contribution, and participation, compared to other Circle communities for accuracy. Scores are displayed on their profiles!

On the other hand, Kajabi, with its acquisition of Vibely, has implemented a lot of gamification features.

Kajabi Challenges 1

Kajabi includes a feature for creating activity-based “Challenges” for specific groups.

Members can upload proof of completion and earn points based on their interactions.

adding points in kajabi

Also based on the points they get, you can provide them with badges and feature them on the leaderboards.

Other features

Both tools communities have features like:

  • Chat, group messages, & direct messages
  • Native live streams
  • Member profile pages
  • Customized member fields
  • Member tags (to implement badges)

Kajabi has a few unique features like:

  • Smart recording library
  • Challenges and badges

Course creation 📚

Kajabi has good course creation features and is more comprehensive compared to Circle.

kajabi course outline

When it comes to organizing your course material, you have modules, sub-modules, and the ability to have lessons/quizzes under them.

Kajabi lesson creation page

When you create a lesson in Kajabi, it can either be a video lesson, audio lesson, or an assessment.

For any lesson that you create, you can upload a checklist or any downloadable to accompany it.

online courses in circle
Circle’s course builder

Also, Circle allows you to create different sections and lessons within them.

When it comes to adding course content, both support text, images, audio/video, and files.

Circle’s course lesson building blocks (similar to Notion)

Circle takes this a step further by allowing you to include any content blocks within your lesson content. It also supports custom HTML. Both allow you to drip-schedule the content to avoid binge-watching.

With both you have the ability to drip-feed the lesson content so that you can enforce the order in which the students consume your training course.

Kajabi has additional features like:

  • Provides completion certificates.
  • Locks modules for course compliance until previous lessons are completed.
  • Enforces graded quizzes for students to access content after crossing passing grade.
  • Features live lessons for real-time coaching sessions.
  • Includes course analytics and student-level reports for improved accountability.

🏆 Winner: Kajabi. Kajabi has advanced course builder features, including certificates, content locking, assessments, video analytics, and AI content creation. Circle’s course features are roughly half as comprehensive as of now.

Design and customization

When it comes to design and customization, Kajabi takes the lead over Circle.

Circle themes
Circle theme customizer

In Circle, you can only customize the theme, select light or dark mode, adjust the community logo and icon, set the brand and button color, and choose from a few theme adjustments.

However, there is a lack of flexibility.

If you prefer more flexibility and a dedicated website builder, Kajabi is the better option.

kajabi design design

With Kajabi, you can build your entire website using their 10+ different course and site themes that have a professional and modern look.

Additionally, Kajabi provides a feature-rich page builder with over 40+ different modules to design your pages.

kajabi website customizer

While Kajabi’s page builder is powerful, some may find it lacking in flexibility. However, for non-developers, it offers more than enough customization options.

If you are using Circle, you still need access to website and landing page builders like Elementor or Clickfunnels.

Live streaming

Both Kajabi and Circle offer the ability to host live streaming events such as meetups and webinars.

They provide native live streaming abilities.

Circle’s types of events you can host

In Circle, you can schedule a live event, start a live room, or initiate a live stream.

On the other hand, you can also host the following in Kajabi:

  1. Meetups: Kajabi allows you to create virtual or in-person meetups.
  2. Webinars: Kajabi offers extensive webinar hosting features including one-time or recurring events, scheduling, reminder and post-webinar emails, and a robust page builder for registration and webinar delivery.

Also Kajabi’s “Live Rooms” allow session recording, screen sharing, breakout groups, video interactions, chat conversations, and emoji usage. They can also be used for one-on-one coaching sessions.

But here’s one unique feature of Kajabi: It allows you to schedule live video events within your course, which is a unique feature.

This increases the webinar attendance rate as participants can easily register for events while going through the course content.

Sales and checkout options 💲

With Circle.so, you can easily charge your community and accept payments instantly using paywalls.

Circle Space Access

With Paywalls you can:

  • Charge bi-weekly, monthly, quarterly, or annual subscriptions.
  • Offer various membership tiers with different pricing plans.
  • Charge for private spaces and accept one time payments.

When it comes to checkout, Circle offers a single-step checkout process and only supports Stripe as a payment gateway, without even offering PayPal as an option.

Circle checkout page
Pat Flynn’s SPI checkout form

However, the checkout page is minimal and lacks the ability to add order bumps or upsells to maximize profits. And also, you cannot add elements like testimonials or social proof, which are available in Kajabi.

With Circle, it is recommended to use a dedicated checkout platforms like Thrivecart or SamCart for better conversions and multiple payment gateways support.

But here’s one unique feature with Circle:

Circle space lockscreen
Circle’s lock screen

If a member tries to access a space in Circle where they lack access, they’ll see a login screen or paywall. Circle lets you customize this page to enhance conversion with various building blocks. Though the customization options aren’t extensive, there’s sufficient flexibility.

kajabi checkout page customization
Kajabi’s checkout builder

On the other hand, to accept payments, Kajabi has a built-in checkout feature.

Kajabi’s checkout features are more comprehensive. You can use its robust page builder elements to design your checkout page as you wish.

In addition to upsells and downsells, the ability to add order bumps can greatly maximize profits. On the other hand, Circle lacks order bump functionality, which is a significant drawback.

Community moderation

Circle offers profanity checking, flagging inappropriate posts, and spam prevention for community moderation.

This ensures a safe environment for large or growing communities.

Kajabi lacks these features, but it may not matter much. After all, with Kajabi, I don’t see you hosting a large, free public community.

🏆 Winner: Circle.

Automations

Circle workflow type
Circle’s automation workflow type

Circle recently introduced the automation workflows feature in their business plan.

Circle automation rule

This feature enables you to run triggered automations, perform bulk actions, and schedule various bulk actions on your site.

For example, if a particular person completes a specific course then you can automatically send them a direct message.

Circle workflows

It also provides different templates for creating automation workflows, similar to Zapier.

Kajabi as an all-in-one platform has an automation engine that connects all its functionalities.

kajabi automation triggers

In the above screenshot, you can see that when BloggingX Gold Membership offer is purchased, I can do actions like:

  • Grant an offer
  • Sending an email.
  • Registering for an event (maybe onboarding webinar).
  • Add a tag.
  • Subscribe to the sequence
kajabi advanced automations

On its higher plans, Kajabi gives access to advanced automations. These come with an additional “conditional” filter to further specify the rules.

🏆 Winner: Kajabi, hands down. It comes with more numbers of triggers and actions and even conditional filters. It offers more features compared to Circle’s recently rolled out automation features.

Funnels

Also, as Kajabi comes with a landing page and website builder, you can create entire funnels inside it.

For example, when you create a new funnel, you will be presented with a blank canvas in which you can link various landing pages, offers, and emails together, similar to how you do in any email marketing software like ConvertKit or Active Campaign.

Kajabi automation funnels
Kajabi funnels

For instance, in the above screenshot, you can see that whenever a person opts into my email list, they will automatically be sent an email sequence delivering my course content.

Then, they will be redirected to the thank you page to nurture them further down in the funnel.

To accomplish the same with Circle, you need to connect it with other funnel builder platforms like ClickFunnels, WordPress (with CartFlows and Elementor), or preferably Thrivecart, which I personally use. Then, whenever a purchase occurs in your funnel, you need to use Zapier to add them to Circle.

Email marketing

Kajabi allows you to set up either email broadcasts or follow-up sequences.

kajabi email marketing
Kajabi email marketing

When you create a broadcast or a sequence, there are various email templates from which you can choose.

Additionally, they offer a visual drag-and-drop email builder. This tool includes a variety of building blocks, such as text, images, buttons, and conversion-friendly widgets like videos, countdown timers, and social icons.

kajabi email campaign automations

The best part is that Kajabi, as an all-in-one platform, also comes with an automation engine. You can set various automation rules.

For example, when a specific email link is clicked, you can automatically register your users for a webinar, thus enabling a one-click webinar registration functionality.

Circle doesn’t come with any inbuilt email marketing feature. It needs to be integrated with third-party tools to set up email campaigns.

The sad thing with Circle is that it integrates only with Zapier.

Reporting and analytics 📈

Both Circle and Kajabi provide basic reports related to community traffic, engagement, members, leaderboards, spaces, and messages.

However, Kajabi provides more comprehensive and detailed analytics compared to Circle. For instance, Kajabi includes features such as student progress reports, course reports, funnel performance statistics, and video analytics & heatmaps.

The video analytics reports in Kajabi are particularly notable.

kajabi video retention graph
Video retention graphs in Kajabi

They include a retention graph that helps evaluate points of engagement and drop-off among course students, as well as metrics like the average engagement rate, total plays, and play rate.

On the other hand, Circle places a stronger emphasis on community engagement and interaction.

🏆 Winner: Tie. Kajabi is good at the course and student reports, while Circle has better community & member reports.

Mobile app 📲

kajabi mobile app
Kajabi’s mobile app screenshots
circle so mobile apps
Circle’s mobile app screenshots

Kajabi and Circle both have well-rated mobile apps for Android and iOS.

The apps aren’t white labeled, unlike Mighty Networks.

With these apps, students can:

  • Consume courses on the go.
  • Access communities and memberships.
  • See all the product updates.
  • Take quizzes, assessments, and download the attachments.

To increase conversions, both support in-app purchases and push notifications.

As an added advantage, Kajabi also has an app for especially creators. You can manage your entire business on the go.

🏆 Winner: Kajabi. Apps support in-app purchases. There is also a creator app available to manage your business on the go.

Integrations

Circle falls behind Kajabi in terms of native integrations as of now. Besides its integration with Zapier, it does not offer any other native integrations.

However, it does provide single sign-on integrations with various platforms such as MemberStack, MemberSpace, WordPress, Teachable, and more.

On the other hand, Kajabi has real good native integrations apart from Zapier.

It integrates with PayPal, Stripe, Typeform and other popular email marketing softwares like ActiveCampaign, Drip, ConvertKit, MailChimp and much more.

kajabi integrations

🏆 Winner: Kajabi. It has more native integrations compared to Circle.

Pricing

circle pricing
Circle pricing

Circle‘s pricing starts at $49/month, good for you if you need only the community component.

For most people, the Professional Plan would be the go-to option because it comes with courses, advanced analytics, and live streaming.

Also recently it has introduced a Business plan that costs $219/mo. You may want to choose this if you want Automation Workflows, custom fields and others.

Kajabi is more expensive than Circle. Its premium pricing starts at $149/month.

Kajabi pricing 4
Kajabi pricing

As their basic plan supports only 3 products and funnels, Most people end up choosing the Growth plan, which costs $199 per month. This plan allows you to create up to 15 products and funnels, making it ideal for most users.

If you are a developer and require a code editor, opt for its $399/month Pro plan.

Conclusion 🏆

Both Kajabi and Circle are highly promising tools.

Circle is a community-centric platform with great emphasis on automation and great UI/UX. It is led by the founding team of Teachable, which gives me confidence in its future.

On the other hand, Kajabi is a more established player that offers a comprehensive solution.

It includes specialized features like a website builder and a specialized community feature with gamification elements such as challenges, leaderboards, and badges.

For most people Kajabi would be the best choice as it provides better value for money. At $199/mo you can access almost all features it has got to offer.

On the other hand, with Circle, if you need all the features, including automation workflows, you would need to choose their Business plan at $219/month.