Thinkific vs Teachable: 13 Crucial Differences You Need to Consider (Nov 2019)

When it comes to self-hosted online courses, you have two main options; Thinkific and Teachable.

In this post, I’ll compare Thinkific and Teachable in every aspect and help you determine which one is the best.

FeaturesThinkific Teachable
Transaction feeNo5%
Pricing $39/month $29/month
CustomizationIt has a library of themesOnly default template is available
CouponsAdvanced options are available. Supports site-wide, single, or multi-course couponsDon't support multi-month coupons, only specific pricing single coupons are available
Import/Export themes You can import/export themes along with fonts and imagesYou can't import/export themes
Bulk editing featuresYou need to edit one-by-oneYou can edit in bulk
Email marketing integrationsIntegrates with upto 7 email marketing softwareIt has fewer integrations
Creating course bundlesComes with advanced features, you can bundle any courseYou can't bundle a primary course of another bundle
Creating surveysYou can survey your studentsNo option
Live previewAllows you to preview the changes without the need for publishingYou can't preview without publishing the edits
Welcome and completion emails for coursesYou can create custom emails on a course basisWelcome them and congratulate on completing the course.Not present

Both these platforms are very similar to each other, except for some differences.

As a side note, these two are self-hosted course platforms and cannot be compared with course marketplaces like Udemy or Skillshare.

Well, let’s dive into the comparison.

Thinkific vs Teachable: A Quick Comparison

Overview of the platforms

Thinkific is an eLearning platform founded in 2012 based in Vancouver, Canada. Company has over 25,000+ course creators, 11.4 million students enrolled, $100 million+ earned as per the 2018 report.

On the other hand, Teachable has been in the industry for a very long time. It was rebranded from Fedora to Teachable in 2014 by Ankur Nagpal and has its headquarters in NY, USA.

Popularity of Teachable and Thinkific

When I compare the popularity of both these platforms, Teachable comes out easily as the most popular platform.

Nevertheless, in this review, going forward, we will look at whether the platforms like Teachable and Thinkific justify their popularity.

Strengths of the platforms

In this section, let me discuss some of the areas where each of these platforms excels over the other.

If you are in a hurry, this section may be for you and help you make a quick choice between these.

Where Thinkific excels?

  • It has no transaction fee on any plans
  • It has different themes for you to select
  • It has in-built mechanisms to survey the students
  • It has a feature called narrated/voiceover presentations
  • It offers true Whitelabel features whereas, in case of Teachable, the branding is visible in the login page and sales page URLs
  • More native integrations

Where Teachable excels over Thinkific?

  • Teachable has superior course compliance features like enforcing lecture order, enforcing video watching, and graded quiz completion.
  • Teachable has an iOS app for students to more effectively consume the course content
  • One-step checkouts and upsells makes it highly conversion-friendly compared to Thinkific
  • The inbuilt ability to handle EU VAT
  • Ability to import course content from Google Drive, Dropbox, and OneDrive
  • Inbuilt course certification features
  • Has blogging feature which Thinkific lacks
  • Drip content unlock notifications for students
  • Robust webhooks management system and more Zapier features

Teachable has some features that are crucial and you won’t get them on Thinkific like one-step checkouts, inbuilt course certification, mobile app, and also course compliance.

As a marketer, I can tell that having one-step checkout option and also one-click upsell is a conversion-monster. Teachable has more effective features when it comes to marketing and course delivery.

But the downside is that the Teachable beginner plan comes with a transaction fee of 5%. I would not worry about it as the effectiveness of one-click checkouts will suffice it.

Akshay recommends:
1. How to Find and Validate Online Course Ideas? (with Real-Life Examples)
2. Teachable vs Kajabi: Literally A No-Brainer Choice (Complete Showdown)

Thinkific vs Teachable – Going In-Depth

We’ve put forward several aspects like:

  1. Interface
  2. Course creation
  3. Customization
  4. Marketing
  5. Integrations
  6. Pricing

In each of these areas, I’m gonna compare Teachable and Thinkific and explain to you what it means to you.

Interface

Thinkific Interface

All the features that Thinkific offers are accessible in the sidebar. Most of the features are logically put together.

But some features are present in unconventional places, so you may end up searching for their documentation at times.

For example, I expected the “integrations” page to be under the settings section. But it’s present under “Market and Sell”. It just doesn’t please my intuitive mind.

Teachable interface

On the other hand, Teachable interface feels more refined to me and I like their color choices. Their interface is aesthetically pleasing.

Similar to Thinkific all the features are accessible in the sidebar and are logically arranged in the hierarchy. The interface does not feel like barebones and there’s a nice touch to it.

Course creation

Let us discuss what course creation features these platforms offer you.

When you create a course, Thinkific offers you different formats of lectures like videos, narrated presentations, audio, text, files, quizzes, surveys. etc.

Thinkific course creation features

Thinkific has surveys and voiceover narrated presentations that are quite unique.

Teachable course creation

On the other hand, Teachable offers you a file, text, quiz, code. You can include videos in the file lesson type and embed anything under the “code” lesson type.

With Teachable you have the ability to import your lectures through various popular cloud storage services like Google Drive, DropBox, and OneDrive.

Both these platforms have drip-feed features that enable you to unlock the sections of your course over a period of time.

Email announcement in Teachable

In Teachable, you have a feature to notify/send email announcements to the students when a new lecture is unlocked which is not present in Thinkific.

Teachable also offers you bulk editing features for you to make lectures downloadable, previewable, and more.

Whereas in case of Thinkific you need to make the changes by checking the boxes one-by-one.

Teachable course compliance

When it comes to course compliance, with Teachable you have three features:

  • Enforce lecture order
  • Enforce video watching
  • Enforce graded quiz completion

On the other hand, with Thinkific you only have the ability to unlock a lesson based on previous lesson completion.

This kind of features help you a lot in academic courses and also in marketing.

Thinkific integrations with Accredible for certificate generation.

When it comes to certification, Thinkific has integrations with Accredible for certificate generation.

Teachable native certificate generation

On the other hand, Teachable has native certificate generation features and also the ability to code custom certificates with HTML/Liquid.

Another important feature is the comments. With Thinkific, students need to click on the discussions to view the comments. With Teachable, students can right away involve in the discussion without any friction as they would do with a Facebook post.

Customization

Once you create your course, it’s very important to present your course attractively.

Thinkific site features

Thinkific has an edge over teachable when it comes to site themes.

It has a small library of themes/presets you can apply for your site.

Teachable template customization

On the other hand, with Teachable, it comes with a default template and you need to make use of their power editor to customize it in every way.

Both these platforms come with visual editors.

Thinkific offers a more live preview while editing. It has more elements for the pages.

Thinkific design options

Thinkific has more design options with its theme choices and editor.

Teachable design editor

Whereas Teachable editor is also powerful but it does not feel live.

When it comes to custom domains, both these platforms offer you to use custom domains.

Here, one thing to note is that even when you add a custom domain, Teachable’s login URL contains their branding.

Although it may not be a big deal, it’s not suitable for client work.

Both these also come with the ability to customize the default texts in the site. It helps you tweak the default terms on your site that would otherwise be impossible.

Marketing

When it comes to marketing, the common features that both the platforms come with are bundling of courses, coupons, lesson previewing, upselling, and pre-launching.

In this area, I would say Teachable has more effective marketing features like:

  1. Bulk coupon creation enables you to create bulk coupons with ease
  2. One-step checkout reduces the friction while visitors are doing checkouts and dramatically boosts the conversion rates. Thinkific comes with a two-step checkout process which is not good for conversions
  3. One-click upsells are a great way to maximize on the sale
  4. Teachable allows you to have videos on the sales page (good for conversions i.e. the initial touch-point)
  5. Teachable gives you the ability to set up your own blog. If you are using platforms like WordPress and already have a blog, this is not applicable to you.

Both these platforms give you the ability to add filters to your list of students and email the segments. Added to this, in both these platforms you can pre-launch and test the waters before launching your course.

In the pre-launch page, both Thinkific and Teachable allow you to capture the emails of the people who have signed up.

If you want to create fully-fledged membership sites and sell digital products, you may want to check out Podia. Make sure you read my post on Teachable vs Podia.

Integrations

Both these platforms come with a good number of integrations. These platforms integrate well with platforms like Google Analytics, Segment, Facebook Pixel, etc.

Thinkific integrations

When it comes to email marketing, Thinkific has more direct integrations with upto 7 email marketing software. Whereas Teachable has fewer integrations.

Teachable integrations

Both of these platforms have webhook and Zapier integrations.

Webhook and Zapier integrations

Teachable has a more advanced and robust webhook management system. It also has more number of triggers and actions in Zapier. If you want to know more about these features, read my in-depth Teachable review.

To sum it up, Thinkific has more native integrations but Teachable has more robust and easy custom integration features like webhooks and Zapier.

Winner: Thinkific (has more native integrations) and Teachable (Has robust webhooks and more Zapier triggers/actions)

Pricing

Both Thinkific and Teachable comes with free plans.

Teachable allows you to create unlimited courses in the free plan but charges you 10% transaction fee. On the other hand, you can create only upto 3 courses in Thinkific and it charges no transaction fee. Again, both of them have their own pros and cons.

All these platforms come with basic, professional and business plans.

The basic plan of Teachable costs you $29/month, and they charge you a fee of 5% on every sale. On the other hand, Thinkific costs you $39/month and they don’t have any transaction fee.

The pro plans of these platforms come with almost all the features and they won’t charge you any transaction fee for the sales.

PlansThinkificTeachable
Free PlanCore features plus:
3 Courses
Unlimited students
Quizzes & surveys
Content hosting
Instant access to your funds
Unlimited video
Unlimited courses
Unlimited students
Unlimited hosting
Integrated payment processing
Student management
Lecture comments
Basic quizzes
10% fees on courses
Basic PlanFree features plus:
Unlimited courses & students
Coupons
Email students
Drip (scheduled) content
Affiliate reporting
Custom domain
Email integrations
Zapier triggers
Manual student enrollment & exports
All base features plus: 
5% transaction fees
Instant payouts
2 admin-level users
Product support
Course creator training
Custom domain support
Coupon codes
Drip course content
Integrated affiliate marketing
Integrated email marketing
Third-party integrations
Pro PlanBasic features plus: 
Unlimited courses & students
2 Site admin accounts
5 Course admins/authors
Private & hidden courses
Advanced course pricing options
Memberships and bundles
Certificates
Advanced Customization
Priority Support
Assignments
Basic features plus:
No transaction fees
Instant payouts
5 admin-level users
Priority product support
Graded quizzes
Advanced theme customization
Advanced reports
Unbranded website
Course completion certificates
Course compliance
Business PlanPro features plus:
Unlimited courses & students
5 Site admin accounts
15 Group Analysts
50 Course admins/authors
Single sign-on (SSO)
Onboarding package
Unlimited Growth Package
All Pro features plus:
No transaction fees
Instant payouts
100 admin-level users
Priority product support
Manual student imports
Bulk student enrollments
Custom user roles

If you are going with their free plans, you should be okay with either of the following:

  • Have restriction of 3 courses to create (go with Thinkific)
  • Pay 10% transaction fee on every sale made with unlimited free courses (go with Teachable)

If you think Teachable costs high, I suggest you take a look at Teachable alternatives that are more affordable and come with almost the same features as Teachable.

Winner: Thinkific (although the basic plan costs high, doesn’t come with a transaction fee)

Verdict

Thinkific and Teachable are quite close competitors when it comes to course creation.

Thinkific has its strengths in design and customization. Teachable has its strengths in marketing and course creation (two most crucial parts). Although Teachable does not come with different themes, you can have a coder easily customize your site’s default template using power editor.

I’ve provided you all the differences in the features and benefits of these platforms. It is now your call.

Teachable is one of the best Thinkific alternatives you can consider with more advanced features.

If you ask me, I would go with Teachable solely because of its superior course creation abilities, and also one-click checkout and upsell functionalities that are simply awesome.

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Akshay Hallur

About me

Hi, I’m Akshay Hallur. The founder of this blog BloggingX and many other online ventures. 

I’m a professional full-time blogger, a digital marketer, and a trainer. I’m here to help bloggers like you to create an outstanding blog and earn money from it.

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