Thinkific vs Teachable: 13 Crucial Differences to Consider (Dec 2022)

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Thinkific and Teachable are two of the best online course platforms.

I have been using these two-course creation platforms 😇 for 5+ years for creating my online courses. My favorite thing about these is that they offer LMS features that are tailored to your specific course needs.

There are a lot of discussions about which one is the best platform for course creators.

In fact, Teachable vs. Thinkific is one of the most intensively debated topics.

You see, the decision depends upon the particular use cases you’re looking at, the instructional design experience you’re looking to offer, your niche, and also the audience you’re targeting.

Thinkific and Teachable have dedicated LMS platforms, marketed towards individual course creators, teachers, and coaches selling their courses in various niches like arts, lifestyle, health & fitness, music, academics, business, etc.

As far as selling your other digital products is concerned, these platforms are not all-in-one like Podia.

But, don’t worry. There are integrations available.

Teachable and Thinkific offer excellent course compliance features (tools like Kajabi are poor at this), detailed analytics, video retention graphs (like YouTube) 📉, and course progress reports 📊 for you to know how students are engaging with your content and to set the right accountability mechanisms and partners.

Here’s a quick breakdown to begin with 👇:

What do I like about Thinkific over Teachable?

  • Thinkific provides pre-made course templates to design your courses. Some of the templates include – mini-courses, flagship courses, pre-sell courses, etc. Teachable doesn’t offer any course templates.
  • Thinkific has a forever-free plan with quite a good number of features and also no transaction fee 😘. You can create up to 3 products in Thinkific’s free plan, whereas Teachable’s free plan is limited to only 1 course with the support of just 10 video lectures.
  • Unlike Teachable, which charges a $1 + 10% fee in the free plan and a 5% transaction fee on its lowest plan, Thinkific doesn’t charge any fee in any of its plans.
  • Thinkific supports Adobe Captivate & Articulate storyline files, presentations, and live lessons (Zoom integration available). Teachable lacks these content types.
  • Thinkific supports graded quizzes even in its free plan. In Teachable this is available on the pro plan ($119/mo) and up.
  • It also provides seamless integration with Accredible to provide several certificate templates and tools. No extra cost, either. Teachable also comes with certificates, but the features are pretty basic.
  • It offers true white label features, so you can customize your Thinkific site better compared to a Teachable site.
  • Thinkific has direct integration with Brillium (only on Pro plan or higher) and this helps in creating randomized question banks for competitive exams. Teachable lacks this. Because of the above five features, Thinkific is a good pick for academicians.
  • Students’ feedback can easily be collected with the built-in survey feature, so you know what areas of your course need improvement. With Teachable you need to use Google forms or JotForms, and embed the URL inside the content.
  • Thinkific has a dedicated community feature (available on the pro plan at $99/mo). It gives you the ability to create spaces to give the conversations organized. Teachable as of now doesn’t support communities 😟. But they have Circle.so from the same founders.
  • Thinkific offers three pre-made site themes. You can also design your site from scratch to make it look and feel however you envision.
  • Thinkific has its own app store with access to over 80+ apps. Thinkific natively integrates with Shopify
    Shopify logoand allows you to sell your course along with other eCommerce products. Teachable just has over 10+ native integrations and there is no native integration available with Shopify.
  • Thinkific’s site builder gives conversion elements, countdown timers, and various social proof elements like reviews & logos, for better conversions. Teachable lacks these elements.
  • Thinkific has built-in features to customize the course player 📷. Teachable lacks this and you need to use custom code to customize the player if you need it.
  • Thinkific offers affiliates on all its pricing plans, whereas Teachable offers this feature only on the pro plan ($199/mo) and up.

What do I like about Teachable over Thinkific?

  • Teachable will let you import your course content from cloud-based storage ☁ such as Google Drive, Dropbox, and OneDrive. Thinkific doesn’t support cloud upload.
  • In Teachable, students can post comments 💬 right below a specific lecture, which can help boost student engagement. Thinkific doesn’t make it as easy to start a discussion. Teachable even supports multi-level threading of responses to keep the conversation organized.
  • You can make bulk edits ✍ to your course content with Teachableand you can also make the lecture previews in bulk. Thinkific just allows you to upload videos in bulk, there are no bulk editing options available.
  • If you want your students to access your course on the go, Teachable offers an iOS app.
  • Teachable will help you send automated email notifications when you unlock a lesson/drip content. In the case of Thinkific, you need to set it manually using integrations.
  • Teachable native payment gateway – Teachable Payments is more powerful than Thinkific Payments. It handles all the complex payments and affiliate payouts as well (for this it has a service called BackOffice). Thinkific requires an external payment gateway to handle affiliate payouts.
  • If you need a built-in ability to handle EU/VAT, Teachable does that without needing an integration (with say ​​Quaderno) as Thinkific would.

Common downsides 👎

  • Both Thinkific and Teachable lack dedicated membership features, unlike tools like Kartra. You need to use its course bundle feature and sell your membership content.
  • When it comes to videos, these tools lack interactive video elements like thumbnails, CTAs, player skins, watermarks, etc. to make the videos highly engaging, which you will get in tools like LearnWorlds.
  • Unlike Kajabi, they lack built-in funnels 📶 and automation features. You can’t automate the course completion tasks, successful purchases, assessment compilation, etc.

Upfront bottomline⚡️:

If you are a beginner and just starting out your course creation business, Thinkific’s free plan is enough for you.

You can create up to three courses and add as much content as you want. Whereas, Teachable’s free plan is just limited to one course with up to 10 video lectures (very restrictive).

Also, when it comes to customization Thinkific gives built-in course player customization features, whereas with Teachable you need to use custom CSS. If you are not a coder 👩‍💻, it leaves you in pain. And the best thing with Thinkific is it is a truly white-labeled solution, whereas Teachable is not.

Also, Thinkific is better at releasing student engagement features. It has communities, live lessons, and group features. Teachable lacks these features (it just has tags and groups for segmentation), as it focuses mainly on course creation and marketing features.

When it comes to payment processing, Teachable excels over Thinkific. It has two native payment gateways and offers a service called, BackOffice to handle complex payments. Also, if you are from Europe the good news is it has a built-in EU/VAT tax handling system. Thinkific does not offer this.

Latest product updates ✨:

Recently, Thinkific has released a new community feature to increase student engagement. You can either provide access to the whole site-wide community or to the course-specific community.

Also, Thinkific has redesigned the main admin dashboard making it more intuitive and easier to navigate.

While Teachable has made the free plan more restrictive. Previously, it supported unlimited courses in its free plan. As per the latest update, now, you can create only 1 published course with up to 10 video lecturers in it.

It also released live group coaching and launch accelerator programs to help its customers build a successful online course business. Also, it has released a public API (to connect with third-party tools).

To know more about these updates and also future updates, click on the links below.

Interface

Thinkific interface
Teachable interface

Both Teachable and Thinkific have a neat and modern interface. Thinkific’s interface is more attractive than Teachable.

Thinkific features

At Thinkific, the features are arranged logically and are named so that users can recognize them immediately. All the features are accessible within 3 to 4 clicks.

Also with both of these platforms, you have the search bar to find relevant features immediately.

Winner: Thinkific. Thinkific’s interface is very attractive and has a modern feel to it. Its features are logically arranged for easier access. Whereas, the Teachable interface looks dull.

Course creation

Course types

Thinkific supports courses and bundles. Whereas Teachable supports courses, coachings, and bundles.

Thinkific course templates

I have reviewed Thinkific previously. It provides various course templates, to begin with.

You can create a:

  • Mini-course (best for product launches).
  • Flagship course (best for in-depth online courses).
  • Pre-sell course (to validate your course idea before creating it).
  • Etc.

Teachable doesn’t offer any course templates. You need to create them from scratch. Not a deal-breaker though, because you can indeed duplicate the courses to speed up your workflow.

Coachings:

Teachable coachings

With Teachable’s coaching, you can offer 121 meetings and live video calls for a premium price.

There are milestones in coaching products that indicate what clients can expect next as they advance through the coaching product. This helps them set realistic expectations and understand the value they get from you as a coach.

You can refer to my Teachable review post, to explore further. If you compare this with Podia, Podia’s coachings are just basic.

You can sell your coaching products for a free, one-time purchase, subscription, or payment plan.

Teachable has various built-in notifications (for clients and site owners) for coaching products, these include –

  • New enrollment notifications.
  • New Milestone message notifications.
  • New Milestone added notifications.
  • Receipt.
  • Etc.

To know more things, you can refer to this guide.

Winner: Teachable. With Teachable, you can sell coaching along with courses. As coaching offers more value, students would more likely connect to buy the offers. With Thinkific, you need to manage it outside the platform, on your own.

Course structuring and uploading

Thinkific course structure

Thinkific’s course curriculum consists of chapters ( these are like modules) and lessons inside it.

Teachable course curriculum

While Teachable’s course curriculum consists of sections (similar to chapters in Thinkific) and lectures (lessons in Thinkific).

For creating the lessons, Thinkific provides you with these content types:

  • Text
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Multimedia
  • PDF
  • Downloads
  • Presentations
  • Live – Integration with Zoom needed.

To assess your students, it gives:

  • Quizzes
  • Assignment
  • Survey
  • Exams
Teachable supported lesson types

Teachable supports:

  • Text
  • Files
  • Quizzes
  • Code examples
  • Custom codes – HTML, CSS, and Javascript content
  • Upsells

Unlike tools like Podia or Kajabi, Thinkific also supports Adobe Captivate & Articulate Storyline files (you can upload them by converting them to HTML5). As of now, Thinkific won’t support SCORM files (If you need this feature, you can consider LearnWorlds). Teachable doesn’t support any of these.

Adding multiple content types inside of Teachable

In Teachable, you can add multiple content types inside each lecture.

For example – In each lecture, you can add videos, text, quizzes, or any other custom code. In the case of Thinkific, you can just add videos and text within the same lesson.

Thinkific bulk importer

Both Thinkific and Teachable support bulk uploads, saving you tons of time. Using Thinkific bulk importer (available in the free plan as well) you can add multiple lesson content at once. Teachable bulk upload is available on only paid plans.

Teachable cloud uploading

Unlike Thinkific, Teachable supports cloud upload, which means you can upload the files from Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, etc.

Copying the lessons in Thinkific

In Thinkific you can copy the lessons from your different courses. This would be really helpful if you have the same lesson content to add to your various courses, rather than creating them from scratch. For example – I have two blogging-related courses; 30 Day Blogging Course and BloggingX Pro, where there will be similar lessons for blogging niche selection, keyword research, etc. In these cases, I can just copy the lessons. How cool isn’t it?

Winner: Thinkific. Thinkific provides various course templates to get started. It supports more content types than Teachable. Its exams, assessments, and surveys help in assessing the students. Its bulk importer and copy lessons features are available even for free plan users, while Teachable restricts its bulk actions to paid users.

Enrollments

Pricing plans of Teachable
Thinkific payment options

With both Teachable and Thinkific, you can offer free courses as lead magnets 🧲.

You can also sell the courses as –

  • One-time offer
  • Subscriptions
  • Payment plans
Offering free trials in Teachable
Offering free trials in Thinkific

With both Thinkific and Teachable, you have the ability to offer free trials on the subscription plans. These trials help you increase sales and thus the conversions.

Limit the course access duration in Teachable

Also for your courses, you can limit the course access duration.

Selling the products in various currencies with Teachable

Note that Teachable allows you to sell your products in various currencies 💲. This gives more flexibility for users to purchase the courses in their native currency. In the case of Thinkific, its native payment gateway doesn’t support this. If you need to sell in various currencies, you need Stripe integration at additional cost.

Along with the above features, both tools support bulk student enrollment and unenrollment actions, saving your time in manually adding/removing one by one.

Winner: Teachable. Though both tools offer similar pricing plans and bulk student actions, Teachable has an edge here as it supports multiple currencies. With this, you can reach out to a global audience making the purchase easier.

Content delivery

To avoid students binge-watching the course content, you can drip schedule the content 💧 in both tools.

Drip schedule the chapters in Thinkific

In Thinkific, you can drip schedule the chapters based on:

  • Student enrollment date
  • Student course start date
  • On a specific date (i.e. calendar date)
Sending drip scheduling email in Teachable

Similar to this, with Teachable you can drip the sections on a specific date, or a specific amount of days after a student enrolls.

With Teachable, you can send automatic email notifications to notify the students. Whereas in the case of Thinkific, emails are not automatically sent but the message prompt will be displayed when the content unlocks. You need to send the emails manually. Use external email marketing tools and create a drip campaign matching your content-drip schedule.

Note: With both the tools, you only drip-schedule the modules, not the lessons. If you plan your curriculum accordingly, this is not a major downside I would say.

Let’s discuss the student’s front-end experience.

Course player options in Thinkific
Course player options in Teachable

When it comes to frontend experience, I like that Thinkific has a modern and attractive interface, unlike Teachable. It has a full-screen mode, the ability to download video files, and a search bar to quickly find the lessons. Teachable lacks these features.

Winner: Thinkific. Thinkific’s front-end experience is really good compared to Teachable. It has many features to increase the student’s course completion rate.

Student comments 💬

Both these platforms support comments for each lesson. Thinkific names comments as discussions.

Student comments in Teachable

In Teachable, the comments section is directly accessible beneath the lesson content for students. They can straightaway come and engage in the discussions.

This is not the case with Thinkific.

Discussions in Thinkific

As you see in the above screenshot, students need to click on that small discussions button to see the comments in the right sidebar. This little friction can drastically reduce the number of comments students leave on your lesson content.

Managing the discussions in Thinkific
Thinkific discussions

Here you can moderate all the discussions. The best thing is you can hide the comments if it is not relevant to the students, making students focus on what matters to them. But there is no way to delete the discussions.

Teachable comment settings

In Teachable, if you want to moderate the comments before publishing them, you need to enable comment moderation.

Managing comments in Teachable
Teachable multi-threading of comments

To keep the conversations organized you can enable multi-level threading of responses. If you have a high engagement rate, this is really a good feature to avoid messing up and help students quickly access and search the conversations happening.

Winner: Teachable. Teachable comments section is straightforward for students to access and leave comments. Also, it supports multi-level threading of responses to keep the conversation organized. Whereas, with Thinkific accessing the discussions adds friction.

Course player 📸

It matters a lot how the course player looks since this is where students engage with the content. The course platform you choose should provide full control over the course player experience and allow you to custom brand it.

Thinkific course player customization options

With Thinkific you can:

  • Change the course player theme – either light or dark theme.
  • Customize the course player’s primary color and font.
  • Custom Course player logo (available only on the pro plan that costs $79/mo).
  • Add Social sharing for students to share the course in their network. You can customize this social sharing text.
  • Allow students to override the site language.
  • Customize the course player text. For example – You can change the Buy Now button text to something like ”Get access to this course now at just $$”. These help you add benefit-centric flavor to the text which results in good conversions.

With Teachable, you can modify the look of the course overview page with its pre-made course design templates.

Course design templates in Teachable
Teachable course design templates

The sad news is that there are no built-in features available to customize the course player. You need to use custom CSS or the power editor that is available on the business plan ($249/mo) and up. If you are more concerned about students’ experience & engagement, and you don’t have coding knowledge this is a deal-breaker for you 🤝.

But what about frontend course player options for the students?

Thinkific course player customization
Teachable course player customization

With both tools, there are a few video player settings available for students:

  • Change the playback speed.
  • Adjust the playback resolution.
  • Video lessons autoplay.
  • Enable the subtitles to understand the content clearly. For this, the school owner should have first uploaded the subtitles.
  • Take private notes directly in the video player (for both students and creators) Note-taking encourages proactive learning. To avail this feature in Thinkific, you need to integrate with Beastnotes App available in its app store.

In case of Thinkific, you can remove the video play-bar on your videos (to avoid fast forwarding and skipping).

Winner: Thinkific. Thinkific provides built-in features to customize your course player (even a free plan supports these). But in Teachable there are no built-in features available, you need to customize it using custom code. If you don’t have coding knowledge it disappoints you.

Course compliance options

Teachable excels over Thinkific when it comes to course compliance options.

Teachable course compliance features

It allows you to

  1. Enforce lecture order – so that students need to go through the lectures sequentially. If they try to access the lectures randomly it shows a content-locked 🔏message.
  2. Enforce video watching – You can specify the video watch duration (say 70% or 100%) for students to achieve before they proceed to the next lessons.
  3. Enforce quiz completion – You can set a passing grade for quizzes and also set the number of retakes. If students fail to reach the target within the attempts set, they need to wait until you reset the quiz (you will receive an email alert for the rest).
Thinkific course compliance features
Thinkific  - making the lessons as pre-requisite

On the other hand, Thinkific also gives you course compliance features. These include –

  • Enforce video completion percentage – Similar to what we discussed in Teachable.
  • Graded quiz completion
  • Prerequisite lessons

These features help you a lot to incorporate accountability mechanisms in your community. Set accountability partners for your students!

Along with the above features, you can analyze how the students are progressing using reports 🧾. Both Teachable and Thinkific are good at providing course completion and student progress reports. I will discuss more on this later.

Assessments

Quizzes

Teachable quizzes

Both Thinkific and Teachable support graded and non-graded quizzes. The graded quizzes in Teachable are available only on professional plans and up, whereas Thinkific supports this even in its free plan.

Thinkific has some more interesting features than Teachable when it comes to quizzes.

These include:

  1. You can make the quiz a prerequisite (by adding it to a lesson).
Thinkific quizzes
  1. Thinkific supports randomized question bank (only on Pro plan or higher). With this, the system will automatically generate the questions for the question count you specified. This would be really helpful if you are conducting any competitive exams or in-class exams for any activities.
Importing the questions in Thinkific

If you have more questions to add, you can import them using .xslx files. This saves a lot of time in manually adding them. Teachable lacks a randomized question bank and questions importing features.

Certification 🏅 (to reward the students)

Both Teachable and Thinkific come with built-in certificates.

Teachable certification templates
Thinkific certification templates

Teachable has 3 pre-made certificate templates while Thinkific has 7 pre-made templates.

You can create your own custom certificates in Teachable using HTML/Liquid templating or custom. In Thinkific you can’t create custom certificates.

Both platforms automatically issue the certificates on course completion (for this Thinkific has direct integration with Accredible). Also, you can enable to send email notifications for course completion certificates. If you wish, you can issue the certificates manually in Teachable. This is not possible in Thinkific at this time.

You won’t have to pay extra to use Accredible with Thinkific–unless you want to create certificates manually.

Thinkific certification templates

In Thinkific you can customize the images, logos, colors, add custom fields, etc.

Surveys

Thinkific comes with a built-in surveys feature, unlike Teachable. You can integrate Teachable with tools like SurveySparrow or Typeform (paid) or Google Forms or JotForm (free tools) and embed the survey links in the content.

Thinkific - supported question types

In Thinkific, you can add 5 different question types for creating surveys.

These include –

  • One answer
  • One or more answers
  • Rating
  • Scale
  • Free Text

For more advanced survey features, you can also integrate with tools like Typeform, Google Form, or Survey Monkey and embed the links into a multimedia lesson type. You can export the results for manual analysis.

Winner: Thinkific. Thinkific provides more templates to design your certificates. And it has built-in surveys feature with detailed analytics. Also, for assessments, it has exams and quizzes features that are much helpful. In Teachable, you need to use external integrations for surveys.

Analytics and reporting

Student level reports

Teachable gives more in-depth reports than Thinkific. Its student progress reports contain data on –

  • Lecture progress
  • Video heatmaps
  • Quiz scores

Lecture progress:

Teachable lecture progress reports
Thinkific course reports

Teachable gives you the students’ course completion report per-student level. Thinkific gives more priority to reports per course level. To view the student level report, you can go to the user and view the progress.

Thinkific group progress reports

Also, as Thinkific supports cohorts and groups (grouping the students of similar interests), you can view group progress reports as well. (Teachable also supports grouping with tags, not its reports need to be analyzed per student level).

Quiz reports

Thinkific quiz reports

Thinkific gives you detailed reports of single/multiple quizzes and surveys. You can export the data for manual analysis .

Teachable quiz reports

Teachable also provides this report with these insights:

  • Average Score
  • Min Score
  • Max Score
  • Total Completed
Teachable leaderboard reports

Teachable also gives leaderboard reports that display the student’s data based on their progress. Thinkific lacks this.

Video analytics

word image 20691 52
Teachable video stats report

Both Thinkific and Teachable provide video analytics reports.

Teachable video heatmaps

Teachable has an edge here with its heat maps, unlike Thinkific.

With this, you can see which part of the lecture video your student has watched. Note that this report is available only for the videos hosted on Teachable.

Thinkific video retention graphs
Teachable video retention graph

Both Thinkific and Teachable also give video retention graphs to see how the students are engaging with your videos.

In Thinkific, these reports are available in their “Advanced reporting’ (which is in the beta phase).

Other reports:

Thinkific revenue reports

For Thinkific’s PRO + GROWTH PLAN OR HIGHER, you will get access to its advanced reporting. This will give reports on

  • Revenue
  • Orders
  • Enrollments
  • Student engagement

It gives a graphical representation of the data 💹 with color codes for easier analysis.

(Refer the image to know more on all the data available).

Winner: Teachable. Teachable’s reports are very detailed than Thinkific. Teachable provides per-student course progress, leaderboard reports, video heatmaps, and video retention graphs, which are lacking in Thinkific.

Mobile apps 📲

Teachable comes with an iOS app (no Android), whereas Thinkific doesn’t offer any apps.

Teachable mobile app
Teachable iOS app

The iOS app just acts like a supplement to the desktop web app. The Teachable app is not as powerful as the Kajabi apps, to say. You can refer to my Kajabi review post to explore more about the Kajabi app.

With the app, the students can ✔-

  • Pick up where they left off on another device.
  • Stream course videos.
  • View lecture text and attachments.
  • Take lecture quizzes and view their scores.
  • Complete lectures and sync their progress with other devices.

When it comes to cons, the app has many downsides like 👎:

  • Coaching products are not accessible.
  • Embedded content will not display.
  • Course compliance is not available.
  • Can’t access the comments in the app.
  • Doesn’t support push notifications (Kajabi apps allow this).

Winner: Teachable, obviously.

Digital product selling 🛒

What if you want to sell your other digital products along with courses to earn additional revenue 💸?

Do Thinkific and Teachable support digital product selling?

The answer is yes.

Download files from Thinkific lessons
Add the downloadable content

With both tools, you can sell your eBooks, guides, downloads, and PDFs by adding them as attachments inside the course curriculum and making the files downloadable.

If you want to sell your other digital products and services, you can use integrations and start selling. Thinkific excels over Teachable in this aspect.

Here’s why.

Thinkific app store

Thinkific has a dedicated app store (Thinkific app store) with access to over 80+ apps. You can use these apps’ native integrations to extend the functionality of Thinkific.

Thinkific natively integrates with Shopify Shopify logo. Whereas in the case of Teachable you need to integrate it with Shopify using Zapier.

Also, to extend the flexibility you can integrate these tools with other eCommerce platforms like ThriveCart or SamCart, and start selling your products.

Note: If you need an all-in-one platform to sell your courses and other digital products, Podia would be the best solution to choose.

Winner: Thinkific. Thinkific provides native integrations with Shopify if you are into eCommerce. Also, there are many other native integrations available for you to increase the flexibility of your product’s sales. In the case of Teachable, you need to use Zapier to integrate with third-party services.

Memberships (Recurring revenue generator)

Thinkific and Teachable are not standalone/dedicated membership site platforms. But you can make use of their course bundling feature along with recurring payment options to sell your membership content.

📚 Course bundles are a great way to sell multiple courses for a single price and incentivize students to purchase more courses.

Teachable supports course bundling on all paid plans, whereas Thinkific supports only on the Pro plan ($99/mo) and up.

Course bundles in Teachable
Course bundles in Thinkific

If you don’t want your students to access the individual courses, you need to make them private (or hide them in the case of Thinkific). This way, the courses will be hidden from displaying on the main course directory/on the home page.

Adding courses to bundles in Teachable

In case of Teachable, first, you need to set your parent course and then add the child courses. (The parent course of one bundle can’t be added as part of any other bundles – This would be a downside as you can only use the course across one bundle).

Thinkific course bundles

In Thinkific, there is no parent or child course system. You can just add in all the courses included in a bundle. (You can use any of the courses in any of the bundles as many times as you want). Freedom!

Next comes pricing your bundles 💲.

Setting up the bundle pricing in Teachable

In Teachable, you need to set the bundle pricing for the main parent product itself. You can set it for free, a one-time fee, set up payment plans, or sell it as a subscription.

Setting up the bundle pricing in Thinkific

With Thinkific, you can set the pricing for the whole bundle itself. You can sell it for a one-off payment, one-time payment, a subscription, or a payment plan.

With both tools, you can set various membership levels (or tiers) by creating various payment plans, like bronze, silver, gold, etc.

  • In the lowest plan (bronze), you can give access to only the course bundle.
  • The higher plan (silver), you can give access to private communities and groups.
  • In the highest plan (gold), you can give access to webinars, live events, or any custom member pages (like any custom announcements portal, appointments portal, QA pages, etc). This encourages members to go with higher-level memberships.

The main aspect of memberships is to provide the content regularly and charge for it. In these tools, you can add your new content as lessons (lectures in the case of Teachable) and drip them if you want.

Winner: Teachable. Though both tools have similar features with bundling, you can create and sell your membership starting at $39/mo with Teachable. But, with Thinkific you need to spend $99/mo and if you can’t afford to go with this plan you can’t sell bundles, decreasing the sales.

Community features (A place for students to connect and interact)

Having community alongside courses is a great way to connect with students and increase their engagement.

Teachable doesn’t offer a community feature. On the other hand, Thinkific’s Pro and the higher plans give you access to communities.

With the Pro plan, you can create only 1 community, while with the Premier plan ($499/mo) you can create unlimited communities.

word image 20691 70

Thinkific’s community support spaces. These are nothing but the channels that help you keep the conversations organized. Only site owners and site admins will be able to create, edit, or delete spaces.

The community allows you to:

  • Create posts.
  • Add comments.
  • Like posts and comments.
  • Pin posts (only available for the site owner or site admins) (You can pin the welcome posts or important announcements).
  • Sort posts (most recent/most comments/new comments).
  • Follow posts.
  • Delete posts and comments.
  • Community notifications (students should follow the posts to receive the notifications on the community activities).

Click here to learn more about all these options.

Providing the course access in Thinkific
Community access for Enrolled students
Course access options in Thinkific
Community access for Enrolled students

As a site owner, you will have full control over communities. You need to decide who can access your communities with the following options;

  • Logged in students.
  • Enrolled students.
  • Students in groups.
  • Only me (best for you to set to this, before making the community live).

You can also customize the appearance of your communities. You can set the primary color, font, and image to reflect your brand.

Viewing the community as a student:

Viewing the community component as student in Thinkific

All the students who have access to the community can view and access it right from their dashboard. The community section will appear below their courses directory.

Note: As of now, only up to 21 communities will be displayed in the student’s dashboard. If you have more than 21 communities, you can share the community links🔗 with the students either in the lessons/as an email.

Both Thinkific and Teachable provide native integration with Circle.so, an industry-leading community platform. (If you think, Thinkific’s community features are limited you can go with Circle.so).

Teachable integration with Circle.so
Thinkific integration with Circle.so

You can host your courses in Teachable/Thinkific and manage your community in Circle.so. Circle.so provides a single sign-on feature (SSO) so that students can sign in directly to Circle.so using Thinkific/Teachable’s login credentials.

Integrate Teachable+Circle.so, Integrate Thinkific+Circle.so

Winner: Thinkific. Thinkific support built-in communities, with access to spaces. But lacks gamification features like badges, points, achievements🏆, etc . (For this, you can use Thinkific’s integration with Pointagram, which gives customizable leaderboards, points, badges, and metrics). If you just need basic community features this gets the job done. Thinkific’s community is more feature-rich and powerful compared to Kajabi communities.

Design and Customization 🎨

Themes

Thinkific themes

Teachable comes with only a single theme to design your site, whereas Thinkific has three built-in themes – Vision, Empire, and Vogue, each with 3-4 styles. Also, you can import your own theme and customize them using the site builder.

Teachable course design templates

But in Teachable you will get three-course design templates to design your course overview page. These include:

  • Teachable Classic
  • Colossal
  • Simple

In Teachable you can customize the theme (school) using the default options available, like:

  • You can customize the logo & branding.
  • Add site logo, favicon image, and school thumbnail.
  • Customize the fonts. (You can add your own custom fonts using code snippets and custom CSS).
  • Customize the theme color, customize the background color of school navigation bars, footer, header, buttons, links, etc.
  • Much more

You can also custom code your theme using power editor 🔥 (available in the business plan at $299/mo).

The theme customization in Thinkific allows you to customize the

  • Styles
  • Colors
  • Typography
  • Fonts
  • Favicon
  • Customize the site header

In Thinkific you can also customize your site header and footer.

Page builder

Both tools come with a page builder (or site builder) to design your course page/sales pages (course landing page & thank you page)/site pages/any other custom pages.

Designing sales pages in Teachable

Teachable gives a few page blocks to build your pages.

  • Rich text
  • Liquid/html
  • Background image
  • Video embed
  • Course hero header
  • Coupon banner
  • Course description
  • Author bio
  • Course curriculum
  • Bundled courses
  • Faq
  • Course page closing letter
  • Primary enroll button
  • Secondary enroll button
  • Embedded form
  • Testimonial
  • Featured courses
Teachable page design blocks

You can customize each block design. You can add padding, change the color, alignment, image opacity, customize the buttons, etc.

For each page, you can modify the page settings as well. (Refer the image above to know all the settings available).

Thinkific page design blocks

Similar to Teachable page blocks, in Thinkific you will get sections to design your pages.

Some of the unique sections Thinkific offers include:

  • Countdown timers
  • Bonus materials
  • All pricing smart section
  • Social proofs – logos, reviews
  • Checklist
  • Upsells
  • Etc.

Using testimonials, videos, and including the social proofs on the landing pages, is a great conversion booster and they would likely increase the sales.

Website level options

Custom domains in Thinkific
Custom domains in Teachable

You can set up your own custom domain, with both these tools. In Teachable you can set a custom domain/subdomain on the basic plan and up.

Similar to this, Thinkific’s all paid plans support custom domains, this removes thinkific.com from your site URL and replaces it with your branded domain!

When it comes to white labeling, Teachable doesn’t support this. On the other hand, Thinkific supports this feature on PRO + GROWTH PLAN OR HIGHER. This removes Thinkific’s branding in the site footer, course player, and the text in your automated email notifications.

Winner: Thinkific. Thinkific comes with three pre-made site themes and it offers more social proof & conversion elements to add in-your pages for conversions. Also, Thinkific is a completely white-labeled solution. On the other hand, Teachable only has a single theme and has fewer elements to design the pages.

Sales and marketing 💰

Basic marketing features

Offering free previews is a great way for students to access the quality of the course and decide if it is right for them to buy or not.

In both Thinkific and Teachable, you can offer free lessons for students to view 👀.

Bulk pre-viewing in Teachable
Pre-viewing in Thinkific

In Teachable you can make the lecturers as a free preview in bulk. Whereas in Thinkific you need to go inside each lesson and make it a free preview lesson.

Next are coupons.

With both, you can create single-use and multi-use coupon codes. Thinkific allows you to create bulk codes (on Pro plan plus Growth package or higher) using its API.

Coupons in Teachable

In Teachable you use multiple use coupons on three different levels –

  • All product coupons – You can apply these coupons to any product and pricing plan within your school.
  • Product type coupons – Applied to any pricing plan for a particular product type. For example – Coupons set up for courses won’t work for coaching or bundles.
  • Pricing plan-specific coupons – These coupons are applicable only to specific pricing plans within a given product.
Thinkific coupons
Specifying the coupon activation duration in Thinkific

Thinkific allows you to specify the duration as to how many months the discount should be applied. This would be really helpful for introductory deals, like the “First 2 months free” type of discount. This is a smart way to offer a free trial while simultaneously obtaining a customer’s billing information. You can use this only on subscription-based or payment plan pricing deals.

Teachable - link with coupon automatically applied

With both, you can share the links to students with the coupons automatically applied and set the expiry dates as well.

Pre-launches 🎯:

Teachable - course pre-launching

Pre-launches are a great way to validate your course idea even before creating it. It helps you collect the emails of potential buyers. You can even pre-sell the courses you are currently working on. Conduct a survey and collect students’ feedback regarding the content as it is still being developed.

Early bird pricing in Teachable
Thinkific course pre-launch preview

Similar to tools like Podia, with these platforms too, you can create and sell the pre-launches at a discounted offer. For example – you can sell the pre-launch as “early bird pricing” at a discounted price. This encourages the potential students to purchase even before it goes live.

Winner: Tie. Both Teachable and Thinkific support coupons, pre-launches, and course pre-selling features.

Payment processing

Payment processors in Teachable

Teachable has two native payment gateways – Teachable Payments & the Monthly Payment Gateway.

You can also connect with custom payment gateways like Stripe and PayPal, if you are on the professional plan and up.

With Teachable Payments, you don’t need to worry about remitting taxes on sales within the US, the EU, and the UK, since it handles all of those taxes. Also with this gateway, you will get paid daily, weekly, or monthly payouts directly to your bank account.

Thinkific payments

Thinkific also has its own payment gateway called “Thinkific Payments”. This is only available to creators with businesses based in the US or Canada. If you are from other countries, you can use Stripe or PayPal.

Also, the Thinkific payouts schedule depends on the country you are in. For US people the payouts will be processed within 2 days.

Payment Options for Students:

In Teachable, students can pay through credit/debit cards, PayPal, Apple Pay®, and Google Pay™. In the case of Thinkific, Thinkific Payments allows you to accept payment through Thinkific’s built-in checkout. Students can pay through PayPal as well.

Winner: Teachable. Teachable payment gateway is more powerful than Thinkific payments. Teachable provides BackOffice service to handle complex payments. Also, Thinkific payments cannot support affiliate payouts, unlike Teachable payments.

Checkout, OTOs (like upsells, bump offer, and downsells)

To increase the average cart value of customers, Thinkific and Teachable support OTOs like upsells and order bumps. These don’t support downsells.

In Teachable there are two ways to add an upsell.

Adding upsells in Teachable

Adding an upsell in the lectures – You can offer either the courses or coachings as upsells. (This is lacking in Thinkific).

Adding upsells in Thinkific

Adding upsell in a page – You can add upsells on your thank you page using the “Upsell block” section. (Note – you can only add an Upsell block on the thank you page).

Customizing the upsell pages in Thinkific

In Thinkific, you can add upsells on these pages.

  • Course landing page
  • Bundle landing page
  • Home page
  • Custom pages

There is also an Upsells [smart section] available on the checkout – thank you page, if you are using After Purchase Flow on a specific course.

Next is the order bump. 🎁

Order bumps in Teachable

Order bumps in Teachable

Order bumps options

Customizing the order bump in Teachable

In Teachable you can only add one order bump on the checkout page. An order bump product must have a one-time purchase or subscription pricing plan.

Order bumps in Thinkific

With Thinkific also, you can only add one order bump for your primary product. For now, order bumps are available only if you’re using Thinkific Payments as your payment processor.

Thinkific order bump features

You can customize these details for the bump offer:

  • Title
  • Course card image
  • Product description
  • Price
  • Strikethrough price

Checkout pages:

Teachable checkout page
Thinkific checkout page

Teachable comes with a one-step checkout whereas Thinkific has a two-step checkout. Thinkific has recently introduced its single-step checkout to increase conversions.

In Teachable, you can customize the checkout buttons’ text. Like – Buy Now, Subscribe, Place order, and Get it for free.

Guarantee badges in Teachable

The best thing with Teachable is it gives guarantee bandages (conversion boosters) to add to the checkout pages. This element is lacking in Thinkific.

Winner: Tie. Both tools support upsells & order bumps, also they have a single-checkout page for increased conversions.

Email marketing ✉

Sending email notifications in Teachable

Sending email notifications in Thinkific

Both Teachable and Thinkific have built-in notifications which help you send admin and student notifications.

Teachable natively integrates with MailChimp and ConvertKit.

Whereas, Thinkific integrates with –

  • MailChimp
  • ConvertKit
  • Constant Contact
  • AWeber
  • ActiveCampaign
  • EngageBay
Teachable template editor
Thinkific editor

Teachable has a template editor for you to customize the emails you send. The editor supports HTML/CSS/Liquid. In Thinkific you can customize the templates using its text editor.

Email notifications send to owners and authors:

  • Student Details
  • New Student Signup
  • New Comment Awaiting Moderation
  • New Enrollment
  • etc.

In case of Thinkific, admins will get notifications for:

  • New sign up
  • New order
  • New lead
  • Subscription canceled
  • Much more

Student email notifications in Thinkific:

  • Welcome Email
  • Bundle Welcome Email
  • Course Completion Email
  • etc.

Winner: Thinkific. In Thinkific, along with student notifications, you can also send email notifications to site owners and site admins to get immediate attention on what’s happening in the site. Also, Thinkific provides native integrations with other email marketing and automation tools increasing the flexibility. Teachable has less built-in notifications compared to Thinkific, also it doesn’t provide native integrations with automation softwares.

Affiliate marketing 🎉

Having affiliates to drive new sales and increase your fan base is very crucial. Both Thinkific and Teachable support affiliates feature.

Teachable affiliates
Thinkific affiliates

To get started, first, you need to change the user role to “affiliates”.

Affiliate product restrictions in Teachable
Affiliate product restrictions in Thinkific

In Teachable you have the ability to restrict the products if you don’t want any affiliate to promote them. Similar to this, in Thinkific you have the option to exclude the products.

Exporting the affiliate commission reports in Thinkific

When it comes to affiliate payouts, with Teachable, you can pay inside of the platform, whereas with Thinkific you need to handle this on your own, outside of the platform (using custom payment gateways like PayPal).

For Teachable to handle this, you need to use Teachable Payments or the Monthly Payment Gateway (one of Teachable’s native payment gateways), with BackOffice service enabled.

BackOffice is a service provided by Teachable to ease the payment collection and payouts process. It gives access to –

  • Automated Affiliate & Author payouts.
  • Automated Affiliate & Author tax form collection.
  • PayPal as a course payment option.

With Teachable, affiliates, and authors in your school receive monthly payments via PayPal automatically.

Both Thinkific and Teachable lack features to automate the affiliates tasks, unlike Kajabi. You need external integrations to automate the tasks.

Winner: Tie. Both tools have almost the same features when it comes to affiliates. But Teachable made it much easier to handle affiliate payouts than Thinkific, with its BackOffice service. In Thinkific, you need external payment gateway integration to handle affiliate payouts.

Integrations

Teachable and Thinkific both allow you to connect with third-party platforms.

Teachable provides native integrations with:

  • ConvertKit
  • Mailchimp
  • Circle.so
  • Facebook Pixel
  • Google Analytics
  • Sumo
  • Segment
  • Zapier
Thinkific app store

While Thinkific has its app store where you can get access to 80+ apps to scale your business.

Both Thinkific and Teachable support API, webhooks, and Zapier integration. Using Zapier you connect these with the tools you like.

Regarding the triggers available with Zapier, we have discussed this already.

Winner: Thinkific. Thinkific, with its app store, provides native integrations with over 80+ apps and services. Compared to this, Teachable has a very few integrations which is disappointing.

Pricing and support

Pricing

Both Thinkific and Teachable are freemium platforms. Thinkific’s free plan offers more features than that of Teachable. It is enough for beginner course creators.

Teachable pricing
Teachable pricing
Thinkific pricing
Thinkific pricing

Teachable has limitation on the number of courses you can publish in its free plan.

With Thinkific free plan you can create up to 3 products. Previously Teachable supported unlimited products in its free plan, but as per their recent update, you can only create 1 course with only 10 video lectures.

Teachable free plan is just like signing up for a trial. It lacks features like certificates, upsells, coupons, custom domains, course compliance, graded quizzes, etc. To avail of these features, you need to go with higher plans. Click here to view Teachable’s pricing plans comparison. If you are interested, you can refer to some of the cheaper Teachable alternatives.

In the case of Thinkific also, coupons & promotions, custom domain, drip scheduling, etc. are available only in its paid plans.

Thinkific growth add-on

Note: Thinkific has a separate growth addon (costs $50/mo) on top of the Pro plan. It gives highly powerful features to scale your online courses. (Refer to the screenshot above to know all the features in the add-on).

If you need a fully white-labeled feature, Brillium exams integration, API access, and unlimited communities you need to go with its premier plan at $499/mo (If you feel like this pricing is not affordable, you can consider looking at its alternatives). You can see all Thinkific pricing plans comparison here.

Winner: Thinkific. Thinkific’s free plan is very feature rich compared to Teachable. Also, Thinkific offers more value for money. Its community features, live lessons, integration with Brillium, white-labeling feature, etc. make it worth buying. But if you need custom coding (access to power editor), and excellent course compliance features, Teachable is also good to go.

Support

Both platforms are good at support. They have really in-depth and easy-to-digest knowledgebase articles to help you. They have a private community of users (Thinkific community, Teachable community) where you can be actively involved in the discussions and get assisted by expert users.

If you are new to Teachable, you can utilize its quickstart webinar which teaches you how to build your courses. Thinkific also has a free training called “Thinkific Academy” (it gives you free online course creation and marketing courses) to help you.

Winner. Tie.

FAQs on Thinkific vs Teachable ⁉

Do these course platforms come with transaction fees?

Thinkific doesn’t come with any fees. But Teachable comes with 5% transaction fees on the lowest plan and a 10% fee on its free plan. But you need to consider if the extra features I’ve described are worth it.

Do they have a free plan?

Yes. Both platforms offer free plans with limited features. Thinkific has a generous free plan with up to 3 courses, unlimited students & hosting. Teachable’s free plan is just limited to only 1 published course with 10 video lectures.

Can I export the themes?

You can export or import the themes along with images in case of Thinkific. But you can’t do it with Teachable as they have a power editor (advanced theme customizer) like I have discussed.

Do these platforms allow me to send welcome and course completion emails?

With both, you can create and send custom course emails.

Thinkific vs Teachable: Conclusion 🏆

Both Teachable and Thinkific are the best LMS solutions available today for teachers, individual course creators, and entrepreneurs.

But the final choice depends on your needs.

Thinkific is best for you, if:

  • You need an affordable solution, with no transaction cut-offs.
  • You need a free plan with enough features to create and sell your courses.
  • You need content types like Adobe Captivate & Articulate Storyline files, and live lesson embeds (to create engagement with students in real-time).
  • Need communities feature to engage with students and build more loyal customers.
  • You need randomized question bank features for your exams. For this, it integrates with Brillium exams.
  • Need built-in surveys to collect student’s feedback.
  • Need full control over the course player customization for enhanced student experience.
  • You need advanced segmentation features like search filters and bookmarks to organize student communications, reporting, and progress tracking.
  • Need a truly white-labeled solution.
  • Need more native integrations to connect with external tools and services through its app store.

Teachable is best for you, if:

  • If you need advanced theme customization features (power editor) to take your school design to the next level.
  • Need a built-in EU/VAT tax handling system.
  • Need the built-in payment gateway to handle complex payments and affiliate payouts.
  • Need advanced reporting for courses, students, videos (with retention graphs), and upsells to analyze your school’s performance.
  • Need an iOS app to help students learn on the go.

Akshay HallurAbout 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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