Last Updated on May 9, 2021 by Ron Stefanski

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Thinkific vs. Teachable (What’s Best For Instructors?)

Thinkific and Teachable are two of the most popular online course platforms around. They’re the two largest online course platforms by market share and continue to grow thanks to the rise in online education. 

According to statistics, the global eLearning industry is set to reach $325 billion dollars by the year 2025! Since you’ve found this article, it’s obvious that you have an interest in capitalizing on this trend and I applaud you for that.

But, when you compare Thinkific vs. Teachable, which one comes out on top?

The real question is, who would be crazy enough to spend over 15 hours trying to understand which of these course platforms is best?

Me…I’m that crazy guy.

And the good news is that I’m here to save you an OBSCENE amount of time by helping you understand the positives and negatives of both platforms without spending countless hours in each of them like I already have.

In this post I’ll compare their capabilities in the following areas:

  1. Course Creation
  2. Pricing
  3. School and Course Marketing
  4. Instructor Support
  5. School and Course Customization
  6. Student Experience and Retention Tools
  7. Data Analytics
  8. Advanced Tools and Developer Features
  9. Security

1. Course Creation

When creating courses online, you want a course builder that is user-friendly, intuitive, and reliable.

The last thing you need is a complex user interface that will make it hard for you to build your course pages, or a course platform that won’t even be available when you need it.

Luckily, both Thinkific and Teachable offer beginner-friendly UIs that make course creation a breeze and have very reliable uptime. As great as that is, there’s much more to course creation than that.

Let’s take a closer look at each of them:

Thinkific:

This platform is easy to use. It features a drag-and-drop builder to make it easy for you to upload and position your content when building your online course. 

There is no technical knowledge required to customize pages, and you can include any kind of multimedia content, such as videos, images, type form, discussions, and surveys, among many others. 

Thinkific hosts video content for free on the platform, which is one less thing for you to worry about. 

You can build your course from scratch, or you can leverage prebuilt themes, all of which are optimized for high engagement on your online learning platform. 

Thinkific also integrates with email marketing software like Active Campaign, MailChimp, and Constant Contact to allow you to drip content and run your marketing emails – all from one convenient place.

Summary of Thinkific’s Course Creation Features:

  • Easy customization with no coding required
  • Supports all types of multimedia content
  • Simple drag-and-drop editor
  • Free video content hosting
  • Comes with prebuilt themes
  • Email marketing integration

Teachable:

Just like Thinkific, this software is also extremely easy to use. It has an impressive list of features that makes the platform highly functional. 

Some of its core features include a drag-and-drop builder that allows you to create a customized website quickly and easily. 

You can add videos, text, images, PDF files, and audio from integrated cloud storage services such as One Drive, Dropbox, and Google Drive. 

The platform also offers conversion-optimized sales templates to help you boost your sales. 

Overall, Teachable allows you to build a learning platform that is highly responsive and offers students an omnichannel user experience on all devices – desktops, tablets, and smartphones. 

You can add team members to your account so that anyone can use the power editor for highly customized features. 

The page editor will allow you to launch new pages instantly so your students can get their hands on your new course offerings.

Furthermore, Teachable allows you to modify the language on your website to make it more accessible for foreign students.

Summary of Teachable’s Course Creation Features:

  • The platform is extremely easy to use
  • It comes with optimized sales templates for higher conversions
  • You can add various file formats from cloud storage
  • The drag-and-drop builder makes it easy to create high-quality pages
  • The website you build is fully optimized for mobile devices
  • You can add multiple team members
  • The page editor lets you instantly launch new pages for your courses
  • You can modify the website language for foreign students

Winner: Teachable (Try Teachable Now)

As you can see from the features above, Teachable has a lot more to offer. 

Furthermore, its design features come with a much shorter learning curve, which makes the platform ideal for beginners with very little technical expertise.


2. Pricing

When it comes to choosing an online course platform, a lot of people tend to base their decision on the price. 

However, although pricing is an important determining factor, it shouldn’t be the only one – or even the first one – that you consider. 

But, it’s still important to ensure that you get good value for your money, and so let’s take a closer look at the pricing plans of both platforms to see which one offers the best value.

We will compare the two platforms based on pricing plans, membership, and transaction fees. 

Thinkific Pricing:

Thinkific has four pricing plans for their monthly subscriptions: 

  • Free ($0/month): The free option that allows you to test drive the platform’s core features for free. On this plan, you get 3 courses, unlimited students, content hosting, quizzes, and surveys.
  • Basic ($39/month): The Basic plan gives you all the basic tools and features you need to start your own eLearning website and launch your first course.
  • Pro Plan ($79/month): This plan comes with a complete suite of features and tools to allow course creators to build a successful online course business.
  • Premier ($399/month): This is for advanced course creators who are ready to build an online education empire. It comes with all of Thinkific’s features, as well as a growth package that will allow you to deliver education at scale.

*Note: Thinkific offers a discount of 20% on annual subscriptions and there are no transaction fees.

As you can see, Thinkific’s growth-focused pricing makes it easy for anyone to get started and upgrade their plan as their online course business grows.

And the best part? 

You can start your learning business without having to invest any money upfront, which makes it ideal for total beginners.

Teachable Pricing:

Teachable also has different pricing plans to suit different needs and budgets.

  • Freemium ($0/month): This plan provides basic features of the platform so you can test it out before committing to a paid plan.
  • Basic ($29/month): This plan is ideal for beginners and comes with everything you need to create your first course online.
  • Pro ($99/month): The Pro plan has a ton of additional features, including unlimited students, integrated affiliate marketing, course completion certificates, an unbranded website, and advanced reports.
  • Business ($249/month): The Business plan has everything in Pro, as well as a few additional features like priority product support, manual student imports, and bulk student enrollments.

Teachable also offers discounts when paying subscriptions yearly. 

All plans include unlimited video, courses, and hosting. They come with integrated payment processing, student management, and lecture comments. 

In addition to that, you can create basic quizzes, and there are no fees for free courses. 

Furthermore, VAT (value-added tax) for the EU is automatically calculated, which means you don’t have to worry about doing it yourself.

Winner: Thinkific (Try Thinkific Now)

Teachable’s Basic plan is priced lower than the one from Thinkific. 

The other two programs are also quite similar, with both offering an unlimited number of students and unlimited video in the higher-priced plans. 

But, Thinkific’s free plan makes it the ideal choice, particularly for those who are just getting started and can’t afford a subscription yet.

While both of these platforms allow unlimited students, Teachable doesn’t offer unlimited courses unless you’re in a premium plan.

It’s also great for those who want to test the waters before deciding whether or not to commit to a paid plan. 

That’s why Thinkific is the winner in this category. It allows users to get a feel for its services, functionality, reliability, and security in a risk-free environment.


3. School and Course Marketing

When it comes to course marketing features, both platforms have a lot to offer.  While they don’t allow you to sell courses to an established student base like Udemy or Skillshare, both of these platforms allow you to sell your courses for higher prices.  

For the record, I’ve built on Udemy myself but never recommend it because they are a discount platform and pay you less per course sale.  While you will sell courses, usually you’ll make $10 per sale which is pretty low considering how long it takes to build them.

And since marketing is one of the most important aspects of a successful online course launch, it’s important to take the time to go through the marketing features so you can choose the best course platform for your needs.

Let’s take an in-depth look at each.

Thinkific:

This platform is equipped with an impressive set of features to support every aspect of your marketing campaign. 

You can use the Affiliate Center to manage and reward affiliates with instant payouts when they share your courses online. 

On the dashboard, you’ll find an easy tab for tracking affiliates directly. You also have granular control over the way you incentivize them and you can use different commission rates for different affiliates. 

Another important marketing tool is the integration of email providers

This will allow you to launch personalized campaigns so you can reach the right people, with the right message, at the right time. 

The platform allows you to integrate your learning website with over 1,000 external marketing and automation tools so you can take your campaign to the next level. 

One small issue with Thinkific is that they do NOT have a blogging solution built into their platform, but they advise you to integrate (which is pretty easy) with WordPress directly using their plugin.

There is also advanced data tracking on the platform which allows you to calibrate and optimize your campaigns in real-time. 

You’ll also find support for ad tracking and audience analytics through Google Ads, Facebook, and remarketing campaigns.

Summary of Thinkific’s Marketing Features:

  • Instantly reward affiliates for sharing your courses
  • Connect with your favorite email provider
  • Use data tracking to improve your campaigns
  • Integrate with hundreds of marketing tools and apps
  • Allows for one-click addition of countdown timers to checkout pages

Teachable:

Teachable also has a wide variety of built-in marketing tools designed to help you grow your e-learning business. 

On the platform, you’ll find all the tools and capabilities you need to run a profitable campaign. 

For instance, you can create promotional offers, such as coupons to incentivize course sign-ups. You can also use this feature to help encourage your affiliates and other users to promote your courses. 

You can easily track affiliate programs using the built-in features on the platform, and you have the ability to provide affiliate payouts from within the dashboard. 

In addition to using coupons, another way for you to boost your marketing efforts on Teachable is to offer customized pricing plans, such as one-time fees, subscription payment plans, and bundled course offerings. 

These strategies are designed to help you increase conversions and maximize the revenue from each sale. 

Teachable also has a landing page builder with features designed to enhance your sales, and you can quickly accept payments on the platform in over 130 international currencies. They have a built-in blogging platform as well.

This means you can accept payments in different currencies for the same course.

Just like Thinkific, Teachable allows you to integrate with all the leading email marketing tools, including MailChimp, Infusionsoft, and Mixpanel. 

You can also add conversion pixels on your website to measure the effectiveness of your online marketing campaigns.

Summary of Teachable’s Marketing Features:

  • Easy management of affiliate programs
  • Coupon codes and promotional offers to incentivize joining
  • Advanced pricing options
  • Use customized sales pages to increase sales
  • 130+ international currencies
  • Email marketing integration 
  • Conversion pixels tracking

Winner: Teachable (Try Teachable Now)

As you can see from the list above, Teachable has a lot more to offer than Thinkific when it comes to marketing tools. 

Although both platforms have powerful, effective marketing features, Teachable is the clear winner in this category.


4. Instructor Support

If this is your first time creating a course, then it’s important to choose a platform with responsive customer support to make sure that your questions don’t go unanswered. 

Even if you are an experienced course creator, it still helps to have the peace of mind of knowing that you get help in case you come up against some unforeseen operational issues. 

Both platforms offer stellar customer support through various channels, including:

  • Onboarding emails
  • Online tutorials
  • Support tickets
  • Knowledge base
  • Active Facebook groups

With all these channels available to you, it’s unlikely that any of your queries will ever go unanswered. 

But, let’s take a look at how these customer service systems compare against each other.

Thinkific:

This platform offers proactive assistance for an easy and instant resolution to any problem you might encounter. 

You can fill out a form on the website to get in touch with the platform’s customer support team. 

There is no way to get in touch with them directly since Thinkific doesn’t offer real-time support. 

But, compared to Teachable’s response time for the same support channel, Thinkific has a clear edge as their responses are typically quicker, more relevant, and personalized. 

The platform’s customer support agents also work on weekends, whereas Teachable’s support is only available during weekdays. 

Teachable:

Just like its competitor, Teachable offers efficient customer support. The platform delivers flawless service through multiple channels. 

Most notable is the platform’s robust repository of helpful tutorials and how-to guides. 

You can also get support through the ticketing system, however, the response time is about 24 hours or more. 

The platform has a very active community on social media where you can get your answers quickly from the many helpful members in the Facebook group. 

The one big difference between how each platform helps instructors is that Teachable offers real-time customer support through live chat. However, this is only on the Professional plan.

Winner: Teachable (Try Teachable Now)

Although Thinkific’s customer support staff is better trained to resolve issues more efficiently, Teachable offers live chat support, which is arguably more important when you are in a fix. 

But, they don’t offer support on weekends, whereas Thinkific does. 

So, depending on your specific needs for assistance, you might consider this a draw.


5. School and Course Customization

Customization and site design are very important parts of your course creation and marketing. 

If you are going to build a unique and successful online learning website, you need to choose a platform that allows you to create an efficient, immersive, and intuitive customer experience.

Let’s take a look at how each platform lets you customize the student experience.

Thinkific:

Thinkific offers excellent customization options. It’s a great platform to choose if you want to make your online learning service unique and different from the rest. 

You can offer your content all at once or on a drip schedule

You also have features that allow for easy integration with membership sites so you can attract more learners to the platform. 

There is also a prerequisites lesson feature that allows learners to request a lesson or course in advance. 

You can use the services of multiple course instructors to cater to students in different categories in real-time. Since this feature allows you to deliver services to a lot of students at the same time, it will help you increase your revenue dramatically. 

On Thinkific’s platform, you also have the ability to categorize your course content into hidden or private courses according to free and paid options. 

You can leverage multiple themes to highlight your content exactly the way you want to and the platform allows custom domains.

The platform even allows you to provide course completion certificates for students, which takes away the need for having to use third-party tools.

Summary of Thinkific’s Customization Features:

  • Provide completion certificates for students
  • Use multiple themes to showcase content
  • Private or hidden courses 
  • Easy integration with membership sites
  • Includes drip schedule content feature
  • Use multiple course instructors in real-time
  • Prerequisite lesson feature

Teachable:

Teachable’s customization options are just as impressive as Thinkific. 

You can easily create intuitive pages for your website with minimal configuration requirements. 

This means that you won’t have any trouble creating and customizing your schools and courses – even with very little technical know-how. 

All you need to set up your learning website is the name of the school and an email. 

On your dashboard, you have the tools to create intuitive quizzes and start engaging discussions easily. 

You can customize your website to look exactly the way you want your brand to look. 

The platform makes it easy for anyone to make high levels of customization even without any coding experience. 

Once your site is ready to go, you can start building a community around your school using the ready-to-go comment and email features

This will allow you to offer additional support for your users without having to resort to third-party tools or apps.

Summary of Teachable’s Customization Features:

  • Easily create engaging multimedia lectures
  • Build a beautiful website with no coding
  • Package and personalize your content
  • Easily customize to match your brand
  • Quizzes, comments, and email features

Winner: Thinkific (Try Thinkific Now)

Thinkific has multiple themes and customization features that allow you to create truly unique course pages instantly. 

You also get drip scheduling and a wide range of native integrations with a lot of useful tools and apps. 

The platform also has features that enable multitasking so you can cater to a more diverse group of users. 

It’s the clear winner in the category of customizing student experiences.


6. Student Experience and Retention Tools

As a course creator, you obviously want to create the best experience possible for your students. 

Satisfied students will rave to others, and they themselves will return to learn more from you. 

Ultimately, offering a great student experience will help you achieve your marketing and sales objectives. 

Luckily, both platforms offer tools to help you create an exceptional learning experience.

Thinkific:

On Thinkific’s platform, you get course welcome and completion emails that allow you to create custom emails for each course so you can welcome your students in a unique way. 

You can also send completion emails to congratulate your students upon completing the course. 

Another helpful feature is the course completion page where you can create a custom page for students that have finished the course. 

Here you can add information to congratulate them on their achievement and possibly even prompt them to join another course using an upsell offer. 

Thinkific also offers white-labeled URLs. This is important because these days people are trained to watch the URL to make sure that they are on the page they expect – particularly when making online payments. 

With Thinkific, you can show your own URL, which helps to provide a seamless experience for your visitors and students. 

Yet another helpful feature that is helpful in creating a phenomenal student experience is the mobile access feature

The entire Thinkific platform is designed to be fully mobile responsive. This allows your students to transition seamlessly between desktop devices and mobile devices with complete access, as well as progress tracking within the course. 

Furthermore, Thinkific offers language translation into over 30 languages which means you can deliver your courses to foreign students wherever they are. 

You also get a custom student dashboard that allows you to fully customize your student sign-in experience. This includes videos, custom pages, and content that only your course members can see. 

With this feature, you can turn your Thinkific website into a full-fledged membership portal.

Summary of Thinkific’s Student Experience and Retention Tools

  • Course welcome and course completion emails
  • Custom course completion page with upselling offer
  • White-labeled URLs for seamless user experience
  • Fully mobile responsive with progress tracking
  • Professionally translated into 30 languages
  • Custom student dashboard

Teachable:

When it comes to the student experience, Teachable doesn’t offer as many features as Thinkific. 

For instance, you don’t get the course welcome and completion emails or the course completion page. 

The platform does offer mobile responsiveness, as well as an iOS app

There’s also some site language translation if you want to internationalize your learning website. 

However, the platform is severely lacking in terms of the other features that Thinkific offers. 

For instance, there is no custom dashboard or white-labeled URLs. When customers go to a page to enter their credit card details, they will see Teachable’s URL, instead of yours. 

In short, while Teachable does try to help you create a great user experience, the platform doesn’t have as much to offer in this regard as Thinkific does.

Summary of Teachable’s Student Experience and Retention Tools:

  • Language translation for internationalizing your site
  • Mobile responsive for transition between devices
  • Offers “Teachable-branded” iOS app

Winner: Thinkific (Try Thinkific Now)

There is no doubt about it. Thinkific is the winner here. 

The platform goes above and beyond to ensure course creators are able to create incredible courses and provide outstanding student experiences.


7. Data Analytics

In order to stay ahead of the competition and grow your online school or course, you must be able to measure and improve certain important metrics. 

That’s why your platform needs to provide robust data analytics so you can determine where improvements are necessary. 

Both platforms have features that allow you to analyze your data quickly and easily from right within your dashboard. 

Let’s take a closer look at the analytics features to help you decide which is the best one to leverage your data efficiently.

Thinkific:

This platform makes it easy for you to make sense of all the user data you generate through your visitors and from your course marketing campaigns. 

It provides you with the right types of analytical tools so you can produce actionable insights and make data-driven decisions in your business. 

You get automated check-ins that allow you to encourage your students as they learn. You can easily communicate with them using automated progress and reminder emails

This feature also gives you the ability to send email broadcasts to specific groups within your user base and even run highly personalized campaigns targeted at those particular segments. 

You can take this a step further by personalizing the messages to match your brand. 

You can even check on the status of any of your students using specific filters. 

Growth and cohort reporting tools allow you to monitor and optimize your business from your dashboard. 

You get features like detailed segmentation and data exports, among many others. Also, you can integrate your account with remarketing tools like Google Ads and Facebook. 

Suffice it to say, Thinkific offers robust data analytics that will take care of all your needs.

Summary of Thinkific’s Data Analytics Features:

  • Engage students with automatic check-ins
  • Detailed segmentation and data exports
  • Groups and cohort reporting
  • Integrate with remarketing tools
  • Send an email broadcast to select groups
  • Run highly personalized marketing campaigns

Teachable:

Like Thinkific, Teachable also offers excellent data analytics solutions and a wealth of actionable business insights. 

It has all the analytics integrations to provide you with the tools you need to track progress and keep your students motivated. 

For instance, Teachable’s comprehensive dashboard allows you to track student sign-ups and revenue in a specific period. 

You can also define your course average completion rate and sort your courses by student account types

The platform makes it easy to export student information and course revenue data so you can discover actionable insights. 

You can also use the dozens of analytics integrations (through Zapier) to send course-related events to any other analytics tools you may be using. 

The platform also has a first and last touch attribution which you can use to discover which campaign was responsible for which conversions.

Summary of Teachable’s Data Analytics Features:

  • Robust analytics integrations through Zapier
  • Track student sign-ups and revenue
  • Define average completion rates of courses
  • Export cost revenue data
  • First and last-touch attribution to track conversions 

Winner: Teachable (Try Teachable Now)

All in all, it’s a close call as both Teachable and Thinkific fare pretty well with regards to providing data analytics tools. 

They each have amazing integration capabilities and a powerful set of data analytics tools to help you track the customer journey. 

If you are serious about leveraging data analytics as a way to optimize your marketing campaigns, either platform will help you achieve that. 


8. Advanced Tools and Developer Features

Both platforms have a plethora of third-party integrations available.

Some power users require full control when building their course or learning platform. They need full access to the platform’s HTML/CSS editing environment in order to make full use of the software.

If that’s you, take a look at how these two course-creation platforms compare. 

Thinkific: 

On this platform, you have access to a theme importer, SSO, and a robust API that is designed for developers. 

The feature for importing and exporting themes allows for advanced customization. With it, you can create, modify, import, or export complete website themes across different sites. This includes assets like images and forms. 

You also have the ability to use HTML/CSS/Liquid if you want advanced customization. 

The platform allows you full access to theme code and you can add layouts, pages, sections, snippets, and even styles and custom assets. 

Summary of Thinkific’s Advanced Tools and Developer Features:

  • Full-featured API allows developers to programmatically access and manage the site
  • SSO offers a seamless single sign-on for students with your existing system
  • Import and export themes, create and modify across different sites
  • Full access to the in code (HTML/CSS/Liquid)
  • Sandbox editing environment

Teachable:

Unlike Thinkific, Teachable does not offer support for themes. There is no ability to import or export code. 

You get basic access to existing HTML/CSS only, and you don’t have the ability to upload assets or create new files. 

Customers with advanced, custom requirements will find this platform extremely lacking in this regard. 

With no API access, offline site editing options, or SSO themes, Teachable is not the ideal option for developers who are focused on extensibility and future growth. 

This lack of developer features makes it very likely that as your business matures, you may outgrow Teachable. 

Also, Teachable doesn’t allow for importing or exporting themes. And, the platform has no sandbox environment for editing. You can only conduct live editing of your website code and code edits need to be published in order to preview them.

Summary of Teachable’s Advanced Tools and Develop of Features:

  • Basic access to existing HTML/CSS only
  • Live editing of website code only
  • Code edits must be published in order to preview

Winner: Thinkific (Try Thinkific Now)

At this point, it’s very clear that Thinkific is the winner here. 

It’s definitely the clear choice for developers when you consider just how much access Thinkific offers compared to Teachable. 

So, if advanced website administration and developer features are important to you, Thinkific is the platform for you.

However, Teachable has a distinct edge because it offers a better suite of analytics tools which makes it easier for users to make sense of all the data so they can run more efficient campaigns.


9. Security

When building a course online, one of the most important things to consider is the security of the platform that you’re working on. 

Cybersecurity threats are on the rise, and it’s important to make sure your website is secure – especially if you intend to collect payments online.  It should be mentioned that they both offer full paypal and stripe payment gateway integration, which is good if you want to use those platforms. 

Both platforms offer robust security measures so your data and financial transactions are always secure.

Thinkific:

Thinkific offers secure cloud hosting to maintain 24/7 security for your data. 

On the platform, you get regular automatic backups to prevent a situation where data is lost for any reason. 

There are also periodical security updates that are automatically rolled out to ensure that you don’t miss any updates. 

Furthermore, Thinkific comes equipped with in-built SSL certificates so you have the peace of mind of knowing all your content is stored in secured servers. 

In addition to all that, the platform’s security team monitors everything around the clock to make sure timely action is taken in case of a breach in security. 

Thinkific offers you total control of all your information with absolute ownership.

Here’s a quick summary of Thinkific’s security measures:

  • Built-in SSL certificates for secure servers
  • Regular automatic backups of data
  • Regular automatic security updates
  • Secure cloud hosting for data
  • 24/7 platform monitoring

Teachable:

Teachable has taken just as many security measures to ensure the safety of your information and financial transactions online. 

The platform only integrates with payment providers that are PCI level-I compliant as a way to ensure absolute data security. 

Students’ data is kept safe and secure through the use of 2048-bit SSL certificates, and your learning website will receive automatic updates incorporating any new security features instantly so you never have to worry about a breach in security. 

Just like Thinkific, Teachable also gives you complete ownership and control over your data.

Here’s a quick summary of Teachable’s security measures:

  • Full data ownership and control
  • 24/7 monitoring of platform
  • 2048-bit SSL certificate
  • Instant security upgrades
  • Secured payment data

Winner: Thinkific (Try Thinkific Now)

Although both platforms offer superb security features, Thinkific takes the cup. 

It has a slight edge over Teachable with regard to maintaining the maximum amount of uptime, as well as providing a higher number of security measures to protect data and payment transactions online.

Final Thoughts

I hope this article has helped you understand the differences between Thinkific and Teachable. While both of these platforms will work, there are certain bells and whistles that may appeal to you even more from one platform compared to the other.

Personally, I think Thinkific is the best platform for most, especially considering their free plan to get started.

If you want to learn about more educational software like Kajabi or Learnworlds, consider reviewing my post that explains the best online course platforms available.

The bottom line is, both platforms are high-quality online course platforms, and you won’t go wrong with either one depending on your needs.


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