Teaching a course online is one of the best ways to not only monetise your traffic, but it can help establish yourself as a leader in your industry.
Another perk of teaching online is that you have the benefit of scalability. Teaching traditionally in a classroom has always limited the amount of students a teacher can take on based on physical limitations, such as the size of the classroom, usually limited to 30 students or if it’s in college, then a couple of hundred.
However, when you bring you classes online, you can start scaling up and accept students from across the world, and your course can soon be attended with thousands of students.
Keep in mind that we may receive commissions when you click our links and make purchases. However, this does not impact our comparisons and recommendations. We try our best to keep things fair and balanced, in order to help you make the best choice for you.
Best of all, with sophisticated education software, not only will you will be able to teach your classes in scale, but sell and market your course with ease with their built in tools.
Thinkific and Teachables are two of the most popular tools in the online platforms space.
So let’s get started with seeing which online education is right for you: Thinkific or Teachable.
Thinkific vs Teachable: Overview.
Thinkific is an online education platform with over 50,000 course creators using their platform, and has sold over $500 million in course sales.
With over 100 employees, the platform boasts of it’s diversity in it’s team, with over 50% women and represented in over 15 countries, giving its customer base a solid support when needed, with over 200,000 questions answered, and offers a 24/6 customer support.
Here’s a few features of Thinkific that help it stand out:
- Customisable website for your front end
- Can host the course on your own domain
- Full access to HTML and CSS for maximum customisation
- Drag and drop course creator
- Support for downloadable content
- Quizzes and surveys for students
- Drip content
- Different types of courses such as private and hidden
- Supports coupons and promo codes
Teachable is another online education platform that rivals Thinkific. Boasting double the amount of course creators on their platform, to date, over 100,000 course creators, Teachable has sold over $500 million in couse sales.
With over 18 million students learning on Teachable, the platform attracts industry leaders such as Pat Flynn teaching email marketing to Lauren Hom teaching handwriting, the spread of content on Teachable is quite broad.
Here’s a few features of Teachable that help it stand out:
- Super easy to use and setup.
- Professional course player design.
- Has an iOS App.
- Offers learning tools like graded quizzes, content dripping, certificates, course compliance, etc.
- Powerful course reporting and analytics tools.
- Handy sales & marketing features including a well-optimized checkout process, 1-click upsells, etc.
- Supports Apple Pay and Google Pay on native gateways.
- Also supports integration with other payment processors like Stripe
- Handles EU Digital Goods VAT Tax
Thinkific vs Teachable: Which One is Better?
We take a look at the following comparisons and put the two platforms to the test.
- Performance and Uptime Review
- Ease of Use
- Security Measures
- Data Analytics
- Customer Support
- Payment Integration
- Pricing Plans
1. Performance and Uptime Review.
The performance of an education platform is one of the most important factors to look at when choosing where to host and sell your course. It’s a decision that should be weighed heavily, as you don’t want to end up working with a platform that turns away potential students when they want to sign up for your course, or can’t access the lessons because the server is down.
Not only will it hurt your bottom line, but it will hurt your reputation in the industry.
A big selling point for Thinkific is their 24/7 monitoring of their servers and boasts a 99.9% uptime.
Teachable also has a 24/7 monitoring, but they don’t openly share their % of uptime.
Upon doing further digging, we can see Teachable has experience it’s share of downtime in the past, and notable issues that stand out are:
- latency issues
- intermittent connectivity issues
- issues with updating billing information
Hence, Thinific and Teachable both have their 24/7 monitoring, but Thinific takes to lead in terms of performance and uptime, with their 99.9% uptime transparency.
2. Ease of Use
When you’re choosing a platform to go with, the ease of use and the UX of the software will play a big part of your overall experience with the platform. For this comparison, we took a look at how easy it is to create a course on the platform.
Here’s are a few reasons that make Thinkific’s platform great:
- Drag and drop platform for your courses
- 100% free video content upload
- No coding required to customize anything
- Customizable structure for your courses
- Host the front end of your website on Thinific too
- Pre built templates for you to copy and edit
- Full HTML and CSS access for maximum customisation
- Easy marketing tools integration, such as email marketing software
Here’s are a few reasons that make Teachable’s platform great:
- Use the drag and drop builder to create an interactive website
- Customization course structure (no coding required)
- One on one student lessons available
- Easily edit your course with the page editor
- Easy integration with 3rd party marketing tools to create a better experience
- Accepts multiple video files upload into the same course
- Directly import files from your Google Drive
To summarize, both Thinkific and Teachable are quite easy to use, with their drag and drop platforms, so you can create your course without a single line of code. Teachable edges this win though their additional features so you don’t need to get as many 3rd party tools (and save money), if you want further course customisations, such as their ability to host one on one lessons.
3. Security Measures
The security of your website and course is essential if you want less trouble as you grow. Finding out that someone has hacked into your course and sabotage your stream of income is the last thing you need after hours of hard work to put a course together.
Both platforms are hosted on the cloud and it’s data is maintain 24/7 to prevent cyber security issues. Thinfiic does mention it has automatic backups (but fails to specify how often) so in case anything does happen, your data is safe.
Teachable on the other hand is PCL Level-1 compliant that provides absolute data security as well as a 2048-bit SSL certificate that keeps data related to students safe and secure. All the data on the website is under your control and ownership as well.
4. Marketing Your Course
Don’t underestimate the marketing aspect of running a course, because if you want your couse to sell, you need to put in just as much work to promote it, as you did creating the content.
Marketing should be the backbone of every success course launch.
That said, both platforms offer their fair share of build in marketing products so you can do the promotion of your course all on one platform. Not only saving you money, but also time, so you don’t have to worry if the cool can connect properly or not.
- Thinkific allows you to reward your affiliates. Incentivize your partners with customized commission rates and direct tracking.
- Easy integration with your email marketing partner, so you can send targeted emails based on the user's journey each step along the funnel.
- Advanced data tracking, so you can connect you to Google Analytics, Google Ads, Facebook ads account to track your performance.
- Built in affiliate management platform, so you can reward those who share and sell your courses on their behalf with commission and pay them out too.
- Create promotional offers by creating coupon codes to incentivize joining of new users or to encourage existing users to promote your online learning platform
- Offer customized pricing plans including one time fees, subscription payment plans, or offerings of bundled courses
- Use their landing page builder features to boost your sales
- Quickly accept payments through 130+ international currencies. It allows accepting payments in multiple currencies for a single course
- Leverage integration with leading marketing tools including MailChimp, Mixpanel, Infusionsoft, and more
- Easily add conversion pixels to your website to gauge the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns
To summarize the marketing component, both platforms offer their share of marketing and promotion tools to help you sell. Teachable beats out Thinific here, with the extra features.
5. Data Analytics
If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve on it. This is an old school saying by Peter Drucker but still applied today no matter what industry you’re in. The only difference is that these days, we’re measuring our digital conversions performance on fancy dashboards on our monitors, rather than old school notebooks.
If you want know how to scale a coaching business or an education business, it's essential to understand how to measure and read your data.
Numbers such as your total traffic and conversion rate are important, and can tell you how each step of the funnel is performing.
But more course specific data such as the engagement of different parts of the course is feedback you can take aboard and tweak for future improvements.
Thinkific’s Data Analytics
- Teach with confidence using features built to help students succeed such as goal setting, dedicated tracking, customized learning environments, and course landing pages built to help them immediately see value.
- Monitor and optimize your business with group and cohort reporting, detailed segmentation, data exports and more.
- Comprehensive support for analytics and ad tracking including Google Adwords, Facebook, and retargeting campaigns.
Teachable’s Data Analytics
- Leverage its comprehensive dashboard to track students signups and revenue within a specific period
- Allows you to define the average completion rate of lectures and quickly sort them through student account types
- Easily exports course revenue data and student information to churn out actionable insights
- Enables you to leverage robust integration with Zapier to send customized course-related events to any marketing tool
- Take advantage of first and last touch attribution to find out which campaign converted the student into the online learning platform’s user
To summarise it, both platforms have quite a good range of data tools at your disposal. I can’t find one platform that take the lead over the other, and at the end of the day, it’s what you do with that data that’s important.
Winner: It’s a Draw
6. Customer Support
Customer support is another important factor when choosing a platform that you essentially run your business on.
On our day to day basis, we always choose brands for their customer service, think Apple for their easy access to customer service, where you can just walk into their Apple Stores and they can help you out.
Customer support isn’t just about answering the occasional technical difficulties, but it’s about building a relationship from the brand to you, as the user.
Both Thinkific and Teachable offer customer support through:
- Support tickets
- Online tutorials
- Onboarding emails
- Active Facebook groups for queries
- Knowledge base
But where they separate is that Teachable offers live chat support on its professional plan, and nothing is as good as getting help the moment you need.
Whereas Thinific will need you to send in a support ticket.
From my personal experience dealing with both customer service departments at the companies, I have to say, the team at Thinific blows past the Teachable team. Thinkific were responsive and got straight to the point when we had questions. Whereas Teachable just went around in circles when we had issues.
Digging around to read other reviews, I could see that this was the general consensus, where Thinific’s customer service team would be on point, as opposed to Teachables’ team.
However, personal experience aside, the value of around the clock live support is always good to have, especially when you’re burning the midnight oil.
Winner: It’s a Draw
7. Payment Integration
Taking payment for your courses is the last step of the deal. You don’t want to spend all that effort to take a user to the final steps, only for your payment system to break down and your keen customer is deterred from signing up.
That said, both Thinific and Teachable have robust payment systems, integrating with Paypal and Stripe for a seamless transaction.
What Thinkific offers additionally is it’s inclusion of Stunning, a tool to help prevent failed transactions and overdue payments, so you can capture sales that would be otherwise lost.
When you want to create the course you want, you need to be able to customize components to the way you want to teach.
On top of that, courses are a dim in the dozen, if you want your course to be unique, then you need to make it different to your competitors.
Thinkific’s Customization Features
- Offers drag and drop options to create the curriculum you want
- No coding skills required
- Private and hidden courses
- Prerequisite lessons
- Multiple instructors
- Drip schedule content
- Evergreen and expiring content
- Membership sites
Teachable’s Customization Features
- Use our power editor to create engaging, multimedia lectures, videos, and coaching sessions.
- Bring on the authors, team members, and contributors and customize their permissions and roles; we can support them and pay them for you.
- Create intuitive quizzes and start animated discussions easily
- Customize the look and feel of your website as per your specific branding guidelines
- Make high levels of customization without any coding
- Leverage ready to go comment and email features to build a vibrant community around your online learning school to offer extra support for users
- Leverage thousands of online instructors already available on the platform to provide high-quality courses
With customization features like drip scheduling and more third-party integrations, Thinkific wins in the customization department.
One of the best parts of using a particular software can sometimes come from the community that surrounds it.
From simply having an active Facebook group, where everyone is interested in helping out, to having a cult following, to the point where learning how to operate the software can accelerate your personal career, the community aspect of a tool should never be underestimated.
Thinkfic’s Facebook group, Thinkific Studio for Online Course Creators consists of 23,000 users in the group, and is active almost everyday, with admins there to help.
Unfortunately, Teachable has no Facebook group, so the clear winner here is Thinkifc
The final comparison today is comparing one of the most important features, pricing.
If you’re just starting out with your first course, then I’m assuming you want to stay lean with your expenses.
Thinkific has a free plan to start you off, giving you limited functions and capping the total courses you can host at 3. Like most tools out there, you can only get so far then you need to upgrade.
Their pain plan starts at $39 a month, and offers you pretty much everything you need to have a full fledge course business. With unlimited course hosting, access to email students, affiliate reporting and 3rd party integration with Zapier, so you can automate everything in the backend.
On top of that, Thinkific does offer a one time onboarding course, to help you get everything set up with 3 hours of dedicated support, for a price of $450 as a one off fee.
Teachable, unlike Thinkfiic, doesn’t have a free plan. Their basic plan starts at $29 a month, but on a feature to feature comparison, it almost feels like a slightly improved version of Thinkific’s free account. Charging a 5% transaction fee on every course sale is a slight turn off, especially when you already pay your monthly fee.
Their next plan up is what they recommend most people to get. Offering their full features up to you, including the front end website and up to 5 users, handy for getting your team to help you out, it’s basically the plan you need to get your business up and running. The monthly fee for the Pro plan is $99 a month.
Price isn’t everything, but looking the value they give at the price you pay, Thinkific deafinitely offers more for the amount you pay.
When choosing between two software that are both titans of their industry, it can be hard to choose a winner, especially when they’re both so good. It almost feels like I’m comparing Mercedes and BMW. But based on my comparisons today, Thinkific outweighs Teachable in many aspects, including:
- Performance and uptime
- Pricing integration
To wrap it up, if you did have the time to choose and want to try both out, I recommend that. My experience, at the end of the day, is my own. You may like what I dislike, and that’s ok, because at the end of the day, all it matters is that you can create a kick ass course.
Felix is the founder of Society of Speed, an automotive journal covering the unique lifestyle of supercar owners. Alongside automotive journalism, Felix recently graduated from university with a finance degree and enjoys helping students and other young founders grow their projects.