There are a number of online platforms that allow you to create and sell online courses under your own brand, and Teachable and Thinkific are certainly two of the very best online course platforms out there.
They are both robust solutions, offer all the essential course creation features, including unlimited video storage, are reasonably priced and overall, are very similar in terms of what they have to offer.
Since the two platforms are so similar, a number of course creators find it really difficult to answer the Teachable vs Thinkific question.
They end up spending a lot of time doing research online without getting a definitive answer to why they should sell courses on one platform rather than the other.
So, I decided to leverage my experience of working with hundreds of instructors on both the platforms and create a comprehensive Thinkific vs Teachable comparison guide.
Teachable vs Thinkific Summary
Teachable and Thinkific are kind of similar in terms of their course creation features. The main difference between the two platforms is that Thinkific has better site design and customization tools while Teachable has better sales and marketing features. Plus they also differ quite a bit in terms of their pricing structure.
Ease of Use
Course Creation and Engagement
Site Design and Customization
Sales and Marketing
Customer Support and Training
Ease of Use
Course Creation and Engagement
Site Design and Customization
Sales and Marketing
Customer Support and Training
What I like about Teachable vs Thinkific?
What I like about Thinkific vs Teachable?
The battle of superiority between Teachable and Thinkific has been an interesting one to follow. Both have been upgrading their platforms and adding new features on a consistent basis.
So, I intend to keep this post updated for every important update from the two platforms. Now, let's look deeper to find whether Teachable or Thinkific is a better online course platform.
(This is a super in-depth comparison and you can use this table of contents to navigate to different sections in the guide.)
What are Teachable and Thinkific?
So, you can upload all types of content including videos and quizzes, structure your courses, protect course content, accept payment online, deliver content professionally and further engage your students.
Most importantly, you don’t need any technical skills to do all of this. It is their team that takes care of the techy stuff like hosting, security, updates, and maintenance.
The basic idea behind both these solutions is to provide an easy to use platform that allows you to get started quickly and lets you focus on your core job of creating courses and selling them.
Another important thing that you need to know about Teachable and Thinkific is that they aren’t course marketplaces like Udemy or SkillShare. So, you’ll have complete control over pricing, student data as well as your policies (e.g. refund, discount etc.).
While the two platforms are broadly similar in terms of their capabilities, they differ quite a bit in terms of specific features and that's what the focus of discussion is going to be in the subsequent sections.
Let's start with pricing first.
1. Thinkific vs Teachable Pricing
The most popular pricing tier is called Professional Plan on Teachable and Pro Plan on Thinkific and costs $99/month on both the platforms. The highest tier which is more suited for advanced customers costs $499/month on either platform.
You would notice that both Teachable and Thinkific are very similar in terms of the cost of their main tiers. However, they differ from each other significantly in terms of the transaction fees and the features offered on each of the plans.
With Thinkific pricing, you don't need to pay any additional transaction fee on any of the plans. But Teachable charges ($1 + 10%) transaction fee on their Free Plan and 5% on the Basic Plan.
Another important difference between their pricing is that while you get instant payouts on all the plans on Thinkific while you get it only on the Professional/Business plan on Teachable.
In general, this makes Thinkific a less expensive option than Teachable.
Moreover, Thinkific's free plan is better than that of Teachable. While Thinkific allows you to have unlimited number of students, Teachable limits it to 10 students only.
Having said that, Thinkific can be more expensive than Teachable if you need certain features. While I will get into the specifics of what feature is available on which plan later in this guide, let me give you some quick examples here.
For instance, bulk emailing, white-labeling, Zapier actions etc. are available on Thinkific as part of what is called the Growth Package.
The Growth Package is an add-on for their PRO plan and costs $0.1 per active student per month (first 100 students are free).
So, if you have 2,100 active students on your Thinkific school, you'll be paying $299/mo (capped at $499/mo) for your subscription for the PRO Plan and the Growth Package in order to use these features.
As far as Teachable pricing is concerned, all these features are included in their Professional Plan which costs $99/mo flat irrespective of the number of students on your school.
Similarly, if you want to create a membership site, you'll need the ability to create bundles and charge recurring fees which you can do only on the PRO plan on Thinkific ($99/mo) while you can do it on the Free Plan itself on Teachable.
So, the pricing comparison between the two platforms isn't straightforward and you won't be able to choose between Thinkific and Teachable based on just pricing.
2. Course Creation and Student Engagement
One of the reasons why both Teachable and Thinkific have become so popular is because of how easy they have made it to create an online course.
There is a lot of similarity between the two platforms when it comes to course delivery and student engagement.
Both platforms offer the ability to host unlimited videos via Wistia, create quizzes, organise your content into lessons and modules easily, drip feed your content, send certificates, track course and student progress etc.
Having said that, they also differ quite a bit in terms of specific course creation features and that is what we'll discuss in this chapter.
Content Uploading and Course Structuring
With both Teachable and Thinkific, you can add video, audio, pdf, text, quizzes and other multimedia content types to your courses. So, both platforms are very similar when it comes to supporting various content types.
The only major difference is that while Thinkific allows you to import Captivate and Storyline files into the platform, Teachable doesn't have this feature. While most course creators won't need Captivate/Storyline, it is still a handy feature.
When it comes to the actual process of course creation, both platforms allow you to quickly create your course structure and add content to your lessons.
You can bulk upload your content onto the platform and then you can reorganise the content by dragging and dropping.
That being said, Teachable's course builder is easier to use and is more user friendly.
For example, you can bulk select lessons and change the settings for preview, publishing, downloads etc. from the curriculum page itself without going into individual lessons.
With Thinkific, you'll need to go to individual lessons and then modify these settings which can be a pain if you manage a large number of courses on your platform.
Another thing that I like about Teachable's course builder is that you can add multiple content types in the same lecture. For example, you can have videos + text + pdf + embedded comments + quizzes, all in the same lecture and in any order.
At the same time, Thinkific is not very flexible with adding multiple content types in a lesson. So, if you want to create a layout as I described above, it won't be possible with Thinkific.
Finally, Teachable lets you directly import content from Dropbox/Google Drive/OneDrive which is much faster than uploading from your computer.
The cloud import feature in Teachable works for all types of content and for both bulk uploading as well as adding content to individual lessons.
One thing that I like about course creation in Thinkific is their video library. You can upload your videos on the platform once and reuse them in different lessons and courses.
However, Thinkific doesn't let you import content into your course directly from Google Drive/Dropbox. The cloud import feature is available only while adding videos to the Video Library but then you can't use it either for bulk uploading in the curriculum area or for uploading other file types (e.g. audio, pdf etc.)
Teachable doesn't have a video library but the workaround is to store your videos in Google Drive/Dropbox and you can import them into Teachable in a matter of seconds.
Overall, the Teachable course builder is easier to use and offers more flexibility in terms of adding multiple content types to your lessons.
Content Delivery (Course Player)
One of the things that I like about course delivery in Teachable is its course player. The Teachable course player looks modern and professional and is very well designed from a user experience perspective.
The user can easily navigate between lessons and can see his/her progress on the left. If you turn on comments for your lessons, the comments area appears nicely below your content.
The thing that I used to like the least about Thinkific was its course area/player. The look and feel of the course player was outdated and it was poorly designed from a user experience point of view.
Every time a student would complete a lesson, they would see a transition screen which for me was an unnecessary step.
They have improved the course player design in a big way now. It is much cleaner and they have also removed the transition screen that used to appear earlier.
In fact, it is now better than that of Teachable in a few ways. So, your students can search through the course by lesson titles which isn't possible in Teachable.
Moreover, it has a full-screen mode which simply hides the sidebar so that the lesson content can take up the whole screen space, enabling a learning environment with less distraction for your students.
However, one major advantage that Teachable has in terms of course delivery over Thinkific is that it has a native iOS app that improves the course delivery experience for students on mobile even further.
It offers features like offline viewing which aren't available to students if they watch the course in a mobile browser and thus helps them learn on the go.
Finally, Thinkific this feature that allows you to create custom pages and restrict access to them based on a user's purchase, which can be really useful if you want to deliver some standalone content apart from your courses.
With Teachable, all your content needs to be within a course which might not work as well if you're building a membership site.
Overall, both Teachable and Thinkific do a good job at course delivery. The look and feel of the course players are professional and result in a great student experience.
When it comes to student discussions, Thinkific allows you to create a separate community area on your website.
Now, you can attach a Community to specific courses or bundles which allows you to manage your students' access automatically.
Your members can start a new discussion by clicking on the 'Create New Post' button, take part in an existing conversation or for that matter, follow any conversation in the community.
So, you can think of a community in Thinkific as having a 'Facebook Group' on your own website and it is really useful for creating a support group for your courses or for building an ongoing community for your membership.
'Communities' is still in its early stages and it does lack some essential functionality. For example, you don't have the ability to create topics to organize discussions. But it is a handy feature and I am sure it's going to get better.
As far as Teachable is concerned, it doesn't have the capability to build a community forum but they do support a native comments system on their platform.
The native comments feature allows students to discuss and ask questions. The instructor can then respond to the queries.
What I like about Teachable's commenting system is that comment blocks can be embedded in individual lectures, making it really easy for students to discuss and engage with others students and the instructor.
Thinkific also has a native commenting system for facilitating student discussions and it is similar to Teachable in terms of capability.
The thing that I don't like about Thinkific's commenting system is that it can't be embedded in individual lectures. So, to start a discussion, the user first needs to click on 'Discussion' in the course player and can then leave a comment.
It becomes even more difficult for students to leave a comment while taking the course on mobile as the discussion icon is really small.
Having said that, Thinkific gives you more options for facilitating students discussions in your courses and memberships and is clear winner in this case.
Quizzes and Assignments
While both platforms allow you to create quizzes, Thinkific offers advanced quiz features like randomized question banks, add explanation and ability to import questions which are currently not supported on Teachable.
Also, Thinkific allows you to add an image as well as a video to your questions and the answer choices which isn't possible if you create a quiz on Teachable.
On Teachable, you can add just plain text to your quiz which is a bit limiting.
In addition, Thinkific has a native integration with a full-blown exam solution called Brillium. While you can integrate Teachable with an external exam solution like ProProfs as well but you'll need to get some coding done for that.
Another useful learning tool that Thinkific offers is 'Assignments'. So, you can add an Assignment type lesson to your course and accept submissions from your students. Plus, you also have the ability to accept/reject their submissions.
Teachable doesn't have inbuilt support for assignments at this point. The workaround in this case is to use Dropbox's "File Request" feature but then the user experience isn't as good.
Finally, Thinkific allows you to create surveys natively which you can use to collect feedback from your students. If you want to collect feedback for your Teachable course, you will have to use a free solution like Google Forms.
Overall, Thinkific has much better quizzing capability and it also offers the ability to create assignments and surveys which aren't available on Teachable.
Certificates of Completion
While both Teachable and Thinkific support certificate creation, they take very different approaches from each other.
So, Teachable allows you to create certificates natively on the platform. You can choose from one of the three templates available or you can also code a template from scratch.
By default, a certificate is linked to a course and will be automatically sent to the students once they complete the course. So, setting up a certificate in Teachable is really easy.
Thinkific, on the other hand, has native integration with a popular certificate service called Accredible which allows you to create and send certificates to your students when they complete a course.
This integration is only available if you’re either on the Pro or the Business Plan on Thinkific but you won’t have to pay separately for Accredible. It’s available for free as part of your Thinkific subscription.
Now, both approaches have their PROs and CONs. For example, Accredible is a dedicated certificate solution, so you get more features and options for certificates (e.g. certificate expiry date) which aren’t supported by Teachable.
However, Thinkific-Accredible integration supports only automatic certificate creation through native integration. So, if you want to issue certificates to certain students manually, you’ll have to do that directly in Accredible and pay for that separately as well.
Plus you need to learn to use another software that obviously requires additional effort and time on your part.
Content Drip and Locking
Both platforms allow you to drip your content either based on student enrollment or by course start date and dripping works pretty similarly on both the platforms.
The only difference between the two platforms when it comes to dripping is that Teachable allows you to send drip emails to your students automatically while Thinkific doesn't have the capability to send automated emails to announce the release of new content.
Another important feature for course delivery is content locking (or course compliance). With both Teachable and Thinkific, you can restrict your students' progress unless they complete the previous lesson or pass a graded quiz.
That being said, Thinkific's course compliance features are more flexible. With Teachable, a compliance is always enforced at a course level while it is enforced at a lesson level with Thinkific.
For example, when you enforce a quiz completion compliance, Teachable enforces the lecture order compliance as well which means your students will need to watch all the lessons in a specific order which can be a little too restrictive for most creators.
On the other hand, when you set a quiz lesson as prerequisite in Thinkific, your students will need to pass the quiz in order to unlock the lessons after that specific quiz lesson but they are free to watch the content before and after in any order.
Another handy course compliance feature that both platforms offer is video watching compliance.
So, unless a student actually watches a certain % of the video, the user can't progress to the next lesson. With Thinkific, you can actually set a Video Completion % while with Teachable it is automatically set at 90%.
This is a really handy feature if you want to ensure that your students actually consume the content and not just mark the lectures complete.
Course Reporting and Analytics
Teachable has extensive course reporting capabilities that allow you to track your students' completion rates, their quiz scores as well as the performance of your videos.
There is a dedicated section for the reports under your course dashboard and you can see a particular report by using the dropdown.
For example, if you want to see the completion rates for your course, you can select the Lecture Completion report and it will show you average completion rates for different categories of students.
You can also see completion rates for individual students using the Leaderboards report.
Similarly, if you want to see the performance of your videos, you can select the Video Stats report and you can see different metrics like engagement and play rate for all your videos.
Thinkific also allows you to track your users' progress and the performance of your videos but the reporting capability isn't as powerful.
For example, you can see statistics for videos one-by-one only and there is no report that allows you to track statistics for all the course videos in once place.
Similarly, you can see the progress report only at the individual user level and there are no aggregated reports available for completion rates.
Overall, Thinkific's course reporting capabilities are limited compared to that of Teachable.
Thinkific has this cool feature called 'Groups' that allows you to easily sell your courses to cohorts or organizations.
With 'Groups', you can bulk sell your courses, enroll several students at once, better organize them, track their progress and generate reports. This feature is especially useful if you sell your courses to organizations.
Groups as a feature is available as part of the Growth Package only and is no longer available on the PRO Plan itself.
Now Teachable doesn't have a similar feature as 'Groups' in Thinkific. As a workaround, you can create a multiple use coupon to enroll several users in your course.
However, it is not as easy to manage students in a cohort and track their progress as using 'Groups' in Thinkific.
Course Creation - The Bottom Line
In this section, I have discussed all the important course creation features and how the two platforms compare to each other based on them.
Overall, both Teachable and Thinkific do an excellent job when it comes to course creation and student engagement and frankly, speaking you can't go wrong with either of them.
Having said that, there are some important differences between the two platforms.
So, Teachable offers you a more flexible course builder, a native iOS app for your students and more extensive course reporting tools.
On the other hand, Thinkific offers you advanced quizzing feature, the ability to create Assignments and Surveys, 'Communities' feature, 'Groups' feature, etc.
So, there is no clear winner between Teachable and Thinkific in terms of their course creation and delivery features and it will ultimately boil down to your requirements.
3. Website Design and Customization
Having a good looking website is an important aspect of selling courses online and both Teachable and Thinkific allow you to build a website on their platform.
First, let's talk about things are that are common between the platforms when it comes to site design and customization.
Both platforms offer you free hosting and a SSL certificate as part of your subscription. Moreover, it is their team that takes care of things like security, backup, maintenance and updates, so you don't need to worry about any of that.
In addition, you get a free subdomain for your website (e.g. xxxx.teachable.com or xxxx.thinkific.com). You can also use a custom domain if you want.
Finally, you can completely customize the site text or change language which is another handy feature that both platforms offer.
Now, let's deep dive into the site building capabilities of the two platforms and see how they compare to each other.
What I like the most about Thinkific's site design capabilities is their 'Site Themes' feature. Thinkific has a theme library and it currently has three beautiful site themes available in it.
Plus there are multiple styles available for each theme and as soon as you select a theme style, it is applied to your website instantly.
So, there are a number of theme presets that you can choose from and it allows you to get started quickly.
Teachable doesn't have any real 'Site Themes' feature. It has a default template and all the websites built on Teachable use that.
It does have a theme area where you can upload your logo and define font style and color for your website. However, the style of other elements like header, footer, buttons etc. can't be changed from the theme settings which makes it pretty limited.
The default theme in Teachable is well designed and looks sleek and modern. The only problem is that there aren't enough choices in terms of site themes.
Finally, if you're an advanced user, Thinkific allows you to modify the theme code in the backend. You even have the ability to import custom themes into Thinkific.
On the other hand, Teachable doesn't allow you to import any custom themes. It does have something called the 'Power Editor' which allows you to modify the code of the default site theme.
So, site themes is certainly a weakness of the Teachable platform and Thinkific has a clear edge in this department.
Both Teachable and Thinkific have a drag-and-drop page builder which can be used to create homepage, sales pages for your courses and bundles, and even other custom pages.
So, you can add different types of elements to your pages and then drag and drop the elements where you want to place them.
Moreover, both page builders have live editors where you'll see the changes you make on your website in real time.
However, there are some significant differences between the two builders and the most important difference is in terms of the various page elements available for use.
In Thinkific, these page elements are called 'Sections' and there are 20+ section types that you can add to your page in a single click.
So, whether you want to add a 'Hero' section, display testimonials, show pricing details or FAQs, or even just add some text with images, you can do that in Thinkific.
You even have the ability to display a countdown timer and add a lead capture form to your page which is awesome.
Now, the current page builder in Teachable was released recently, so it has a very limited number of sections (Page Blocks) available to use.
For example, you don't have a page block for testimonials or author bio which makes it very limiting. Similarly, you don't have a way to show your sales video in the 'Hero' section.
I am sure Teachable will be adding more elements to it soon but as of now, the page builder is a work in progress.
Finally, Thinkific's page builder gives you more options when it comes to customizing these pre-built sections.
For example, you can change the color of the enroll button at a page level with the page builder which isn't possible with Teachable where it can only be set for your entire website under Theme settings.
So, Thinkific has overall better page building capabilities than Teachable as well.
However, there is one thing where Teachable does a better job. So, you can have multiple sales pages for the same course which is useful for creating custom sales pages for specific campaigns or even do some basic A/B testing.
Teachable allows you to create a blog on the platform. It lets you create blog posts and add text and images to them and you can have a very basic blog up and running in a few minutes.
However, a blog built on Teachable is not fully functional and it is far from being as powerful or flexible as a WordPress or a Squarespace blog. You can't customize anything on your blog and it lacks some very essential features.
Most importantly, improving the blogging feature isn't Teachable's focus and they haven't released a single improvement or upgrade to it since it was first launched on the platform.
So, you should use Teachable for blogging only if you want to write just a few articles, maybe to support your course or serve as a knowledge base.
Thinkific at this point doesn't have any blogging capability and you will need to use a specialized blogging platform like WordPress.
An important aspect of building a website on hosted platforms is white labeling and both Teachable and Thinkific allow you to remove their branding.
White-labeling as a feature is available on the PRO plan on Teachable ($99/month) while it is available only as part of the Growth Package on Thinkific ($99/mo + $0.10/mo per student).
So, if you have say 2,600 students in your school, you'll be paying $339/month in order to get access to the white-label feature on Thinkfic which is much more expensive compared to Teachable.
However, there is one problem with white-labeling in Teachable as well. Even if you use a custom domain, the signup, the login and the checkout pages still use a Teachable sub-domain and there is no way to change that.
It is not a big deal for me personally but you should be aware of this limitation.
If you have any questions about the site building capabilities of the two platforms, leave a comment at the end of this post and I will get back to you as soon as possible.
Website Creation - The Bottom Line
So, when it comes to site building and customization, Thinkific emerges as a clear winner over Teachable.
It has better site themes capability and a more powerful page builder that makes creating a unique website much easier and quicker.
You can build your sales pages and other pages on the Teachable platform as well but you don't have much control over the design of these pages.
4. Sales and Marketing Tools
An important aspect of build a successful online course business is sales and marketing. Both Teachable and Thinkific offer you some handy sales and marketing tools for growing your business.
They both allow you to sell one-time or recurring products, create coupons, sell course bundles, offer upsells, add an affiliate program etc.
However, Teachable does a better job than Thinkific when it comes to offering sales and marketing capabilities within the platform and the biggest differentiator between the two platforms is their checkout process.
Checkout Process and Upsells
Teachable has a highly optimized 1-step checkout process where a user enters his or her personal information and makes the payment on the same page.
Once the payment is successful, the user is then asked to create an account. So, there is minimal friction in the process and this is much better from a conversion point of view.
Plus you can add custom elements like Testimonials, Money Back Guarantee etc. on your checkout page which helps further boost conversions.
Now, Thinkific has a 2-step checkout process where a user first needs to create an account and then make the payment on the next page.
A 2-step checkout process like this is outdated and a significant % of users drop in the process without making a payment.
Now Thinkific also allows you to add custom conversion elements to your checkout pages. However, it looks a little clumsy and isn't that good design-wise.
To put it simply, Teachable's checkout process is one generation ahead of Thinkific's checkout process.
Another important component of the checkout process is 1-click upsells. 1-Click upsells is one of the most effective ways to maximise average transaction per customer.
Both Teachable and Thinkific allow you to add a 1-click upsell to your 'Thank You' page. Moreover, you can further customize it and add various conversions elements like a Video, text, CTAs etc.
One useful feature that Thinkific has for upsells is 'After Purchase Flows' which allows you to create unique offers for users depending on which pricing plan they purchase.
Now, you can show a unique upsell offer for each course in Teachable but it's not possible to do it at a pricing plan level.
Course Pricing Options (and Subscriptions)
As discussed previously, both Teachable and Thinkific allow you create a one-time price, a recurring subscription or even a payment plan. You also have the ability to bundle your courses together and sell them together.
Additionally, you can have multiple pricing options for your courses and bundles. For example, you can sell the same course for a one-time price as well as charge a recurring subscription.
While everything might seem pretty straightforward till now, it really isn't and there are a few major differences between Teachable and Thinkific when it comes to course pricing options.
Firstly, the ability to create a subscription or a payment plan as well as offer multiple pricing options for a course is only available on the PRO plan on Thinkific which costs $99/month while all these features are available on all the plans including the free plan on Teachable.
Secondly, you can price your course in multiple currencies on Teachable while on Thinkific, you can have only one currency for all your courses.
For example, one of my Teachable clients offers 4 pricing options for her courses. So, her students can either pay in USD or NZD and they can either make a one-time payment or pay in instalments.
Thirdly and something where Thinkific does a better job. Thinkific allows you to create a free trial period and you can even charge a setup fee upfront for your subscription which is really handy if you're creating a membership site.
Teachable doesn't let you create a free trial or charge a custom first payment. For free trials, the workaround is to create a coupon that reduces the price in the first month only.
Finally, Thinkific allows you to set an expiry date for courses with a one-time pricing while Teachable doesn't have this capability and you'll need to use Zapier to achieve something like this.
Payment Processing and Payouts
Another important feature that needs to be discussed is payment gateways and payouts. Both platforms allow you to offer credit cards (via Stripe) and PayPal as payment options for your students.
With Thinkific, it is all straightforward. You get instant payouts on all their plans. When a student buys your course, the money goes straight into your Stripe/Paypal account.
It is you who is responsible for paying out to other authors and affiliates and you'll need to process that manually from your end.
Teachable's approach is slightly different in this case and it offers more options. To be honest, it can be a little confusing as well.
You can either use a custom payment gateway or you can use their payment gateway. On the custom gateway, you can use your own Stripe/Paypal account to collect payment from students.
The money goes directly into your account and there is no delay. Teachable allows you to use custom gateway only on Professional and Business Plans ($99/month and above).
When you use Teachable's gateway, the money is processed through Teachable's account but you'll be eligible for an instant payout if you're in United States or Canada.
Otherwise, the money goes into their account first and they then make a payout to the instructors on the first business day in a month for transactions that happened at least 30 days prior to the first day. Basically you get payouts after a delay of 30-60 days.
To summarize, you get instant payouts on all plans in Thinkific. While on Teachable, you you get instant payouts on all plans only if you're in the US or Canada. Otherwise you'll get instant payouts only on $99/month and above plans.
A major advantage of using Teachable's gateway is that you can accept credit card (or PayPal) payments even if Stripe (or Paypal) isn't supported in your country. Something like this won't be possible if you were using Thinkific.
You can also accept payments via Apple Pay and Google Pay which is great for improving the mobile checkout experience.
Another advantage of using their gateway is that they offer a suite of services called BackOffice.
With BackOffice, Teachable can automatically payout to your affiliates and authors. They even collect W-8/W9s and file 1099 tax forms for your authors and affiliates.
They do charge an additional 2% fee for BackOffice and it can save you a lot of admin work if you have a lot of affiliates or authors on your online school.
The only thing that I don't like about it is that the Basic Plan users on Teachable can offer PayPal as a payment option only if they enable BackOffice.
Payments via PayPal is really an essential feature and you should never be paying separately for using it.
EU VAT Handling
Teachable is one of the few online course platforms that has inbuilt capability to handle EU VAT and this is one of the things that I like the most about the platform.
If you use Teachable, it allows you to charge EU VAT on top of your course price. It automatically adds the right VAT rate depending on the location of the students and also sends them an invoice with VAT details automatically.
You can also choose to display VAT included price on your course sales page which is important from a compliance point of view.
And if you use Teachable's gateway instead of your own Stripe/Paypal accounts, they will even pay the tax to the respective authorities on your behalf.
With Thinkific, there is no way to collect EU VAT from your students within the platform. For VAT reporting, you can use an external solution like Quaderno but in that case, you'll be paying taxes from your revenue which is far from ideal.
Another option for handling EU VAT on Thinkific is to use a specialized checkout page solution like ThriveCart.
Handling EU VAT is a complex process and Teachable does an excellent job at it. This can be a deal breaker in choosing between Teachable vs Thinkific if you're from Europe or if a significant % of your students live in Europe.
Affiliate Marketing Capabilities
Both Teachable and Thinkific allow you to add affiliates to your school so that they can promote your courses.
They both give you the ability to set a custom commission % for your affiliates and select which courses you want them to promote.
Moreover, each affiliate has a private dashboard where they can get their affiliate share links and also track their performances.
So, both platforms have similar capabilities and they both lack a few important affiliate marketing features. For example, you don't have the ability to set a custom affiliate % for a specific course.
Having said that, Teachable's affiliate marketing features are more powerful and customizable. Firstly, you can set a custom cookie period for your affiliates on Teachable, something which isn't currently not possible with Thinkific.
The best part about the affiliate system in Teachable though is that it can automatically pay out to your affiliates if you use their gateway. This can be a life saver if you have a large number of affiliates on your school.
Finally, the dashboard for affiliates in Teachable looks much cleaner and has better reporting capabilities.
Third Party Integrations
Another important aspect of choosing an online course platform is how well it plays with other marketing tools.
They also have a powerful Zapier integration that allows you to integrate with 1,000s of third party apps. For example, if you sell using a platform like ClickFunnels, you can add users to Teachable/Thinkific automatically via Zapier.
As far as email marketing integrations are concerned, Teachable has a direct integration with two email marketing solutions - ConvertKit and MailChimp while Thinkific integrates directly with MailChimp, ConvertKit, Aweber, ActiveCampaign, Constant Contact and Infusionsoft.
If you want to integrate with any other email marketing tool, you'll need to use Zapier.
In addition, Thinkific has direct integrations with a few other popular marketing platforms — Shopify (eCommerce platform), EarlyParrot (referral marketing) and Stunning (Stripe dunning).
Sales & Marketing - The Bottom Line
We have discussed all the important sales and marketing features in this section and overall, Teachable is a much better platform compared to Thinkific.
The most important difference between the two platforms is in terms of their checkout process.
While Teachable has a well-optimized 1-step checkout process, Thinkific has a 2-step checkout process where users first need to create an account before they can complete the payment which isn't good for conversions.
In addition, Teachable allows you to enable Apple Pay/Google Pay option, collect EU VAT, has better affiliate marketing tools and offers a suite of admin/financial services (BackOffice).
On the other hand, Thinkific gives you more flexibility for subscription pricing, and creating upsells and instant payotus is available for creators on all plans.
5. Customer Support and Training
Based on my interaction with their customer support on behalf of 100s of my clients, I can tell you that both Thinkific and Teachable offer good customer service.
In general, I find Thinkific's support to be a bit more friendly and their email support to be more responsive than Teachable's email support on the lower tiers.
However, Thinkific doesn't offer any real time support channels and your only option is to reach out via email.
On the other hand, Teachable offers email support on all its plans and live chat support on the Professional Plan and above.
Nothing beats live chat support and you'll find Teachable's customer support to be better than Thinkific on the higher plans.
Both platforms have an extensive knowledge base as well where you can find how-to articles about doing various things on the platforms.
Moreover, both these platforms have very active Facebook groups where you can engage with the community, ask your questions and get advice on anything related to selling online courses.
Both platforms also invest heavily in training their customers. Teachable has an online training school called TeachableU where it offers courses for helping you at every stage of your course creation journey.
Thinkific also has offers a premium training called the Online Business Masterclass which is available to its paid subscribers for free.
Both Teachable U and the Online Business Masterclass are available to the paid subscribers.
Teachable vs Thinkific - Final Verdict
So after having a look at some of the most important features of the two platforms, it is clear that they both have a lot to offer. They both allow you to create courses, sell them, deliver content and engage students.
As far as the Thinkific vs Teachable question is concerned, Thinkific has a slight edge even though there is no clear winner between the two and so, it will ultimately boil down to your requirements.
Thinkific offers more powerful quizzing capability, inbuilt support for assignments, ability to create a community forum, allows you to bulk sell your courses and manage students in a cohort more easily and has better features for building memberships than Teachable.
Thinkific also has much better site building features than Teachable which can be handy if you don't have an existing website.
Finally, Thinkific has a more beginner-friendly pricing and it doesn't charge any transaction fee on any of its plans.
On the other hand, Teachable is easier to use, has a more intuitive and flexible course builder, native iOS app, and more powerful course reporting tools.
Similarly, Teachable has much more to offer than Thinkific when it comes to sales and marketing features. Their checkout process is well-optimized, offers powerful 1-click upsells, support for Apple Pay and Google Pay, EU VAT etc.
I hope this guide helped you get a good insight into the two platforms and their features. If you have any questions or you're still not sure about the right solution, please leave a comment below, so I can get back to it as soon as possible!
Click Here to See Thinkific vs Teachable Update History
UPDATE #13: Teachable now allows you to create multiple sales pages for the same course.
(7th Feb 2020)
UPDATE #12: Thinkific has released a new feature that allows you to add a standalone community area to your courses and memberships.
(6th Dec 2019)
UPDATE #11: Teachable has released a new page builder that gives you more flexibility and customization options for building pages on your school.
(6th Dec 2019)
UPDATE #10: Teachable has restricted its free plan and it now allows you to have a maximum of 10 students on your school.
(8th Aug 2019)
UPDATE #9: Teachable now supports Apple Pay and Google Pay as additional payment options on their native gateways.
(7th Aug 2019)
UPDATE #8: Thinkific now lets you disable the chapter completion popups where the students where asked to rate the course.
(29th May 2019)
UPDATE #7: Thinkific has added a new lesson type that allows you to accept assignments from your students on the platform.
Thinkific now integrates with another email service provider, Constant Contact.
(16th Apr 2019)
UPDATE #7: The two platforms have evolved a lot since the guide was first published in 2017. While I have been tracking changes on a regular basis, the guide needed a complete revamp to give you a true picture of the two platforms.
I have updated the information, screenshots as well as ratings in the guide and I hope it helps you choose the right course platform. It also covers latest feature additions on both platforms like Thinkific's new course player and Teachable's compliance features.
(12th Feb 2019)
UPDATE #6: Thinkific now charges 0% transaction fees on all the pricing tiers. They have limited the features available on each of the plans and they also offer a Growth Add-On for the PRO Plan which costs $0.1 per active student per month upto a max of $499/month.
Teachable recently increased the price of their Business Plan from $299/month to $499/month. Also, instant payout is now available on all the plans on Teachable.
(27th Nov 2018)
UPDATE #5: Thinkific has launched this new and improved site builder that works on not just course sales pages but also on other pages on your site.
(12th Apr 2018)
UPDATE #4: Teachable now offers live chat support for those on the Professional Plan ($99/mo) and above.
(23rd Mar 2018)
UPDATE #3: Thinkific team reached out and pointed out a couple of new features that weren't mentioned in this post. One such feature is Webhooks. Now both Teachable and Thinkific allow you to create webhooks to pass information to third party apps.
Another feature that Thinkific added to their platform recently is 'Groups'. The 'Groups' feature allows you to bulk sell your courses to a group and easily manage the students. Teachable at this point doesn't have a similar feature.
(17th Feb 2018)
UPDATE #2: Teachable completely revamped the native affiliate marketing capabilities of the platform. They now allow you to: define custom cookie period for your affiliates, use Teachable's affiliate system even if you're using an external landing page and select which courses an affiliate can promote on your school.
With this update, Teachable's affiliate system is now more powerful and flexible compared to that of Thinkific.
(19th Dec 2017)
UPDATE #1: Teachable introduced the ability to drip content based on fixed dates as well. With this update, both Teachable and Thinkific allow you to drip content relative to student enrollment as well as based on specific dates. (27th Oct 2017)
Disclaimer: I am using affiliate links within this post, so if you do want to go purchase either of these two solutions, clicking a link will pass me off a little commission (without costing you anything extra)!