Podia and Thinkific are both popular online course platforms that you may think about using to host your online courses.
But when you’re evaluating Podia vs. Thinkific, there are a lot of factors to consider. This article will simplify that process for you.
Podia vs. Thinkific, which is better?
Thinkific has a lot of extra features like graded quizzes, assignments, and communities. But many of the features are locked behind higher-tier plans and their Growth package. Podia offers a lot of features in simple plans at affordable prices.
In this article, I’ll compare Podia and Thinkific. We’ll talk about their pricing models, features, and other areas where they are different. Then I’ll share which one I would recommend, based on your specific situation.
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Of the two platforms, Thinkific has made more of a name for itself compared to Podia.
But just because it has better brand recognition and marketing, that doesn’t necessarily mean that Thinkific offers a superior product and service.
Podia helps thousands of internet entrepreneurs launch and run their online courses, and have a lot to offer too.
Podia and Thinkific have plans available for similar price points.
Although Podia’s offerings are more simplified, and only offers 2 different plans, compared to Thinkific which offers 4 or more.
Both companies offer savings when you pay annually instead of monthly, as is pretty standard for the industry.
So the prices that I list below assume you’re paying annually to take advantage of these savings.
Podia’s plans are more straightforward and easy to understand than almost any other online course platform that I’ve seen.
They’re divided into two separate options. The $39 per month Mover plan, and the $79 per month Shaker plan.
Podia’s base plan isn’t as restrictive as what you’d expect to see on other platforms. It gives you access to most features without limitations.
That includes online courses, digital downloads, webinars, email marketing, messaging, free migrations, and more.
The limitations on the Mover plan is that you can’t use memberships, a blog, embedded checkout, affiliate marketing, and third-party code.
You can try out Podia using a free 14-day trial. The platform doesn’t require a credit card to sign up, and you can cancel it at any time.
Understanding Thinkific’s pricing model is much more complicated compared to Podia’s.
For one thing, they have four main plans available. And then there are additional packages and options that you can also stack on top of those.
The first option that Thinkific has available is their Free plan. Like the name suggests, it costs $0 per month and gives you access to some of Thinkific’s core features for free.
Obviously there is considerable limits compared to the paid plans.
I have to give points to Thinkific for being one of the only platforms with a free plan that also has 0 transaction fees, and also allows for unlimited numbers of students.
So if you’re looking for a risk-free way to get started without paying anything, it’s an option to consider.
The free option allows you to have up to 3 courses. Including having your video, audio, and PDF content hosted by Thinkific, and getting to use quizzes and surveys.
Thinkific’s first paid plan is their Basic $39 per month option. It allows for an unlimited number of courses and students.
Plus you can design and use coupons, drip (schedule) content, have a custom domain, and use affiliate reporting.
It also allows you to integrate with email programs like Aweber, ConvertKit, Constant Contact, and MailChimp.
You can also use Zapier triggers to integrate with other tools as well. On the Basic plan you can email students, but only one at a time. No bulk emailing.
Thinkific’s $79 per month Pro plan gives you everything the Basic plan offers.
Plus you can have 2 site admin accounts, 5 course authors, private and hidden courses, advanced course pricing options, memberships and bundles, certificates, assignments, and advanced customization.
The highest Thinkific plan is the $399 Premier plan. Most people reading this probably won’t need this plan.
But it provides even more advanced features like 5 site admin accounts, 15 group analysts, and up to 50 course admins or authors.
If that’s not enough for you, Thinkific even offers a Thinkific Plus option for larger companies and high volume customers.
You’ll need to contact Thinkific directly for a quote based on your individual organization’s needs.
If you managed to follow all of the plans that I outlined above, it doesn’t end there! Thinkific has an additional Growth Package plan that you may or may not need to add on to one of the plans above.
To use the Growth package, you’ll need to already have at least the $79 per month Pro plan with Thinkific.
This package is free for the first 100 active students, and then $0.10 per active student on top of that. To a maximum price of $400 per month.
Thinkific defines an active student as anyone that has access to at least one of your courses.
So if you have 1,000 students, you’ll pay $90 per month for this add-on. And it maxes out at 4,100 students costing $400 per month. Any number of students above that, and the cost is the same.
But why would you want Thinkific’s Growth package? There are a lot of features included, actually.
Firstly, you’ll need the Growth package if you want to remove Thinkific branding from your website and course player to white label your material.
I mentioned earlier that some Thinkific plans allow you to email students, but only individually.
To send bulk emails to multiple students at once through your Thinkific dashboard, you’ll need the Growth plan.
You’ll also need it to create communities around your content.
Integration with specific apps like Infusionsoft and Activecampaign and more advanced Zapier features are also locked behind this package.
Even basic things like being able to import students from CSV or XLSX files from another platform, or similar features that you’d think are standard, are behind this additional paywall.
Neither Podia or Thinkific charges transaction fees on any of their plans, which I think is fantastic.
One of my biggest pet peeves is when you have to pay $50 per month or more to a platform, and then they want to take 5% from each sale too. But there’s none of that with either platform here.
You just pay for your plan, and whatever you make from selling your courses is yours.
Podia allows you to sell online courses. Plus digital downloads including cheat sheets, checklists, video and audio files, text, ebooks, PDFs, or pretty much any kind of content that you want.
You can also offer memberships if you’re paying for the more expensive Shaker plan. You can create an unlimited number of different membership plans that each have their own price, content, and perks.
You can also bundle any of your content on Podia to entice members into buying membership or multiple products at a time.
You can also offer either paid or free webinars on Podia. You can schedule them in advance, plus earn passive income from recorded replays after the fact.
Podia doesn’t seem to offer a built-in community per se. Students can comment and engage with your content, and then you can connect the platform to your external groups like a Facebook Group or Slack channel.
Thinkific allows you to sell courses. Although on the free plan, you’re limited to only 3 courses. All of their paid plans allow you to have an unlimited number of courses and students.
In terms of course content, Thinkfic offers a lot more features than Podia, including quizzes and surveys, assignments, and certificates.
Although you’ll need to sign up for the $79 per month Pro plan to be able to use all of them.
You can also unlock Brillium exams integration with the Growth package, which has extra features like attempt caps and time limits.
Thinkific also has the option to sell memberships and bundles on their Pro plan.
You also get 1 community included, and can get an unlimited number of communities based around your content on the Growth package.
I feel that Podia comes out way ahead in terms of email marketing. Even their lowest tier plan includes built-in tools to help build your email list and create relationships with your fans.
You can use Podia to send news-letters, one-off updates, or drip email campaigns. It lets you to target a specific segment of your list, or send to everyone.
And you can build funnels with free downloads that start your email campaign and move users down your funnel toward paid products.
Podia also gives you important analytics and tracking to let you know how your emails are performing.
You can use your dashboard to see what your click rates, open rates, and unsubscribes are on each email that you send.
In comparison, Thinkific’s basic email offerings on their plans are very limited. You can only email one user at a time.
Bulk emailing is available, but you have to pay extra for the Growth package to get access to it. As far as I can tell, they’re also lacking the tracking and analytics that Podia offers.
Overall, I feel that Podia is a bit easier to use than Thinkific. It’s very user-friendly. So if you just want to launch courses quickly without much customization, it’s an awesome option.
Thinkific feels a bit more technical. It’s not overwhelming by any means, and they do offer lots of great tutorials that walk you through setup.
This comes with tradeoffs though. I do feel that Thinkific offers more in terms of integrations and advanced customization, but you’ll have to put in more work to get them all put in place.
If you’re very detail-oriented, you will appreciate the extra customization though.
Podia is well-known for having great customer service. If you look up reviews of the platform, this is pretty easy to confirm.
You can use their live chat feature, and you’ll typically get a reply in just a few minutes.
Especially during business hours. If it’s less urgent or you just don’t need a reply right away, you can also email them instead.
Thinkific doesn’t offer any kind of live chat feature. Although they are pretty good at getting back to any email queries on the same day that you send them.
The upside is that Thinkific does offer telephone support if you’re inside the US. But for international users, email is the only way that you’ll be able to contact them.
So I would say that Podia wins out in terms of customer service. Both in terms of speed of reply and overall helpfulness.
Although Thinkific’s support isn’t sub-par by any means. It’s just average compared to what you get from Podia.
If you already have your online courses on another platform, you’ll need to move them over. That’s true whether you’re moving to Podia or Thinkific.
Podia is the clear winner when it comes to making a switch to their platform. They import all of your customers over for free.
All you have to do is send them a CSV file with your customer list (names and email addresses) and they’ll move them over for you.
Not only that, but they’ll also help to import your existing products too! You can send them the content.
Or you can even just give them access to your account on whatever platform you’re currently using, and they’ll do it for you.
In comparison, Thinkific will only allow you to manually enroll or export students. And if you want to import students from another platform using a CSV or XLSX file, you’ll need to pay for their Growth package.
The same is true if you want to bulk enroll or remove students from courses or bundles in one action too.
So if you’re coming from another platform, I have to give it to Podia for making it as easy as possible.
I think it just makes good business sense to make it as easy as possible for customers to switch to your platform, and it’s a shame that Thinkific doesn’t make things a bit easier.
Podia offers a 12-second checkout that is optimized to make sales as quick and easy as possible. You can also embed buy buttons on any page of your website, so visitors can make a purchase without ever leaving the page.
Podia also makes it easy to offer one-click upsells, which Thinkific seems to lack.
Podia integrates with Stripe and PayPal, allowing you to get paid instantly. Podia never charges any additional transaction fees, even when using these processors.
Thinkific’s platform includes full e-commerce payment processing. They have a simple and secure checkout that accepts all major credit cards, and gives you instant access to your funds.
They also provide you with an SSL certificate to make sure that all of your customer’s data and payment details are kept safe.
While Thinkific will allow you to use third-party payment processors, transaction fees may apply if you decide to use them instead of their built-in option.
Both Podia and Thinkific integrate with a wide number of different apps. Best of all, both are able to use Zapier. So if you can’t integrate with one of your favorite apps, you can likely connect through Zapier instead.
Both have built-in support for all the major email service providers like MailChimp, ConvertKit, Aweber, ActiveCampaign, and more.
They both also support Facebook Pixel for ads, although Podia also supports Google ads which Thinkific doesn’t seem to.
Both will also integrate with most apps that are installed via a code snippet, like Sumo and Fomo.
Also, you can check these 7 Best Thinkific Alternatives before choosing the best platform for your courses.
Podia and Thinkific could both be good choices, depending on what you’re looking for in an online course platform.
I think that Podia is better suited to smaller DIY course creators and digital marketers who might be on a tighter budget.
Thinkific is better suited for larger sellers and organizations, who are looking for more of classroom experience.
Thinkific does offer more interactive features that could make for a better learning experience.
For example, the ability to add a discussion forum to your course, more advanced testing, and the ability to give completion certificates to reward students.
Right now Podia lacks many of these features.
Thinkific also offers more in terms of design and customization, which is important if you want control over how your online courses look.
Still not decided?
Jacob has a background in finance and engineering. Outside of his day job, he is a lifelong learner, who enjoys reading, taking online courses, and writing about what he's learned.
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