Podia vs Thinkific; Which is the Best Course Platform for 2024?

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Podia vs Thinkific are both powerful platforms to sell online courses. However, while Podia is designed to sell digital downloads and host courses, Thinkific is only an online course platform.

One of the major drawbacks of Thinkific is that it lacks membership options for lower pricing plans, making Podia a preferred platform for many. Additionally, Podia has better email marketing features.

But Thinkific makes up for those drawbacks with a seamless course-creation experience with some well-rounded e-learning tools that Podia lacks.

So, as a solopreneur or digital nomad, which platform should you select for your business? Let’s find out in this Podia vs Thinkific comparative review.

Quick Takeaways:

  • Platform Specializations: Podia excels in selling a variety of digital products, including courses, downloads, and webinars, and offers strong email marketing tools. Thinkific focuses primarily on online course creation with superior course creation tools and student engagement features.
  • Pricing and Plans: Podia starts at $39 per month with a free plan available, while Thinkific’s pricing begins at $49 per month, also offering a free plan. Both platforms do not charge transaction fees.
  • Customization and User Experience: Both platforms provide an intuitive user interface and customization options. Thinkific edges out with more comprehensive design and customization features, including theme templates and advanced coding options.
  • Course Creation and Compliance Features: Thinkific leads in course creation with a variety of content formats and compliance features like assessments and certificates. Podia, while versatile, lacks some of these advanced features.
  • Support and Community Engagement: Podia offers live chat support across all plans and robust community features, allowing monetization of community spaces. Thinkific also has community features but with some limitations compared to Podia.

Podia vs Thinkific: TL;DR

Best for Webinars & Coaching
Podia
  • Pricing: Starts at $39 a month
  • Free Plan: Available
  • Transactions Fees: None
  • Digital Downloads: Allows digital downloads
  • Built-in Affiliate Program: Available
  • Custom Domains: Allowed
  • Webinars: Available
  • Email Marketing: Allows sending drip campaigns and one-off newsletter
  • Webinars: Allows selling webinars
  • Coaching: Allows booking one-on-one coaching sessions
  • Third-party integrations: Offers fewer integrations
Best for Integrations
Thinkific
  • Pricing: Starts at $49 a month
  • Free Plan: Available
  • Transactions Fees: None
  • Digital Downloads: Allows downloading only online courses
  • Built-in Affiliate Program: Available
  • Custom Domains: Allowed
  • Webinars: Absent
  • Email Marketing: Allows sending emails by condition-based segmentation
  • Webinars: This feature is absent
  • Coaching: This feature is absent
  • Third-party integrations: Offers more integrations than Podia

Pros of Podia

  • Podia offers decent email marketing tools that can cover most of your needs. If you need highly advanced features, third-party integrations are available.
  • With Podia you can create unlimited courses and accommodate unlimited students using any paid plan.
  • Podia offers integrated blogging features for its higher pricing plans. Thinkific doesn’t offer this feature at all.
  • It offers free migration from another platform irrespective of the paid plan you choose.
  • With Podia you can sell a variety of digital products including courses.

Pros of Thinkific

  • Thinkific has more powerful course creation tools compared to Podia.
  • The course creation process with Thinkific is easier because of its ready-made templates.
  • It integrates with Brillium so that you can create elaborate tests. Podia lacks this feature.
  • Unlike Podia, Thinkific has more interactive classroom features such as narrated presentations and surveys.
  • Thinkific allows issuing course completion certificates to students.

Podia vs Thinkific: Detailed Comparison

Thinkific and Podia comparison breakdown by features:

  • User interface
  • Course creation experience
  • Design and customization
  • Digital products
  • Marketing features
  • Community features
  • Data analytics
  • Customer support
  • Pricing

Podia vs Thinkific: User Interface

Both Podia and Thinkific are online course and sales platforms with simple and intuitive interfaces, but who wins?

Podia

Screenshot of Podia dashboard

Podia has a neat interface with a horizontal top menu and logically nested items that you can find quickly. The user dashboard gives a clear and concise view of account activity.

Not only is the UI polished, but it also loads quickly. Students can easily access lessons on a variety of mobile devices.

Thinkific

Screenshot of Thinkific Dashboard

The Thinkifc online course platform also offers a clean UI with left navigation and well-nested menu items.

However, Thinkific employs a slightly different logic in arranging different features in the menu.

For instance, ‘Integrations’ that usually come under ‘Settings’ is placed under ‘Market and Sell.’ But that is not a problem, at all.

Winner: Tie because both the online course platforms offer a polished and intuitive UI.

Podia vs Thinkific: Course Creation Experience

The best online course platform must allow you to create online courses easily. Who does a better job?

Podia

Screenshot of podia course creation page

With Podia’s online course platform, you must start by selecting the product type you want to create. Once you select the ‘Online Course’ type, you can start structuring the course with ‘Chapters’ and ‘Lessons.’

Screenshot of podia course details page where you will fill in the details.

Unfortunately, with Podia you don’t get pre-made course templates. Formatting the course is very similar to the formatting features of Google Docs and Microsoft Word.

You can create a presell landing page before creating the course, but there is no template for that. You must create it from scratch outside the course builder.

The content formats that you can add with Podia are limited to only four choices – Files, Links, Text, and Quizzes. The ‘Files’ type will allow you to upload videos, audios, PDFs, etc.

Podia will allow unlimited video hosting and bulk content upload. It also allows dripping online courses.

Course compliance features are missing in Podia. You cannot set restrictions and make an assessment a prerequisite to continue with the next chapter or lesson. You can’t set a passing grade.

You can, however, issue completion certificates only for higher plans.

Thinkific

Screenshot of hinkific course creation page

Thinkific offers pre-made templates for courses or you can start from scratch. You can set a presell landing page using a template within the course builder.

screenshot of thinkific content types page

With this platform, you get many content formats including videos, narrated presentations, surveys, live streams, Brillium exams, PDFs, images, quizzes, multimedia, audios, and more.

screenshot of thinkific video library page

Thinkific also offers unlimited video hosting and a robust video gallery for easy management of videos. Just like Podia, you can upload content in bulk and then arrange them.

The drip content feature is also available. You can also set private and hidden courses from the Pro plan onward. This feature is absent in Podia.

You can set restrictions and make an assessment a prerequisite for the next chapter or lesson. You can set a minimum passing score.

You can also issue completion certificates but only for higher plans.

Winner: Thinkific because it offers better course creation features and course compliance options than Podia.

Podia vs Thinkific: Design and Customization

Both the course builder platforms allow design editing and customization features but who wins?

Podia

screenshot of podia builder design page

Podia offers a simple site builder to customize your online courses. You can launch the Podia Editor from the dashboard by clicking on the ‘Edit site’ button.

From there you get to add multiple sections to your site using drag-and-drop elements such as newsletter, videos, testimonials, etc.

You can view the changes in real-time. However, there are no theme templates. You can only switch between dark and light modes.

If you want, you can use the custom mode to edit all colors, but advanced customization options are absent.

Thinkific

Screenshot of Thinkific theme library page

Thinkific will provide you with pre-made theme templates with its drag-and-drop site builder.

You can also play with the colors and typography of your Thinkific site. The platform will also allow you to add various elements.

If you know how to code, you can import custom themes or export the existing theme styles and edit them to create a custom look. This feature is not available with Podia, but with its ‘Earthquaker’ plan, Podia will allow adding third-party codes.

Winner: Thinkific due to it’s variety of customization options.

Podia vs Thinkific: Digital Products

Online courses are digital products, but they aren’t the only type. Will both Podia and Thinkific allow you to sell digital products apart from online courses?

Podia

Screenshot of podia product types page

Podia allows creators to sell online courses, digital downloads, coaching services, and webinars. This feature allows online businesses to expand beyond selling online courses.

Thinkific

Thinkific message says Only allows online courses

Thinkific is a great choice for course creators because of its excellent course creation capabilities and student engagement features. However, it lacks the ability to sell other digital products.

Winner: Podia because it allows to sell other types of digital products.

Podia vs Thinkific: Marketing Features

Setting up an online school, creating course pages, and having great course content is not sufficient. You must have tools to market and sell your online courses.

Podia

Screenshot of Podia email marketing page

Podia offers a set of basic email marketing tools. You can send one-off newsletters or you can set drip campaigns for your courses.

The drip campaign feature is quite powerful and you can define a trigger to shoot the email sequence. However, if you need more advanced email marketing features, third-party integrations are available.

Podia also offers a blogging feature for content marketing and link building.

Thinkific

podia-vs-thinkific-thinkific-email-marketing-and-notifications

Thinkific’s email marketing features are basic. You can send course updates and other important communications.

The most you can do is segment your students based on certain conditions and then send them emails.

For advanced automations, you must rely on third-party email marketing integrations. There is no blogging option available yet.

Winner: Podia because of more advanced email marketing features and blogging capabilities.

Podia vs Thinkific: Community Features

Community features for student engagement are essential. Both platforms offer this feature, but who wins?

Podia

Screenshot of Podia community feed page

Podia offers online community features even for its free plan and allows unlimited students. You can offer the communities for free or charge them.

You can bundle communities with other digital products or offer them as subscriptions or stand-alone products.

There is no limit to the number of membership tiers you want to create with each tier offering different products, perks, and access levels.

Thinkific

Screenshot of Thinkific community feed page

Thinkific also offers community features for all its plans including the free plan.

You can provide community access to everyone or to selected students based on groups or courses. There is no way to convert a community into a standalone product and sell it.

Winner: Podia wins because it allows charging for communities.

Podia vs Thinkific: Data Analytics

Data analytics is important to understand the success of marketing strategies. Both Podia and Thinkific offer this feature.

Podia

Screenshot of Podia Email/Campaign analytics page

Podia’s analytics helps to track and analyze the churn rate. You will get reports and metrics to identify growth bottlenecks.

Podia will also provide detailed email analytics. If you need, Google Analytics and Hotjar integrations are also available.

Podia will also show sales metrics such as total sales and transactions, types of sales, invoices, etc.

You will also find engagement metrics like enrollment date, student progress, last active time, etc., for specific courses.

Thinkific

Screenshot of Thinkific Revenue analytics page

Thinkific will provide a simplified data overview to help you understand everything. There are four data categories – Revenue, Orders, Enrollments, and Student Engagement.

You can switch to a detailed view and use various parameters like single course, product bundle, time, currency, affiliates, etc., to break down the data and receive actionable insights.

Thinkific also has cohort and growth reporting features and it can connect with Google Analytics and Facebook remarketing tools.

Winner: Thinkific wins because of better data segmentation and the ability to give actionable insights.

Podia vs Thinkific: Customer Support

An online learning platform with advanced tools is useless if you can’t get customer support when needed.

Podia

Screenshot of podia customer support page

Podia will offer live chat support irrespective of your plan. Though it will provide support 7 days a week, it is not 24/7 support.

You will also receive free migration of products on its paid plans. However, if you are looking for priority support and onboarding calls, they are available only for their most expensive plan.

Thinkific

Screenshot of Thinkific customer support page

Thinkific does not have live chat support for its free plan. It is available for the Basic plan and above. Their priority support is available only for the users of the Pro plan or above. A 30-minute onboarding call is available only for the Premier plan users.

Winner: Podia because it offers live chat support and free migrations, both of which are absent in Thinkific.

Podia vs Thinkific: Pricing

For solopreneurs and digital nomads new to online course business, the cost is an important factor.

Podia

Screenshot of Podia Pricing Plan

Podia offers one free plan and three paid plans all of which offer live chat support and email marketing features.

However, for the free plan, Podia charges 8% transaction fees as opposed to zero transaction fees for the paid plans. Here is a quick view of Podia’s payment plans:

Free Plan: $0 (forever free)

  • Full website
  • Community
  • 1 download & 1 coaching product.

Mover Plan: $39 a month

  • Full website
  • Community
  • Unlimited downloads, coaching, and courses
  • Free migration for 1 product

Shaker Plan: $89 a month

  • Full website
  • Community
  • Unlimited downloads, coaching, courses, and webinars
  • Free migration for 5 products
  • Affiliate program
  • Zapier actions

Earthquaker Plan: $199 a month

  • Full website
  • Community
  • Unlimited downloads, coaching, courses, and webinars
  • Free migration for 10 products
  • Affiliate program
  • Priority support
  • Onboarding calls
  • Zapier actions
  • Third-party code

Thinkific

Screenshot of  Thinkific Pricing Plan

Thinkific offers zero transaction fees and email & phone support for all plans including the free plan. Custom domain, live chat, and drip content are available for all paid plans.

The course completion certificate is available only for the Pro and Premier plans. Here is a quick view of Thinkific’s plans:

Free Plan: $0 (forever free)

  • Up to three courses
  • Drag-and-drop course builder
  • Full e-commerce functionalities
  • Website templates
  • Email and phone support

Basic Plan: $49 a month

  • Unlimited students and courses
  • Drag-and-drop course builder
  • Full e-commerce functionalities
  • Website templates
  • Email and phone support
  • Thinkific Academy basic courses

Pro Plan: $99 a month

  • Unlimited courses and students
  • Drag-and-drop course builder
  • Full e-commerce functionalities
  • Website templates
  • Email and phone support
  • Private & hidden courses
  • Thinkific Academy pro courses

Premier Plan: $499 a month

  • Unlimited courses and students
  • Drag-and-drop course builder
  • Full e-commerce functionalities
  • Website templates
  • Email and phone support
  • Private & hidden courses
  • Thinkific Academy pro courses
  • White labeling
  • Brillium integration
  • API access
Screenshot of Pro Plan for Thinkific

Thinkific also offers a Growth package that you can purchase with the Pro plan. This Growth package or add-on unlocks some of the advanced features available in the Premier plan. If you pay yearly, you can enjoy a 20% discount for all tiers.

Podia vs Thinkific: Summary

Both Podia and Thinkific are great platforms for course creators. However, Podia is a better choice for those who want to expand beyond online courses and sell additional digital products.

Thinkific is best for course creators who want to focus on student experience and course delivery. With Thinkific, you can even add multiple instructors to a single course.

However, both platforms provide decent email marketing and analytics features that will suffice unless you need highly advanced features. In that case, integration with third-party apps will be necessary.

As a solopreneur or digital nomad, the platform you choose will depend on your current needs and future plans.

Podia vs Thinkific: FAQ

Is Podia easy to use?

Yes, Podia is very easy to use with a refined UI and a nearly non-existent learning curve.

However, if you are migrating from a platform like Thinkific, the course creation experience will not be as smooth due to the lack of pre-made course templates.

Still, it has all the features you need to run a successful online course business.

Is Thinkific better than Podia?

Thinkific offers a better online course creation process with multiple course content formats. There are various student assessment and course compliance features that Podia lacks. Thus, Thinkific offers a better student experience.

Podia, on the other hand, offers instant access to support through its live chat feature. Its incredible customer service is perfect for course instructors who are new to the game.

What is Podia best for?

Podia shines as a platform for course creators who are focused on building an engaged community and selling a variety of digital products. It’s ideal for those looking to sell courses, host live lessons, and offer digital downloads. Its community features and marketing functionality are just the beginning of what makes Podia a great choice for entrepreneurs looking to create an entire course with an integrated payment processing system.

Is Podia better than Teachable?

While both Podia and Teachable are strong contenders in the digital course creation space, Podia offers a more diverse range of features. Its free program, Podia’s free plan, allows creators to test the platform without any initial investment. Additionally, Podia’s strength lies in its ability to create an engaging learning experience with features like discussion forums and live lessons, which might appeal to course creators looking for more than just the basics.

Is Kajabi better than Podia?

Kajabi and Podia serve slightly different niches within the course creator community. Kajabi is often favored for its advanced marketing functionality and custom website options, but it tends to be more expensive. Podia, on the other hand, offers a more cost-effective solution with its free plan and multiple pricing options, making it a preferred choice for creators looking for a balance between functionality and affordability.

How does Podia compare to Thinkific in terms of community engagement?

When comparing Thinkific and Podia, Podia takes the lead in community engagement. It offers a robust community feature that allows members access to an engaged community through discussion forums and live lessons. Thinkific, while strong in course creation, is more focused on the learning experience and course reviews, lacking the same level of community engagement features as Podia.

What are the key differences in creating sales pages on Podia and Thinkific?

Creating sales pages on Podia and Thinkific varies notably. Podia allows for a more streamlined approach with its one page storefront, making it simple for course creators to set up and manage. Thinkific, on the other hand, offers the flexibility to create multiple pages, giving creators more control over the design and layout of their sales page. Both platforms offer important features like integrated payment processing and the ability to have your own affiliate program.

Are there any differences in the free programs offered by Podia and Thinkific?

Yes, there are significant differences. Podia’s free plan offers basic functionalities suitable for new course creators, including the ability to sell courses and access to their support team. Thinkific’s free plan, on the other hand, is geared towards creators looking for a taste of Thinkific’s basic plan without financial commitment, offering more in terms of course reviews and prerequisite lessons.

How do Podia and Thinkific handle course prerequisites and lesson structuring?

Podia offers a straightforward approach to course structuring, without much emphasis on prerequisite lessons. Thinkific, in contrast, excels in allowing course creators to set prerequisite lessons, ensuring a structured learning experience. This feature is part of what makes comparing Thinkific to other platforms essential for course creators who value a comprehensive learning journey.

Can you explain the pricing tiers and options for both Podia and Thinkific?

Podia and Thinkific both offer multiple pricing options catering to different needs. Podia provides a free plan and several paid tiers, each increasing in features and capabilities like members access, marketing functionality, and digital download options. Thinkific also has a range of pricing tiers, including Thinkific’s basic plan and Thinkific’s free plan, which offer diverse features from custom website design to advanced course creation tools. Both platforms also give the option to pay annually, often at a discounted rate.

Is WordPress better than Podia and Thinkific?

WordPress is a blogging platform while Podia and Thinkific are online course platforms with all the core features needed for creating, marketing, and selling online courses.

You can use WordPress to achieve that, but you will need multiple third-party apps to add additional features required to create membership sites and courses.

This will increase your monthly expenses because WordPress, though flexible, is not an online learning platform.

About the author

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