Selling online courses is a great way to jumpstart your online business and spread your expertise to an excited audience.
If you have ever thought about getting into the online course industry, then you are likely looking for a platform to build your website.
Luckily there are plenty of great online course platforms to choose from, all of which will help your business grow.
Kajabi and Thinkific are both online course platforms designed for creating, marketing, and selling online courses.
Both platforms have a lot of great features to offer for your online business, but also have some differences.
|Number of Courses & Students||Thinkific|
|Website Building Tools||Kajabi|
|Marketing & Sales Tools||Kajabi|
|Student Engagement Tools||Thinkific|
|Discounts & Trials||Kajabi|
|Support & Training||Kajabi|
There are also a lot of comparison articles on Kajabi vs Thinkific, but many of them barely scratch the surface of what features each platform includes.
That’s why we put together this comprehensive in-depth review of the Kajabi platform and the Thinkific platform.
We will give a brief overview of each platform and then go in-depth and the different features each one offers.
What Is Kajabi and What Is Thinkific?
Kajabi is an all-in-one business platform meant for creating, marketing, and selling online courses. Kajabi takes a powerful set of web building and marketing tools that can all be operated from an intuitive and integrated dashboard. It has everything you need for online course creation.
Kajabi excels in that it gives users so many tools to grow their business. Not only can you host your digital products on your Kajabi site, but you also have access to powerful marketing functions to push your products to your audience.
Kajabi’s strongest feature is its comprehensive tools that come with each pricing plan.
Unlike many pricing plans which give you access to a smaller list of tools then make you pay more for extra, each Kajabi plan comes with mostly the same tools but is scaled based on your pricing tier.
That means that no matter which pricing tier you choose you will get basically the full functionality of the platform.
Each Kajabi plan comes with a number of predefined themes you can customize to your heart’s content.
Each theme is a collection of layouts and elements that you can edit using the intuitive drag-and-drop interface. No coding experience is necessary though you do get access to your page’s code editor if you are tech-savvy.
Like Kajabi, Thinkific is also an all-in-one business platform for selling online courses. Thinkific lets you build your website, post online course listings, and organize things by modules so your students can browse them by category and subject. Thinkific has also capitalized on the out-of-the-box approach and everything you need works without you having to download and install and a bunch of plugins.
Thinkific gives you a pretty wide range of uploadable media for your course creation, including text, video, PDFs, quizzes, audio files, and other downloadable media. Thinkific also lets you create completion badges and certificates of achievement for students who complete a course.
Thinkific also has a nice suite of automated tools that make marketing easy. Emails can be sent to onboard new students as soon as they purchase a course. You can set up a drip schedule to release content on a regular basis and Thinkific integrates with over 1,000 external marketing apps.
One great feature of Thinkific is the free-tier pricing plan. The free-tier plan is pretty limited in terms of available tools, but there is no restriction on how long you can use it.
You never actually have to buy a Thinkific plan if you don’t want to, you can just do everything on the free plan.
Note that growing your course business will be extremely difficult if you only stick to the free plan though.
Main Differences Between Kajabi and Thinkific
Both platforms have a lot of similarities and differences. In this section, we will compare each platform based on a number of categories and figure out which platform stands superior. At the end, we will tally the total number of wins and give our answer to which course platform we feel superior.
1. Overall Features
When it comes to the sheer number of features, Kajabi wins this battle hands down. Not only does Kajabi just have more features overall than Thinkific, but you also get access to a wider pool of tools for a lower price ratio. Kajabi is designed with selling online courses in mind, but the number of features makes it easy to use the platform for other things. You can easily use Kajabi for more than course creation.
Thinkific has some good course tools, but a lot of them are locked behind a paywall until you purchase a higher tier plan. Both platforms have a wide range of integrations, but Kajabi has the handy Zapier app which is like a thousand integrations in 1 app. Thinkific has some neat customization options for pages but not as many as Kajabi.
Aside from the course creation and hosting tools, Kajabi has some of the best marketing features we have seen in an online platform (we’ll cover those more in-depth below). The platform also has better pipeline schematics. Best of all, all of these features are super simple to use in Kajabi. Thinkific’s tools are not difficult to use either but are lacking compared to its competitor.
2. Number of Courses/Students
One of the first things that people look at when searching for an online course platform is how many courses you can host. One the free plan, Thinkific only lets you post 3 courses, which is nowhere near enough to run a sustainable business. However, once you jump up to one of the paid plans, you can host an unlimited amount of courses and have an unlimited amount of students. All Thinkific paid plans let you post as many courses and have as many students as you want signed up under each course.
Now on Kajbi’s end. Kajabi does not have a free plan and even the Basic plan initially gives you access to only 5 products. The Growth plan ups that number to 15 products and 10,000 active users and the Pro plan bumps it up again to 100 products. None of the Kajabi plans let you host unlimited products and the highest plan only allows up to 20,000 active students. That’s a pretty large number, but not as big as unlimited.
Overall, when it comes to the number of courses and products you can have, Thinkific wins this round. Unlimited courses and students at even the lowest non-free pricing plan is a great deal and is perfect if you want to pump out as much course content as possible. You have to shell out a bit more to get the same large audience with Kajabi. So we say that Thinkific is better for course creators.
3. Web Building Tools
Both platforms come with an intuitive and easy-to-use set of website building tools so you can customize your business site however you want to create it. The basic site and course building tools share a lot of similarities. Both web editors use a convenient drag-and-drop system so you can edit just by clicking elements on the screen, and both have roughly the same security features, including hosting and SS certificates. Both platforms also give you a custom domain name (e.g. xxx.mykajabi.com or xxx.thinkific.com) though you have to purchase a higher tier plan to remove the company branding from your website domain name.
Despite these similarities, Kajabi offers more customizable website designs and layouts. Kajabi is set up on a theme-basis where each predefined theme contains a selection of layouts, fonts, and elements, to capture a general site aesthetic. For instance, the Icarus theme is meant to echo that of a modern storefront, with its block-based elements and logical grid-like layout. You can pick an overall theme then tweak whatever you want to customize your website. As of the time of writing, kajabi has 11 pre-set themes you can pick from but they also let you upload custom themes.
Thinkific offers, on the other hand, only 3 website themes to choose from, Empire, Vogue, and Vision. Each theme looks great and has sub-styles to choose from, but ultimately, they are less customizable than Kajabi’s themes.
Kajabi’s builder can handle a larger amount of elements and gives more flexibility over website layout placement. For instance, Kajabi lets you add animations and change padding, features that are absent from Thinkific.
To its credit though, Thinkific does let you create sites and membership pages, which is an extremely useful feature for online educators and course creators. However, Kajabi lets you do this also so it’s not really an advantage.
4. Marketing Tools
A platform for simply hosting your online courses won’t do much good on its own. You also need to market your content to attract more students.
Both Kajabi and Thinkific have some nifty marketing tools for pushing your content to customers and creating conversions, but ultimately, Kajabi comes out on top. In fact, Kajabi has some of the best marketing tools we have ever seen in an online course platform.
Let’s start with Thinkific. Thinkific offers some basic email marketing functions which let you automate email broadcasts to students, different payment options, and a handful of customization options for the payment and processing screens.
Unfortunately, though, that is about it for marketing tools. You can’t create a landing page, and Thinkific has an outdated 2-step payment process that requires you to create an account first then make a payment.
A 2-step checkout process is bad for conversions as it pushes customers away before they buy anything.
You also cannot track abandoned carts or even keep your email list on the site. You have to use an external email app instead.
Kajabi, on the other hand, has a ridiculous amount of great marketing tools, the most important of those being the pipeline builder. The pipeline builder is a unique Kajabi function that presents a visual layout of your sales funnel that you can customize by adding a landing page, funnels, etc. with the drag-and-drop editor.
The pipeline functions are extremely useful if you want to create lead generators and make conversions but Thinkific doesn’t have anything like it.
Also, Kajabi’s email tools are much more comprehensive. You can set up automated email blasts, segment mailing lists by student registrations, and even create complex email sequences to push products to new students or follow up with them when they make a purchase.
Kajabi also can host all of your email contacts—no third-party apps required (you can use a third-party email extension if you want though).
One other great feature of the email marketing suite is the ability to categorize and sort users by tags.
You can set up your automations to respond to and modify tags on individual users. For instance, you can organize new users on a sales campaign and when they make a purchase, they will be automatically removed from the sales list. The combo of tags and email automations opens up essentially endless possibilities for marketing campaigns.
One final thing: Both platforms have options for affiliate users and share links. You can add affiliates, track sales, figure out commissions and manage your affiliate users from the dashboard of each platform.
There are some notable differences between the two though. Most importantly, Kajabi also can automatically approve and register new affiliate users and you can create share links to any site, not just your kajabi site. With Thinkific, you have to manually approve new affiliate users and can only generate share links to your Thinkific site, nowhere else.
5. Third-Party Integrations
Both platforms tout themselves as “all-in-one” but neither platform is truly all-in-one. That being said, both platforms have some nifty integration tools that let you connect third-party apps for added functionality.
Both platforms have built-in integrations for a number of popular extensions, like MailChimp, Adsense, Google Analytics, and Facebook Pixel, among others. As of the time of writing, Kajabi has native integrations for 10 apps, including marketing apps like Segment and Clickfunnels. Thinkific currently has native integrations for 11 apps, including Keap, Intercom, Mixpanel, and Sumo.
Both platforms have third-party integrations with Zapier. Zapier is basically a programmable API application that lets you connect each platform with 1000s of non-native apps. Zapier is extremely useful and can set up complex chains of trigger and action commands to automate lengthy processes.
Both Kajabi and Thinkific have a decent amount of built-in integrations and the Zapier app opens up a ton of avenues for creating automations. As such, we think both platforms are roughly on equal footing when it comes to third-party integrations.
6. Student Engagement Tools
It’s not enough to just sell courses to students. Course creators also need a way to keep tabs on their progress and figure out whether they are retaining the information they are learning. Luckily, both platforms have tools that let you keep track of student progress and test their knowledge absorption.
First with Kajabi: The platform allows you to create student assessments and quizzes to gauge student progress. You can insert these quizzes into course modules and set it up so students have to complete an assessment before they can move on to the next course. Assessments can be multiple choice or multiple selection format. You can set up quizzes to be automatically graded and results returned to students.
Moreover, you can set up automations to notify you whenever a student completes an assessment. Lastly, you can export all assessment data in CSV format.
Thinkific also allows for quizzes on course modules. Like Kajabi, Thinkific quizzes can be inserted into course modules and require that students take them before moving on to the next lesson. The platform has a flexible quiz structure and lets you customize quiz templates. You can also set whether the quizzes require passing grade to progress to the next course.
Notably, Thinkific gives you the option to randomize quizzes from a pool of pre-entered quiz questions, a feature that Kajabi lacks. The one problem is that Thinkific only allows course quiz assessments for the Pro-tier plan or higher. Kajabi has quiz assessments in all pricing plans.
Overall though, we think that Thinkific has slightly better quiz and student engagement tools. The main reason we give the win to Thinkific is that it lets you randomize sets of questions so every student can potentially take a completely different quiz. Kajabi’s quizzes have to be the same each time a student takes it.
7. Discounts & Trials
As a rule of thumb, neither Thinkific nor Kajabi offers discount codes so you can’t get a subscription at a reduced price.
Discount codes and coupons tend to not jive well with the revenue structure of these kinds of platforms, which are reliant on a regular subscriber base at a certain price point.
That being said, both platforms have a kind of discount for paying users. Both platforms allow users to sign up for annual billing which cuts 20% off the annual subscription costs.
That is a good deal so annual billing can save you a huge chunk of change over the year. These annual billing discounts apply over the entire lifetime of your subscription too, they are not just for the first year of payment.
Thinkific doesn’t have any free trials but it does have the free-tier option which is kind of like an endless trial period you can extend as long as you want.
We mentioned it before, but the free-tier pricing plan for Thinkific is very limited insofar as what features you get, so it’s not exactly a full trial of the entire platform.
Kajabi offers users a free 28-day trial right off the bat which gives them full access to the features found on their pricing plans. Even though the trial is limited, you get access to a wider range of tools so you get a better picture of how the platform fully works.
So overall, we say that Kajabi is better in terms of trials and discounts. You can get the 20% annual billing discount and take advantage of the 14-day free trial which gives a comprehensive view of the platform’s capabilities. The free-tier option with Thinkific is nice but ultimately is too constrained to give an adequate picture of the platform’s potential.
An online platform that is too obtuse to use is a no go. That is why it’s important that the platform you choose has good customer support and learning resources to help you out when you get stuck. Otherwise, your business can fall into a rut.
Both platforms offer live chat and email support to customers but Thinkific’s support inquiries are limited to between 9 AM and 5 PM M-F. That means if you send an inquiry outside of those times, you’ll have to wait until then to get a response. Kajabi’s basic plan offers similar limited support within defined times, but if you get the Growth plan or higher you get access to 24/7 live chat and video support from the technical team.
Also, Kajabi recently launched Kajabi University, an online learning space with tons of resources to teach people how to use the platform and articles on business strategies and tips. Users get free access to the library of resources when they sign up for an account. Thinkific has a similar help section on their website but it is nowhere near as in-depth as Kajabi University.
Also, Kajabi recently added the Kajabi Assistant toolbar to the dashboard. The assistant lets you search for any activity and takes you directly to the application that takes care of it. So say you wanted to look through your email contacts. You would type in “email contacts” into the search bar, and the Assistant will return the most relevant results Clicking on the results takes you directly to the application you need. Thinkific does not have any comparable function.
So overall, we think that Kajabi wins here. The included library of resources and 24/7 live support along with the Assistant toolbar make the platform extremely easy to use, and easy to address if you hit any snags or roadblocks. Also, we should mention that the creator’s of the platform host an annual 3-day Summit conference meant to foster community among users and to give the latest in strategies, online business tips, and tricks for successful marketing.
Pros & Cons of Each Platform
- Extremely powerful web building and marketing tools
- Pipeline builder is one of the best we have ever seen
- Unlimted landing pages
- Email automations are diverse
- Lots of integrations available
- Intuitive online course creator
- Great video hosting with Wistia
- 14-day free trial and annual billing discount available
- Highly customizable themes and templates
- Library of quality business resources and educational materials
- Can be used for selling things other than courses
- Relatively limited course and student roster
- No free-tier option
- Student assessment tools are somewhat lacking
- Might take more time to get used to and figure out
- Simple and intuitive online course creator
- Unlimited products and unlimited students
- Free-tier plan available
- Great student assessment tools
- Free plan is greatly limited
- Web building tools are not that powerful
- Fewer course customization options
- Rudimentary email marketing tools
- No pipeline builder
- Less comprehensive resources and customer support
- Fewer landing pages options
Kajabi vs Thinkific: Which Platform Is Better?
When it comes to Kajbi vs Thinkific, we judge Kajabi to be the superior course platform.
Kajabi ultimately wins out because it has a greater number of features, extremely impressive email marketing tools, a simple course builder, a large library of user resources, the handy pipeline builder, and streamlined sales pages and payment processing.
Everything you need is in one place with Kajabi (here’s a demo overview).
Thinkific is a good platform no doubt, but it is ultimately too limited for your online business to achieve the kind of growth they could using Kajabi. In our opinion, Kajabi is one of the best online course platforms currently in the industry.
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