In your search for a Learning Management System (LMS), including membership sites, you may find yourself comparing Thinkific and Udemy.
Thinkific gives you a platform to create online courses, brand them, and market your courses with business tools.
Udemy focuses on providing an education site with a marketplace to create your online course within its framework while helping to drive students to your course.
There are distinct differences between the two platforms, so read on to familiarize yourself with each one before picking one for your online courses business.
Thinkific lets you create customizable online courses while giving you the marketing and business tools you need to promote and sell to students.
Four pricing plans ranging from $0 to $499 per month include core features at all levels. The features escalate along with the price.
Easy user navigation, various multimedia course content for your students, a website builder with education-themed templates, and the ability to launch membership sites make Thinkific an attractive LMS platform.
Udemy platform allows you to launch online courses within their design and structure.
Its large marketplace gives you access to a wide network of students while offering marketing tools and limited promotional offers. It’s free to create and host your course on Udemy.
You must price your courses using a price tier matrix ranging from $19.99 to $199.99.
Student engagement is limited, and you have no control over students.
Thinkific vs. Udemy at a Glance
|Free Trial||Yes, 14 days.||Yes, when registered with Google Workspace for Education platform. |
|Pricing Range||Free – $0/month|
Basic Plan – $49/month
Pro Plan – $99/month
Premier Plan – $499/month
*Save 20% when signing up annually
** Growth Package add-on with Pro Plan (costs based on active students)
|Free – $0 for creating and hosting free courses. |
*Sales percentage retained for each course sold.
|Best For||Creators of online courses who want to run their educational business teaching and selling digitally with control of marketing||People who want to share their knowledge by teaching online with an educational platform that largely handles the marketing.|
|User Interface Features||User-friendly|
Optimized for all devices
Accessible on iOS and Android mobiles with a downloadable app
Lifetime access on desktop and mobile
|Online Courses||Customizable site design|
Advanced CSS and HTML for course content
Offers SSL features
Video, audio, PDF, and quizzes
Set your course prices
|No customization of site design |
No CSS and HTML editing for courses
No custom domain
SSL features available
Course prices limited to pricing tiers
|Monetization Options||Course bundles and upsells|
|Sales of courses |
Free trial offers
|Strict coupon offers |
E-mail through Udemy tool
Thinkific gives you more freedom with the customization of courses, and you can use a custom domain. This flexibility is not available with Udemy, which only lets you create courses using a set layout and style.
Promoting and selling your courses on both platform works differently:
- Udemy: Large marketplace driving traffic to your course quickly for faster sales. You’re limited to the platform’s pricing tiers for course prices, and the platform takes a percentage from each sale.
- Thinkific: It doesn’t have an existing marketplace for you to benefit from, but it has a suite of marketing and business tools to help promote and sell your courses.
Thinkific allows you full control over your students compared to Udemy, which doesn’t allow you access to student data.
Thinkific vs. Udemy: Pricing Comparison
Udemy pays premium instructors 97% for every course sold using instructors’ promotions and 37% for other sales, such as clicking on a Udemy advertisement. Thinkific Pro Plan add-on ‘Growth Package” includes an additional fee of $0.10 per active student (after reaching 100 student limit).
- Free ($0 per month) – includes content hosting, quizzes, surveys, unlimited users, and limited courses. Doesn’t support membership sites and custom domains.
- Basic Plan ($49 per month or $39 per month if paid annually) – includes drip content, custom domain, e-mail integrations, allows unlimited courses and students. Doesn’t support membership sites.
- Pro Plan ($99 per month or $89 per month if paid annually) – includes membership sites, advanced course pricing, course bundles, allows unlimited students and courses.
- Premier Plan ($499 per month or $399 per month if paid annually) – includes SSO, onboarding package, site admin accounts, unlimited students, and courses.
- Free ($0 per month) – includes creating and hosting online video courses, a large marketplace, unlimited students, and unlimited courses. No earnings on free courses.
- Instructors receive 97% of the revenue when the student purchases from them directly. For Udemy marketed courses, instructors only receive 37% of the revenue from the course.
While there’s no fee for creating and hosting courses on Udemy, revenue is only possible with every course sold using the pricing tier. You can start earning on Thinkific’s free plan and are not limited to how much you charge for your courses.
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Thinkific vs. Udemy: A Comparison of Features and Tools
Our in-house experts have focused on key features you should look out for when creating, marketing, and selling online courses when reviewing the two teaching platforms.
This list of features includes what creators can do with their online courses, sales and marketing features, and student experience when they use either platform.
In-depth reviews include analytics and customization features that will help you make the right decision for your online education business.
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Thinkific gives you more flexibility when creating online courses, while Udemy is more rigid in the style and design of your courses. Both allow you to host unlimited courses, but Udemy transaction fees take a chunk of your sales.
While you control the content of your course on Udemy, you don’t have full ownership of it compared to Thinkfic, where your courses belong to you.
Which Platform Offers the Better Solution for Hosting Online Courses?
- Thinkific platform’s hosting online courses is better because you have more freedom in running your courses with a wide range of content hosting options.
Sales & Marketing Features
Udemy’s large marketplace gives you instant access to students if you don’t have a pre-existing database.
The platform also gives you marketing programs and promotional tools to help sell your courses.
Thinkific’s sales and marketing features include upselling options, membership sites, coupons, subscription courses, and reward affiliates as additional promotional tools.
Which Platform Offers Better Sales & Marketing Solutions?
- Udemy platform’s sales and marketing solutions are better because you can rely on an existing database of students and let the platform handle the bulk of your marketing.
Student Experience Features
Thinkific rich and varied multimedia content gives your students’ a rewarding online learning experience. The easy-to-navigate user interface and flexibility to resume on any device is another bonus for students.
With over 40 million students, Udemy is a powerful online learning platform offering a wide range of courses and topics. However, the student’s experience is limited to a lecturer using computer screenshots and slide shows.
Which Platform Offers Better Student Experience?
- Thinkific platform’s student experience is better because of its easy-to-use interface and stimulating multimedia teaching content.
While both LMS platforms offer analytics features, Thinkific gives you more detailed reporting and analytics on the performance of your online courses, including sales and student engagement. You can link your Google Analytics account to Udemy.
Monitoring students’ progress is doable with both Thinkific and Udemy analytics features.
Which Platform Offers Better Analytics Features?
- Thinkific platform’s analytics features are better because you can rely on comprehensive and detailed reporting and analysis of the performance of your sales and students.
Thinkific wins hands-down for customization features. Not only can you design your education website with themed templates, but you can also customize your course content. You’re also free to use your custom domain on paid plans.
While you can play around with your course graphics on Udemy, you must use a set course layout and design features. Udemy doesn’t give you the option of using your custom domain on their dashboard.
Which Platform Offers Better Customization Features?
- Thinkific platform’s customization features are better because you can customize both website and curriculum content while matching your brand.
- Choose Thinkific if: You want to create customizable online courses, market and sell them at any price, match your brand, and launch a membership site.
- Choose Udemy if: You want to share your knowledge and expertise on a certain topic or field of interest by creating and hosting an online course with most marketing aspects handled by the platform.
Our researchers highlighted several differences you must be fully aware of before picking either platform for your online courses.
Thinkific lets you create your courses using customization features. Udemy requires you to create your course content within its specific style and design.
You start earning on your courses no matter which pricing plan you’re on with Thinkific. Udemy allows you to create and host for free, but you only start earning when you sell your courses using the Udemy pricing tier matrix.
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