Podia vs Thinkific (2020): Which Is The Best Online Course Platform to Use This Year?

The online course industry has grown by 900% since the year 2000, and by 2025, it is set to hit a market value of $325 billion. So, if you’ve decided to jump on the trend and become a course creator, you’ve made a pretty smart decision.

But before you even create your first online course, you need to find a solid platform to host your course content. 

In this guide, we will be reviewing two popular platforms: Podia and Thinkific

They’re both great platforms for online learning and have, over the years, generated a lot of positive feedback. However, in a situation where you only have to choose one, which would you go for?

Read our article in full and you'll get a thorough Podia vs Thinkific comparison to help you make the right decision.

Quick Verdict: Right off the bat, let us share our thoughts on which platform should work best for you.

  • If you’re on a budget but still need to create beautiful, engaging content for your students, you should go with Podia.
  • If you’d prefer a more advanced learning system that provides classroom-like experiences for your students, Thinkific is a better choice.

Thinkific vs Podia – The Main Differences

  • Podia is more beginner-friendly, while Thinkific has a relatively steep learning curve to it.
  • Thinkific’s classroom features are more interactive, and it has better customization ability.
  • Podia offers better video presentation while Thinkific supports a broader range of content formats, including surveys, Typeform, quizzes, classroom discussions, etc.
  • Thinkific has a Free plan with basic features, while Podia only offers a 14-day free trial.
  • Podia has a two-tier pricing structure while Thinkific has three.
  • Podia has a superior email marketing functionality at its lower plan, allowing you to send bulk emails to your students. On the other hand, Thinkific only allows the same functionality on its Pro plan.
  • Podia is a better fit for DIY course content creators. On the flipside, Thinkific is more suitable for institutions with established systems.

What is Thinkific?

Thinkific is a fully-fledged online course platform that has been in the market since 2012. It has recorded over 50,000 course creators, 75 million courses, and over 500 million dollars in revenue.

The system is designed to help you keep your students engaged with rich multimedia content, from interactive videos and PDFs to Typeform and surveys.

Why Course Creators Choose Thinkific

Thinkific is loved by thousands of course creators, mainly because of its interactive course system. It is designed to emulate real-life classroom experiences effectively.

For example, you can include a discussion panel as part of your course, take surveys, set prerequisite lessons and quizzes, monitor student progress and activities, and even reward them with customizable completion certificates.

Another reason why it’s a favorite to many course creators is its scalability. It supports multiple instructors, admin, and support staff at no extra cost.

Thinkific also allows its users to create multiple pages that can be linked to their storefront. For example, you can have pages like About Us, Blog, FAQs, etc. 

Building and customizing a website on Thinkific is as smooth, with its efficient and flexible drag-and-drop builder.

What is Podia?

Podia is best described as an all-in-one platform that provides solutions for selling online courses, memberships, and digital downloads.

Launched in 2014, Podia has made its presence known in the online course market and has continued to thrive as a platform for online learning, recording over 25,000 course creators so far.

Podia’s modus operandi is rooted in simplicity and elegance. Its intuitive interface makes it super-easy for its users to create and market courses, memberships, and digital products in a snap.

Why Course Creators Choose Podia

Podia can be seen as the new cool kid in the block. This is because, even though it is a relatively younger platform, it has continued to attract entrepreneurs from around the world.

The main reason creators choose Podia is because it is more than just a platform for selling courses.

As an all-in-one platform, it competes not only with Thinkific but other platforms like Teachable and Kajabi but also with internet marketing systems, like ClickFunnels and SendOwl. In a nutshell, it delivers everything you need for hosting your business online.

Another key selling point of the platform is its ease of use. You can create your content, build your storefront, and set up memberships in record time, even if you’re a complete noob in the space.

It provides an impressive email marketing feature that allows you to send bulk emails to your students from your dashboard. It also shows essential analytics for your emails, such as the open rates, clicks, conversions, etc.

Furthermore, its customer service team is friendly and responsive.

Now that we’ve covered both platforms’ overview let's dive deeper and compare specific features more thoroughly.

Podia vs Thinkific – Feature Comparison

How do Podia and Thinkific stack up against each other in terms of features?

We reveal all that below.

Course Creation

Both platforms have efficient course builders that do a great job when it comes to course creation. They allow you to quickly upload your course content and structure them conveniently.

Podia allows you to add files, texts, quizzes, links, and sections to your courses.

Each section can contain as many courses as you want in several formats such as PDF, videos, audio, etc.

It offers an interesting feature called the Drip Content tool, and you’ll find this option when setting up your sections.

The drip feature allows you to schedule your courses, ‘dripping’ them at your chosen interval. Your students would receive email notifications whenever a new section gets unlocked, allowing you to control their learning pace.

Podia also supports bulk import, enabling you to upload multiple files at once which can come in handy.

On the other hand, Thinkific provides a more robust system for online courses. It helps you create interactive lessons with all kinds of file formats.

You can include in-class surveys and discussions in your courses to help students learn more efficiently.

It also lets you set prerequisite courses and add multiple instructors at no additional costs.

Its drip content tool is similar to the one found in Podia, but it takes things a notch higher by including student progress reports, customized completion certificates, etc.

Winner: Thinkific wins this bout for its robust course building system. It provides more features that help you make your courses more interactive and engaging.

Interface

One of the things to look out for in a course platform is how intuitive its interface is. This is because an excellent interface will result in better user experience and ultimately improve your productivity.

In this regard, Podia paid a lot of attention to its UI and has already established itself as one of the platforms with the best interfaces.

It comes with a minimalistic yet efficient top menu navigation bar that neatly outlines its main features once you’re logged into your dashboard.

Pretty much everything you need can be accessed with a click of the button.

Thinkific’s interface is ‘okay,’ but it isn’t as smooth as Podia’s.

Its interface is more detailed, with several menus lined up by the left corner of the dashboard.

However, while these menus are easy to grasp, the appearance is a bit simple and dated.

Winner: Podia wins with part because of its highly refined interface. Even Thinkific admits that Podia looks ‘pretty at first.’

Memberships

Memberships allow you to have gated content that is only accessible to customers who pay fees on a recurring or one-off basis.

Podia excels in this aspect because it has a module dedicated to helping you create a membership site.

You can get started by simply clicking on the Membership button. The first step is to set a name for your membership. Afterward, you’d be required to set up a free or paid plan.

You also get the option to set recurring fees on your membership. That way, you can charge your customers monthly or annually.

After creating your plan, you can proceed with uploading content for the membership.

Thinkific has a membership feature, but this feature isn’t as straightforward as it is on Podia.

To use the membership feature, you would need to create a course bundle, including all the content you wish to have in the membership. Afterward, you’d set up recurring payments using Stripe, select the drip schedule, and start promoting.

That said, Thinkific’s membership feature is currently being used by big shots like Grant Cardone, Lewis Howes, and Justin Brooke.

Winner: Podia wins this one decisively because it has a dedicated tool for memberships, making it way easier to create one.

Digital Download Selling

As a course creator, it is important to take advantage of any opportunity to generate extra revenue from your content. Selling digital downloads is a great way of doing this.

Again, Podia has a dedicated button for this, making it easier to get started.

This feature can be accessed by clicking the Products button on the top menu bar or simply selecting Digital Products from the dashboard.

It also allows you to bundle up multiple products and sell them together. You can even use them as upsells for your courses or simply give them out for free.

Thinkific, as you would expect, does not have a specific button for digital downloads. However, you can sell digital products by simply using the course builder, uploading your content, and making them downloadable.

Winner: Podia wins this bout as well simply because it has a dedicated tool for digital products.

Email Marketing

Email marketing is an essential part of every successful online business because it enables you to stay in touch with your customers.

Podia’s email marketing feature is efficient, allowing you to send one-off emails and drip campaigns. 

The drip campaign is an excellent feature because it allows you to send out a series of emails over time to your students. You can use this to promote your product in its pre-launch stages to hype up your prospects. 

It also shows you analytics on how your emails have been performing. Information such as open rates, clicks, conversions, etc. are critical in making decisions around your email marketing strategies.

Thinkific does not have an in-built email marketing service. But it does integrate with several email marketing services such as MailChimp, ActiveCampaign, AWeber, and ConvertKit.

Winner: Podia wins this bout because it has a basic email marketing system, allowing you to send out emails without signing up with integrated email services.

Integrations

Integrations allow you to achieve more with your online course platforms. Both platforms are quite compatible with several third-party apps, from email marketing services to analytics.

Podia currently integrates natively with email services:

  • MailChimp
  • ConvertKit
  • AWeber
  • Drip
  • MailerLite
  • GetResponse

For payment processing, it integrates with Paypal and Stripe.

For analytics, it integrates with Google Analytics and HotJar, and for advertising, you have Pinterest, Facebook, and Google Ads. 

It also has a Zapier integration, which allows it to integrate with any app you want.

Thinkific, on the other hand, comes with more native integrations from email marketing to ecommerce.

For email marketing, Thinkific currently integrates with the following services:

  • MailChimp
  • ConvertKit
  • Constant Contact
  • AWeber
  • ActiveCampaign

It also comes with growth tools, which include Typeform, Sumo, Fomo, and MiniOrange. For payment processing, it integrates with PayPal, Stripe, Shopify, SamCart, and Stunning.

Other integrations cover analytics, automation, and student success. To integrate any app of your choice, its Zappier service is available for that.

Winner: Thinkific wins this one because of its vast native integrations.

Price Comparison

An important factor to many is affordability. How do these platforms compare when it comes to price, and what value do they have to offer at their specific prices?

Let’s analyze that below.

Thinkific Pricing Plans

Thinkific comes with a three-tier pricing structure along with a Free plan.

The pricing plans include:

  • Free Plan – $0 monthly
  • Basic Plan – $49 per month (on monthly subscription) or $39 per month (on yearly subscription)
  • Pro Plan – $99 per month (on monthly subscription) or $79 per month (on yearly subscription)
  • Premier Plan – $499 per month (on monthly subscription) or $399 per month (on yearly subscription)

Thinkific’s Free plan is excellent for anyone who is just starting. They allow you to create a maximum of three courses, and you can have unlimited students. Also, you will be charged a transaction fee of 10% on all sales.

Its paid plans attract no transaction fees and give you access to unlimited courses, along with several extra features that are not available on the free plan.

Also, there is a 30-day guarantee available for its paid plans.

For a detailed breakdown of Thinkific’s pricing visit this page: https://www.thinkific.com/pricing/

Podia Pricing Plans

Unlike Thinkific, Podia comes with a two-tier pricing structure. Its pricing plans include:

  • Mover Plan: $39 per month (on monthly subscription) or $32.5 per month (on yearly subscription)
  • Shaker Plan:  $79 per month (on monthly subscription) or $65.83 per month (on yearly subscription)

Podia has no free plan. However, it offers you a 14-day free trial without a credit card. This free trial gives you access to its Shaker Plan, where you take it for a full spin. It doesn’t charge any transaction fees.

Its Mover Plan comes with quite the punch as it allows you to do stuff like bulk emails to your students, a feature that isn’t available on Thinkific’s Basic plan.

It also offers priority customer support on both plans, unlike Thinkific, which offers that on its Pro plan.

Here’s a detailed breakdown of Podia’s pricing plans.

Winner: Podia wins this one because it gives you more for less. In general, its cheapest plan has better features than Thinkific’s cheapest plan, and its free trial is fair enough.

Customer Comparison

In terms of customer experience, both Podia and Thinkific perform exceptionally.

Podia offers a straightforward checkout process, allowing students to enroll for courses in a few clicks.

Thinkific, on its part, is highly interactive, giving a sense of community to its users through in-class surveys, quizzes and discussions, and more. It makes it easier to track your students’ progress and provide swift customer support.

Winner: Thinkific wins this one narrowly. Podia also helps instructors to provide awesome customer experience, but Thinkific does it better.

Podia vs Thinkific Final Recommendation

Ultimately, both platforms have established themselves among the best platforms for online courses.

They provide everything you need to host your online course content and generate revenue more efficiently. Their tools are easy to use, and their customer service personnel are fantastic.

However, here’s our verdict:

  • If you’re on a tight budget and you want to sell courses, digital products, and memberships, then Podia is ideal for you.
  • If you have a little extra cash and want to maximize your earnings as a course creator, Thinkific is the one to choose.

This wraps up my Thinkific vs Podia comparison. I hope you found it insightful. Let me know if you have questions, suggestions, or experience with any of these platforms.

Cheers!

Related Reading:

Podia vs Teachable (2020) Comparison

Thinkific vs Teachable (2020) Comparison

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