Podia and Thinkific are fairly similar online course platforms used by a large community of creators internationally.
It’s very fair to compare the two directly as they generally cater to a similar audience needing some of the essential tools required to create, host and sell their online programs.
But in this article we are going to break down what makes them different and which one could be a better fit for you!
What’s the difference between Podia and Thinkific?
In order to understand why Podia and Thinkific have a lot in common, let’s make a quick note about the different categories of online course platforms they belong to.
The promise of these two tools are not to be the only software you need, as all-in-one do, but to provide a great platform to host and sell your online courses or membership.
Indeed, as a course creator you will need at the very least to also get a 3rd party email provider to complete your tech stack.
So what makes Podia and Thinkific different won’t be exactly in additional features but in how good each feature is.
To look at an overview of the general pros and cons for each:
As you can see from this quick overview of both platform’s pros and cons, we are getting granular in terms of what makes them different!
As always when comparing two popular platforms, there isn’t really a right or wrong choice, but we seek to lay out these nuances to help you determine which one will suit your needs best.
Breakdown: Tools & Feature Comparison
We’re going to break down each of the main features Podia and Thinkific offer to course creators and outline the differences of customization and what you should be aware of.
As course-only platforms, the 3 major features we will compare here are the following:
- Page & Site building: to market and sell your online courses, you will of course need some sort of sales page! We’ll see how Podia and Thinkific compare when it comes those
- Checkout/Payments: processing payments and delivering on your online product is of course an important part of the process. There are often differences of your options when it comes to pricing and create the best checkout experience for your students
- Course Delivery: Whether you’re selling an online course, membership or downloadables, the product design (member’s area etc.) needs to match your students expectations! Platforms have different degrees of control and customization they allow for.
Finally, we’ll also look at the “Other” smaller features both platforms offer.
These aren’t usually the most used ones but can make a difference, especially when deciding between two very similar platforms otherwise.
Let’s start this feature comparison by saying this: neither Podia or Thinkific provide an outstanding page builder.
By that we mean that if you want to build complex funnels and push the design and customization of your site, you may want to use an external funnel builder as many course creators do.
That being said, Podia and Thinkific can be a decent option to build basic, informational pages about your online courses.
Both of these platform’s page builder allows for you to build separate sections within which blocks can be added.
These blocks can be videos, images, text. rows, FAQs, testimonials,etc.
Overall, Thinkific page builder is slightly superior, mostly because of 2 things.
For one, it does offer a much larger range of block types and pre-designed sections. Which can come in handy to design these pages as best as possible.
Secondly, Thinkific provides more powerful site builder tools such as global elements (header, footer) or juggling different themes (like you would on WordPress) making it easier and more efficient to manage and build your pages.
The ability to duplicate sections can also make your life a lot easier (which Podia doesn’t allow for).
Checkout & Payment
In terms of checkout design and pricing options, both platforms are relatively similar.
You can set up free products, one-off fees, monthly subscriptions or payment plans as needed.
One thing that I do prefer with Thinkific is that your checkout can be designed on a separate page.
This can have a substantial impact on your conversion rate, knowing that roughly 70% of users getting to the checkout won't finish their purchase.
So having the ability to test different things there is important, and unfortunately Podia doesn’t allow for that.
On Podia, once people on your site click on the Buy Now button, a popup will appear for them to finish their purchase.
That being said, both Thinkific and Podia allow for upsells to increase average basket value.
No difference either in the available payment gateways as both integrate with PayPal and Stripe.
Finally, both platforms offer a native affiliate program feature for you to spread the word about your offer.
These are relatively similar feature wise and will allow your affiliate to login to a dashboard, find their unique affiliate links and see how their promotions are doing:
Affiliate payout are done manually, but this can easily be done in-masse using Paypal, which details each affiliate is prompted to enter.
Moving on to the last core feature of any online course platforms: the actual learning experience and course delivery!
Here again, we’ll make a note that both Podia and Thinkific don’t really allow for too much customization design-wise.
Most of what you will do is uploading and organizing the content in the backend which will then be populated in the static framework in the front-end
Fairly similar end-user experience here with the focused content right in the middle and a handy sidebar to move from module to module and keep track of progress.
Both Podia and Thinkific allow for video hosting, text and images courses and downloadables.
But Thinkific does offer more learning tools for you to use, namely: surveys, audio, brillium exams and live videos.
That being said, Podia on the other hand does allow for an easier categorization of your products: courses, bundle, webinar, coaching.etc. even if these don’t come with additional features.
Overall I’d say it’s pretty much a tie here unless the extra learning tools are a must for you!
Beyond these core 3 features, let’s now focus on those unique to each of these platforms that could be of importance for some course creators:
Community feature: Although Thinkific also allows for building a community, Podia does offer a better product here.
With the ability create different threads and customize access, you can create an engaged community of students sharing their learning experience:
Students can follow and post in different conversations, making this easier for you to keep them coming back.
Although a lot of course creators still prefer to build their community in Facebook groups, this can be a feature that makes you stand out!
Thinkific apps: the platform has launched its own app store to allow you to connect and use 3rd party tools natively.
New apps are often being added to the store and can allow you to integrate email marketing tools, gamification, reward systems and a number of other cool tools to improve the value of your offering.
Although most of these apps do come at an extra cost, Thinkific is one of the most integrated online courses out there for 3rd party apps.
Pricing: Comparison Podia vs Thinkific
Since these two platforms are so similar, pricing is definitely something interesting to look at.
Let’s look at the full pricing tables:
Podia offers a 14 days trial for you to test out the platform whereas Thinkific has a forever free plan with limited features.
Both have their first paying plan at $39/mo (paid annually) which has most of the basic features and tools.
But really, most course creators will probably need to upgrade to the second paid plan at $89/mo for Podia and $79/mo for Thinkific to really get everything they need and what we have reviewed so far.
These are relatively affordable prices and high value platforms considering what you’re getting, but do keep in mind you have to add a few other tools (e.g. email marketing) and cost to complete your tech stack.
Getting help from the tech support when setting up your online course platform can be a big deal for new course creators!
Both Podia and Thinkific offer support, in different ways.
Thinkific has you look at their Help Library before getting in touch and only allows for support tickets.
Podia on the other hand does also provide live chat support, which tends to be a bit more reactive.
That being said, Thinkific has a bigger user community you can connect to inside of a Facebook group.
Podia does not have such a group and you'll have to join their native community to meet with fellow users.
Both support and community can be of great help in your online course journey, so knowing what will be available for each platform can help your decision!