Chances are if you’re looking at Teachable and Udemy, you’re just getting started as an online course creator.
And understanding the key differences between the two platforms and which would be a better fit is one of the first important choices you’ll make!
Because there’s usually not a “better” platform but just pros and cons that only you can balance to make an informed decision.
What’s the difference between Teachable and Udemy?
This is very important to understand and why a direct feature-to-feature comparison doesn’t make much sense!
Teachable and Udemy are fundamentally different types of online course platform:
Udemy is an online course marketplace. Think about Amazon or eBay but for buying online programs! It doesn’t let you do much apart from listing and hosting your course and letting you sell it to its audience.
Teachable is an actual online course platform that you fully owned! You have full control over the different parts of the selling process and are able to build pages, funnels and a real infrastructure that you shape around your programs.
Again, one is not better than the other but there are some “gimme’s” to every “gotta’s”.
Let’s see an overview of pros and cons for each of these type of platforms
Course Platform Pros
Course Marketplace Pros
Course Platform Cons
Course Marketplace Cons
This is just the bottom line of what each option entails but of course there is a bit more to it.
Something interesting to note at this stage is that choosing between Teachable or a marketplace like Udemy isn’t always a binary decision.
A lot of course creators have chosen to use both together or at different times in their online course journey.
That being said, let’s break down exactly what you can and cannot do with these 2 platforms.
Features/What Can you do and not do
This section is important to understand what using each platform will enable you to do or not so we can understand the fundamental trade offs you’re making:
Page & Design
We’ve already mentioned that Udemy is not a funnel or website building platform.
The only pages you are able to populate and edit are the courses sales page (Called “Course Landing Page”)
That’s pretty much it, you can’t edit any of the design or colors of these either.
As part of editing this page, you’re allowed to upload a short promotional video to increase your conversion rate and get a chance to build some trust and rapport with your potential students.
Teachable on the other side lets you customize your sales page, or any additional page you’d like to create to a great extent with a visual builder.
Although Teachable is not a website builder per say, it’s still possible to get the very basics of a funnel setup to sell your courses with more flexibility.
From a user experience standpoint, the fact that you own your Teachable site with a custom domain for example, your logo and branding all over, is a strong point to consider in the long term
Here is something to understand with a course marketplace like Udemy:
Udemy lets you decide what pricing tier you’d like to use for your course:
But in order to fully use the reach the platform has, you’ll need to join the “Udemy Deals program”, which essentially allows Udemy to sell you courses at any price they want. (with a floor at $9.99)
“This allows Udemy to use marketing data to optimize your course's list price and offer your courses at a discount in different markets around the world.”
Depending on the location of the student, if they’re a new customer or not and a few other metrics, Udemy will “optimize” the course price to increase sales.
This also gives an incentive for Udemy to give you more awareness on the platform.
Again here, you’re giving up control for some help on the marketing side.
With a platform you own like Teachable, you can pick exactly what price you’d like to sell your course at, turn it into a recurring subscription or allow for payment plans.
And since you actually “own” your customers, you can build your list and remarket to them for future offers!
This also allows you to build a real funnel with upsells and cross-sells to increase your average basket value.
Controlling the selling process and checkout also means that you’ll be paid more quickly.
Finally, using an online course platform allows you to create an affiliate program and choose what commission to give to your partners.
There are not as many differences between Teachable and Udemy when it comes to the course delivery side of things.
Both platform have a relatively similar design with the main content in the middle and a sidebar to go through modules:
In terms of learning tools, you’ll be able to create quizzes, assignments, downloadables and custom content.
The main difference in terms of type of content is that Udemy doesn’t really let you upload audio files. So you’d have to upload a video with a static image for example to get around this problem.
That being said, with Teachable and a greater control over colors, branding and other aspects of the course experience, it’s easier to stand out and build a relationship with your students.
Finally, Teachable allows course creators to create Coaching products to deliver a more personal and private program.
This allows you to keep track of individual students with notes, assignments and personal feedback, which is not something you’d be able to do with a marketplace…
Again here, the major trade-off between these two types of platforms is on the one hand getting help with your marketing but giving up on control and personable content, and on the other controlling everything including your own marketing
Although the pricing and cost of both platforms are transparent, it can’t really be a direct comparison.
Teachable offers a standard monthly or yearly subscription to use the platform, with different pricing options depending on your needs:
Beyond the Basic plan you won’t pay any more transaction fees and will pocket 100% of your sales.
Note here that Teachable is not an all-in-one platform and therefore you’ll also have to sign up for an email marketing tool and potentially a few other things…
Udemy is free to sign up as a course creator, and works with a revenue share model:
- If you send people to your Udemy course directly using your referral link, you’ll get 97% of the sale
- If a students purchases through the marketplace by other means (Udemy ads, searching through the marketplace), you’ll only earn 37% of the sale
Since the main appeal of using a marketplace is to take advantage of the reach and volume of people using their platform, most of your sales will likely fall into the 2nd category (with 37% of revenue share).
2 very different models, depending on where you are and what makes sense for your programs, so how do you decide?
How to choose/The bottom line
We’ve highlighted the many differences between Teachable and Udemy in this article, and it should be everything you need to make a decision!
But here is the bottom line and what you should consider:
Teachable is probably a better fit if you’re wanting to do a bit more than just selling your courses and take control of the sales and student experience.
In the long term this will allow you to truly own your customer list and build a lasting relationship with them. It’s also a good choice if you have already built some kind of audience, whether that’s on social media or your email list.
And if you still find Teachable limiting in its features and how much you can do, you may find another platform that fits your needs better.
Udemy or other marketplaces could be a great choice for people that don’t really have any audience and are not wanting to put in the time and effort to do so.
Taking advantage of the existing reach of the platform is a great way to test the water as a course creator and make your first sales quickly.
You accept that deal knowing that you’re giving up control over everything else…
As mentioned before, you can also use Teachable and Udemy together!
Building some of your courses on the marketplace to give people a taste of your program, before hosting a more in-depth course on your own platform.
Udemy is free to get started with and Teachable offers a 14 days free trial, which could be the best way for you to decide!