Thinkific vs Kajabi: A Detailed Comparison
(Updated January 2020)
As the top platforms in the rapidly growing online course creation space, Thinkific and Kajabi are often placed side-by-side by entrepreneurs and businesses who are evaluating which is the best platform to invest their time and money in. We have built this Thinkific vs Kajabi comparison guide to aid these people by better highlighting the key differences between the platforms.
Who is Thinkific designed for?
For entrepreneurs, speakers, authors, trainers, and companies that are serious about building a business around online courses, Thinkific makes it as easy as possible to be successful in creating, marketing, and selling online courses while maintaining your own brand and owning your customer base.
Thinkific is a good choice for individual instructors up to large companies – our platform is used by thousands of course creators and various multinational corporations. It’s easy to create a nice course and get started marketing it. As you grow we support companies with many advanced features, options for integrations and customizations, and great customer service.
On Thinkific’s homepage, you’ll see this messaging: ‘Easily create, market and sell your online course. You get complete control and great support.’
Who is Kajabi designed for?
For people that want to make money selling content online, Kajabi is a good option for quickly getting content up and beginning to market and sell it. Kajabi was designed more for individual pieces of content than structured courses, and focuses on providing a broad set of marketing tools for sales success.
Launching any new business or product is hard work. Thinkific is committed to empowering the people behind these ventures to share their knowledge with the world in a way that drives value for their students and meets their entrepreneurial objectives.
Features for online course platforms can be broken down into a few key categories, each vital for overall success. These categories are: course creation, teaching & student experience, design & customization, site administration, sales & marketing, and pricing.
Course Creation Experience
Can I easily create a great online course with all of the essential features for a reasonable price?
Comparing Thinkific vs Kajabi, Thinkific is definitely more geared towards instructors or businesses that want to create online courses. On Thinkific, a new customer creates an account, then creates a new course, then adds new chapters to each course. Chapters can contain many different types of content (videos, PDF, text, quizzes, exams, etc.). It’s a simple and intuitive flow.
On Kajabi, a new customer creates an account, then creates a new product, then creates a new collection of categories, then creates a post made out of a limited number of content options. So Kajabi courses are composed of ‘posts’ and ‘categories’ – not exactly intuitive, but this does allow Kajabi some flexibility allowing you to sell other pieces of content if online courses aren’t your primary offering. If creating a course is your primary objective, you’ll find the Thinkific platform was handcrafted for you and your students.
Will my students get value from the course I create?
Entrepreneurship 101 states your primary job is to create value for your customers. But what’s really important and valuable to your students? Ryerson University’s literature review found these to be the most important indicators of student satisfaction with an online course:
- A clean, well-designed course structure and website
- Straightforward course objectives and progressions
- Student support services and feedback from instructors
- Peer interaction and engagement with a community
Thinkific has been designed specifically with student experience as a core attribute – we understand that your student’s success is vital to your success as a course creator. Kajabi’s platform attempts to satisfy a broad range of customer types. As their focus is broad, it’s extremely difficult for them to compete with Thinkific on student experience. Thinkific offers unique interactive tools like discussion threads, well-structured course curricula, and course certificates, and a knowledge-base built specifically with student success in mind. Customer reports suggest that Kajabi students have difficulty opting out of emails, resetting passwords, and with basic account management.
Sales & Marketing Tools
Will I be able to successfully sell and market my course?
Selling any product online is a skill that needs to be developed and nurtured. There are two types of marketing skills needed to sell an online course – universal marketing skills and course-specific skills. Universal marketing skills are those you’d need to sell any product online – email marketing, search engine optimization, building landing pages, segmenting your audience, etc. For universal tools, Thinkific offers the functionality you need to get up and running, then offers integrations with the world’s best marketing services like MailChimp, Mixpanel, ConvertKit, Zapier, and Google Analytics to help you take your business to the next level. In contrast, Kajabi has built a broad set of these universal sales and marketing tools in an attempt to give you everything you need in one place to run your entire business.
Then there are marketing tools specific to selling online courses. These are things like bundling courses together to sell in packages, up-selling products or services related to your course (like offline seminars or consulting time), affiliate marketing reporting, drip/scheduled content, and flexible subscription options. Thinkific chooses to excel at these particular marketing features that are specific to online courses, and because of this focus, they can execute these features in a way that Kajabi can’t match.
If I need help, will I be able to access it?
Customer support has been institutionalized at Thinkific – every single employee takes regular turns doing support shifts. Over 98% of emails get answered within one day, and 50% of them within an hour. Kajabi makes claims of great customer service and offer 24/7 live chat support on their $199/month and higher plans, but Thinkific’s dedication and focus on customer experience is extremely difficult to match.
Thinkific allows customers to get started easily on a free plan, and their core package under comparison (Thinkific Pro @ $99 month versus Kajabi Basic @ $149/month) offers more value for a lower price.
With Thinkific, you’ll advance to higher payment tiers only if you choose to add additional new features. On Kajabi, as your business grows you will hit steep paywalls around things like the number of members and number of emails sent. Thinkific is the more cost-effective solution for customers looking to create a scalable business.
Customization & Advanced Features
Will I be able to add custom features or integrate new services as my business scales?
Serious entrepreneurs and businesses looking to create scalable online course platforms will eventually want a higher level of customization. To support businesses in their growth, Thinkific offers a number of integration and customization features including custom domains, API access, easier site security, and tons of integrations with industry leading software services.
Whereas Thinkific enables growing businesses to integrate or build their own solutions, Kajabi takes more of a walled-garden approach, offering a broad set of features with the intent of graduating customers into higher pricing tiers. While Kajabi does offer some integrations, customer reports suggest they are often ill-supported as they essentially compete with the tools Kajabi has built in-house.
SUMMARY: Thinkific vs Kajabi
Kajabi was designed to create individual pieces of content and quickly market them. But for instructors and businesses serious about growing a business around an online course, Thinkific offers considerably higher value and does so at a lower price. Easy course creation features enable you to get started quickly and ensure a great student experience. As you launch and grow your business, Thinkific will support you every step of the way with advanced features, integrations, customizations, and the customer support necessary to scale your business.
Thinkific vs. Kajabi: Detailed Comparison
Free, Paid, Subscription
Free, Paid, Subscription
Upsells & Bundles
Advanced Marketing Integrations
(ie: Mixpanel, Zapier, Segment.io etc.)
Sales Widget (sell off-platform)
Student/ member limit
Quizzes and surveys
Track student progress
Issue Completion Certificates seamlessly
MARKETING & SALES
Website builder - Build home page, course / sales landing pages, default landing pages, custom pages etc.
Groups (bulk sell courses, manage and track students in specific group)
Drip schedule course content
Subscription + Payment Plan pricing option for courses
Additional pricing options available for courses
Free trial option for course content / specific lessons
0% transaction fee available
3rd party marketing integrations
Types of Content available for courses
Unlimited number of courses (or products)
Tools for creating course content
Bulk import content
Drag and Drop features
Integrate with different tools: Mailchimp, Stripe, Convertkit, GA, etc
Custom domain & White Labelling
Advanced Theme Customization with built-in HTML/CSS editor
Single Sign On (SSO)
Video, Audio, PDF, Presentations, Rich Text, Surveys, Quizzes, discussions, 3rd party integrations, Articulate / Captivate / HTML5 content
Not so easy to edit, can require knowledge of liquid coding
Must use 3rd party integration
For products with subscription pricing only
Video lesson, text lesson, 3rd party integrations
One theme has this feature: Premier
Yes but reports integrations are not well supported
Via 3rd party custom for domains
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Features and support are constantly changing! This analysis was accurate to the best of our knowledge as of January, 2020