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The online course industry has grown by leaps and bounds in the past few years. The global market is currently estimated to be worth about $200 billion, which makes now a great time to get into the industry. 

But, course creators need a wide range of tools to create, promote, and sell online courses, and if you are considering creating courses of your own, you must pick the right tools to help you build a successful online course business.

Fortunately, there are all-in-one course creation platforms that provide you with all the tools you need in one convenient place. 

Kartra and Thinkific are among the top options to choose from. Each platform has its own unique set of tools to help you manage all business activities for building a successful knowledge business.

Below, we look at a side-by-side comparison of these two powerful platforms. My team and I have spent over 11 hours reviewing and comparing them so you can get a better idea of how they stack up against each other and which one is best for instructors. 

1. Course Creation

Both platforms offer excellent course creation capabilities. Here’s a quick look at creating an online course on each.

Thinkific:

Thinkific

Thinkific is one of the most popular tools for creating online courses. It’s easy to use and offers many features to market and sell online courses after building them. 

As online entrepreneurs, check out the video below for a quick look at how to use the platform to create your first course for your online business:

Now that you’ve seen how easy it is to create a course on Thinkific, here’s a look at some of the features where the platform excels: 

Slideshows and Presentations: Easily create voiceover slide presentations and record audio for each uploaded slide deck from directly within the platform.

Duplicate Lessons: You can copy lessons for easy course build-out, saving you tons of time and effort when creating multiple related courses.

Surveys: Thinkific offers a range of surveys designed to help you track goals, get feedback, create long-form exams, etc. 

The platform requires zero technical knowledge, and there’s an easy-to-use drag-and-drop editor that lets you put together stunning courses by simply clicking and dragging the elements you want onto a page. 

You can host videos on the platform for free, and you can use any type of multimedia content you choose. 

You can either use one of the many predesigned online course templates or create your course from scratch. 

Integrate other marketing tools, including email marketing and automation software, so that you can manage your entire course online business from one convenient place.

Kartra:

Kartra

Kartra is just as intuitive and easy to use as its counterpart. The video below shows you how to create a new course on the platform:

Here’s a summary of Kartra’s main course creation features: 

  • All-in-one solution features like web hosting, email marketing, business management, learning management system, help desk support, etc.
  • Free video hosting for your live or recorded video content
  • Stunning, optimized, and customizable course templates
  • Advanced marketing features, including upsells and behavioral adaptive marketing (BAM), dynamic OTOs for order bumps, etc.
  • The built-in calendar feature, as well as integration for Google Calendar

Winner: Thinkific

As you’ve seen from the two videos above, both platforms have a lot to offer to build beautiful courses. 

However, one of the main differences between the course-building tools is membership sites. This feature is particularly important for course creators, and Kartra offers a powerful approach to this with separate calendar membership sites and portal builders with powerful tools.

However, Thinkific gives you access to powerful designing and customization features that allow you to build a truly unique course with a membership site. 

You can provide coaching services and even create a classroom training experience for your students and track your line is activity at all times, from when they purchase your course until they complete it.

2. Pricing

On Kartra, you can get a free plan and a 14-day trial to test out the software. Thinkific, on the other hand, offers a free plan version with limited features in terms of course creation, the number of learners, hosting services, etc., and affordable price for the Basic plan.

Thinkific:

Thinkific pricing

Thinkific has four pricing plans for their monthly subscriptions such as free plan, basic plan, and more: 

Free Plan ($0/month): Test drive the software’s core features with Thinkific free plan, including the drag-and-drop online course builder, eCommerce features, and more in this free plan.

You get one website admin account and limited courses on this plan, but you can have as many students as possible.

Basic Plan ($39/month): With this affordable price for the Thinkific Basic Plan option, you get access to all the tools, such as the basic course creation tools on the platform, making it easy to launch your first course.

This includes unlimited pages, unlimited courses, unlimited students, and content.

Pro Plan ($79/month): This is Thinkific’s most popular plan, and it offers two site admin accounts, advanced course building, live lessons, completion certificates, and a host of other powerful features to take your business to the next level. 

Premier Plan ($399/month): The Premier plan is ideal for advanced users. It’s designed to help you deliver an exceptional learning experience at scale with all the features your need with a membership site, engagement features, and full unlimited features.

You get five site admins, 15 group analysts, unlimited communities, and white-labeling features aside from unlimited courses. 

Thinkific offers a 20% discount when you opt for the annual plan.

Kartra:

Kartra pricing

Kartra’s Pricing Plans are as follows: 

Starter Plan ($99/month): This pricing plan provides you with a custom domain and allows you to host 50 videos and 100 web landing pages. You can sell digital products up to 20 items, build two membership sites, and send up to 15,000 emails per month.  

Silver Plan ($199/month): This plan has features similar to the Starter plan, with the only difference being in quantity. For instance, on the Silver plan, you get three custom domains, as well as an unlimited course, unlimited landing pages, sales funnels, videos, and products. 

You’re also eligible to sign up for Kartra Agency so you can manage your clients’ full accounts. 

Gold Plan ($299/month): In addition to all the Silver plan features, you get 25,000 leads, five custom domains, and unlimited everything, including team members, membership sites, sales pages, products, videos, bandwidth, and all the other features that you need. 

Platinum Plan ($499/month): This is the ultimate plan for knowledge businesses with large lists of digital products or services and a membership site. You get ten domains and a limit of up to 50,000 leads. All the features are unlimited aside from domains and lead count.

Kartra offers an impressive 25% discount for annual payments. You can pay $1 to try out Kartra’s features for 14 days. 

Kartra impressive discount

Winner: Thinkific

In this Kartra vs Thinkific pricing, Thinkific offers a free plan, making it perfect for content creators who are just getting started and small businesses that want to create and start selling online courses without committing to a paid subscription.

3. School and Online Course Marketing

Here’s an in-depth look at each platform’s school and course marketing features.

Thinkific:

Thinkific school and online course marketing

Thinkific offers a wide range of tools to help you market your online course or school, including email integration with various providers so you can create highly personalized email marketing campaigns directly from your dashboard. 

The data-tracking feature lets you keep an eye on your email, ad, and other marketing campaigns to optimize your efforts and maximize your returns. 

There’s also an affiliate center where you can manage and reward others for selling your courses online and affiliate management. 

In addition to that, use an affiliate management center to have granular control over how you incentivize your affiliates, with the ability to set different tiers of commissions for each affiliate. 

You can also link your learning website to hundreds of other marketing apps and tools to supercharge your marketing results.

Kartra:

Kartra school and online course marketing

Kartra uses advanced BAM (behavioral adaptive marketing) to help you sell more of your courses by boosting conversions. The platform also offers dynamic OTOs (one-time offers) for upsells, downsells, order bumps, etc.

You can host your eCommerce site and create email campaigns from one place, making it extremely easy for you to run the business operations you need to effectively market your school and online course.  

Winner: Kartra

In this Kartra vs. Thinkific, we see that both platforms are powerful. Still, compared to Thinkific, Kartra has more advanced marketing tools to offer, making it the ideal option for users who want to get the most from their online course platform. 

4. Instructor Support

When creating an online course, it’s important to have support and guidance whenever you need it. Otherwise, you might find yourself stuck and unable to move forward with the course creation/marketing/selling process. 

Fortunately, both platforms offer robust support for instructors. Here’s what you get: 

Thinkific:

Thinkific doesn’t offer real-time support, but you can fill out a form on the website to contact the support team on any day of the week, and you will get a timely response that is relevant and personalized to your actual needs.

Thinkific instructor support

You can also get support in the following ways:

  • Online tutorials
  • Onboarding emails
  • Support tickets
  • Facebook groups
  • Knowledge base

Kartra:

Kartra instructor support

Kartra’s support consists of technical documentation and platform training, and an in-depth FAQ section on the support page. 

You can contact the customer support team through live chat between 8 am and 12 pm PST Monday to Friday. 

Winner: Kartra

In this Kartra vs. Thinkific, Thinkific offers support on weekends, whereas Kartra does not. Also, their customer support staff seems more knowledgeable and can resolve issues quickly and effectively, making this platform the clear winner in instructor support.

5. School and Course Customization

If you don’t want your online course or school to look like every other course out there, you need to be able to fully customize the landing pages for course pages, sales pages, and websites. 

Let’s see how these two platforms stack up against each other in this regard.

Thinkific:

Thinkific school and course customization

Customizing your course on Thinkific is a breeze. There are many options to choose from, including multiple themes for showcasing content in the best way possible, private or hidden courses, and integration with membership websites. 

You can also provide your students with completion certificates and create a drip schedule for your content. 

The platform also lets you use multiple course instructors, all in real-time, and there’s also a prerequisite lessons feature that enables students to request lessons or courses in advance.

Kartra:

Whether you are building an online course or school, customization is a crucial part of the process. It will play a determining role in your success in creating and marketing a successful learning experience. 

Kartra lets you create a unique and intuitive online learning environment for your students.

You get single sign-on credentials, multiple membership tiers, and fully customizable welcome emails, among many other features. 

Kartra school and course customization

Winner: Thinkific

In this Kartra vs. Thinkific, we see that although Kartra has a ton of stunning themes to choose from, all of which require zero web design experience, Thinkific is the clear winner here thanks to its more powerful customization features and wide range of built-in integrations for marketing tools and apps such as a calendar app.

6. Student Experience and Retention Tools

If your students are satisfied with your course, they will likely sign up for more content from you and refer others, helping you reach your marketing and sales goals. 

That’s why it’s crucial to provide a superior learning experience that allows them to retain information and achieve their objectives by the end of your course. 

Let’s look at what Thinkific and Kartra offer regarding student experience and retention features in this Kartra vs. Thinkific category of Student Experience and Retention.

Thinkific:

Thinkific student experience and retention tools

You can create assessments, comprehensive quizzes, engagement surveys, and more. 

After the exams, Thinkific lets you award your students with course completion certificates to help them celebrate their achievements. 

Students can choose how they want to learn, for example, live lessons, on-demand, or blended classes.

You can also create automated check-ins to ensure that your students get what they need from your course.

Furthermore, you can create memberships and communities so your students can engage with you and each other while providing you with recurring revenue from your memberships.

Here’s a quick summary of Thinkific’s student experience features:

  • Custom student dashboard 
  • Course welcome emails
  • Custom course-completion page
  • Ability to upsell to another course
  • White-labeled URLs
  • Easy translation to over 30 languages

Kartra:

Kartra will allow you to create an unforgettable learning experience using features such as membership portals, surveys, unlimited students quizzes, embedded video hosting, calendars, forms, and various integrations and APIs. 

Kartra student experience and retention tools

This means you can create your learning environment precisely the way you want, to ensure that your students have the best experience possible.

Winner: Thinkific

In this Kartra vs. Thinkific; Thinkific provides an unparalleled learning experience that allows you to bring your unique dream to life thanks to flexible content, including unlimited video hosting, live lessons, assessments, communities, and much much more. 

You also have robust progress tracking with in-depth reports to see how your students are progressing throughout your course – all in one platform.

7. Data Analytics

Course creators need to be able to analyze data to know how their own online courses are performing so they can make better-informed business decisions to boost conversions and sales. 

Here’s what the course platforms offer in data analytics, not just your online courses but also for a membership site, advanced affiliate management, and your entire online business.

Thinkific:

Thinkific data analytics

Measuring certain metrics will help you stay ahead of the competition as an online course creator. 

Fortunately, Thinkific has a robust data analytics feature that lets you determine how well your course is performing so you can make the necessary improvements. 

You can see all the information you need directly within your dashboard, allowing you to leverage your data for improved results. 

At a glance, you’ll be able to see (and make sense of) all your user data from both your visitors and your online course marketing campaigns. 

There are features like in-depth segmentation and data exports, affiliate management, and the ability to integrate your account with other data analysis and remarketing tools, including Google Ads and Facebook.

Kartra:

Kartra makes running your online business easy by providing powerful data analytics tools to help you identify the best way to market your products and services for optimum conversions. 

Karta data analytics

You can use lead segmentation and analytics to discover the best ways to fulfill your individual customers’ needs. 

You also get lifetime revenue analytics to measure where your online course business revenue comes from – not just the first purchases but every purchase in your customer’s lifetime.

Winner: Kartra

In the data analytics of Kartra vs. Thinkific, it’s clear that Thinkific offers an impressive range of data analytics features. Still, Kartra takes the cup thanks to its ability to filter data to see information in different contexts. 

This way, you can identify gaps in your learners’ understanding, identify trends for great performing content, and get a better experience of your student’s progress.

8. Advanced Tools and Developer Features

If you are a power user, you need full control when creating your online school or course with the platform’s powerful features.

You want a platform that allows you access to HTML/CSS editing to leverage the full power of the course creation software in this Kartra vs. Thinkific. 

Thinkific

Thinkific gives you access to SSO (single sign-on), a powerful theme importer, and an API specifically designed for web developers. 

You also get advanced customization thanks to the theme import/export feature that you can use to edit, import, or export complete themes across different websites, including all content assets like images, video hosting, forms, etc.

Thinkific also lets you use HTML/Liquid/CSS for advanced customization, and you get full access to all website theme code to add your own layouts, sections, snippets, styles, and custom assets.

Kartra:

Like Thinkific, Kartra provides you with the tools you need to build and launch your online business without hiring teams of web developers, designers, system integrators, etc. 

You can code your own custom integration on the platform using the API, IPN, and custom app tools, which is why developers love this platform.

Winner: Kartra

In Thinkific vs. Kartra, it’s clear that Kartra is the winner here. It’s the perfect choice for developers who want as much control over their website creation. 

So, if you want advanced site administration and powerful developer features, this is the perfect platform.

9. Security

The security of your course is yet another important factor to consider when choosing the best online course platform. 

With cybersecurity threats on the rise, it’s important for both instructors and students to use a platform that has built-in security, SSL, and other features to ensure your peace of mind.

Thinkific:

Thinkific security

Thinkific has secure cloud hosting and maintains 24/7 security for your data. 

The course platform gives you total control and absolute ownership of your information. The security team on the platform monitors everything that happens 24/7 to ensure that any breaches in security are taken care of in a timely way. 

Moreover, Thinkific has built-in SSL certificates, so you know your content is stored securely on their servers. 

There are periodical security updates, and these are rolled out automatically, ensuring that you never miss an important update. 

There are also regular automatic backups which means you will never lose your data.

Kartra:

Kartra security

Kartra takes its security seriously, especially with regard to collecting payments online. 

There are robust measures in place to ensure that your data and your financial transactions are kept secure at all times. 

Like Thinkific, you get full control and ownership of your data. The platform is monitored around the clock and comes with SSL certificates and instant access to security upgrades.

Winner: Thinkific

In Thinkific vs. Kartra, it’s clear to see that both Thinkific and Kartra platforms excel in terms of data and payment security options. 

However, if I have to pick a winner, it would be Thinkific because it maintains the maximum uptime while providing more security measures for protecting your data and online payment transactions.

Final Thoughts for Kartra vs. Thinkific to Sell Online Courses

Both these platforms are excellent in their own right. But, one is better than the other for certain kinds of users because of certain features on offer. 

Thinkific seems like the clear winner overall because it’s an intuitive and easy-to-use platform with powerful online courses creation, customization, marketing, sales, and analytics features. 

However, if you want an equally intuitive platform that excels in data analytics and has advanced tools and developer features, Kartra might be better.

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