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Thinkific vs Kajabi (2020): Which Online Course Platform Is Better?

Online education has seen a boom in recent years, owing largely to the convenience of the medium. For most learners, the ability to fit studying around their existing commitments and responsibilities is simply a huge boon. In addition to flexibility, online learning is also often cheaper than traditional face-to-face schools. 

Content creators and subject experts understand this opportunity well. Many have started setting up and selling online courses through Thinkific, a cloud-based learning management system (LMS). It’s one of the many platforms competing against more premium options like Kajabi. But is the difference in the price point between these two LMS justified? Here, we take a look at how the more budget-friendly Thinkific stacks up against Kajabi based on its course builder, marketing features, and overall value-for-money. 

Thinkific vs Kajabi Comparison Chart

NameThinkificKajabi
 kajabi logo
Pricing and PlansTry Thinkific Plans HereTry Kajabi Plans Here
Worth Buying ForAffordable program with customizable site settings, comprehensive quizzing features, and extensive third-party integrationsAll-in-one platform with flexible subscription plans, built-in email service, and impressive rewards program
Transaction Fees0%0%
Number of CoursesUnlimited3 to 100
Number of StudentsUnlimitedUp to 20,000
Affiliate ProgramYesYes
Native CertificationYesNo
Mobile AppNoYes, Android and iOS
Zapier IntegrationYesYes
Free PlanYesNo, limited to a 14-day free trial
Customer SupportThinkific Help Center, ticket system, FAQs, expert marketplace, trainingKajabi Help Center, Kajabi University, 24/7 email support, live chat on business days, webinars, Facebook group

Site and Course Builder

Thinkific has a more comprehensive course builder while Kajabi has the edge when it comes to website customization.

Compared to Thinkific, Kajabi offers more customization options for its website, courses, blogs, and forums.

Site Builder

To sell and deliver your courses online, you’ll need a dedicated website. In this aspect, Thinkific does a pretty decent job. The platform allows users to host their courses using either a free subdomain or paid-for custom domain. Moreover, you get an SSL certificate, daily back-ups, and secure cloud hosting.

Customization-wise, Thinkific offers a modest website theme library with three templates. While it’s hardly a catalogue, each theme comes in 3 or 4 styles, so you actually have around 12 style and theme combinations to choose from.

In contrast, Kajabi comes with a number of site templates that can be customized extensively using a drag-and-drop functionality. You can import a custom-designed theme as well. The platform is SEO-optimized out-of-the-box, allowing your website to rank better in search engines. And unlike Thinkific, Kajabi features its own blogging module that can further boost your SEO results.

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Course Builder

When it comes to course building, both platforms allow you to upload different media content like images, videos, audio, PDFs, and text. For those who want to host live conferences or classes, Thinkific and Kajabi both support Zoom. However, Thinkific will allow you to connect to Zoom directly while Kajabi requires a Zapier integration. 

Creating quizzes, exams, and assessments are also made easy in both platforms. In Kajabi, all the tools you need are built-in. This makes for an engaging interface that’s easy to edit, update, and manage.  With Thinkific, you can rely on native integrations for more advanced features—like Brillium for custom assessment solutions, and Accredible, to generate certifications. Plus, the platform is compatible with course authoring software like Adobe Captivate and Articulate Storyline.

Nonetheless, Kajabi does boast intuitive student engagement tools. Just like Facebook Groups, users can setup a Kajabi Community for a Product—which is what courses are called in the platform—where students can discuss topics and engage with each other. Users can apply brand colors and upload course logos to these communities. Thinkific does have a similar feature called On-Lesson Discussions, but it isn’t as editable as Kajabi’s. 

Sales and Marketing Features

Thinkific’s sales and marketing tools are mostly third-party integrations whereas Kajabi’s are all built-in.

Thinkific’s payment options are powered by Stripe and PayPal.

Thinkific integrates with a number of business tools. All of these applications work to give your courses better online visibility. Currently, the platform enjoys direct integrations with e-mail marketing and automation tools like MailChimp, ConvertKit, and AWeber. To monitor your reach and growth, Thinkific also supports Google Analytics and Segment.io. For payments, the platform has integrations with PayPal and Stripe. 

You can also sell your courses through affiliates, thereby incentivizing referrals. Best of all, Thinkific accepts all major credit cards and boasts instant payouts with zero transaction fees across all their plans. For high-volume sales, you can even rely on an integration with Stunning to secure you from failed Stripe transactions.

Since it advertises itself as an all-in-one solution, Kajabi’s sales and marketing tools are all built-in. In lieu of third-party email marketing solutions, you get a dedicated email service. This feature includes customizable email templates that perfectly integrate with the Kajabi platform. It also supports segmentation and automations for more targeted campaigns. 

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Alongside the built-in email service, Kajabi allows you to build pipelines and sales funnels. The platform also supports two referral programs—Kajabi Partner, which requires affiliates to be members of your site, and a regular Affiliate Program. Like Thinkific, Kajabi currently uses Stripe and PayPal as its payment gateways. 

Customer Support

Although both platforms have reliable customer support, Kajabi offers more with its 24/7 assistance for paid-for plans. 

Kajabi comes with 24/7 customer support as well as the comprehensive Kajabi University resource center.

Because these platforms are feature-packed, you also get a range of customer support services. With Thinkific, you can get answers to common issues through a comprehensive resource center. Issues and concerns are all grouped into easy-to-search topics. And if that’s not enough, you can always send questions via email in their Help Center. Keep in mind, however, that response time to your queries will vary. 

If you’re setting up shop, you’ll find Thinkific offers step-by-step guidelines as well. For more in-depth discussions, you can always refer to their blog, which covers topics like growing your business or creating a course. 

Meanwhile, Kajabi takes pride in its 24/7 customer support. Accessibility and responsiveness, however, depends on your membership. Users under the Basic plan have access to 24/7 email support and Live Chat from 6am to 5pm (PDT) during business days. On the other hand, those on Growth and Pro plans enjoy 24/7 support both for email and Live Chat.

Similar to Thinkific, Kajabi also comes with its own resource center called Kajabi University. Here, potential customers and current members have access to a range of “How To” topics. The platform even offers training webinars for a more engaging learning experience.

Pricing

Overall, Kajabi is more expensive than Thinkific, except for the latter’s top plan.

Here’s a look at Thinkific and Kajabi’s pricing for monthly and annual billings 

As an all-in-one solution, Kajabi plans are more expensive across the board than Thinkific. The platform’s Basic plan starts at $149/mo, while its Growth and Pro options come in at $199/mo and $399/mo respectively. On the other hand, Thinkific offers both free and paid-for plans. The Basic plan comes in at $49/mo, while the Pro plans costs $99/mo and the Premier Plan—designed for online education at scale—will set you back $499/mo.

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In terms of available features across paid plans, Thinkific and Kajabi share similarities. Both platforms offer zero transaction fees, as well as access to their customizable templates. Plus, you get 20% discounts on monthly fees with an annual billing. However, Thinkific’s paid plans boast unlimited courses and students, whereas Kajabi’s are limited. Kajabi’s Growth Plan, for instance, supports up to 16 courses and 10,000 students, while its top-tier Pro offering allows up to 100 courses and 20,000 students.

Nonetheless, the value of unlimited courses and students isn’t always an advantage, considering most student and course caps are rarely maxed out. You’ll also have to keep in mind that, given the cost of Kajabi’s plans, you don’t just get a course builder, but built-in marketing tools as well. With Thinkific, some third-party integrations will have to be purchased separately, so that’s on top of your monthly or yearly subscription fees.

Verdict

For those on a budget, Thinkific is the more beginner-friendly online course platform. For those willing to spend more for an all-in-one solution, then Kajabi is the better option.

When choosing between online course platforms, there’s no one-size-fits all solution. A lot depends on your needs and preferences. So even though Kajabi, for instance, is an all-in-one package, you might find that certain features and functionalities are better offered by a third-party solution. If that’s the case, then Thinkific might be the right choice.

Thinkific may not come with a built-in email service, but it does offer solid and direct integrations with reliable services like MailChimp and ConvertKit. In addition, you have native integrations with course-building tools and software, critical to course creation and delivery. And with the exception of its top-tiered plan, Thinkific subscriptions are less expensive, even if you factor in additional costs for separately purchased integrations. You can check out the Thinkific plans here.

However, if you want a one-stop-shop platform and can’t be bothered with integrations, then Kajabi might be right up your alley. Aside from the site and course builder, you get built-in sales and marketing tools. Indeed, all the features you’ll need to grow your online course is within easy reach with Kajabi. So if money is not an object, then it’s a platform worth considering. If you want to see how much value you’ll get for their pricier plans, you can try a 14-day free trial here

FAQs

📌 Can I set up a custom domain on Thinkific?

Yes, you can. Thinkific allows custom domains for their sites, provided a user has a domain purchased from the domain host, as well as paid Thinkific plan. 

📌 Can I set up a blog on Kajabi?

Yes, with Kajabi you can start your own blog. To set it up, simply go to your Dashboard and click on the Website tab. From there, you can click on Blog and then click on the + New Blog Post button at the top right corner.

📌 Does Thinkific have a mobile app?

Thinkific currently doesn’t have a mobile app. However, all websites and online courses in the platform are mobile-responsive. 

📌 Up to how many contacts does Kajabi support for its built-in email service?

Depending on your Kajabi plan, you can have as many as 100,000 contacts or subscribers for your mailing lists. 

Mari Bassig
Mari Bassig

Senior Editor, writer and researcher passionate about gadgets, social media, and music.