Kartra vs Thinkific: Side-by-Side Comparison
Are you trying to decide between Kartra vs Thinkific for your online course business?
When it comes to creating an online course and selling it to your audience, there are a lot of options available.
Two of the best online course platforms out there are Kartra and Thinkific. Both offer powerful tools for selling online courses, automation features, analytics and more to help you manage your course business.
However, there are some key differences between the two platforms that can make choosing one over the other easier.
Kartra is an all-in-one funnel-building, email, membership, and checkout tool. Kartra is also an agency tool, form builder, quiz builder, video creator, and helpdesk tool. In short, it’s a great platform for hosting and selling your online course, but it doesn’t feature all of the advanced tools other programs have for actually building the course.
Thinkific is a course and community creation tool. It is an easy-to-use tool meant for those who want to monetize their knowledge or build a school. Besides being a course builder, Thinkific also comes with brand-building tools that you can use to start and grow a business, generate leads, manage customers, monitor performance, and grow revenue.
Having said all that, there are still some serious considerations you have to make when choosing between Kartra vs Thinkific.
Let’s compare these two tools in more detail below.
Table of Contents
Kartra’s page builder is powerful and beginner-friendly as it is intuitive and requires no coding. To build a page, drag and drop elements into the builder, and edit them. You can edit by resizing images, adjusting spacing, changing fonts, changing colors, and adding buttons.
Building a page on Kartra is not time-consuming. However, you may still want to simplify your work even further by using a ready-made template. The templates are organized by industry, although you may want to explore as many templates as possible to find one that will best represent your business.
Publishing your page is a simple one-click process. After you build a page, check for mobile responsiveness, and make the necessary integrations, click publish and your page will go live. You can either publish pages to your domain or host them on Kartra. Publishing to your domain will give your brand visibility, but if you don’t have a website, Kartra will host your pages for free.
Kartra also lets you build pop-up windows to include on your pages. You can build two types of pop-up windows:
- Landing pop-ups. These show a few seconds after a visitor lands on a page
- Exit pop-ups. These show when a visitor is about to leave a page
Besides popups, Kartra pages also include forms to help you collect emails and other customer information.
One really powerful way to customize a page on Kartra is to use a customer’s profile information (such as tags or history) to dynamically adapt content for them. This is known as Behavioral Adaptive Marketing, and its main purpose is to ensure your audience only sees the most relevant content.
Another one of Kartra’s powerful features is its ability to convert pages into a website. You can build a website, embed tracking codes in it, and even index it to Google. This method of building a website is especially convenient if you have accumulated a couple of individual pages and think you can pull them together to make a cohesive website.
All it takes to build a website is to create some global font and color styles to include on all the pages and add a menu, and footers. It really is a hassle-free way to get a website up and running, as compared to the traditional website-building method.
After you publish your pages, you’d probably want to know if they are converting visitors. Kartra’s inbuilt A/B testing allows you to compare up to 4 versions of the same page on a rotation basis.
Page performance is calculated based on parameters that you need to specify before you begin the split tests.
Thinkific also has an in-built page builder on which you can build stunning pages to showcase your learning products.
To access the page builder, you can:
Navigate to the left side of the admin dashboard and click ‘Design Your Site”
From inside the ‘launch and sell’ area of the course builder, click ‘build your sales page’ to launch the ‘Design Your Site’ menu
Once in the site builder, you’ll see options for building a home page, sign-up and sign-in pages, a product page, a thank you (checkout) page, and a certificates page. But you won’t see a sales page.
To build a sales page, open the checkout page and customize it by adding any of these elements: images, videos, product information, a timer, call-to-action, and banners.
I like the simplicity of creating pages in Thinkific. But Kartra wins for having more templates and more page-building functionalities.
Kartra Memberships is a great platform to offer exclusive products or services to your premium members.
For instance, if you offer training or a special podcast feature, you can deliver it to your customers on the membership portal in any format.
The membership area is also a place to interact with members and answer their questions. You could even assign admin rights to some members to moderate community comments for you.
Content dripping makes it possible to offer bits of your content over a period of time (you need to automate drip content). However, you still have the option of making your content available in one go. You can automate kartra to send congratulations messages and unlock higher levels once members complete a level of their training.
You can build out your membership area into multiple tiers, each with different pricing and benefits. You can also structure content to be more navigable by categorizing it.
Multiple templates, styles, and colors make it possible to customize your membership area into a professional-looking site.
You can hold all your membership sites in one global portal to create a powerful platform for cross-selling. In addition, single sign-on login allows a member to access all memberships with one password.
You can manage membership access, view subscription status, revoke access or view how members are progressing in the portal in the performance tracking console. The analytics area presents members’ information in graphical format, making it easier to see membership progression, retention, subscription rate, and unsubscribe rate over time.
When you open the course builder in Thinkific, you’ll see build a course, and build a community.
Thinkific’s workflow for these two tasks is quite easy.
To build a community:
- Give it a name
- Create a community page, add an image, and a page description
- Decide how Thinkific will filter who accesses or doesn’t get access to the community
- Set membership pricing
- Publish content on the page
Again, the flow is the same in the community builder as in the course builder, meaning you don’t have to waste precious minutes figuring anything out.
Thinkific makes it easy to build and manage memberships. But Kartra wins because it has more features such as more templates, single-sign on login, and a global portal that you can leverage for cross-selling.
Quizzes and Surveys
Surveys are useful marketing tools for getting information on your audience. You can then use that information to profile potential customers, leads, and existing customers. With the insights you get from surveys, you can provide laser-targeted solutions for your audience.
Quizzes are handy teaching tools as they help you test knowledge retention and manage the learning content you serve to students at different levels.
For instance, you can run a scored quiz, and based on quiz results, you can assign a member to a membership level that contains the most relevant training material for them.
Results or specific survey or quiz answers can also assign specific tagging or trigger automated email sequences, making member management and marketing efforts easier.
Kartra’s drag-and-drop builder makes surveys easy to build. Quiz page designs can either be conversational or traditional; whichever design you choose, the results are always beautiful and professional-looking.
What’s more, the quiz and survey templates are dynamic as they base the next questions on answers from a previous question, keeping the quiz relevant, and thereby increasing the quiz completion rate.
The quiz tool collects answers to individual questions and cumulative scores, providing you with high-level data or more granular data to deep dive into.
The quiz builder allows you to add an unlimited number of questions. You also have the flexibility to choose among different answer variations such as yes or no, multi-choice text or image answers, single-choice text or image answers, and short text or long text answers. You can also assign a rating.
You can customize a page to display when someone completes a survey. You can also automate Kartra to automatically issue a certificate upon quiz completion.
Kartra collects all quiz and survey data and displays it in one view on a dashboard. You can view details such as completion rate, average completion time, and individual score or average score. If you’d like to analyze a student’s weak or strong areas, you can review the answers they gave to individual questions.
Finally, you can export results or any data contained in the analytics report into a CSV if you’d like to analyze it further.
Surveys and quizzes are also part of Thinkific’s offering. Running a survey in your course provides you a way to collect more information about your students.
A pre-course survey for instance is a great way to assess students’ expectations. Holding a survey at the end of a lesson gives students the opportunity to tell you their level of satisfaction with the curriculum and to rate course content.
You can only add a survey or quiz to a course. To do so, open the course, click to add a lesson, and select survey.
You need to give your survey a title, and decide whether you’d like to make it a draft, a lesson preview, or a prerequisite. You also need to specify whether you’d like to enable discussions for the survey.
You can create different types of survey questions such as: one-answer, multiple answer, free-text, rating, or scale. While setting up the questions, you can decide to make some questions optional.
If you’d like to create a quiz, you can also add it as a lesson to a course. Thinkific quiz questions allow you to have one correct answer or more than one correct answer.
You can also set up a passing grade to give students the extra motivation to polish up their knowledge before taking your quiz.
A really helpful feature on Thinkific is the Randomized Question Bank, which consists of random questions created beforehand or over time.
If you want a randomized quiz, you need to specify that in the quiz builder. This feature saves time and also tests students on a wider subject area.
To view survey or quiz answers, use the quiz and survey export feature to export results into a CSV file.
The quizzes and surveys feature is well developed in both Thinkific and Kartra. The quiz builders are also intuitive and therefore give a great user experience.
Kartra integrations are pretty extensive.
The platform integrates natively with hundreds of membership, SMS, email, workflow, lead generation, and payment apps. Native integration means you don’t need any code or API to connect any apps.
Kartra integrates with payment gateways such as PayPal, Braintree, Authorize.net, and Stripe.
It also natively integrates with email tools such as Postmark, Elastic Mail, SendGrid, and MailGun, and SMS tools such as Plivo, Twilio, and Nexmo.
Kartra also integrates with membership platforms such as aMember, Optimize Press, Wishlist, Digital Access Pass, and Kajabi without needing to use any code at all.
Kartra supports Google Calendars natively, ensuring your calendar items automatically sync up with Kartra once integrated.
Besides native integrations, you can use Kartra API or IPN to code custom integrations.
Thinkific also adds new features to its package by supporting integration with different third-party applications, called Thinkific Apps.
You can install and customize a Thinkific App easily as the process requires no technical knowledge.
Examples of apps that integrate with Thinkific include MailChimp, Zoom, Google Analytics, Facebook Messenger, Firebox Quizzes, and more.
You can search apps you’d like to integrate with Thinkific in the store by name, or by goal.
Thinkific and Kartra support hundreds of integrations and even extend this capability through Zapier.
If you have a network of affiliates helping you to sell your products, you can manage all their selling activity, communications, and incentives on Kartra.
With Kartra’s affiliate management, you can:
- Automatically or manually review affiliates
- Comprehensively profile affiliates by setting up questionnaires and T&Cs for interested affiliates to fill in before signing up
- Set up revenue-based or subscription-based commissions
- Set up flexible payments based on a percentage or fixed value
- Set payment milestones by specifying a payment date or setting a minimum payment amount
- Pay affiliates through PayPal
- Allow other affiliates to recruit for you, and set up second-tier commissions for them
- Create customized landing pages for your offers
- Create mailing lists for your affiliates based on tags
- Create affiliate portals, only accessible to your affiliates
- Set up a tiered commission structure
- View an affiliate’s performance and profile information at a glance
- View performance analytics for your affiliate program on a dashboard
You can create an affiliate program and manage your affiliates’ onboarding, selling, and payment from your dashboard.
There is no limit to the number of affiliates you can have or to who can be your affiliate. Affiliates can be subscribers already in your account or new visitors to your page.
Every affiliate uses a unique link to promote a product, making it easy to associate each link to an individual affiliate. Affiliate links can lead to a custom page or to a checkout page. To create affiliate links, refer to this tutorial on How to Create Affiliate Links.
You can perform the following administrative tasks in Thinkific’s affiliates management section:
- Assign an affiliate to a product
- Set a commission amount per product
- Exclude an affiliate or affiliates from promoting a course
- Manage affiliate payments
Although affiliate management is easy on Thinkific, you can only pay affiliates by scheduling manual Payments. After you pay, you’ll need to also enter manual records in Thinkific.
This manual process gives you extra work and may be quite a hassle if you need to pay a large number of affiliates.
Thinkific has some manual processes that give you extra work, while everything in Kartra is automated.
Kartra plays many sales and marketing roles, including email-automation through its Kartra Email feature.
You can do the following with Kartra Email:
- Set emails to trigger based on a customer’s behavior. For example, customers who haven’t opened any of your emails in 2 months can receive a notification that they’ll be automatically unsubscribed. You can also send an automatic email reminder if a customer did not complete checkout.
- Conduct A/B tests on email subject lines, email content or format. Kartra automatically switches the campaign to the better-performing version
- Customize emails to achieve the best designs
- Add custom tags to emails, for more targeted sending
Email automation in Kartra uses the IF and THEN functions. IF is the trigger (behavior from a customer for instance). THEN is the action that Kartra takes once the trigger goes off.
A series of IF/THEN functions and related actions and events result in an email sequence that runs automatically. Once set, you never have to do anything more ever again. The emails will send out without any input from you.
Here are additional features that make Kartra Email so convenient:
- Automatically track and tag emails, conducts split tests, and optimize emails
- Queue and send SMS automatically
- Supports unlimited IF/THEN functions and TRUE/FALSE conditions
- Lead tagging
- List management, including subscribing and unsubscribing users
- Tracking email measurement parameters such as open rate, emails sent, click rate, unsubscribes, and sales
Thinkific’s email feature is not as detailed as Kartra’s. It is in fact so basic that all you can use it for is to send welcome emails, course completion notifications, or reminders for events such as lectures.
Even then, these emails won’t show your brand name, but instead, have a Thinkific no-reply email address because the emails originate from a Thinkific server.
The only way to get rid of the no-reply email and send emails with your brand name is with the White labelling feature available under the Thinkific+ Plan.
If you don’t have Thinkific+ but would still rather not have the noreply email address showing on emails, integrate Thinkific with an email marketing app. MailChimp would be a good app to try out, but if you prefer other apps, Zapier will help you integrate with any of them.
Thinkific loses because you need to integrate it with third-party email applications as its emailing function is very basic.
Kartra’s ecosystem consists of funnels, memberships, pages, emails, calendars, agency, help desk, video, affiliates, etcetera.
If you were to handle each of these features in a different tool it would take so much work to monitor and analyze everything.
Kartra simplifies your work by pulling all these different parts under one system and displays performance on one dashboard.
You can view the following performance metrics in Kartra Analytics:
- Email performance such as open rate, clicks, and conversions
- Landing page and web page metrics such as engagement (time on page, scroll time), transactions, and conversions
- Video metrics such as how much time someone watched a video and where they bounced off
- Membership subscription, including how many members unsubscribe per month
- Conversion for your Facebook or Google ads
- Affiliate performance
- Product performance such as which products sell the most
- Calendar analytics such as average meeting length
- Helpdesk analytics such as how long it takes to resolve customer tickets
Thinkific uses its Advanced Reporting feature to give you reports and analysis of data collected. It tracks performance metrics such as:
- Student Engagement
If you would like to view the details of these reports, you can do so in the details tab. The insights tab gives top-level performance visualization in pie chart, bar graph, bubble chart or line graph format.
Applying filters to any report lets you customize how you view reports. For example, if you’d like to view reports by product type or product name, you can filter your reports by product name or product type.
Finally, you can export data from Thinkific into other systems; if you’d like to share data or do some data crunching on Excel, you can export your reports in a CSV format.
Kartra and Thinkific both give detailed reports and insightful performance visualizations.
Kartra’s customer support system is made up of a support team and a resource center called Kartranaut. The support team is accessible through chat and a ticketing system.
You can get support from Thinkific’s knowledge base, community forum, and chat messaging.
Kartra and Thinkific offer support through different methods to ensure you never get stranded during your creation process.
You also need to consider cost when choosing between Kartra and Thinkific:
- Kartra pricing includes the following plans: Starter at $99/month, Silver a $199/month, Gold at $299/month, and Platinum at $499/month.
- Thinkific pricing includes a free plan and three other plans: a Basic plan at $49/month, a Start plan at $99/month, and the Grow plan at $199/month.
Kartra is obviously the more expensive option –which is understandable considering all it has to offer.
But remember this — as a true all-in-one platform, Kartra eliminates the need for most other subscriptions, so the cost difference is likely very small in comparison to running multiple platforms simultaneously.
On the other hand, Thinkific offers several options with more flexible pricing. It’s good for those who are just getting started and don’t need all of Kartra’s features. It also provides some extra functionality for course creators looking to add more elements to their digital products.
Kartra also has a wide range of features that make it the go-to choice for serious entrepreneurs, such as: membership sites, email automation tools, sophisticated analytics, checkouts and payment processing, affiliate management capabilities and much more.
Plus you can use Kartra to create entire websites on any domain, with no coding knowledge required. This is a major advantage over Thinkific, which requires users to have some technical know-how.
In the end, it really depends on your goals and budget. Both platforms offer great features and functionality, but Kartra may be more cost effective for those looking for more features at an affordable price point.
Bottom Line: Kartra vs Thinkific. Which Tool Should You Choose?
Kartra and Thinkific both have useful features that take the pressure off the daily running of an online business.
Kartra is a full-suite marketing tool. It is not a course-building, coaching, or webinar-creation tool, but it does have all the features you need to host, market, and sell that content. It also boasts over a dozen impressive features to help you run and grow your business. Integrating Kartra with course-building tools will give you the best of both worlds. Our Kartra review goes into more detail about everything the platform has to offer.
But if you only need a course and community builder, go for Thinkific. Thinkific comes with all the tools you need to market your digital products after building them. It doesn’t however have coaching –Kajabi and Teachable would make great options if you want coaching included. Thinkific also lacks inbuilt email, and it only supports PayPal for one-time payments. Our Thinkific review takes a closer look at all of the platform’s features and more.
At the end of the day, it really comes down to what you need and how much you’re willing to invest.
Have any questions about our Kartra vs Thinkific comparison? Let us know by commenting below.