Udemy vs Thinkific: A Comprehensive Guide for Businesses and Entrepreneurs

Udemy vs Thinkific: A Comprehensive Guide for Businesses and Entrepreneurs Featured Image
Udemy vs Thinkific: A Comprehensive Guide for Businesses and Entrepreneurs Featured Image

In the rapidly evolving world of online education, choosing the right platform is crucial. The debate between Udemy vs Thinkific has been at the forefront for businesses and entrepreneurs aiming to deliver top-notch e-learning experiences. This article delves into the intricate details of both platforms, helping you make an informed decision.

What is the Main Difference Between Udemy and Thinkific?

The main difference between Udemy and Thinkific is that Udemy operates as a global marketplace for learning and teaching, where multiple instructors list their courses and benefit from the platform’s vast user base and promotional efforts. In contrast, Thinkific is a course hosting platform that provides businesses and individual entrepreneurs the tools to create, market, and sell their online courses on their own websites, giving them more control over branding, pricing, and student data.

What is Udemy and What is Thinkific?

Udemy and Thinkific are both platforms that offer online course creation and distribution services. However, they cater to different needs and have distinct features.

Udemy is a global marketplace for learning and teaching online. It offers a vast array of courses on various topics, created by individuals and professionals worldwide. Anyone can create a course, set a price, and offer it to a global audience. Udemy handles the marketing and attracts students, but in return, they take a percentage of the course sales.

Thinkific is a platform that allows businesses and individual entrepreneurs to create, market, and sell their online courses. Unlike Udemy, Thinkific does not operate as a marketplace. Instead, it provides the tools for course creators to host and sell their courses on their websites. This gives course creators more control over their branding, pricing, and student data.

Key Differences Between Udemy and Thinkific

  1. Platform Type: Udemy is a marketplace where multiple instructors list their courses, while Thinkific is a course hosting platform that allows creators to host and sell courses on their websites.
  2. Pricing Model: On Udemy, instructors can set their course prices, but Udemy often offers discounts and takes a significant percentage of the sales. Thinkific, on the other hand, charges a monthly fee for using their platform, but course creators keep most of the revenue.
  3. Control Over Branding: Thinkific offers more branding and customization options, allowing course creators to align their courses with their brand. Udemy has a standardized look and feel for all courses.
  4. Audience Reach: Udemy has a large existing user base, which can be beneficial for new instructors. Thinkific requires course creators to do their marketing, but they have more control over their audience.
  5. Course Ownership: On Thinkific, course creators own their content and student data. On Udemy, the platform retains certain rights to the content and controls access to student data.
  6. Course Approval: Udemy has a course approval process to ensure quality. Thinkific allows course creators to publish immediately without an approval process.
  7. Integration Options: Thinkific offers more integrations with other tools and platforms, making it more versatile for businesses with existing online ecosystems.
  8. Payment Processing: Thinkific provides direct payment processing to course creators, while Udemy pays instructors based on their revenue share agreement.
  9. Course Interaction: Udemy has a built-in Q&A section for students to interact with instructors. Thinkific offers more comprehensive community features, including discussion boards and student communities.

Key Similarities Between Udemy and Thinkific

  1. Online Course Creation: Both platforms allow users to create and sell online courses.
  2. Multimedia Support: Both Udemy and Thinkific support various multimedia formats, including videos, quizzes, and PDFs.
  3. Mobile Access: Courses on both platforms are accessible via mobile devices, ensuring learners can access content on-the-go.
  4. Certification: Both platforms offer course completion certificates to students who finish a course.
  5. Security: Both Udemy and Thinkific prioritize the security of their platforms, ensuring that course content and user data are protected.
  6. Analytics: Both platforms provide analytics and reporting tools to help course creators track student progress and sales.

Pros of Udemy Over Thinkific

  1. Global Reach: Udemy boasts a vast user base from around the world, providing instructors with immediate access to a global audience.
  2. Marketing Assistance: Udemy offers promotional support and often features courses in its marketing campaigns, potentially increasing course visibility without extra effort from the instructor.
  3. No Upfront Costs: Instructors can publish courses for free on Udemy, only paying a percentage of sales, making it a low-risk option for new course creators.
  4. User-Friendly Interface: Udemy’s platform is intuitive and easy to navigate, both for instructors creating courses and students accessing them.
  5. Course Reviews: The review system on Udemy can help high-quality courses gain credibility and attract more students through positive feedback.
  6. Resource Library: Udemy offers a library of resources for instructors, including guidelines, tips, and best practices for creating successful courses.

Cons of Udemy Compared to Thinkific

  1. Revenue Share: Udemy takes a significant percentage of course sales, especially for courses sold through their promotional efforts, which can reduce the instructor’s earnings.
  2. Limited Branding: Instructors have minimal control over the branding and presentation of their courses on Udemy, as it maintains a standardized look for all courses.
  3. Course Pricing: Udemy often discounts courses heavily, which can devalue the content and reduce potential earnings for instructors.
  4. Lack of Student Data: Udemy does not provide instructors with detailed student data or allow for direct communication outside the platform, limiting relationship-building opportunities.
  5. Course Approval Process: Udemy has a course approval process that can delay the launch of a course and may require changes based on their guidelines.
  6. Competition: Given the vast number of courses on Udemy, there’s intense competition, making it challenging for new courses to stand out without a strong marketing strategy.

Pros of Thinkific Over Udemy

  1. Full Control Over Pricing: Thinkific allows course creators to set and maintain their pricing without external discounts or promotions affecting the course’s perceived value.
  2. Branding and Customization: Instructors have the flexibility to customize the look and feel of their courses, aligning them with their brand identity.
  3. Direct Access to Student Data: Thinkific provides course creators with detailed student data, enabling them to build and nurture relationships with their audience.
  4. No Revenue Sharing: Unlike Udemy, Thinkific doesn’t take a percentage of course sales. Instead, they have a transparent monthly fee structure, allowing creators to retain more of their earnings.
  5. Integration Capabilities: Thinkific offers seamless integrations with various marketing tools, payment gateways, and other platforms, enhancing the overall course experience.
  6. Immediate Course Publishing: There’s no approval process on Thinkific, so courses can be launched immediately after creation.
  7. Community Building Tools: Thinkific provides features like discussion boards and communities, fostering engagement and interaction among students.

Cons of Thinkific Compared to Udemy

  1. Self-Promotion Required: Unlike Udemy, which has a built-in audience, Thinkific requires course creators to drive their own traffic and market their courses.
  2. Monthly Fees: Thinkific operates on a subscription model, which means there’s an ongoing cost regardless of sales volume.
  3. Learning Curve: While Thinkific is user-friendly, there might be a slight learning curve for those unfamiliar with online course platforms.
  4. No Built-in Audience: Thinkific doesn’t offer a marketplace feature, so course creators won’t benefit from organic traffic or discovery on the platform itself.
  5. Payment Processing Fees: While Thinkific doesn’t take a revenue share, there may be fees associated with payment processing depending on the chosen gateway.
  6. Competition from Other Platforms: As the e-learning industry grows, there’s increasing competition from other course hosting platforms, which might offer features or pricing models that some find more attractive.

Situations When Udemy is Better Than Thinkific

  1. New Instructors: For those new to the e-learning industry, Udemy provides a platform to test the waters without the need for extensive marketing or audience-building efforts.
  2. Limited Marketing Budget: Udemy’s built-in audience and promotional campaigns can be beneficial for instructors who don’t have funds to invest in marketing their courses.
  3. Diverse Course Topics: If an instructor offers courses on a wide range of topics, Udemy’s vast and varied audience can be a better fit.
  4. Passive Income Focus: For those looking to create courses as a side hustle without the intention of building a full-fledged online school, Udemy can be a more hands-off approach.
  5. Avoiding Technicalities: Instructors who prefer not to deal with the technical aspects of hosting and maintaining an online course platform might find Udemy more convenient.
  6. Global Reach: For courses targeting a global audience, Udemy’s international user base can be a significant advantage.

Situations When Thinkific is Better Than Udemy

  1. Branding Control: Businesses or instructors who want to maintain a consistent brand identity across all their offerings will find Thinkific’s customization options invaluable.
  2. Building a Learning Community: If the goal is to foster a community around the courses, Thinkific’s community-building tools are more robust.
  3. Data Ownership: For those who prioritize having direct access to student data for marketing or relationship-building purposes, Thinkific is the better choice.
  4. Course Pricing Control: Instructors who want to set and maintain their course pricing without external influences will benefit from Thinkific’s model.
  5. Integration Needs: Businesses with existing online ecosystems will appreciate Thinkific’s integration capabilities with other tools and platforms.
  6. Comprehensive Online Schools: For those planning to build a full-fledged online school with multiple courses and a dedicated student base, Thinkific offers the tools and features to make this possible.
  7. Direct Payment: Thinkific’s direct payment processing ensures that course creators receive their earnings without waiting for payout cycles.


How do Udemy and Thinkific handle mobile access?
Both platforms are optimized for mobile access. Udemy has its dedicated app for both Android and iOS, allowing students to access courses on-the-go. Thinkific courses are also mobile-responsive, ensuring learners can access content from any device.

Are there any transaction fees associated with selling courses on Thinkific?
While Thinkific itself doesn’t charge transaction fees, there might be fees associated with your chosen payment gateway, such as Stripe or PayPal.

Can I offer free courses on both platforms?
Yes, both Udemy and Thinkific allow instructors to offer courses for free. However, it’s essential to note that Udemy often uses free courses as a promotional tool, while on Thinkific, you have full control over your course’s pricing strategy.

Do Udemy and Thinkific support multiple languages?
Udemy supports multiple languages, and instructors can offer courses in various languages to cater to a global audience. Thinkific, while primarily in English, does offer some multilingual features and can support courses in different languages.

How do the two platforms handle course updates?
On both Udemy and Thinkific, instructors can update their courses after publishing. This ensures that the content remains relevant and up-to-date.

Is there a limit to the number of courses I can host on Thinkific?
No, Thinkific doesn’t limit the number of courses you can host. However, the platform does have different pricing tiers, and some features might be restricted based on the plan you choose.

Udemy vs Thinkific Summary

In the grand scheme of online course platforms, both Udemy and Thinkific offer unique advantages. Your choice between Udemy vs Thinkific should align with your business goals, audience needs, and personal preferences. By understanding the strengths and limitations of each platform, businesses and entrepreneurs can optimize their e-learning offerings and achieve greater success in the digital education realm.

Platform TypeMarketplaceCourse hosting platform
Pricing ModelCourses range from $11.99 to $199.99. Subscription plans start at $16.58 per monthMonthly subscription fee (e.g., Basic: $36/month, Start: $74/month, Grow: $149/month)
Branding & CustomizationLimitedExtensive
Audience ReachBuilt-in global audienceRequires self-promotion
Course Ownership & DataLimited access to student dataFull ownership and access to student data
IntegrationLimitedExtensive integrations with other tools and platforms
ProsGlobal reach, marketing assistance, user-friendlyBranding control, data ownership, integration capabilities, immediate course publishing
ConsRevenue share, limited branding, course discountsSelf-promotion required, monthly fees, no built-in audience
Better Suited ForNew instructors, passive income focusBrand-focused businesses, comprehensive online schools, those prioritizing data ownership
Special OffersFrequent discounts like Black Friday and Cyber MondayNot mentioned in the provided data
Subscription ModelPersonal and Pro plans starting at $16.58/monthMonthly subscription based on the plan chosen
Free Trial7-day free trial for both Personal and Pro subscription plansNot mentioned in the provided data
Payment MethodsVisa, Mastercard, and PayPalNot mentioned in the provided data
Udemy vs Thinkific Summary

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Rosetta Digital