They existed even before 2019, B.C. (where B.C. stands for Before COVID), Online Course Platforms were already a thing. They were created for the same purpose: to sell and create online courses.
Back then, most courses were much more focused on niched things like leadership seminars, wholesomeness, and self-help classes. Of course, courses and classes focused on normal subjects were there too.
These classes were designed to bring education to the most convenient and comfortable places.
People who are housebound for multiple reasons (e.g., childcare or health issues) can still learn and study even if they cannot go out. People who couldn’t attend regular school due to duties and scheduling conflicts could still finish courses due to the medium’s flexibility.
Everything else had to be shut down when the pandemic struck. However, people still needed to learn, and online course platforms and other eLearning platforms made it possible for a lot to continue their studies.
The industry saw a 221% rise in course creators using one Course Platform during the initial stages of the pandemic. This growth is probably shared throughout multiple platforms online.
Everybody from Entrepreneurs and solopreneurs to human resource professionals and proper educational institutions has used a course platform or two during the pandemic.
These platforms can also be used to make extra profits, as the pandemic showed. They say, “knowledge is wealth.” Online course platforms gave that maxim legs and provided people with an instrument to turn knowledge into wealth.
Nowadays, there are countless online courses people can partake in. From the usual life coaching stuff about making your life better to tutorial classes of the usual academic subjects like Algebra. You can even learn how to make your courses more lucrative.
Online courses are everywhere, and if you want to get in on the action, the next question is which platform you will use to share that treasure in your noggin.
For those of you who prefer a more visual experience, here is a video review from Ross Herosian on his YouTube channel Tricycle Creative. To get a comprehensive overview of Thinkific, you may still want to check out our article below, which compares it to some competitors.
Thinkific: You’re Go-To Online Course Business Platform Thinkific vs Intercom
The Thinkific Overview
Thinkific is one of the most fashionable options available now for building, hosting, and selling your courses.
One of the main reasons why Thinkific stands out is that you know they are doing this in a place of passion. It is clear that they are more concerned with providing the best learning experience possible to creators as well as their audience. They also understand that making money is important to maintain the business.
How could you not? After all, it is one of the few online course platforms that provide a full-on free service. Thinkific offers a free service that is just as good as the paid lower-tiered.
The platform is ideal for beginners as it allows them to see how content and courses are built, as well the industry’s overall environment. Using the free plan allows users to glimpse what they are about to partake in without any investment.
This free plan has one limitation. You can only create one course. I find that this is sufficient.
Thinkific does not take any transaction fees when a user sells on the platform. All profits go to content owners.
Thinkific ensures that all profits are immediately available after they have been sold. This means course creators and content producers can immediately use their earnings without needing to wait for a quote, or reach a certain threshold before they can touch the money.
This is a testament to how Thinkfiic views its customers.
First, let me preface this by saying that most online course platforms share almost the same features. First, there is the course builder, then there is the website builder for your courses, and then the marketing features.
They are all the same except for how they work and some other unique features. As such, we will be focusing on these aspects of Thinkific’s features.
Thinkific’s main focus is their ability to create course curriculum. Most of their features are geared toward the creation bit, of course, creation. They make sure that online courses are as engaging as possible.
The user interface of Thinkific is easy to use. It is intuitive and logical. It is easy to navigate. All other features can be accessed through a sidebar menu. Except for occasional hiccups, they are correctly classified. Thinkific vs Intercom
Users who love to check on analytics and performance will love this interface, as everything is placed and organized neatly on the dashboard.
The dashboard shows you how you are doing in revenue and student accounts. You can also see student course enrollments and sign-ups.
We can make the interface look a bit more appealing if we have to.
Thinkific is primarily focused on course creation, as mentioned previously. The platform makes course creation easy. Even in the free plan, Thinkific allows you to try everything the course creator can do.
You can also include many media types in this course builder. These include content, quizzes, surveys, assignments, pdfs, and student discussion areas to allow peer-to-peer interaction.
Another highlight is the scheduling of course content and some automation in drip-feeding content.
As for the Marketing features of Thinkific, I’m afraid that is where the platforms fall pretty flat. Don’t get me wrong. It contains everything you need to market and promote your courses.
But that’s just about it. Thinkific’s market features compare poorly to its competitors. The most glaring aspect is that it doesn’t have a built-in sales funnel builder. Overall, checkout is quite clunky.
You can’t do much about it because it is so limited in customization.
Even email marketing features lag behind the competitor. Most of it is quite basic, and at most, you can notify your students of new courses or products, as well as send them their course progress and notify them about their course progress as well as updates.
However, not everything is bad, as Thinkific can integrate multiple third-party applications. Rather than band-aids, you can consider these third-party apps as bandages to fix some of Thinkific’s deficiencies in the marketing department.
Thinkific integrates five of most popular email marketing platforms, including Aweber and Drip with email marketing.
I guess it makes sense, given the platform’s repeated promises of focusing on course creation. It would be smarter to invest all resources in ensuring that they get the course creation part right, and then to hire third-party apps for the marketing part.
While I have already mentioned Thinkific’s Free Plan and how great it is, that plan is still limited and is a far cry from what Thinkific’s paid plans are. It isn’t like most of the competition.
Thinkific is a lower-cost option that allows you to create unlimited courses and enroll unlimited students. This is in keeping with their mission to focus on education. Thinkific vs Intercom
Thinkific is a great choice if you are looking for a cheaper plan with many content ideas that you believe will sell.
|$0 per month||$74 per month||$149 per month||$374 per month|
|-Create and launch your product with a website and checkout experience
|-Add products to your business and create a cohesive learning experience for your students
|-Build a successful business with a complete suite of tools to help you sell more
|With a platform that scales, optimize your workflow to create premium experiences.
Aside from these plans, Thinkific also has a more advanced and bespoke plan called Thinkific plus. Thinkific Plus takes what you know of Thinkfiic and makes it a powerful, scalable, and easy-to-use learning platform.
Of course, it still maintains its dedication to course building, teachers, and students.
You will need to contact the sales team of Thinkific Plus to request this upgrade. They will help you to get the best out of your platform. Lastly, you will also discuss with them the total cost of this upgrade.
Each Thinkific Plus plan is unique, and as such, different Plus plans might more or less have different costs. This is one thing that is certain. Thinkific Plus will give you the features of the most expensive plan as well as these additional features:
- Unlimitted Products
- Unlimited Administrators
- 3+ Separate Thinkific sites
- Service Level Agreement 99.9%
- Build a Customer Success Team
- Multiple seats and Tiered pricing checkout
- Email White-labeling
- Single Sign on
- Bulk Selling App
- Enterprise API Access
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Thinkific Pros and Cons
- The Thinkific free package is permanent free. This isn’t a glorified trial. You can only take as many courses as you like.
- Thinkific does not ask for transaction fees whenever a sale is made. All earnings by content creators are theirs. Creators can even claim and use these funds as soon as they arrive in their account.
- When it comes to payment options, Thinkific can be flexible and has different payment options for different types of students and schools.
- Thinkific’s premium plans remove the restriction on the number of courses. Users can create unlimited courses and enroll unlimited students in these courses.
- Thinkific’s interface is one of the most intuitive. With most options logically placed and easily located. This interface is easy to use for users just starting out.
- Speaking of easily getting the hang of, Thinkfic’s course builder is similarly easy to use. It also allows for many course materials, making it possible to have your course as exciting and engaging as possible.
- Thinkific gives you the option to offer incentives, such as leaderboards and awards, to motivate your students.
- Some of the tools in Thinkific are not user-friendly. Some would need guides and a bit of time to get used to.
- It is difficult to recommend Thinkifiic for those who are more interested in promoting the platform’s marketing capabilities. Their email marketing capability is quite basic, and you will need to depend on third-party integrations to have a better experience.
- Despite Thinkific having one of the most intuitive user interfaces, it looks outdated, and there are times when the experience can be clunkier than expected.
- The platform lacks many customization options. It is possible to find websites similar to yours. Thinkific vs Intercom
The Thinkific Summary
Thinkific is one the most popular online courses platforms on the market. I would easily recommend it to beginners and those looking for a more course-focused platform. Despite its limitations, it still competes with other more “advanced and feature-rich” platforms.
In my opinion, its strongest suit would be its focus on providing the best course experience and free plan. Thinkfiic already has a solution for this problem. Using local third-party integrations can remedy any problems you have with the platform.
If you’re looking for the best online course creation software that builds courses from scratch. You can never go wrong with Thinkific.
Kajabi Versus Thinkific
Kajabi is an open-source platform that allows you to run an online business. Its main focus is on productivity and sales. It offers tools that simplify your operations.
Some of Kajabi’s highlights include automations, pipelines, email marketing, and a mobile app.
The platform allows you to sell a variety of products. Apart from courses, there are many other options. You can also sell memberships, communities and podcasts.
Kajabi has many marketing features. It’s no surprise that they have sales funnels, email marketing, and automations. These features give the Kajabi platform users an easier time selling their products.
Kajabi is a rare product that can be described as an “all-in-one” platform. It’s a course-creation platform that offers more than just decent marketing features. It even has automation features that could help you focus more on marketing or creating than the menial tasks.
That said, not everything is good in Kajabi land. It has one of the most expensive platforms on the market. Their lowest plan starts at $149 per month. These plans are not unlimited. The lowest plan allows you to sell only 3 products.
Aside from that, Kajabi is not as feature-rich, especially in the gamification and community engagement department. These issues might require third-party integrations.
Kajabi boasts about being one of the better platforms. They even have one of the more expensive plans in the course creation market. It is not surprising that customers have high expectations for the product. Thinkific vs Intercom
Let’s now take a look at the Kajabi interface and see how great they are.
Kajabi’s interface looks very normal at first glance. It’s minimalist, clean, and modern. The majority of features are accessible in just 3-4 clicks. The page also includes a search assistant that allows you to quickly locate the tools and features within the application.
Kajabi’s pages also load faster. It makes it easier to work and provides a smoother experience.
Kajabi offers a variety of course creation options. Some samples include mini-courses, online courses, drip courses, or create one from scratch. These types can be customized to suit your specific needs. (i.e. long courses for long content, mini-courses for product launches).
For easier building experience, Kajabi provides blueprints which are akin to templates. These “skeletons” are pretty much presentation ready that if you want, you can just add your needed content and then you are good to go.
These courses could be properly structured too into categories, subcategories and posts. As such, it would be very easy to organize your content neatly and properly. They can be arranged according to their content and types. So you can text and slideshows in one area, audio and video to different areas.
As for storage, Kajabi allows for cloud uploading from Dropbox and Google Drive so there is little to worry about.
Kajabi has robust and extensive marketing features.
It also offers the traditional stuff of offering coupons in a flexible way, which, as we have seen, is an old and proven marketing strategy.
Kajabi offers a powerful email marketing platform that allows you to market via email. It is built on top of the platform and has many features. You can even have email templates ready for the different functions you want it to.
Their pipelines are another conversion tool that they have. They can help you convert more customers to increase sales. These are easy to use, and the platform even provides templates that customers can easily access.
Kajabi offers a dedicated affiliate program to users who have a higher plan. This feature makes the entire process extremely simple and easy. It also organizes affiliate links as well as affiliates into its own category which it makes easier to find and track down.
I would say that the biggest problem for Kajabi is its lack of integrated payment solution. Instead users will have to rely on the integration form other payment gateways such as Stripe, Paypal, BitPay, Authorize.net and others.
This is entirely disappointing given how robus their marketing tools are as well as how good their checkout is at doing things like upsells, bump offers, and downsells.
Although it is not perfect, Kajabi has a lot to offer that can be used for both marketing and course creation. These features can be used by anyone who is serious about starting an online business.
Of course, potential users should be willing to pay for the steep price point to use these tools.
Kajabi is undoubtedly the most expensive course creation service in the market. The cheapest plan is $149 per month, and it doesn’t include unlimited courses. Thinkific vs Intercom
If you feel that Kajabi’s high price and more advanced features such as automation are something you really need, then you can choose to purchase it.
|$119 per month billed annually||$159 per month, payable annually||$319 per month billed annually|
Kajabi Pros & Cons
- True to its name, Kajabi is an all in one content making and marketing tool. It provides various tools to create courses, like a drip course or a mini-course, and combine them with different marketing automations to ensure they sell.
- Kajabi Provides templates and blueprints to get you started with your project.
- Kajabi lets you sell digital products such as coaching, webinars and communities. This is also a great place to do this.
- Kajabi also has a built-in assessment function that allows you to grade and observe your students’ performance. This is extremely good when combined with drip courses to provide courses that can only be accessed when the proper grades are reached
- Kajabi’s accessibility is pretty good thanks to its mobile app, which students can use to access classes and lessons whenever and wherever they are. You can even set up notifications to receive alerts.
- Kajabi has a membership option that allows users create and sell membership options for their customers. This feature can be used by users to offer additional and exclusive content.
- Kajabi’s automation feature can automate the purchase of offers, post-completion of courses or memberships, assessment completion, as well as other tasks. To be more precise, users can use conditional filters.
- Kajabi’s marketing strategy is one of the most powerful among all the course-building and content platforms currently available.
- Kajabi’s Email Marketing is among the best in the industry. There are many email templates that you can use in various situations. Kajabi also has the option to automate email sequences by using triggers and actions. Thinkific vs Intercom
- Kajabi’s pipeline feature makes it possible to have various OVO funnel templates. Pipeline features automate product sales and funnel customers to the places you want. This will result in higher conversion rates.
- Kajabi’s price point is nothing to laugh at. It costs $149 per month, and you cannot create unlimited courses. It offers only 3 products and 3 pipelines.
- Kajabi does not offer course completion certificates, something that some users want to receive as proof of going through the class
- Kajabi has no page templates for designing landing pages, thank you pages, checkout pages, forms, and other pages. That means users must do everything from scratch when editing page templates through the page builder. It will be difficult for non-tech users and new users.
- Kajabi doesn’t offer a guarantee badge on its checkout page. Guarantee badges are a good tool for increasing conversions. Guarantees assure buyers of a product’s quality.
- Kajabi does not have a local payment gateway. To receive payment from orders, you will need to rely on Stripe or Paypal integrations.
- Despite having some advanced features, there are still some features that Kajabi lacks, especially in the community department. It does not have community engagement or gamification features.
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It is undeniable that Kajabi is a juggernaut of a platform regarding course creation and marketing. Their marketing tools are unparalleled.
They have the tools that provide a great marketing experience. Their pipeline and automation features can be the envy of other platforms and something users would want to have if they want the best rate of conversions.
Kajabi has its faults, however. It lacks features that allow you to connect with students and customers. Features that allow for the creation of a great community. Thinkific vs Intercom
Kajabi can also be quite expensive. It might be difficult for people to justify purchasing a plan that can only hold 3 products, when there are cheaper options that allow them unlimited access.
Overall, Kajabi has advanced marketing features and is a great creation platform. If you’re looking for a platform to market your products, Kajabi is the right choice. Although it is a little expensive, Kajabi’s features are well worth the cost.
Thinkific Versus Podia
Another big name digital online content-selling platform is Podia. Podia is a powerful platform with strong marketing features. Among the products you can sell on this platform are online courses, coaching, webinars, community, and many more.
Podia is also one of the most affordable digital content-selling platforms on the market. In fact, it might be among the lowest prices. It does take a portion of your profit when you sell. It might be their way of offsetting the price for its powerful features.
Podia is an excellent platform and tool, especially for business-oriented people like marketers and promoters.
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Podia offers a lot of features.
Podia’s interface is clean and minimalistic. The interface is easy to use and allows you to access all other features in just 3 clicks. In fact, it is so simple that the learning curve for using Podia’s interface is almost non-existent.
This makes it very user-friendly. Accessing or reaching the information you desire or need is easy with no additional steps or terms. Podia can access almost all functions from its dashboard.
For its Course creator, Podia supports various files that can serve as the building block for your lessons. A course can contain text, embeds and quizzes as well as coaching and files. With some imagination, you can create interesting lessons with the platform that is given to you.
That said, This course creator can be lacking in some parts. Unlike most other platforms, Podia only supports very few lesson types. It does not provide a way to monitor student performance. Thinkific vs Intercom
That said, it has a very powerful embed tool that supports several platforms. Some of these websites include:
- Youtube, Vimeo and Dailymotion are video hosts.
- Music and podcast platforms such as s Spotify, soundcloud, and podbean
- Slideshow platforms like speaker deck, presentation, google slides, and slide share
- Social media sites such as Twitter, TikTok and Pinterest.
- Form Builder websites such as Google Forms, Typeform, and Paper Form
- Github and Codepen are two examples of coding websites.
Podia recently added the ability to issue certificates. This certificate’s feature can be seen as a perfect incentive/prize for completing your courses. Podia currently only offers one type of certificate. They cannot still customize and design your certificates.
In terms of marketing, Podia is focused on the bag. It has a lot of excellent features to enhance the effectiveness of your marketing. You can promote your products using tools like coupons, upsells, or pre-launch.
This makes Podia an excellent choice for marketers looking to sell products on a smaller site.
That said, not everything is perfect. Podia’s weak point is its email marketing. It only offers the basics. Although it allows you to send email broadcasts and campaigns, some of its features are missing such as split testing or personalization fields.
People looking for automation features may also have lost their chance since Podia’s isn’t as advanced as theirs.
Podia offers a local payment gateway for payment processors. That said, you will need to connect your bank account or PayPal account to payment processors. You can integrate with Stripe or PayPal for a simpler solution.
Checkout is possible for your audience using their credit cards. These usually are processed within 2 days and will be credited to your bank or PayPal account. Thinkific vs Intercom
It is also one of the most affordable on the market in terms of pricing. The platform recently added a free plan. While this free plan does not offer much, it is still a good way to figure out how Podia works.
|$0 per Month||$33 per month||$75 per month||$166 per month|
Podia Pros and Cons
- Podia’s strongest point is its clean and crisp UI/UX. It is very easy to use and has a non-existent learning curve. Users of all edges and tech levels will find it intuitive to set it up.
- Podia has many functions and can become a one-stop shop for all your needs. You can sell various digital products such as courses, memberships, webinars, bundles, community, and other digital downloads.
- Podia also offers a free plan that allows you to sell unlimited products and courses. That means as long as you have the energy and the idea, you can create as many pages for your courses and products as you want.
- Podia also allows you to upload as many videos as possible for your content. The platform provides unlimited storage and bandwidth, which is why this feature is possible. This way, you don’t need to use Vimeo or Wistia.
- Podia offers an affiliate program that you can use to reach your audience. This is only available for Shaker or Earthquaker plans.
- Despite providing only the most basic functions, the built-in email marketing tools are enough to support broadcasts and campaigns.
- Podia supports a prelaunch mode as one of its marketing features. It can create buzz around your products and get early email customer conversions. Thinkific vs Intercom
- Except for the free plan, Podia charges no transaction fee on sales.
- Podia now offers a new feature that allows content creators the ability to give certificates, community, or quizzes. You can even create memberships in the community area.
- Their email marketing provides only the most basic functions. It lacks personalization fields, especially in the email composer. Other features that the tool does not have include templates, drag-and-drop editor and other features.
- There is a noticeable lack of course-compliance features in the platform
- Podia also does not have many customization features. Podia does not support custom CSS/HTMl customizations. Podia will result in generic websites.
- Podia also has no landing page builders or funnels, which are important tools when considering Podia’s focus on marketing.
- Its free plan is severely lacking and will only allow you to host 1 product. It also charges an 8% transaction fee.
- Podia does not have any course blueprints.
- Podia only supports a few lesson types. It lacks support for some types like Adobe Captivate, Articulate Storyline, and HTML 5 Content, among others.
- It has some good marketing features but it is still lacking others. This includes order bumps, downsells, cart abandonment, and others.
- Podia does not have a mobile app, which can limit its user base or access, given how much the world has depended on smartphones and tablets. Thinkific vs Intercom
Overall, Podia is a decent platform to host your content. Podia is a decent platform, especially considering the price.
Many people might believe that Podia is a value-for-money company. It isn’t true. Podia offers a lot more with what you pay for it. With enough creativity and good ideas, you can create impressive courses and sell them at a good price.
It is still an all-in one platform, despite its limitations. It’s perfect for many people. It is ideal for content creators, marketers, teachers, and other people who target marketers. Podia will be able to serve their needs if they need to.
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Thinkific Versus Kartra
Kartra is a different product from the others listed above. Kartra is completely different to the other products in this review.
Instead of a course creator, we have an all-in-one platform that sells your products. Yep, it is a platform that goes all in on the marketing side.
In this vein, Kartra should not be treated as a separate website or your product’s website.
Rather, you should focus on its strengths and use them to sell products, services, and membership for your proper sites.
Kartra is properly fitted to create and sell both digital and physical products. It allows you to sell an unlimited number of them and different kinds of products. In fact, it also offers multiple pricing options for more flexible pricing on your part.
Kartra is an entirely different beast, so we may focus on features that aren’t found in most course-building sites. Kartra might not have a course-building website.
Katra lets you sell multiple products, as we mentioned previously. Each account can sell an unlimited number of them and offer them at any price point.
To maximize the profits of its users, Kartra focuses on marketing and lead conversion. One of their key features is funnel construction.
Funnels literally mean a “funnel” for sellers to direct potential customers to buy their products. Although funnels are not considered campaigns by Kartra, they function in a similar way. Thinkific vs Intercom
Kartra makes funnel construction simple. You can build one from scratch if you already have experience in this field. Otherwise, you can have Katra do it for you through their plug-and-play campaigns that are from top industry experts.
For personally built campaigns, you can also choose to share them with other Kartra members. Your campaigns can be marketed and sold to make money.
Kartra handles all the payment and billing processes needed, so you can focus on better funnels as you gain experience.
Kartra also has page-building capabilities, and it is surprisingly powerful. These features allow users to create product pages, checkout pages and opt-in pages. It even provides you with professionally designed templates to help you speed up the process or just start it out.
These pages can also be optimized for desktops, tablets, and mobile devices. These pages can be hosted on your domain, or on Katra.
That said, they are still limited in capacity and features to be considered a proper website. Kartra believes it, and they won’t let you host these pages on your domain.
Kartra’s marketing features should be considered the crown jewel. In terms of email marketing, it has all the stuff that a good email marketing feature has.
First, it can send broadcast messages either by email or SMS. This will require integration with all available SMS gateways.
Aside from that, Kartra also has automation which it can use to create email sequences. Drag-and-drop visual sequence builders make it easy to create them. Once you’re done, the program can run on autopilot.
Another one that is unique to the platform is its behavior-based automation. This powerful tool allows you to send emails based on the recipient’s behavior. As such, when you are done setting up the hard work, you can just sit back and relax.
Kartra’s price is steep for a platform focused on marketing and lead conversions. That said, depending on what you need, the platform’s price point on its plans might be worth it. Thinkific vs Intercom
Kartra offers advanced features that aren’t available in other products.
|$79 per month when billed annually||$149 per month when billed annually||$229 per month when billed annually,||Monthly payment of $379 when you pay annually|
Kartra Pros and Con
- You don’t need any external marketing integrations. Kartra offers everything: integrated email marketing, sequence builder, automation, and all other features necessary to market your products perfectly
- Kartra offers an automatic translation feature for its checkout pages. It is based on the user’s geographical location. It also supports other currencies.
- Kartar allows you to drip content or vary access to different levels, if you have an existing membership site.
- You can use A/B testing to refine your automated email responses as you set them up.
- Kartra includes an agency feature that can hold multiple client accounts. This allows you to manage different websites in just a single dashboard.
- Some people might think Kartra’s price point is pretty expensive for what they are offering
- There are no plans that offer unlimited integrations
- Kartra’s interface can be slow and frustrating at times. Thinkific vs Intercom
- Even Kartra’s pages may load slowly
- The number of features can be very difficult for beginners to get used to.
Overall, Kartra is a powerful all-in-one platform for sales and marketing.
There are many tools and features available that will allow you to create engaging and compelling promotions and products.
It is not a course builder, and certainly not a website creator. As such, If you use Kartra, ensure that you are doing so in conjunction with a proper website page maker. Kartra is quite expensive for the features it offers. This can be difficult to swallow.
But, it’s possible to get more for your money if you decide to take the plunge.
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Overall, Verdict Thinkific vs Intercom
Course builder websites are pretty useful when joining the industry.
There will be many platforms available to provide the service you require, just as there are for most industries and markets. In the case of course building and selling, we have Thinkific, Podia, Kajabi ( and a little bit of Kartra), among others.
In a market-like course building, these platforms will offer almost identical services. They will have very few differences. Some might be better than others in certain areas.
To find the right product for you, you must decide what direction you want to go. Find the platform that aligns with your goals. You will likely find their features most helpful to you.