It may not be the most popular community platform but GroupApp is definitely worth checking out.
My GroupApp review will give you insight into why that is. Read all the way through if you’re looking for a community platform where you can also build courses and offer a great learning experience.
In this review, I’ll go over some of the key features of GroupApp and how I rate them. I’ll talk about the pricing and plans, the pros and the cons and also some alternatives and how they stack up against GroupApp.
And if you didn’t already know, GroupApp gives you a 14-day free trial to test the platform so you can go set up your community and courses and see if it works for you.
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What is GroupApp?
GroupApp is a platform where you can build your courses alongside a community to boost retention, increase course completion and to improve learning outcomes.
The platform uses a community-first approach for creators to sell their course to make money from their expertise. As a community platform, there are many community features that enable creators to confidently use GroupApp as an alternative to the popular Facebook Groups.
GroupApp is still developing so they’re constantly adding features and improving on the ones that they already have. So while they may not currently have live streaming at the time of this writing, they’ve said that it’s one of the features they’re working on.
As a course platform, GroupApp can stand with other more well known platforms like Teachable and Kajabi with it’s easy to use interface and features to engage students. You can either charge membership subscriptions to your community and give access to courses or use any of the flexible pricing options to charge for courses.
To get started with GroupApp, you can sign up for a free account or better yet, take a 14-day free trial of a paid plan. You’ll need to have our credit card to get the trial but you can cancel at any time.
Who Is GroupApp For?
GroupApp is for any creator who wants to employ a community-first approach to selling their courses.
Most course platforms let you sign up and create courses and provide you with all the tools to do everything from email marketing to offering sales promotions. But the hardest part is actually getting students to join and then to get them to complete courses and stick around. Providing support is another issue altogether.
A community-first approach allows you to build a community around a certain interest and then offer them courses. The issue of support is no longer a problem as it can be offered through peer-to-peer discussion or announcements and regular community involvement from creators.
Creators that can benefit from GroupApp may include:
- YouTube creators who want to bring together their subscribers and teach in a more structured way with less distractions.
- Brands that want to migrate from Facebook groups so they can be in control more and own their platform.
- Course creators who want to build a community around their expertise and offer membership subscriptions.
You can find here some examples of brands and creators who are successfully using GroupApp. Here are just a few of them.
- Little Flower Yoga – teaches mindfulness and yoga for kids
- Bose’ Akadiri – offers Goal Grinders community for high achievers navigating career change
- SCALING:Lab – teaches members how to scale their own businesses and offers group coaching and support.
- Wealth Nation Money School – offers entrepreneurs and high achievers membership subscription to help them grow their knowledge of money and lifestyle control.
GroupApp is also a great alternative to any course or community platform that you’re currently using and want to migrate from.
When you log in, your default view is your community page. This makes it easy for you to see what your members see and browse new activity.
The interface has a clean look and you can add sections such as “new members” and “upcoming events” to your homepage from your settings panel.
On the right hand side, there’s the community menu where you and your members will find links to the most important pages such as messages, your profile, members and a link to invite new members. When you add courses, events and resources to your library, these links will also appear in your community menu.
Below the menu, there’s the channels navigation where you’ll find channel groups and related channels within.
On the right side, you’ll have a checklist of things to do to get started with your community. This list will automatically disappear once all the tasks have been checked off.
Also on the right side sits a card that has the picture and description of your community.
Clicking on any channel gives you access to the post editor.
Here, you can choose which post type you want to start with and then you’ll get the actual post-editor to start the discussion you want to add to the community.
I love the editor but it kind of reminds me about the post editor from another community platform. It’s still good though.
The real admin panel though can be accessed through a button in the top bar of your community in the top right hand side. This opens up all the settings you can use to control all the different parts of your community.
There’s a lot you can do inside the admin panel including setting up your custom domain, moderating activity, building courses, populating your library and more.
GroupApp has some really great features that enable anyone to focus on building and growing a community-based business. The platform is still very young but there are an impressive number of new features being added on a regular basis and even more coming.
To review what is already available to creators and brands, I will highlight a few of the key features.
Here are the ones that make GroupApp a great choice for your community or course.
1. Community Builder
In GroupApp, there are several components to building a great community. There are a lot of features that are essential to any community platform that contribute to organizing content, branding and growth.
When you’re first getting started and setting up everything, there is a convenient checklist to help you get the most important things set up first.
The checklist includes a list of items and a link to a help article to walk you through getting each item checked off. The steps included are:
- Customize community – add community logo, cover image and custom color.
- Activate homepage – lets you configure and add different sections to the default community layout you see when you log in. You can add an announcement, new members section, content section and more.
- Create channels – Channels help you organize your community so members will know where to post or access content relevant to their interests.
- Create a course – Add courses to create a learning community. You can sell your knowledge to anyone even if they’re not a part of your community.
- Set up subscriptions – Turn your community into a membership site by adding flexible subscriptions. Integrations like Stripe allow you to collect payments.
- Add community resources – add helpful documentation and resources like PDFs, videos and more to build your community library.
- Complete your profile – add your photo, bio, links and more so users can get to know you when they click on your profile. This helps to build trust with members.
- Invite members – finally, there is no community without members. You’re encouraged here to invite your first 20 members.
Most of these tasks will be done by accessing the admin panel and navigating to the relevant setting. You can invite members right from the homepage since members can help build your community by inviting new members.
Once you get these tasks done, you’re basically on your way to building a thriving community.
There are a couple of features though that need a deeper review as other community platforms have similar features that are unique in their own way.
Channels help members navigate the different topics within GroupApp. It is up to you to properly organize these topics by adding the relevant channels you’ll need for your community.
You can do this in the admin panel by going to the “Channels” menu item.
You can add a set of related channels to a collection. You’ll need to create the collection and then add the channels as subtopics.
For example, in the GroupApp Community, there are three collections – Community, GroupApp Product and Knowledge Base.
Members can create discussions in the “Community” channels called “Discussions” and “Ask For Help”. The Knowledge Base collection has different channels for each feature that members can look through to find the relevant help files. You can look through the “Online Courses” channel, for instance, if you’re looking for help with creating courses.
Creating a channel is simple and the settings are very flexible and allows you to customize your channel the way you want it.
You can add a description, a channel image and assign it to a collection. The best thing about channels though are the settings that allow you to set different access levels, visibility settings and posting permissions.
With access levels, you can have an open channel where anyone can view the discussions and take part. Or you can make it private or only for paid members. A couple of other access levels make it even more flexible.
You can set whether the channel is open to posting by community members or only by admin.
Other general settings allow you to do things like require a cover image to be posted with discussions, or exclude the channel from the weekly digest or allow auto-join to the channel.
I love how channels are set up in GroupApp and how flexible you can get with them.
Your landing page allows you to welcome people who you invite to your community. You can customize this inside your admin panel under Onboarding.
By default, your GroupApp landing page looks like this:
In your Onboarding settings, you can change the background image, your tagline and activate more sections on the page.
Available sections you can activate include:
- a member counter
- community description
- a video
You’ll need to add the info to these sections before activating them so that they can show up on your landing page.
The library in GroupApp is a place in your community where members can access resources in a number of different formats.
You can offer video, audio, PDF documents and embedded content.
It’s also an opportunity for creators to make more money by offering products other than courses for sale. When you upload content in the library, you’ll have settings that allow you to charge for products. The same settings for courses and channels including accessibility and visibility apply to library material.
In the Library, you can add templates, spreadsheets, pdf guides and more that are all available to view or download.
2. Community Features
GroupApp has essential community features to help members get together and communicate. As a creator, you can offer support and connect with members through these features which include events, direct messaging and group chat.
To create events within GroupApp, you’ll need to go to the admin panel and find Events in the menu. Then it’s as simple as clicking the “New Event” button and going from there.
Fill in the title and click the next button to fill in the event details.
The event details view allow you to:
- set the start and end time and date
- choose between online and in-person location
- add the url for online events or address if it’s in-person
- set a cover image for the event
- add the event description
- set the access level whether it’s for free or paid members or if you’re charging for the event
The visibility settings can be set to public meaning persons don’t have to be part of your community to be able to join your event. Or you can set it to restricted to only allow certain members to join.
The settings view allows you to apply more rules to the event like hiding the location from non-attendees and enabling/disabling discussion.
There is no live streaming as I’m writing this post but it is one of the features that is coming to GroupApp. Live streaming will allow for live cohort courses and live events as well as video chat.
3. Course Builder
GroupApp works as a course platform as well and is a good alternative to other community-first platforms like Circle and Mighty Networks, both of which also have course building features.
The course builder in GroupApp is easy to launch and use. Just go to the admin panel and select courses from the settings menu and you’re ready to start.
Any courses you have already built will be shown on the page or it will be empty if you haven’t created your first course as yet. You can hit the create button to start building your first course.
1. Name your course
The first step after you hit the create button is to name your course. You can then hit the “Next” button to continue.
The interface is clean and simple and lets you focus on the immediate task. I like it already.
2. Add content to the curriculum
After naming your course, you’re sent directly to the course editor where you can start adding sections and lessons to the curriculum editor.
You can click the “Add Section” button to begin adding your course material. The form that comes up lets you put in the section title and description.
From here it gets a bit user-unfriendly as there is no indication of where lessons are added or a preview of how it is going to look to the end-user.
In the screenshot below, I chose the embed video option from a list of 6 ways to add course content. You can also upload video directly, embed content, upload an audio file, add a text lesson or upload a PDF.
Each lesson is added to the section by choosing one of the options. If you’re going to be uploading video lessons, you’ll keep clicking on either upload video or add web video. Or you can mix the content type as you want them to appear in the section.
After the first time, you’ll know how the content is laid out and it wouldn’t be so bothersome.
In the GroupApp free course, here is how the course looks to the end-user.
The sections are in bold and the lessons have check boxes for when you’ve completed them. This is a text lesson. The video lessons look even better. I’m not sure I like having the complete and continue button at the top though but that could be a matter of preference for some. There is no customization option to move it.
Back to the course editor, you can drag and drop lessons or sections to reorder them. This is useful especially if you add new lessons content and want to insert it between two existing lessons.
3. Other Tabs
After you’ve added course content, you’ll need to go through to the other tabs to finish setting up your course. The next tab is for adding Drip settings. You can schedule sections to be released some days after enrollment or on a specific date.
The enroll tab allows you to see who is enrolled in the course and lets you manually enroll students. You’ll see their progress on this page.
The pricing settings let you add a price for the course. You’ll need to add your Stripe account to begin doing this.
Finally, in the settings tab, there are a lot of settings for you to play with to set up your course the way you want it. You can add a course video intro, a thumbnail and background image for the course page and add the course description.
The visibility setting is set to Public by default which means you can sell your course to anyone who isn’t even in your community. Or you can change it to community so they must be a community member to enroll. The other option is Restricted where only certain users can gain access.
I like the flexibility these settings give you for getting your course in front of the right viewers. The only thing I don’t like about the course builder is the lack of a preview option while building the course and the fact that they don’t indicate that you’re adding lessons inside the sections.
4. Email Marketing
Besides direct messaging and group chats, sending broadcasts to all members, segments or specific channels is an available feature in GroupApp that is very important.
If you don’t have an email marketing automation suite then you can use this feature to do your email marketing inside GroupApp.
It isn’t as powerful as the email marketing setups in some of the other course platforms I’ve reviewed (ie. Kajabi), but it gets the job done. You can use integrations if you’re already using MailChimp, Drip, ConvertKit or ActiveCampaign and want to connect them with GroupApp.
Email marketing messages can be managed inside your admin panel under the Messaging menu item.
Platforms like GroupApp work better when you can work with external tools that you already use and love. Some of these tools are just plain essential and unavoidable.
GroupApp integrates with a number of these tools so that you can get the best out of your community business.
Some of these integrations are native and required while others are a matter of choice.
Here’s a list of integrations that you can use in GroupApp.
- Stripe – you need this in order to take payments for your community memberships and your courses.
- Google Tag Manager – you can add your code to get site analytics, conversion retargeting and other functions.
- Google Analytics – get insights into your community engagement, session duration and more within your community.
- YouTube, Vimeo, Wistia – natively used to embed web video in the course builder, library and elsewhere in your community.
- Hubspot – automate marketing workflows, segment lists and more with this useful suite.
- Facebook Pixel – track your ad conversions with Facebook Pixel
- MailChimp, Drip, Intercom, ConvertKit, ActiveCampaign – Use your email marketing suite of choice if you don’t want to use the built in email marketing feature. Segment into lists and more.
I did not see Zapier in the list of integrations although there is a post in the GroupApp Community channel for integrations that has documentation for the use of Zapier with GroupApp.
Other than Zapier, there are also integrations for Pabbly and Integrately. Other integrations are also being added from time to time and users can make requests for new features and integrations they want to see made available.
For a relatively new community platform, GroupApp has a lot of what is needed for creators to run a learning community. There are still a bit of features that are missing though that I would like to see added to the platform.
PayPal integration – To accept payments, GroupApp has Stripe which is something that almost all course and community platforms have native integration for. It would be great to see GroupApp set up to allow creators to use PayPal as well though.
Affiliate management – This one was a little surprising for me. There is no feature that lets you reward community members for referring paying members. Most course platforms have an affiliate management system of some sort. GroupApp doesn’t even have a referral feature. Hopefully that will change as they add more features.
Live streaming – This isn’t available as yet but it’s coming. Unfortunately, as my free trial ends, I wouldn’t be able to play with this feature as it’s not yet available. This would make the community platform even more complete and give creators even more reason to migrate from Facebook groups.
Mobile app – While the GroupApp website is completely mobile responsive, there is currently no mobile app available for either iOS or Android users. This however is in development and on the final day of my free trial, a mobile app beta channel was set up in the GroupApp community. Looks like this feature will be added very soon.
These are some of the missing features of GroupApp that other community and course platforms have available. GroupApp is always adding new features and integrations so I’ll update this review as I learn about any new additions.
GroupApp Help & Support
Help and support are very easy to get in GroupApp. The main way to get help is to join the free GroupApp Community on GroupApp.
The help menu item in the admin panel sends you directly to the GroupApp community. There is no live chat or even a bot to answer any questions. All help is given inside the community which is maintained by co-founder Dornubari Vizor.
Here’s an overview of how to get help in GroupApp through the GroupApp Community.
The best place to get help in the GroupApp Community is the #Ask-for-Help channel. This channel is for:
- Asking about particular use cased and how to accomplish them
- Helping other community builders by contributing to posts and sharing your knowledge
- Asking for feedback on your community
Here you can find helpful discussions that might solve your problem. You can always use the search function or ask again.
Other channels are helpful as well. There is a video tutorials channel and a general discussion channel. You could also check out the Knowledge Base channels which are collections meant to walk you through various aspects and features of GroupApp.
Does GroupApp Have Training?
GroupApp is also a course platform and it would be weird if they didn’t provide training in the form of a course.
The courses section has a course that is free to enroll in and complete. The “How to Build a Membership Community” course has 17 lessons. They’re all in text (no video) but it’s a great read that will help you build your own membership community with GroupApp.
GroupApp Pricing & Plans
GroupApp has competitive plans that align with what other course and community platforms are charging. For example, nearly every other platform has a $99/month plan.
There are two ways you can join GroupApp and start for free. You can join with a free forever account and start building your community from there. Or you can start a 14-day free trial on any paid plan.
Free trials don’t automatically go to a free account after expiry so you’ll need to make a decision on how you’d like to start using GroupApp. The good thing about free trials is you get to have full access to all features on the paid plan you choose instead of the limitations you’ll encounter on a free plan.
Another difference is that if you plan to sell on a free plan, you’ll have to pay a 5% transaction fee – your cost for using a free account. There are no transaction fees on any paid plans.
There are three paid plans to choose from which all come with limitations on community members and how many channels you can build. The allows you to start from the Basic account and upgrade as your community grows. The other factor that will determine which plan to take is the features you’ll need.
Here’s an outline of how the three plans stack up.
The basic plan is the entry plan which costs $39/month or $29/month when billed annually. On this plan, you get everything that you’d get on a free tier which includes core community features, the ability to create membership subscriptions and events and you’ll now have unlimited courses. On the free plan, you can only create 1 course.
While you can only grow your community to 100 members on a free plan, you can have up to 1000 on Basic. 10 channels is the limit for creating channels in your community on this plan, an increase from the 3 available on a free plan.
The are also usage caps on each plan for file uploads, team seats and file storage. On Basic, you can have up to 3 team seats and 20G total storage.
The Pro Plan is the recommended plan for creators and brands who want to use all GroupApp features.
This is GroupApp’s $99/month plan ($89/month if paying annually) and users have access to everything in Basic plus some additional features like being able to drip schedule courses, posts and email scheduling, segments and adding Single Sign-on to your community.
GroupApp lets you have up to 10,000 members on this plan and up to 30 channels in your community.
Usage limits include 10 team seats and 2GB file uploads and 100GB total storage.
Finally, there is the premium plan which is great for bigger brands and creators experiencing massive growth in their business. This plan costs $499/month, a $300 jump from the previous plan. There’s not much of a discount for going annual as the monthly fee comes out to around $489/month on your yearly bill.
Like most enterprise level plans, there aren’t many additional core features but you get service features like an account manager and 1:1 onboarding and setup. Custom OAuth is available for SSO as well as custom API integration.
Basically if you want to start a learning community, then you could start with the free plan, build your community out and scale from there.
However, the Pro Plan with the 14-day free trial would be my recommended way to get started as you can have access to everything from the very beginning and enough resources where you wouldn’t need to change your plan.
GroupApp Pros & Cons
There are some things that I just loved about GroupApp and others that i disliked. In this section, I’m going to point out some of the strong elements of this platform and some of the weaker ones too so that you can have a balanced overview of GroupApp.
I personally like the simplicity of the GroupApp platform and the stuff that they don’t have does not bother me much. I’m more bothered by the clumsy course builder when you’re just getting started. After you get accustomed to it, you will have an easy time but it needs to have a live preview so you can see how the course is laid out as you’re building.
GroupApp is still a relatively new platform and they’re adding new features and the one I’m most excited to see is the addition of live streaming which will allow for live cohort courses, native events and video chat.
One feature that is not available though, that should be added is affiliate program management. Community creators should be able to reward members for helping to build the community by inviting new members and promoting courses and memberships.
Everything aside, GroupApp has a pretty solid product for people who want to build a learning community.
GroupApp isn’t perfect and though I’m impressed by the simplicity of this rather robust platform, I’ll admit that there are better community and course platforms you can choose from.
This doesn’t mean that GroupApp isn’t worth a try. They might just be exactly what you’re looking for. However, if it isn’t for you, check out this short list of alternatives and how they compare to GroupApp.
Mighty Networks is a community and course platform where you can do pretty much everything GroupApp can do and more.
They offer a community first approach to selling courses and there are some rather powerful features available to creators. I was so impressed that I put Mighty Networks at #1 on my list of best community platforms here on TrialBear.
In comparison, GroupApp is slightly cheaper than Mighty Networks. Although both platforms start at $39/monthly, the all inclusive plan on GroupApp is $99/month while Mighty Networks is $119. GroupApp is way cheaper when you subscribe to an annual plan and there are no transaction fees.
Mighty Networks has native video that is used to host course content and also, as a true Facebook groups alternative, to run live streaming content right inside the platform.
You can also create unlimited events inside Mighty Networks with their robust event creation system and automatically send notifications to users who RSVP.
Mighty Networks also gives you a 14-day free trial so that you can sign up and experience their platform without commitment and without even entering any credit card details.
If a community-first approach to selling courses is important to you then this is a good alternative to GroupApp.
Circle is another community platform that also lets you create courses. It is one of the most popular community platforms and even integrates with existing course platforms like Teachable and Thinkific.
Unlike GroupApp, Circle does not have a free plan and their entry plan is a bit more expensive at $49/month. However, their biggest plan costs $399/month, which is $100 less than GroupApp. In between both plans have a $99/month plan.
Circle lets you organize your community with spaces which include templates for posts, chats, events and courses. Course spaces are very powerful and you can gate it how you like and charge for courses separate from access to your community.
Circle has some very powerful community features which includes live streaming experiences, group chats, private messaging, engaging discussions with inline images and more.
Circle also lets you try their platform with a 14 day free trial before you commit and no credit card is necessary to begin.
As far as course platforms go, Thinkific is one of the best you can choose. As an alternative to GroupApp, Thinkific also serves as a community platform if you want to take the community-first approach.
If you’re thinking about selling courses online and would like to do so from an optimized landing page with built-in checkout, then Thinkific is the better choice. You’ll have lots of options when it comes to selling and promoting your courses such as coupons, order bumps and even affiliates.
Thinkific offers not only a 30-day free trial but you can also get a free forever account with no transaction fees. You also have multiple plan options and the $99/month Start plan gives you a community, unlimited courses with native video and advanced features, unlimited students and lots of other features and integrations via the Thinkific apps store.
Thinkific is everything you need in one place if you want to earn money selling courses online.
Heights Platform is a course platform primarily that has community features included. The reason why I chose this platform as a worthy alternative to GroupApp is because of their strong gamification features.
In Heights, badges are automatically awarded to students for completing different tasks (such as completing their first lesson in a course). Creators can make it even more exciting by creating their own custom badges and requirements.
Heights Platform also has all the essential features for running a course business including sales checkout and checkout features, as well as video hosting and many other course features.
Like all of the other alternatives here, Heights also has a $99/month plan. This plan, called the Pro plan, includes all of the features that they offer including community, courses and sales features like bundling and selling hidden products.
Heights offer a 30-day free trial for anyone who wants to try out their platform and you don’t need to enter any credit card details during their one-step start process. Give Heights a try if your main goal is to sell courses online.
Although GroupApp falls short on some of the features that would make it a great all-in-one option, they do have a lot to offer and are working on giving creators more.
They offer a variety of product types that you can sell besides courses and community memberships. You can sell access to individual channels, access to events, digital downloads, audio and video from your library.
The course builder is a little bit confusing the first time you use it and doesn’t show a live preview but after you get your course up you’ll get the hang of it. It’s also quite flexible with the access and visibility settings so you can sell your course to just about anyone even if they’re not a part of your community.
I would recommend you give GroupApp a try if you’re looking for a community platform or a course platform with a community-first approach. They offer a full 14-day free trial and you can even get an extension if you need more time.
Go ahead and check out everything GroupApp offers. This might be the platform that you were looking for.