If you’re responsible for any kind of online community, sooner or later you’ll come across Higher Logic. They’re one of the biggest players in this space and with the launch of their Higher Logic Thrive Community platform earlier in 2022, they’re determined to become even bigger.
But does bigger always mean better?
Is their offering right for your community, or should you be looking at Higher Logic competitors instead?
In this blog, we’ll compare and contrast Higher Logic Thrive with five of the best alternatives on the market today: Clowder, Mosaic Apps, Mobile Up, Results Direct, and Hivebrite.
- Higher Logic Thrive has some great features, but it has been slow to adapt to the reality of mobile-first community engagement and still relies exclusively on email
- Mosaic Apps, Mobile Up, and Results Direct all have excellent events app offerings that have been repackaged as year-round engagement platforms, with varying degrees of success
- As dedicated year-round community engagement platforms, Clowder delivers a highly personalized, mobile-first experience, while Hivebrite prioritizes broadcast communications
How we compare Higher Logic and its competitors
First things first. All of these providers build excellent products and have plenty of satisfied customers.
We’re not here to say this or that is “the best”.
We’re looking at who and what use cases each alternative is “best for” - to help you select a platform that works for your community’s needs.
Secondly, none of these providers publish off-the-shelf pricing information.
So, while we may point to views other people have expressed about how cheap or expensive any given option is, we’re not aiming to provide precise information. If you need that, you’ll need to speak to them directly.
Where it’s relevant, we’ll refer to third-party reviews on reputable aggregator websites - for example, G2 - to bring in other perspectives and to corroborate points that we’re making.
And finally, everything stated in this blog is accurate as far as we’re able to establish as of June 2022.
OK - now let’s dive in!
Higher Logic - What’s good about it
Higher Logic has a lot of name recognition in the community management software space, so it comes with ready-made credibility.
That’s important when you’re investing your association’s hard-earned funds in engagement technology, but it can lead people astray if they assume that one size fits all.
Where Higher Logic Thrive is strong is as follows:
- A solid set of core modules, including member directory and networking, blogs (or news articles) and an integral CMS, events calendar, resource library, and automation rules
Higher Logic competitors - Higher Logic Community Settings
- The ability to run polls for members on the community home page is a great addition
- Discussion forums are particularly easy to set up and use
- Excellent reporting for keeping track of engagement
Higher Logic is also easy to use alongside other tools:
- On the one hand, the company has several other services (eg marketing automation) that can be integrated with the community management platform on a native basis
- Several valuable third-party integrations are also available (eg Salesforce), in addition to multiple API options
Finally, Mentor Match is a great feature that pairs members up with experts in a really engaging, gamified way - although, as we’ll see in the next section, it comes at a cost…
Higher Logic competitors - Mentor Match
Higher Logic - What’s not so good about it
Unfortunately, Higher Logic doesn’t seem to have taken the opportunity to adapt to a mobile-first world of community engagement in designing its latest offering.
To build, deploy, and run a mobile app for members, you need to subscribe to an additional service - called MemberCentric.
Higher Logic competitors - MemberCentric
And even then, Higher Logic Thrive misses out on the communication possibilities of mobile, by relying exclusively on email for notifications.
This is a major weakness: the average American receives between 80 and 100 emails per day, so depending on this overcrowded, spam-choked channel to reach your members is a significant missed opportunity.
A fair number of reviewers have expressed frustration at Higher Logic’s clunky admin dashboards, poor customer service, and a perceived lack of focus on core functionality in recent years.
Higher Logic competitors - Higher Logic Dashboard Elements
That final point has a lot of resonance: features that some of these Higher Logic competitors include as standard have been made available only as paid-for “expansion packs”, tacked onto the main product. Mentor Match is one of these.
As another example, you have to subscribe to the Multi-Site Management expansion pack if you want to provide different experiences for different user segments and sub-communities.
Higher Logic Competitors #1: Clowder
Clowder is a dedicated mobile community engagement solution, designed and built for how people live and work online today.
It aims to enhance an organization's ability to connect members, employees, and stakeholders where they live - on their phones.
With an average of 4.9 out of 5 in user reviews on G2, it’s the most highly-rated of our Higher Logic competitors.
How Clowder outperforms Higher Logic
Clowder is mobile-first
Associations today work in a mobile-first world, and Clowder is a mobile-first platform.
Higher Logic competitors - Clowder mobile app
Websites are great for hosting content, but if you want engagement (and you do because members don’t renew membership of communities that don’t provide them with value), then it’s essential to provide your community with a first-rate mobile app.
Clowder doesn’t carry any of the website-first baggage that comes with older platforms like Higher Logic. It’s designed solely for the mobile environment, so all functionality is optimized for handheld, on-the-go devices - although a desktop equivalent is under development: watch this space for news!
Clowder provides Push Notifications
This mobile-first, engagement-focused approach means that Clowder makes the most of devices’ capabilities. Rather than relying exclusively on email for communications, community managers can use Push Notifications - pop-up messages deployed from an app that display right on a phone’s home screen.
Higher Logic competitors - Clowder Push Notifications
This means that your members will see your most important messages, even when they’re not actively using the app, provided they stay logged in. And when was the last time you logged out of a phone app? Compare that to browser-based apps!
Research by Localytics has found that Push Notifications boost app engagement by 88%. Check out this blog we wrote a while ago about the other benefits of Push Notifications.
Clowder permits user segmentation and experience personalization
Another advantage Clowder has over Higher Logic is that the ability to segment users into different groups and personalize the experience they receive comes as standard.
Rather than having to pay to set up separate sites with different permissions, Clowder enables community managers to lock down certain areas and specified content for access by designated users only. This allows you to design bespoke app experiences for premium versus free members, management users versus standard users, etc.
That’s key because engagement is always a two-way street. Members who feel like they’re being treated as numbers rather than unique individuals will quickly disengage.
Higher Logic competitors - Clowder engagement dashboard
Interested? Book a demo of Clowder today to find out more!
Higher Logic Competitors #2: Mosaic Apps
Mosaic Apps is another community-focused developer, with a strong focus on events.
Of course, in the post-Covid era, many organizations have pivoted away from conferences, exhibitions, etc being their primary forums for member engagement and are looking for non-stop, year-round solutions.
Higher Logic competitors - Mosaic Apps mobile app
Fortunately, Mosaic Apps has plenty to offer those communities as well.
How Mosaic Apps outperforms Higher Logic
Mosaic Apps provides outstanding events functionality
Although Higher Logic provides some event app functionality as standard, once again it holds back its best features for those who pay extra for the Event Manager upgrade.
But Mosaic 365 includes every feature you could need and more: in-app registration, location-based check-in/out for speaker sessions, interactive floor maps, calendar syncing, and more.
Mosaic Apps doesn’t rely solely on email
As well as in-app messaging between members, Mosaic Apps enables community managers to send Push Notifications like Clowder does.
Mosaic Apps offers gamification
Gamification is a well-known tactic for increasing engagement, and by enabling admins to build out points-based games and live polls, Mosaic Apps plays on people’s innate tendencies to join in fun experiences.
One weakness to point out is that the Mosaic 365 platform doesn’t provide much scope to customize app look and feel. That’s a shame because brand and distinctiveness of identity play such an important part in community membership and renewal decisions.
Higher Logic Competitors #3: Mobile Up
Mobile Up’s GoEngage platform is built for community engagement and live events - focusing on the same kinds of associations that Higher Logic targets.
Higher Logic competitors - Mobile Up mobile app
Although it has not been reviewed on G2, Mobile Up has an average of 4 out of 5 for user reviews on Capterra.
How Mobile Up outperforms Higher Logic
Mobile Up is simple to get started with
While Higher Logic can be challenging to get to grips with, Mobile Up keeps things simple with an intuitive “drag and drop” approach to building and customizing your app. They claim you can be up and running within hours.
Mobile Up lets you provide member benefits
Mobile Up’s directory module isn’t just for networking. Community managers can use it to target messaging (including Push Notifications), discounts, and special offers to key users.
This is a great way to keep your power users coming back on the one hand, and to re-engage those you might be losing touch with on the other!
Mobile Up gives users a combined feed
While some platforms keep news and forum discussions completely separate, Mobile Up gives you the option of combining them in a single, aggregated Feed. Again, this will promote more engagement by ensuring that opportunities for participation are regularly presented to even the quietest members.
Higher Logic Competitors #4: Results Direct
If you watch the promo video for Higher Logic’s MemberCentric, the eagle-eyed amongst you will notice a welcome screen that says “powered by Results Direct” at the bottom of the app.
Higher Logic competitors - Higher Logic or Results Direct?
That’s a tribute to the quality of these guys’ work. Results Direct’s strengths are event platforms and mobile apps (the latter under the platform name “Engagefully”).
How Results Direct outperforms Higher Logic
Results Direct bundles member engagement and event platform together
Results Direct does a lot of different digital marketing activities, but their mobile apps are grouped under the RD Digital label.
Anyone who chooses the Engagefully product - which includes a pretty comprehensive list of what you’d expect a membership engagement app to offer - also gets access to their Eventsential platform.
This is a powerful package that can be applied equally to in-person, virtual, and hybrid events (eg embedded video, digital card exchange, sponsorship, etc). However, there’s no option to take Engagefully without Eventsential - if you don’t run events of this kind, you won’t use everything you’re paying for.
Results Direct emphasizes ease of integration
No app is an island. Your association will get the most benefit when data collected through its app can be combined with data elsewhere.
Higher Logic competitors - Results Direct apps
First and foremost, your app needs to be integrated with your Association Management Software (AMS) and RD Mobile offers numerous integration options for the leading AMSs, CMSs, and more. Clowder and Mobile Up also have extensive lists of integrations to help you make the most of your community’s engagement.
Higher Logic Competitors #5: Hivebrite
Higher Logic competitors - Hivebrite desktop app
How Hivebrite outperforms Higher Logic
Hivebrite offers high-quality customer service
In contrast to Higher Logic, whose users regularly cite slow response times, lack of customer service knowledge, and poor responsiveness to new feature suggestions, Hivebrite is regularly highlighted for quality support.
That’s not to say that the other Higher Logic competitors on this list are behind Hivebrite. Our customer success team at Clowder, for example, plays a huge role in making sure that the associations we work with get the most out of the platform. It’s just that Hivebrite has often been praised, and it’s only fair to mention that.
Hivebrite lets you sell event tickets in-app
Although Hivebrite doesn’t suffer from the events-heavy focus of some of the other platforms on this list, it does have some very cool features in this area.
One of the best is the ability to sell tickets to live or online events directly through the app to members. Along with advertising/sponsorship and membership renewal capabilities (also provided by Clowder, Mobile Up, Results Direct), this makes Hivebrite a good option for monetizing your app.
Hivebrite provides ample customization options
Want a unique-looking app that reflects your association’s brand, with a no-code built and manage interface? Hivebrite delivers.
The Bottom Line
While Higher Logic Thrive is a great new take on a classic product, it still has several weaknesses evident in earlier versions of Higher Logic’s community engagement platforms.
If you’re looking for live event engagement apps, Mobile Up, Results Direct, and Mosaic Apps all have excellent, mobile-native offerings with lots of functionality.
But while they have recently begun packaging themselves as all-year engagement tools, these providers’ roots are very apparent in the relatively weaker feature sets they have for ongoing engagement.
The best Higher Logic competitors in this vital, all-year community engagement space are Clowder and Hivebrite. But while Hivebrite’s features focus on one-to-many “broadcast” communications, Clowder emphasizes interaction and peer-to-peer engagement.
And that’s critical because any community is only as lively and successful as its membership is active. Book a demo today to learn more about what Clowder can do for your community,