Udacity Affiliate Program Review


Last updated on February 15, 2021

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The internet has made learning convenient, flexible, efficient, and inexpensive. Millions of students of all ages take courses to meet academic, professional, and personal goals. From app development to learning a new language, classes are available for many subjects on demand. Some learning management systems (LMS) enable downloads and access to videos offline. Depending on the e-learning company, courses can be free or cost as little as $10. Furthermore, financial aid may be available for students.

Udacity is a robust competitor in the fast-growing e-learning sector. Its mission is to train the world’s workforce in the careers of the future. They partner with leading companies to learn how technology is transforming industries and teach employees critical skills. With a powerful and flexible digital education platform, learners can prepare themselves for the most in-demand tech roles. Udacity’s mantra is “Students First,” guiding them to deliver the highest-quality learning outcomes to as many students globally.

Udacity began as an experiment in online learning when Stanford instructors Sebastian Thrun and Peter Norvig elected to offer their “Introduction to Artificial Intelligence” course online for free. Over 160,000 students in more than 190 countries enrolled.

Company Profile

  • Founded by Sebastian Thrun, David Stavens, and Mike Sokolsky in 2011
  • CEO: Gabe Dalporto
  • Headquarters: San Francisco, United States
  • Six offices worldwide
  • Specialties: e-learning, online learning, technology, careers, career advancement, artificial intelligence, programming, data science, digital marketing, and robotics (Source: LinkedIn)

Udacity Affiliate Program

Udacity has an affiliate program. Impact, a top-rated affiliate network, hosts the program. Let’s review the benefits, drawbacks, commission rate, cookie duration, and program details. Here’s a snapshot.

  • Cost per action (CPA): Cost per sale
  • Commission rate: $25 (more for performance)
  • Commission type: Single payment, nonrecurring
  • Cookie duration: 30 days
  • Payout threshold: $10
  • Payment options: Bank account and PayPal
  • Affiliate software/network: Impact


Program Benefits

Udacity has a 30-day cookie duration. It meets the industry standard, but 60 to 90 days would be more reasonable.

The commission payout threshold is low. Impact issues payments when commissions exceed 10 USD or the local equivalent. Payouts are sent to the affiliate’s bank or PayPal account.

Deep linking is available, and it’s how an affiliate creates a link to a specific page on the merchant’s site. Instead of using a standard homepage affiliate link, you can link to an article or product that relates to your content to increase relevance and conversion rates. Many e-learning merchants allow deep linking due to the number of courses and programs available. Product feeds, banners, text links, and other promotional tools are also available.

There’s a full-time affiliate marketing manager. When a merchant has the staff to support publishers, it quickens processes and shows commitment. You can contact the affiliate team through Impact.

Impact’s affiliate software is excellent. It offers superb and reliable tracking solutions. Furthermore, its interface and activity reports are user-friendly and easy to navigate.

Udacity ranks well among customers and has favorable scores on multiple review sites, including G2 and Course Report. On Trustpilot, a customer feedback site, Udacity maintains an excellent rating.

Instructors must qualify to teach on Udacity. That helps to maintain a consistent and high-quality learning experience across its programs. For instance, instructors must have five years of demonstrated field expertise, one year of education or teaching experience, and be available 15-20 hours weekly for course/student engagement.

Program Drawbacks

The affiliate program landing page needs works. Udacity holds back on pertinent details, including the commission rate, cookie duration, and payment. Rather, it makes vague statements, such as, “Become a Udacity Affiliate and help everyone get the tech education they need to advance their career – and earn a great commission doing it.” Also, “We’ll provide you with a full list of Nanodegree programs you can promote, exclusive offers, and great commissions.” Secondly, a link to the affiliate program is absent in the footer menu, which curtails program visibility and growth.

Udacity has a low program acceptance rate. It accepts less than 30 percent of affiliates who apply to join.

Udacity offers an industry lagging commission. It pays a base commission of $25 with the potential to earn more based on performance. Udacity’s programs start at $399, so $25 equates to a 6.25 percent commission rate. By contrast, Coursera pays up to 45 percent, Pluralsight up to 50 percent, Udemy up to 15 percent, and edX 10 percent.

Earnings have a monthly limit. Capping commissions is contrary to affiliate marketing and what most merchants/programs offer, i.e., unlimited commissions. Udacity has capped earnings to one action/sale per customer per month. The details are in the partnership agreement. Therefore, if you generate two or more sales from a user in a month, you’ll only receive credit for one. That doesn’t sound like “great commissions” to me.

Udacity offers programs and nanodegrees, not one-off classes. Secondly, it’s offerings are expensive compared to other e-learning sites. Those two factors can yield lower conversion rates.


Making Money

Can you make $1,000 a month as a Udacity affiliate? It’s unlikely that you will make that amount or a significant income. Udacity is a reputable company with unique and engaging “nanodegrees,” but its affiliate program produces a win-lose scenario for marketers. The low commission rate and monthly sales cap result in terrible income prospects. Secondly, Udacity’s costly classes will negatively impact conversion rates.

Where should Udacity rank in your marketing activities? It should be an extremely low priority. The e-learning sector is hot, and Udacity deserves a notable mention. However, Coursera, edX, and Udemy are outmuscling it. Coursera and edX partner with top universities, institutions, and companies to offer courses, specializations, and degrees at reasonable prices. Udemy offers thousands of excellent courses and has frequent sales events. All three have more rewarding affiliate programs than Udacity. Pluralsight and Skillshare have marketing programs as well. I recommend exploring other e-learning sites and affiliate programs to promote.

Super Affiliate Marketing Course: Learn How I Built a Five-Figure Website


Chad Tennant

Chad is a digital marketer, consultant, and publisher. At Digital Fodder, he offers insights and strategies concerning online marketing, ecommerce, working online, YouTube, and more. At Partnercade, he helps companies grow their affiliate program revenues and partnerships. Connect or start a conversation with Chad on LinkedIn.


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