Udemy Affiliate Program Review


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Udemy is a global marketplace for e-learning and teaching online. Students master new skills by learning from an extensive library of courses in 15 main categories and 100+ subcategories. Its bestselling categories include web, mobile, and app development, IT and software, business, marketing, and personal development. A few instructors have made millions of dollars (mostly because of internal marketing support and partnerships with Udemy).

Company Profile

  • Founded by Gagan Biyani, Oktay Caglar, and Eren Bali in 2010
  • Headquarters: San Francisco, California, USA
  • 100,000+ online courses in 50 different languages
  • 30+ million students
  • 40,000+ instructors
  • Pay per course and subscription pricing (Udemy for Business)
Udemy Affiliate Program

The Udemy affiliate program is hosted on Rakuten LinkShare and other affiliate networks. Anyone can join the program. Let’s review the benefits, drawbacks, commission rate, cookie length, and details of the program.

Program Benefits

Udemy is a popular e-learning website. It has a sizeable market share, robust brand, and millions of enrollments to outshine its closest competitors. You can appreciate its popularity by the countless unofficial Facebook pages and groups bearing its name.

Increasing demand for online learning equates to ample sales opportunities. Online education is affordable, convenient, flexible, and efficient. Millions of learners are gravitating toward platforms like Udemy to take free and paid courses. All of that produces potentially high conversions and commissions.

Udemy has an extensive course catalog and something for everyone. Tens of thousands of classes, 10+ main categories, and over 100 subcategories give affiliates plenty of promotional opportunities. Also, Udemy offers many in-demand disciplines such as web development, entrepreneurship, marketing, design, and personal development.

The payout threshold is low. Affiliate networks typically have a commission threshold of $50. Once you meet that amount, you’ll receive your approved commissions during the next payment cycle.

Deep linking is available. Deep linking is the practice by which an affiliate creates a link to a specific page on the merchant’s site. For example, instead of using a generic homepage affiliate link, I can link to an article that relates to my post. Publishers can create links and direct traffic to courses and pages of their choosing.

Reporting is good. Rakuten LinkShare offers satisfactory reporting capabilities to evaluate your activities including clicks, impressions, sales, and commissions.

Affiliates can use excellent creative assets. Affiliates can access an assortment of banners of varying sizes. Additionally, Udemy is timely and efficient regarding one-off banners for special and seasonal events. Category banners are available too, for instance, promotional banners for business courses.

There’s a full-time affiliate marketing manager. When a merchant has the staff to support publishers, it quickens processes and shows commitment. Udemy’s program manager/team has gotten better over the years, and they quickly address publisher inquiries.

Program Drawbacks

Udemy pays a low commission rate. Gone are the days when it paid affiliates 40 to 50 percent per sale. It has since lowered its commission rate to 15 percent (12 percent on FlexOffers), which makes the program less appealing than before. Programs that pay less than 30 percent don’t grab my attention or active participation.

Udemy offers a subpar seven-day cookie period (it was previously 30 days before the transition to Rakuten LinkShare). Thirty to 90-day conversion periods are common, but Udemy has chosen to buck fairness and practicality. Giving seven days to convert a sale benefits Udemy, not you. It’s one more example of why many instructors and publishers view Udemy as a win-lose proposition.

Udemy is a sales and discount-driven marketplace. When sales events and promotions slowdown, so do affiliate conversions. Secondly, Udemy has created an environment whereby users wait for deals to avoid paying full price for courses, which results in lower commissions.

The affiliate program landing page needs work. An affiliate landing page is supposed to be informative, but Udemy misses the mark. It hasn’t updated its landing page in at least three years. I suppose nobody on their team appreciates the benefits of an informative landing page, which is surprising because Udemy is in the teaching/information industry. Udemy uses vague statements to describe its program; for example, it offers “Very competitive commission rates.” Publishers would gain more with exact details about the commission rate, conversion period, and policies. The failure to disclose useful information shouldn’t come as a surprise because Udemy has always been suspect regarding transparency.

Making Money

Can you make $1,000 a month as a Udemy affiliate? It’s unlikely that you will make that amount or a significant income. While Udemy is a leader in e-learning, it has become a laggard in the affiliate marketing space. Dwindling commission rates and a 7-day cookie will constrain your earnings and conversions. However, Udemy provides affiliates with an extensive course catalog and many marketing opportunities.

Where should Udemy rank in your marketing activities? It should be a low priority. If you join the affiliate program, temper your expectations and diversify with other education affiliate programs. Ultimately, there is money to be made in promoting online courses.

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Chad Tennant

Chad is an online marketer, consultant, and publisher. He helps businesses and individuals achieve growth and financial success. Learn more at digitalfodder.com/about


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