October 27, 2023
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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 categories and 100+ subcategories. Its bestselling categories include web, mobile, and app development, IT and software, business, marketing, and personal growth. A few instructors have made millions of dollars on Udemy (primarily due to internal marketing support and favoritism).
- Founded by Gagan Biyani, Oktay Caglar, and Eren Bali in 2010
- Headquarters: San Francisco, California, USA
- Stock ticker: UDMY
- 60m+ learners
- 75k+ instructors
- 210k+ online courses in 75+ languages
- Pay per course and subscription pricing (Udemy for Business)
Udemy Affiliate Program
- Cost per action (CPA): Cost per sale
- Commission rate: 10%
- Commission type: Single payment, nonrecurring
- Cookie duration: 7 days
- Payout threshold: $1
- Payment options: PayPal and bank account (get free bank account details for USD, EUR, GBP, and other currencies)
- Affiliate software/network: Rakuten Advertising and FlexOffers
Affiliates must have an up-and-running website, blog, or social media page. Additionally, Udemy considers the following criteria:
- A list of followers: Whether it is an email list, social media following, or fanbase, Udemy wants to partner with established creators. Your website traffic needs at least 500 unique monthly visitors in the past three months. Your social media pages must have at least 500 followers.
- Consistent traffic: Udemy reviews your traffic using similarweb.com and other search tools to understand the traffic on your website. A website, or at least a social media page with visitor engagement and updated content, is required. When applying, affiliates must list all their websites or online channels.
- Site theme: With thousands of courses, chances are Udemy has a course that can appeal to your audience. Udemy looks for a fit between your audience and their courses.
- Site content: Brand new sites without consistent traffic or sufficient content might be declined.
- Udemy brand alignment: Udemy reviews your brand to ensure alignment with its mission and brand.
- Udemy declines sites that solely cover it and PPC marketers.
Potential affiliates may be asked to share additional information during the application. Udemy approves or declines applications within five business days.
How to Sign Up or Apply
Follow these steps to sign up for Udemy’s affiliate program:
- Visit the Udemy affiliate program page.
- Check the FAQs to ensure eligibility.
- Click on the apply button.
- Choose the applicable region.
- Complete the application on Rakuten Advertising (you must join Rakuten Advertising if you don’t have an account).
- Read and agree to the terms and conditions.
- Submit your application.
The commission payment threshold is low. Affiliate networks typically have a commission threshold under $50. Once you meet that amount, you’ll receive your approved commissions during the next payment cycle. Affiliates receive payments to their bank and PayPal accounts.
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 a product, page, or article related to your content to increase relevance and conversion rates. Publishers can create links and direct traffic to courses and pages of their choosing.
Udemy provides excellent creative assets, and affiliates can access various 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 is a popular e-learning website. It has a sizeable market share, a robust brand, and millions of enrollments to outshine its closest competitors. You can appreciate its popularity through 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 gravitate toward platforms like Udemy to take courses. All those advantages create 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 growth.
An affiliate signup page outlines the program and how it works, but Udemy misses the mark. Their affiliate team hasn’t updated their landing page in years, and the page doesn’t provide any pertinent details, including commission rates and the cookie duration.
Udemy uses vague statements to describe its program; for example, “Earn money with competitive commission rates…” Publishers would be better off with exact details about the commission rate, conversion period, and policies.
Udemy pays a low commission rate. Gone are the days when it paid affiliates 50% per sale. It has since lowered its commission rate to 10%, making the program less appealing. Programs that pay less than 20% don’t grab my attention or warrant active participation.
Udemy offers a subpar 7-day cookie duration (previously 30 days). Thirty to 90-day conversion periods are common, but Udemy has chosen to buck industry standards. Giving seven days to convert a sale benefits Udemy and produces a win-lose proposition for affiliates.
Udemy is a sales and discount-driven marketplace. When sales events and promotions slow down, so do affiliate conversions. Secondly, Udemy has created an environment whereby users wait for deals to avoid paying regular prices, resulting in lower affiliate commissions.
Courses on Udemy can be hit or miss. That allows many e-learning alternatives to thrive, many of which have affiliate programs.
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. A dwindling commission rate and a 7-day cookie will constrain your earnings and conversions.
Where should Udemy rank in your marketing activities? It should be a low priority. If you join the affiliate program, temper your expectations. On the flip side, there is money to be made in promoting online courses. Also, Udemy provides affiliates with an extensive course catalog and many marketing opportunities.
I reluctantly recommend joining Udemy’s affiliate program because robust commission rates and better terms are available with other e-learning companies, including Coursera, Skillshare, and Domestika.