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Upcoming changes to free coupons & coupon creation


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Coupons and referral links are crucial parts of the instructor success toolkit. From launching new courses to rewarding loyal learners to giving Mom a free voucher (or at least a discount), we know these tools help you build your audience and manage your business on Udemy. 


Since we last made changes to the coupon system, we’ve appreciated hearing a lot of feedback from you in surveys, emails, the Instructor Community, and beyond. In addition to your feedback, we’ve conducted tests over the last several months to better understand how learners engage with certain coupon types, and to measure the effects of those coupons on instructors and their businesses.


Today, we’re announcing two upcoming changes intended to make coupons easier to manage and better at reaching the right learners.


1. Later this month, we plan to reconfigure free coupon limits to better attract students with high intent to learn.


Free coupons were designed to give new instructors a way to build an initial audience, and to give established instructors a simple tool to give away courses to friends and family. They can also give new learners a chance to try paid Udemy courses.


This summer, we studied how instructors use free coupons and what learners do once they’re enrolled this way. What we found was that a small number of «viral» free coupons drove the strong majority of free coupon enrollments. We also found that learners who redeemed these coupons were much less likely to actually engage with the course, leave ratings, or interact with Udemy outside stockpiling more free content. 


Furthermore, free coupons for new courses were rarely the ones to get this kind of traction. We heard from instructors who felt pressured to use «unlimited» free coupons to avoid a perceived competitive disadvantage, even though this wasn’t a strategy they thought was right for their business. 


All this means that the way things are, «unlimited» free coupons aren’t effectively helping who they’re meant to help. When it came to the «limited» coupons, we heard from instructors who use coupons with clients or potential partners that the limit of 10 redemptions was overly restrictive. 


So, to encourage instructors to better target free coupons toward people who really want to learn, we’re adjusting the parameters for free coupons as follows:


Current free coupon types
TypeMax redemptionsExpiration 
3-day "unlimited"40,000After 3 days
31-day "limited"10After 31 days

Updated free coupon types(October 28, 2021 and on)
TypeMax redemptionsExpiration 
Open1000After 5 days
Targeted100After 31 days



We expect that the lower cap for «open» coupons will affect a small minority of coupons, and that the extended deadline will give aspiring instructors a larger window of opportunity to reach engaged learners. 


2. Next year, we plan to introduce bulk coupon creation & coupon scheduling. 


One of the most consistent pieces of feedback we’ve heard from you about coupons has been that it’s simply too much work to create them. Today, if you have multiple courses, you have to create promotions one course at a time, multiple times a month, even if you already know what campaigns you plan to run for the whole month.


To make it easier to manage coupons across courses and campaigns, we’re developing a tool that will let you create coupons for multiple courses and multiple timeframes with a simple CSV upload.


  • Get the full picture: view all your active coupons in one place
  • Create efficiently: generate coupons for all your courses with a single upload
  • Plan ahead: configure coupons to go live now or in the future 


We expect to add this functionality to your toolkit in early 2022. We’re excited to share more with you as we get closer to launch.


Beyond promotions


As we head toward Black Friday, we want to help you get ready for this season’s sales by sharing how to use Udemy’s tools to help boost your performance. While coupons and referral links are important for attracting new students, don’t forget that engaging your current audience can also give you a lift by creating loyal, lifelong learners.

Watch out for some specific tips on getting Black Friday ready in the next week! And as always, if you have questions about these changes or about how to best build your business on Udemy, join us in the Instructor Community.

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