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Social Proof

Establish yourself with social proof

Students worldwide trust Udemy to provide truthful reviews and ratings to help them make decisions about which courses and instructors are right for them. This is called “social proof” and when you establish it, it can help students assess if your course is right for them. Further, once students start taking your course, they want to trust that your course will fulfill its promised value.

As you begin your journey, it’s important to start gathering feedback from students. The truth is, courses tend to gain more traction as they accrue more ratings and reviews.

Since we know how important this “social proof” is to your success, Udemy makes frequent investments in improving the ratings and review system. We are committed to protecting both students and instructors from fraudulent claims (see “Understanding the Udemy Review System,” below).

You’ve created a valuable course so you should share it. We encourage you to get the word out about your course to everyone in your social and professional network who might be interested in the content.

2 to 3 ratings double revenue, 4 to 10 ratings triple revenue, 11 to 20 ratings result in 6 times as much revenue

Quick tips

  • 4 – 10 reviews creates a good foundation for a new course
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for honest reviews and feedback in your course introduction video, by direct message, and in educational announcements to students
  • Respond appropriately to both negative and positive reviews
  • Use positive reviews in your own marketing and on your course landing page

Guidelines

  • Reviews deemed fake, fraudulent, or otherwise inauthentic are prohibited
  • You are not permitted to solicit reviews in exchange for products or services
  • You are not permitted to specify any detail or information that you would like a student to write in a review
  • You are not permitted to trade reviews with other instructors
  • If a student offers to provide a positive review in exchange for goods or services, you must decline

Please note: Some reviews written by close friends and family may end up being flagged by our review filter. Our review filter uses an algorithm to look at many data points before publishing a review. This filter is designed to help ensure that each review reflects an engaged, unbiased opinion from a learner with a genuine interest in the course material.

We block reviews that don’t meet this standard because they can create false expectations for new students, who might even leave a low rating because they had the wrong expectations for your course. This scenario isn’t great for either students or instructors.  Learn more about the policy for reviews.

That said, there is plenty you can do to encourage students to leave feedback in the course.

New courses need evidence

If you’re just starting out, soliciting reviews can feel daunting and less important than marketing your course. However, reviews are essential to a new course and new instructor, so aim for 4-10 reviews to start.

If you get positive reviews from a student, they might be a perfect candidate for your future courses. On the flip side, we know that it’s frustrating, frightening, and confusing to receive negative reviews. When it happens (and it happens to everyone!) you can at least take a moment to see if you honestly recognize some of the issues are true, and then go make your course better. The way you respond to both will show your character and willingness to help students.

What instructors say

“I send educational announcements every month reminding students how important reviews are to the course.” – Chris D.

“I have included a PDF document in the Introduction/Welcome lecture of all my courses explaining how the reviews work and that it’s very important (for the teacher and for future students).” – Susana E.

Ask for quality reviews

  • Ask students directly. Remind students that their opinions are important, and ask for their honest feedback– good or bad. You can do this in your course introduction video, your automatic welcome message and in educational announcements. Ask for feedback early and often. You can use language such as: “I hope you are enjoying taking this course as much as I am teaching it. Please take the time to leave an honest review or comment for me. Your feedback is important and I look forward to hearing about your experience.”
  • Time the request. The best time to ask for a review is within the first 15 minutes of the course. During the first lecture students are still evaluating, but if you have included a quick win or other moment of value in the first 15 minutes the best time to ask for a review is just after.
  • Ask colleagues. Consider asking someone in your field to watch your course and leave an honest review. Have them mention their own professional expertise in their comment so students will see that your course is up to their level.

Examples from instructors

Writing an automatic welcome message

“Thank you so much for joining this course, I promise you won’t regret it. I’m Chris and I’ll guide you through the entire process. If you have any questions, feel free to post a message and I’ll be sure to answer it as fast as possible.

IMPORTANT: Udemy now asks for your feedback very early on and I can appreciate it being hard to judge a course from only a few lectures. Please make sure your review is accurate and update it as you go along.

If you think this isn’t a 5-star course, please let me know and I’ll do whatever I can to improve it. I want the best possible experience for you, so message me with any issues. Thank you!”

– Cristian D.

Asking for feedback during your course

– Frank K.

Respond to ratings and reviews

Receiving your first review is exhilarating but it can be nerve-wracking too. Use each opportunity to engage with the student and learn. Students want to see the same personal attention you provided in your course, so don’t just say “thanks.”

  • 5-star reviews. Say thanks and recognize their effort as a student. Use their name.
  • Reviews below 5 stars. Acknowledge any negative feedback and offer a positive solution such as a course update or additional materials. For example: “Thank you (name) for the review. Can anything be added or changed in the course to make it better for you? Thanks again for the feedback.”
  • Star reviews without text. Ask the student for more specific information. Be friendly and remember that other students can see your responses. For example: “Thank you (name). You marked X and Y as not up to your expectations. Can you let me know what I can do to improve these parts of the course for you?”

Use reviews to promote yourself

  • Put positive reviews to work. Your own marketing becomes stronger with positive reviews, which are excellent to use in your emails, social media, and in course descriptions.
  • Use feedback to improve. If students repeatedly point out that something doesn’t work for them, consider adding content to the course or adjusting your course description to make it clearer. Respond to the review right away to let them know that you’re fixing things, and again when you’ve made changes. Students love to know they’re being heard and are thrilled to receive new practical exercises and projects. Make sure to let everyone know about course additions with an educational announcement.