Continuing investments in pricing and marketing

We’re always working to evolve and expand our marketplace to deliver on our mission to improve lives through learning. Over the past year, we’ve introduced new pricing and marketing strategies to help connect new students to the quality courses you create. As you prepare for the big sale season of Black Friday and New Years, we want to let you know what progress we’ve made when it comes to marketing and pricing, and what it all means for you.

So, what have we been up to?

Growing channel diversity

2020 has been a huge year for online learning. While we’ve continued our investment in our robust ad and affiliate networks, we’ve also introduced new marketing channels to reach new students.

  • In the US, Brazil and India, we’ve introduced conventional and streaming television ads that have been seen by millions of potential learners around the world. As we test different approaches in each local market, we’re learning and adapting our approach to get the details just right.
  • We’ve also teamed up with some incredible media organizations to get the word out about Udemy. With recent features in publications like Forbes, BBC Business, and Fast Company, we’re proud to highlight the great work you are doing to make learning more accessible.
  • Finally, we’ve established new types of partnerships to continue to introduce new learners to the platform. Whether it’s offering course discounts as an employee perk through companies like PerkSpot or BenefitHub, selling Udemy courses directly on established platforms like Amazon India, or offering cash back on course purchases through finance apps like Acorns, we’re finding new and creative ways to make online learning even more appealing.

Increasing the benefit of differentiated pricing

If you’ve been on the platform for a while, you’ve seen our approach to promotional pricing evolve over the last two years. Where every eligible course used to get the same price during a sale, we’re now using data-proven, course-specific promotional prices for every sale, everywhere in the world. Rigorous testing of this approach has shown that it results in greater diversity in purchase price, higher average revenue per sale in most markets, and higher overall revenue for instructors.

As we continue to test and optimize, we’re seeing students continue to respond to a range of price points for different types of content. This has held true even during major, site-wide sales in May and August. Now, during key marketing moments like Black Friday and New Years, we’re excited to offer compelling deals at a variety of price points.

As usual, new discounting strategies apply only to courses in the Udemy Deals Program. We’ve updated our Deals documentation to reflect this new way of approaching promotional pricing.

Testing, testing, testing

Data and testing are at the core of what we do at Udemy. Over the course of 2020 we’ve taken on a variety of tests to ensure we keep moving in the right direction when it comes to pricing:

  • List price: In April, we announced list price tests. Ultimately, our goal is to generate list prices for instructors who participate in the Udemy Deals Program that follow from actual market data, take into account local considerations in each country, and adjust over time in response to changes in the market. We’re measuring both short- and long-term effects of this approach, gathering country-specific insights to build confidence in the right approach for each local market. As we roll out the new approach, we’ll ensure you have the tools to continue to promote to your global audience with the benefit of this data.
  • Discount price optimization: Tests to date have established that differentiated pricing is better for the overall marketplace than flat pricing, but we continue to run course-level price tests on courses in Deals to improve each course’s revenue potential over time. Sometimes, these tests also reveal opportunities for improved pricing strategies on a regional level. For example, recent tests have suggested we can increase overall instructor revenue and student access by lowering the local price floor in Indonesia, so we’ll move ahead with the change in the next month or so, and update our Promotions Policy accordingly.
  • Price display: Even something as simple as the number of cents or pesos displayed can affect a student’s decision to invest in a course. We’ve run tests that align our discount price tiers with the standards of prominent mobile app stores and we’ve seen very promising results. These improvements have had the additional benefit of better aligning prices between the various devices students might use to access Udemy

Keeping our programs in line with our strategies

We mentioned in April that we’d be sunsetting the Percentage Deals program as we double down on the decision to use data and testing to drive marketplace pricing strategy.

The Percentage Promotions program will sunset in early November. If you’re currently opted into Fixed Price Deals (“Udemy Deals”), you will continue to be included in promotions, regardless of Percentage Deals participation. If you are currently only opted in to Percentage Deals, you will be prompted to opt into Udemy Deals prior to the sunset date. If you choose not to update your promotional agreements, your courses will not be included in Udemy Deals moving forward (including Black Friday).

Learning and building for the future

Learning and adapting has never been more important. We’re honored so many of you have chosen to teach on Udemy, and we’re proud we’ve helped so many students find the right course, in the right channel, at the right price.

As you get ready for the big sale season — whether that’s publishing your newest hit, updating your steady performer, or getting your audience excited to learn this holiday season — we’ll keep learning and improving right along with you.

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