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What’s next for Personal Plan?

Last spring, we announced the introduction of Personal Plan, a monthly subscription that grants individuals access to 5,000+ of the top-rated professional skills courses on Udemy. Since then, we’ve run experiments and conducted research to understand how a broad subscription can complement direct course purchases on our marketplace. As we continue to test, learn, and grow this new offering, we’re committed to keeping instructors informed about what we’re learning and planning. Read on to get the latest.


What we’ve learned so far


We launched the Personal Plan pilot knowing that learners who are drawn to a subscription model might be different from those who purchase courses a la carte. So far, our research and analysis have confirmed that when it comes to behavior and motivation, subscribers are looking for something a little different than purchasers. While we can’t share detailed financial results, we can share some of our top findings about these unique characteristics: 


  • Subscribers learn more intensely than a la carte purchasers on just about every axis: they start learning faster, come back to learn more often, consume more content, and explore more topics and categories than purchasers. 
  • Subscribers are very career-oriented in their learning goals. While some are just habitual learners, most have more concrete goals like breaking into a new field or advancing their careers within their current one.
  • Subscribers value more than just the video content. Across disciplines and motivations for learning, they value opportunities to practice what they’re learning and demonstrate mastery. 


For instructors with content in subscriptions, providing fresh, career-relevant content with ample opportunities for practice is key. And for Udemy, it’s imperative that we continue to provide instructors with the right tools and data to deliver these experiences. There’s still a lot for us to learn, and we’re excited to keep building our understanding in 2022.


Where we’re focusing next


As we build out Personal Plan in 2022, we’re focusing on three key areas.


  • Honing marketing practices to boost overall marketplace health: We’re confident in the value of subscriptions for learners, instructors, and the overall marketplace. For subscriptions to be a healthy complement to the direct purchase model, we need to deepen our understanding of how different marketing practices affect both models.

    In 2022, our plan is to continue to test different ways of introducing learners to Personal Plan, as well as to keep improving lifecycle communications to help subscribers build great learning habits. We also plan to explore things like an annual payment option, different durations of free trial (including no free trial), and the relationship between transactional and subscription pricing. We’ll focus on a few markets for these tests, with Personal Plan only available in select English markets for the time being. We’ll inform instructors when we’re ready to go live in other language markets.


  • Improving guidance to drive learner engagement: Engagement and retention are key to success for Personal Plan. While access to 5,000+ courses is exciting, it can also be overwhelming for learners who don’t know where to start. So, we plan to build out more explicit, career-based guidance to help subscribers understand what they need to learn, present them with strong course options for their goals, and motivate them to jump right in. We’ll also explore possible improvements for non-video learning experiences like coding exercises and practice tests, which we know are essential for ongoing engagement.


  • Strengthening instructor tools and incentives: As we work to attract the right learners and set them up for success, we also want to ensure that your coupons and referral links remain a reliable tool for driving your revenue. In the next few months, we plan to formalize and improve the way we reward course promotions that result in new subscribers. We’ll also work on improving instructor reporting for subscriptions, with enhancements to the Performance dashboard to help you better understand your subscription learners. Finally, we’ll improve the clarity of our terms by officially renaming the “Udemy Business program” to the “Udemy Subscriptions program.”


Charting the course, together


With Personal Plan, our goal is to build a subscription model that delivers more value to learners with broader or longer-term learning goals, and more revenue to instructors and Udemy. We know that the content you create and the services you provide are critical to achieving this goal.


We’re undertaking several programs to ensure we continue to partner with instructors to shape the future of subscriptions on Udemy. Our User Research team conducts instructor interviews and focus groups on subscription-relevant topics, while our Instructor team recently launched a Subscriptions Advisory Board to engage current subscription instructors in discussion about subscription strategy. You may also see invitations to surveys and Community discussions around the types of policies and features you’d like to see when it comes to subscriptions.


If you have questions about subscriptions, or if you’d like to jump in on the first of these discussion prompts, please head on over to the Instructor Community. Thanks for continuing to help create new possibilities for learners around the world.

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