Udemy Affiliate Program Review

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Udemy homepage screenshot

You can learn just about anything on Udemy, an online education website that provides over 100,000 courses at affordable prices.

With 13 major categories and hundreds of subcategories, Udemy’s audience is anyone interested in learning something new. For affiliates, it doesn’t matter what niche market or website topic you’re focusing on, you’ll find something on Udemy that you can promote.

Udemy has a very good affiliate program which is managed through the Rakuten Linkshare affiliate network. In this article, I’ll tell you why you should join the Udemy affiliate program and how to make money promoting their courses.

What is Udemy?

Udemy is an online marketplace for courses on all kinds of topics from coding to photography, fitness, nail art and more familiar business topics like Amazon affiliate marketing and YouTube video marketing.

The courses are created by experts on these topics and are accessible to anyone who is interested in learning about something. There are free courses available but the majority of courses listed can only be accessed after paying the cost of the course.

Udemy regularly holds special sales where they discount the prices of the courses. It is not uncommon to see a course with a regular price of $199 on sale for as low as $9.99 during one of these sales.

Udemy allows users to create an account where they can access the course they paid for, save courses to a wishlist, rate and review courses as well as create courses.

With courses on such a diverse range of topics, Udemy is essentially an affiliate network that specializes in online courses.

The Udemy Affiliate Program Overview

screenshot of Udemy's affiliate program page on Rakuten Linkshare
Udemy on Rakuten Linkshare

Affiliates who would like to promote courses can find the Udemy affiliate program on the Rakuten Linkshare affiliate network.

They offer a baseline commission of 15% but often extends private offers where you can get a bigger percentage based on your performance. I’ve received up to 50% commissions before while promoting courses around the holidays.

Cookies length for Udemy’s affiliate program is a bit on the short side allowing for only 7 days. Typically many affiliate programs have 30 day, 90-180 days or lifetime cookies. Amazon has 24 hour cookies but is one of the most widely used affiliate programs online. However, discount periods rarely last more than a week so most people will purchase within this period otherwise they risk missing out.

Unlike most other networks Rakuten Linkshare’s payment threshold is only $1 so you can get paid if you make a sale but usually advertisers can put a hold on payments.

Payments are made visa PayPal, checks or direct deposit and are sent via the network along with commissions you make from other advertisers.

Udemy has lots of creatives including text links for your websites and email, banners and product links that allow you to deep-link to any course on the site. Deep-linking is absolutely necessary for an affiliate program of this type because you want to link directly to a course and not to Udemy’s homepage.

Regular communication to affiliates is made via email to inform about special promotions and contests, to update affiliates about new banners and how to make money during special occasions ie. Black Friday, New Years etc.

To get started, you’ll need a working website that already has unique and quality content and you’ll need to apply through Linkshare so having an account with Rakuten Linkshare is a must also. I had no trouble getting approved but they do review websites before approving so make sure that you have a good website to promote the offers.

What I Like About Udemy’s Affiliate Program

There is a lot to like about Udemy’s affiliate program and this is one of the reasons why I chose to write this review as the first in a series of affiliate program reviews.

The thing I like most about Udemy’s affiliate program is that they value and leverage their affiliates as an integral part of the marketing of their website.

For example, most of their promotions are affiliate-only where users can get discounts on courses at a particular pricing. Regular users who do not go through an affiliate will see the regular price instead of the discounted price.

This has a lot of advantages for the affiliate as most users would search for discounted pricing so that they could get the course they want for cheaper.

To make this successful, Udemy regular sends affiliates a marketing calendar every month with the dates they want to run special promotions and what you can do to prepare for these dates. They’ll also have specially made banners and creatives for these occasions. Affiliates are asked to keep the communications confidential as they are only used to inform for marketing purposes.

Pros:

  • Affiliate only promotions
  • Regular communications to affiliates
  • Contests and special promotions
  • New creatives on a regular basis
  • Deep-linking

What I Don’t Like

There isn’t much to dislike about the affiliate program as Udemy will do their best to keep affiliates happy. If this means running regular promotions at deep discount pricing then this is what they’ll do. It simply makes more money for affiliates.

From what I’ve seen based on complaints about Udemy, many people seem to have the view that because of these regular discounts, Udemy’s pricing reflects the value of the product. So a product where the regular pricing is $199 but discounted to $10.99 is only really valued at $10.99.

screenshot of Udemy course page
Business courses during special $9.99 sale

To be honest, I would disagree because a lot of these courses are really great and you can see by the number of reviews and the star ratings that people get a lot of value from these courses.

Even though there might be a low perceived value based on the discounting, people don’t want to pay hundreds of dollars to access courses and they end up getting good value anyway.

Cons:

  • Low perceived value from discount pricing

Why Promote Udemy?

You do not need a reason to promote Udemy. All you need is a website and in most cases it doesn’t really matter what topic you’re writing about. All sorts of niches will find something on there to learn about.

Screenshot of music production category on Udemy
Music production category with featured course, popular topics and instructors.

For example, if your website is about:

  • Cooking – Under Lifestyle > Food & Beverage > Cooking you’ll find lots of cooking courses and courses about baking, preparing specific foods and cooking foods in other cultures eg. India cooking, Thai dishes etc.
  • Basketball – search under Health & Fitness > Sports > Basketball to find courses that will help basketball enthusiasts
  • Music Production – under Music > Production, there are other categories depending on what area of music production readers may be interested in such as production in a specific DAW, audio engineering or music composition.
  • Coding – This is a very popular topic on Udemy and courses on different programming languages can be found in the Development category.
  • Affiliate Marketing – promote courses related to Amazon affiliate marketing, CPA marketing, Clickbank, email marketing and SEO to your audience as there are lots of courses to choose from here.

As you can see, every type of website will be a fit to promote Udemy. You can make easy commissions promoting courses as everyone wants to learn something new or further develop their knowledge of a particular topic.

Which Courses to Promote

Which course topics you should promote would of course depend on the niche you’re in but generally, I look for courses that have lots of ratings (over 1000) and a star rating of 4-5 stars. The more people rating a course the better as it is not easy to maintain a high star rating of above 4 stars unless you have a good product.

Udemy allows you to see these ratings and reviews easily as they will help fuel sales and consumer trust and confidence from the social proof.

Udemy also lists popular courses as well as featured courses in each of their categories so that you can see what is performing the best.

Don’t count out less popular courses either. Some of these might be new but very good. If you want to be confident in your recommendation of a particular course then you can always purchase it and check it out. Reviewing the course based on your own hands-on experience can also make for a good way of promoting that course.

To make money on your website from Udemy courses, roundups and reviews of specific courses as mentioned above are two ways to create content to promote Udemy.

You can also highlight a problem that your audience may be having and then offer a course as a solution for them to learn how to fix that problem.

Courses can also help your audience develop skills that may help them in other areas such as making money. For example, a food truck owner learning how to cook an Indian dish may be able to add other menu items that will gain interest in his area and make more money for him.

Use your own creativity to come up with content and promotion ideas that will help you promote Udemy’s courses. Or you can keep an eye on your inbox for Udemy’s affiliate newsletter where you can get plenty of ideas from the experts themselves on what works in terms of promotion and which courses you can promote to make more money.

Have you considered promoting courses to your audience? Are you considering promoting Udemy as an affiliate? Light up the comment section below with your thoughts?

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12 Comments

  1. Wowww!! I had no idea that Udemy would offer sales of 95% off on their courses! Online learning is a fantastic option for people to find a way to squeeze in education at a time that works best for them. It can be hard to find regular courses that will fit into a tight schedule, so Udemy is a wonderful way to always be learning something new! Thanks for the details on their affiliate program. Sounds like everyone wins!

    • Yep, they definitely do and I love the win/win/win situation that comes out of this. Udemy and course creators gets a customer, affiliates get to make easy sales and the user is happy with the amount of value for the price they paid to learn something new. 

  2. Thank you for teaching me more about the udemy affiliate program. I could think of some courses there that would go great on my website. 15% commission is very good. I’m sure the courses are easy to promote and will do very well. Do you have to give them your social security number? I was just wondering about that. Thanks!

    • You wouldn’t need to give them your social. Most affiliate programs won’t ask for that info. Linkshare doesn’t ask and to be honest, since I’m not an American citizen or live in America, I don’t really know but most affiliate programs and networks don’t. They’ll mostly ask for a Tax id or status so that they can report taxes if you make over $20,000 per year. Since you’re dealing with Linkshare/Rakuten though, I don’t think this would be a problem. 

  3. Amazing review here i must confess. This is a full packaged affiliate program i cant wait to dive in. I have always wanyed to invest my little time into awl worthwhile affiliate program that is reputable and can be trusted to deliver the best result. The fact that this affiliate program has Discounts on it’s program is more encouraging and helpful to help boost progress and learning. Thanks for this great review!

    • I think the discounts are great and make the affiliate program exciting to promote. It’s one of the many benefits of promoting Udemy and will get you easy sales. 

  4. Hello Jay! I actually never heard of Udemy at all so I’m pretty happy to come across your website to gain all this information. I never knew there was a platform like this that you can promote a bunch of different courses online. This is pretty cool to me as I’m always trying to learn something new. Udemy is good for a person looking for a great place to do affiliate marketing for but seems like it would also be good for a person that creates a course online as well. It’s a good place to get your product marketed. Thanks for sharing this I definitely will be checking it out.

    • Nikki, it’s actually surprising to me to know that someone hasn’t heard of Udemy. But I guess that’s to be expected. After all, if everyone knew about them then they wouldn’t need affiliates. I’m glad to know that I’ve introduced you to something worth checking out and that you’re seeing a lot of possibilities beyond what I’ve shared here. 

  5. I love platforms that treat their affiliates right and udeny seems to be great at doing that. I must be sincere, I have heard a lot from people who promote the courses on this website. Though I thought they were pure hyping but then, I need to get my hands on a couple of the products in my area of niche. This is great and I’m definitely giving a chance to this.

    • Udemy’s affiliate management are definitely doing it right. I really look forward to receiving the emails and checking out the new promotions they have.

      I’ve also heard good and bad online from people about Udemy but I’ve also checked out a few of the courses myself and the ones I got delivered more value than I paid for them. 

  6. Udemy’s affiliate program is worth considering now judging from your review, Jay.  It’s like everyone who ones to learn a skill go to Udemy and with them having an affiliate program in place is a boon for marketers too.  Deep linking is no issue since you want to promote specific course within a niche, but do you have any idea how long their cookies last?  Thanks

    • Thanks for asking that Ron. This is something I should have mentioned in the article and I’ll go back and edit it in somewhere. Very vital piece of info there for affiliate.

      I’ve added this line about cookie length above so you can find the answer within.


      Cookies length for Udemy’s affiliate program is a bit on the short side allowing for only 7 days. Typically many affiliate programs have 30 day, 90-180 days or lifetime cookies. Amazon has 24 hour cookies but is one of the most widely used affiliate programs online. However, discount periods rarely last more than a week so most people will purchase within this period otherwise they risk missing out.

      Again, thanks for bringing this omission of vital info to my attention.

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