As promised, I took some time to recap the performance of my Udemy course in January. Please take a look at my first month December recap if you haven’t yet seen that. It provides some additional context that will help you better understand the trajectory of what the course has generated.
My goal between my two performance recap posts is twofold. First, it’s to showcase the strength of Udemy’s audience as a means of giving new prospective Udemy instructors the confidence they need to get started. Much like Amazon has an established audience for physical products that external companies can leverage as a distribution channel, Udemy provides similar capabilities to those providing educational materials to a well-established audience. Second, it’s to show that often times, the best topics are those that are already competitive on the platform. My course is on Google Analytics, which already had a number of courses before mine, but that didn’t matter. I’m at the top of the industry, so I had enough confidence in my content that I knew I’d quickly surpass others that didn’t have the same experience. I’m telling you this because competition shouldn’t be seen as a deterrent. Instead, increased competition = increased eyeballs, thereby increasing your probability of sales. Udemy isn’t a zero-sum game. Udemy’s challenge is to grow both the supply and demand sides of their business. Where there’s supply, it’s in Udemy’s best interest to aid in matching demand given the commission they take on each sale.
January marked the first full month that the course was live and the results exceeded my first-month expectations. The course gained 278 new students at a net profit to me of $1,325.61. I’m very pleased with the strength of the result. 75% came from Udemy organic, with the remaining 25% diversified through the channel indicated below.
One of my initial worries was that I’d see a spike in January (which I did) that would taper off substantially in subsequent months. The jury is obviously still out on how upcoming months will fare, but I have increased confidence that this type of result is sustainable, given that only 54% of January’s revenue came from the New Year’s promotion. The remaining 46% came by way of my own promotions, sales occurring after the promotion ended, and from affiliates promoting my course via their own offers. This was the type of result I needed to see that convinced me this channel could be economically viable long term through the publication of additional courses. Regarding the 46% of revenue that came external to the big New Year’s promotion, it’s not a drop in the bucket. If one course can produce $700/mo., then 2 courses can produce $1,400 with all else equal. It’s nowhere near enough to replace an income source, but does provide a nice passive income stream.
The chart below depicts my lifetime earnings since my course launched late December, with the month-over-month trend by revenue source. Once the course hits $3,000 in lifetime revenue, I’ll consider it breakeven relative to the time it took to shoot, edit, and publish.
You’ll notice by the green trend line above that the revenue generated by way of my own promotions decreased in January. This was by design and occurred as a result of spending less on Facebook advertising. I was seeing a 3x ROI from Facebook in December, but January’s ROI dropped down to 1.5x. I chose to scale back my efforts there given the low sales price offered by Udemy during the New Year’s promotion. I didn’t see Facebook as being as economically viable as it was in December given the avg. costs my campaigns were seeing. I expect to ramp my campaigns back up now that February has begun.
On the SEO front, my course also benefitted from improved rankings within Udemy’s search results for the term “Google Analytics.” My course ranked in position 8 to end December, but reached a peak of position 5 in January, before settling in position 7 where it currently resides given the introduction of new courses by other instructors in the same category. I’ve been keeping a close eye on some of the new courses and have already seen they aren’t getting the same initial traction my course had, so I’d expect to reclaim those higher rankings in-time as long as their performance trend continues.
I’ve taken a much stronger content-centric approach that will continue in future months. I plan on giving away a lot of free content in the form of upcoming blog posts and YouTube video as well. Much of my existing Google Analytics content is also sent to those on my email list as well. In addition to this content, I’ll also be doing some more active promotion around my Google Analytics ebook. I also won’t be doing routine monthly recaps as I have the last two months. If you’re considering becoming a Udemy instructor, I’d strongly encourage you to consider it as long as you’re accomplished in your prospective field.