The question comes up from time to time, How Does Udemy Promote My Course?
Well, there’s the official answer that talks about the options but gives no detail on HOW to get into those options.
Of course, there is more to it than that. There has to be.
First you need to understand something that is very important. Most advanced search engines (and ad platforms) on the web today have this concept of quality.
Google invented PageRank (since superseded by better technology) to rank the quality of pages. But they also rank the quality of ads on their AdWord platform. Facebook ranks the quality of posts (which leads to more or less reach) and also ranks the quality of ads. If you can think of a major platform, chances are they attempt to separate the quality content from the less than quality.
So what is quality?
On Udemy, quality courses sell more. Oh yes, there are some other things too, but let’s say that if Udemy sends you 100 potential students, and 50 buy your course, they would love to send you 100 more students. Or 1000. or 10000.
If Udemy sends you 100 potential students, and only 1 buys your course (or 0), it’s in their best interest not to work to hard to send you more students.
So let’s state right up front. CONVERSION RATE is king when it comes to “will Udemy promote my course”.
Disclaimer: This is all my opinion and observation, and based on a year of experience on this platform.
You have to think of Udemy promotion like grades or levels. The more successful you are at one level, you get promoted to the next, and as you continue to “sell well”, you continue to advance.
There are at least 10 ways that I can think that Udemy does promotion. There may be more. Not every course is promoted in all 10 ways.
- Course landing page (curated results)
- Facebook retargeting ads (automated)
- Custom Facebook ads (manual)
- Emails to students (somewhat automated)
- Featured in a special curated email promotion – i.e. Top 100 Business Courses (manual)
- New and noteworthy section of various pages (automated)
- Bing ads, Google ads, other ad placements (mostly manual)
- Custom deals with affiliates (that Udemy does on your behalf) (manual)
- Feature in news articles or press releases (manual)
- Feature on their social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram) (manual)
These are not in any order or ranked. Just a brain dump of ways Udemy can promote you.
There are probably more. I’m not even talking about site wide banners like they do for Seth Godin. I’m also not considering the LinkShare network affiliates or organic Udemy search to be promotion.
So I figure it works like this.
When you first launch a course, Udemy gives you a chance. You’ll get into new and noteworthy for sure (that’s what it’s for), and of course including in any site wide sales. This is a crucial time to get some sales and maintain a good conversion rate.
At some point, you fall off of new and noteworthy.
If your conversion rate or total volume of sales reaches a certain threshold, they’ll include you in automated promotions like Facebook retargeting and emails to students. Let’s call that Level 1. If your sales remain strong from that exposure, you will get selected for some of the manual campaigns like the smaller targeted email promotions or manual ads (level 2). If that goes well, they may make deals with partner sites and run other paid ads besides retargeting (level 3) Now if that doesn’t do well and the ROI is not good for them on that, perhaps you they will keep promoting you at the “level 2” level.
And there must be a level where you simply exist in search and get no promotion (level 0). Courses with low ratings or almost no organic sales.
This is all speculation, again. But when you’re dealing with 30,000 courses, and have only a few thousand you can manually promote, this is probably how you’d do it.