The Udemy Business Model In A Nutshell

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Written By Angelo Sorbello

Tech entrepreneur and passionate about business



While the education technology industry is saturated with online learning platforms, Udemy has found a way to stand out. Anticipating skepticism towards the platform's business model, this article will delve into the key factors that make Udemy successful.

By exploring its value proposition, two-sided marketplace, business strategy, and revenue-sharing model, readers will gain a comprehensive understanding of how Udemy has become a leading resource for lifelong learning and professional development.

Key Takeaways

  • Udemy's value proposition is to make quality education more accessible and improve lives through learning.
  • Udemy operates as a two-sided marketplace with instructors and students as the main players.
  • Udemy's business strategy focuses on enabling anyone to become an instructor and monetize their courses, while also offering a separate solution for organizations through Udemy for Business.
  • Instructors play a crucial role in Udemy's success and are offered a revenue-share structure based on the source of course sales.

Udemy's Value Proposition and Mission

The value proposition and mission of Udemy can be summarized as providing accessible and quality education to individuals and organizations worldwide.

With its online learning platform, Udemy has made a significant impact on education by leveraging technology to break down barriers to learning.

By offering a vast library of courses across various subjects, Udemy allows individuals to acquire new skills and knowledge at their own pace and convenience. This accessibility is further enhanced through the use of technology, enabling learners to access courses anytime, anywhere, and on any device.

Additionally, Udemy's mission extends to organizations, as it offers a dedicated platform, Udemy for Business, to help employees continue their learning journey and improve their professional skills.

Two-Sided Marketplace: Instructors and Students

In the Udemy business model, instructors and students engage in a mutually beneficial two-sided marketplace. This marketplace is essential for the success of the platform, as instructors attract students and vice versa.

Here are three key aspects of this dynamic:

  1. Instructor recruitment: Udemy actively seeks out new instructors to expand its network of courses. By providing a platform for anyone to teach and monetize their expertise, Udemy opens up opportunities for individuals to share their knowledge and earn income.
  2. Student engagement: The availability of a wide range of courses determines the appeal of Udemy for students. The platform offers a diverse selection of courses taught by experts and practitioners, ensuring that students can find the knowledge and skills they need to enhance their personal and professional growth.
  3. Continuous growth: The success of the Udemy marketplace relies on the continuous growth of both instructors and students. As more instructors join the platform, the variety of courses expands, attracting more students. Simultaneously, an increasing number of students motivates instructors to create new and valuable courses, creating a positive feedback loop for growth.
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Udemy's Business Strategy

Udemy's business strategy revolves around empowering individuals to become instructors and monetize their expertise, while also providing a separate e-learning solution for organizations.

The platform enables anyone to create and sell online courses, making it easy for instructors to set up and profit from their courses. Instructors play a crucial role in attracting students to the platform, and Udemy offers a revenue-sharing model with different percentages based on the source of course sales.

Additionally, Udemy has developed Udemy for Business, which offers a comprehensive e-learning solution for organizations. This separate platform targets B2B customers and provides access to a vast library of courses taught by experts and practitioners.

Udemy's monetization strategy centers around empowering individuals to teach and earn income, while also catering to the needs of organizations with their e-learning solution. Instructor recruitment is a key aspect of their business strategy, ensuring a continuous growth of course offerings and attracting more students to the platform.

Key Partner: Instructors

Instructors are integral to the success of Udemy's business model, as their expertise and courses attract users to the platform. The key partner relationship between Udemy and instructors is based on a revenue sharing model, which incentivizes instructors to create and promote high-quality courses.

Here are three key points about the instructor partnership:

  1. Instructor recruitment: Udemy actively recruits instructors from various fields to ensure a diverse range of courses. This helps attract a wider audience and meet the demand for different subjects and skills.
  2. Revenue sharing model: Udemy offers a revenue-share structure for instructors, with different percentages based on the source of course sales. Instructors receive 97% of revenue from self-promoted courses, while sales from Udemy's organic traffic are split 50/50 between Udemy and the instructor. Additionally, on the B2B/Enterprise side, instructors receive 25% of monthly subscription revenue from Udemy for Business customers.
  3. Incentivizing quality and engagement: Udemy encourages instructors to provide high-quality content and engage with students through features such as course reviews, Q&A sections, and instructor announcements. This fosters a positive learning experience and helps instructors build their reputation on the platform.

Through these partnerships, Udemy ensures a wide selection of courses and attracts both instructors and students to its platform.

Udemy for Business

Continuing the discussion on instructor partnerships and revenue sharing, Udemy for Business offers a comprehensive e-learning solution for organizations.

As one of the leading e-learning platforms, Udemy for Business provides companies with unlimited access to over 4,000 courses taught by 1,500+ industry experts and practitioners.

This platform offers a wide range of corporate training solutions, giving organizations the opportunity to enhance their employees' skills and knowledge.

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With fresh and actionable content, Udemy for Business aims to provide a complete e-learning plan for companies, enabling them to develop their workforce and stay competitive in today's rapidly evolving business landscape.

Marketing and Freemium Model

To attract and engage potential customers, Udemy employs a marketing strategy centered around a freemium model. This model allows users to access a certain number of courses for free, enticing them to explore the platform and experience its value.

Here are three key elements of Udemy's marketing and freemium model:

  1. User engagement: By offering free courses, Udemy encourages users to actively participate in the learning process. This engagement helps build a sense of trust and familiarity with the platform, increasing the likelihood of users becoming paying customers.
  2. Freemium conversion rates: Udemy tracks the conversion rates of free users to paid customers. This data allows them to optimize their marketing efforts and identify effective strategies to encourage users to upgrade to premium courses.
  3. Upselling and cross-selling: Once users are engaged with the free courses, Udemy strategically promotes and recommends premium courses that align with their interests and learning goals. This upselling and cross-selling approach helps maximize revenue while providing users with relevant and valuable learning opportunities.

Sales and Acquisition Strategy

Udemy's sales and acquisition strategy focuses on expanding its customer base and attracting new clients through targeted marketing and sales efforts. With a mission to make quality education more accessible, Udemy aims to drive sales growth by reaching a diverse range of individuals and organizations.

The platform utilizes various marketing channels to promote its courses and attract new customers. Through strategic partnerships and collaborations, Udemy expands its reach and taps into new markets.

Additionally, the platform employs a dedicated sales force to acquire B2B clients, offering a vast library of courses through its Udemy for Business platform.

Revenue Sharing and Monetization

Udemy's revenue sharing and monetization strategy plays a crucial role in its business model, ensuring instructors are fairly compensated for their courses while providing a sustainable source of income for the platform.

Key aspects of Udemy's revenue sharing and monetization strategy include:

  1. Fair revenue sharing: Udemy offers a revenue-share structure for instructors, with different percentages based on the source of course sales. Instructors receive 97% of revenue from courses promoted by themselves. If sales come through Udemy's organic traffic, the revenue is split 50/50 between Udemy and the instructor. This ensures that instructors are rewarded for their efforts in driving sales.
  2. Monthly subscription revenue: Udemy allocates 25% of monthly subscription revenue from Udemy for Business customers to pay instructors on the B2B/Enterprise side. This provides instructors with an additional stream of income and incentivizes them to create high-quality courses that cater to the needs of organizations.
  3. Sustainable income: By providing a fair revenue-sharing model and additional income through subscription revenue, Udemy enables instructors to earn a sustainable income from their courses. This motivates instructors to continue creating valuable content and contributes to the overall growth and success of the platform.
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Frequently Asked Questions

What Are Some of the Challenges That Udemy Faced in Building Its Two-Sided Marketplace?

Some challenges Udemy faced in building its two-sided marketplace included the chicken and egg dilemma, initially relying on curated content, and the need to continuously attract both instructors and students for the platform's success. Solutions involved enrolling new instructors and focusing on instructor monetization.

How Does Udemy Differentiate Its Business Strategy From Other Edtech Companies?

Udemy differentiates its business strategy from other edtech companies by enabling anyone to become an instructor and monetize their courses. Their marketing strategies focus on attracting individuals and organizations through a freemium model and a dedicated sales force.

What Is the Process for Instructors to Set up and Sell Their Courses on Udemy?

To set up and sell courses on Udemy, instructors go through a straightforward process. They create a course outline, record and upload video lectures, add supplementary materials, set pricing and promotional strategies, and publish the course for students to enroll and learn from.

How Does Udemy for Business Attract Companies to Use Its E-Learning Solution?

Udemy for Business attracts companies by offering a comprehensive e-learning solution that provides unlimited access to over 4,000 courses taught by experts. It offers actionable insights and admin functionality to create a complete e-learning plan for organizations.

What Are Some of the Learning Insights and Admin Functionalities Offered by Udemy for Business?

Udemy for Business offers learning insights and admin functionalities to its B2B customers. These features allow organizations to track employee progress, analyze learning trends, and manage course assignments, providing a comprehensive e-learning solution for businesses.


In conclusion, Udemy has established itself as a leading online learning platform, offering a wide range of courses to individuals and organizations. By connecting instructors and students, Udemy creates opportunities for personal and professional growth.

Its unique business strategy allows anyone to become an instructor and monetize their courses, while its Udemy for Business platform provides a comprehensive e-learning solution for organizations.

With a revenue-sharing model and thousands of courses available, Udemy continues to be a valuable resource for lifelong learning and development.

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