Teachinguide has compiled the results of its 2020 Udemy Instructor Survey, the 2nd of its kind. Our first Udemy instructor survey was done in 2019 and you can read about the results of that survey here.

We’d like to thank those Udemy instructors who took time to complete the survey. Your feedback will help us to improve our products and services.

Without further ado, we’ll get to the main findings of the survey.

Udemy Instructor Respondent Profiles

A wide variety of Udemy instructors with different levels of experience took our survey. As you can see in the graph below almost half have produced less than 10 courses. A small number have created over 100 courses and a few none at all.

Udemy Instructor Survey

It’s worth noting that the Udemy instructors who have created over 100 courses maintain a very high profile in their area of expertise and engage in a large number of activities such as TedX talks, authoring best selling books, engaging with high profile customers, etc. Udemy is clearly a piece of their edupreneur enterprise.

Also worth noting is that ALL of our respondents were men.  This reflects what we found in our previous blog article, “Udemy Courses – How Male and Females Compare”, in which our analysis found that 77% of Udemy courses are taught by men.

Marketing and Promotion

In our last survey, 95% of online instructors indicated that marketing and promotions was one of their biggest challenges.  What we found this year was perhaps the reason why: 80% of our respondents spend less than 2 hours a week promoting and marketing their course.

It’s understandable that one reason Udemy instructors are on the platform is that Udemy does most of the course marketing for you. However, other answers given by instructors to questions lead us to believe that the lack of marketing and promotion is primarily a lack of time issue for most instructors.

Udemy Instructor Survey
Respondent time spent on marketing/promotion weekly

Instructors who are doing some marketing/promotion primarily use Google, followed by Facebook, and Youtube.

Course Creation

We’ve posed the question in one of our blogs, should you outsource course development? So, we were curious if any Udemy instructors do this. We found that about 30% do outsource some aspect of their course business. 

The most commonly outsourced aspects were:

  • Course design and creation
  • Video editing and production
  • Student communication – (handling queries and translation)

Engagement

Engagement, in the form of student communications and reviews is very important to Udemy page rankings. The number of reviews drives your sub-category ranking. Reviews drive your course rating, which affects course ranking too.

Nearly a third of instructors who responded get less than 10 reviews a month, and over 50% get less than 100 reviews a month. These relatively low review numbers somewhat reflect the fact that most survey respondents do not offer a great number of courses.

It’s not surprising then that 30% of instructors said that one thing that matters most right now for them is to engage more students.

Most instructors (58%) are engaging with students over the Udemy platform, and about a third also engage on Facebook with students, while a quarter, mostly the highly experienced instructors, engage on YouTube as well.

Udemy Instructor Performance

55% of Udemy instructor respondents are happy with their current performance on the Udemy platform. About 20% were at the other end of the spectrum, with a quarter of instructors feeling unsure if they were satisfied with their situation on Udemy or not. This is to be expected as building a Udemy business presents a lot of successes, failures and uncertainty about the two.

Udemy instructor survey
Instructor sentiment about course performance on Udemy

By far (62%) Udemy instructors judge their success on Udemy by the amount of revenue they generate. Other factors such as good ratings and student enrollments are used to gauge success as well.

Online Learning Trends Awareness

We’ve written a lot about trends in specific learning areas, topics for online learning, how to find niche topics and topics in high demand, etc. So we were surprised to find that most Udemy instructors were not aware of trends such as self-development courses or corporate/business training needs

The majority, 64%, of course were aware that online learning “is the future of education.”

Other online learning trends that respondents pointed out were an increase in competition from schools/universities offering online courses and increasing number of Udemy instructors.

Udemy Instructors Goals for the Upcoming Year

The top two goals for most instructors go hand in hand. 45% say they want to make more courses. It follows that 32% say their goal is to have a better income. It is somewhat surprising that, given most instructors cited revenue as their indicator of success on Udemy, that not more stated they wanted to grow their income this coming year. 

When asked what matters most right now, 43% of instructors said that they want to improve and deliver better courses, and 52% said that this was their most urgent issue. So it seems that Udemy instructors do understand that course quality should be top priority.

Only 6% of instructors said that they need to be more organized.  However, with the majority of instructors saying don’t have enough time to create and sell courses, we would expect more instructors to be focused on time management and organization in the coming year.

The number one factor that Udemy instructors feel inhibits their ability to reach their course, income and other goals is a lack of time, with 42% citing this as their biggest obstacle to achieving their goals.

Interestingly, just 13% felt that marketing, or lack thereof, was an inhibiting factor. This might explain the relatively low amount of time spent on marketing and promotion of courses. On the other hand, 35% of Udemy instructors rated course marketing as one of their top 3 urgent issues to address. 

It seems that instructors understand that course marketing is important to success and income goals, but just don’t have the time to do it.

Strategies for Achieving Goals and Overcoming Current Challenges

While a quarter of respondents don’t have any concrete plans to resolve some issues that were previously mentioned, the rest have plans to focus on content and new course creation (19%), coupon promotions, building a stronger course design team, and yes, using tools like Teachinguide.

As for strategies they won’t be using, advertising courses won’t be a tactic. 36% said they had tried it and it didn’t work.

What does work strategy-wise?  Social media and coupon promotions were the strategy of choice for 22% of Udemy instructors, with content updates, translation into new languages, course quality improvements, keyword optimization, and getting into Udemy for Business following closely behind in terms of strategies.

Frustration with Udemy

When asked what frustrates them the most, it was surprising to find that half of the instructors cited the Udemy model and policies as the source of frustration. Factors such as low course prices during Udemy sales, Udemy’s focus on student enrollments and number of reviews for rankings, weak quality standards, changing ad policies, and favoring long time instructors over newer ones were all sources of frustration.

Given this, it’s not surprising that 41% of instructors said that if they don’t manage to solve their biggest problems on Udemy, they would leave the platform altogether.

These challenges and frustrations expressed by our respondents are ones that Teachinguide endeavors to develop solutions for.  For instance, after the last survey, when instructors said that marketing and promotion was hard, we introduced our free coupon tool.

While we can’t fix the business model of Udemy, Teachinguide can help instructors optimize their course business on the platform. The Teachinguide can help you fight the increasing competition on Udemy and elsewhere by monitoring competitors and helping you identify competitive topics and keywords.

We’re also working on a solution to give instructors insights that are key to the quality of their courses that will show them how they can improve. And as for time management, Teachinguide can help with multi-course management, tracking course progress and optimizing content. 

In the end we use your feedback to create and improve our tools to help you overcome challenges and ensure success on Udemy!

3 COMMENTS

  1. From the article:

    “It seems that instructors understand that course marketing is important to success and income goals, but just don’t have the time to do it.”

    You are missing an underlying (hidden) reason for this. When instructors are limited to a profit of $5 per course, the time it takes to develop and fine-tune paid ads so they are profitable with such slim profits is enormous.

    The underlying issue isn’t that instructors have no time to market. It’s that instructors don’t have time to develop marketing that can be profitable with such low profits per sale.

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