21 – Where the Course Industry is Heading (& how you fit in)

About twice a year I sit down and think about what’s happening in the course space but this time enough happened that I thought I’d share. 

These events caught my attention recently

1. Facebook is joining the race. 

You will now be able to create paid online events directly on the platform. 

Read more about it here. 

They must have seen the volume of clicks moving elsewhere as well as the demand for platforms that allow to host live cohorts and webinars. 

Game changer for sure if you’re running ads with them and want to hold a paid live session.

2. Amazon is taking on Udemy (and the smaller marketplaces)

As of last week, the Amazon marketplace has an online learning section. For now mostly technical courses developed by Amazon and as well as external experts (mostly Udemy instructors).

The platform’s model resembles that of Udemy: letting individuals offer courses, not just organizations. And it has already attracted popular Udemy instructors.

Wouldn’t want to be riding the Coursera ship during this…

3. Growing pains for most platforms 

I’ve been observing Thinkific and the amount of (A) their new projects & (B) complaints about their customer service has been staggering. They did go public, received funding and have scaled hard which is extremely difficult to do. 

They’re not the only one going through it but I’m one of their experts and do feel that they are the best platform out there (despite the growing pains). It’s what happens when you go from 50-200 employees overnight. 

Not that long ago the owner of Teachable also decided to sell and step away. 

Meanwhile, other platforms that experienced unicorn type growth during the pandemic are also slowing down and doubling down their own marketing efforts (events, affiliate programs etc..)

4. Company reports are still showing massive growth with one major difference this year

One key difference sticks out. After reading the Kajabi and Thinkific surveys the income of the top 20% of creators is increasing (7 & 8 figures) while the other 80% is stuck somewhere around 5 to 6 figures. 

5. Udemy finally turned a profit

I know. 

Took them way to long but it’s enough to get all the financial talking heads excited.

They now serve 49 million learners with access to approximately 180,000 courses. 


What does all of this mean and how it impacts you as a course seller?

1. The marketplace is starting to mature.

When companies like like Fiverr and Appsumo get into the game it was interesting but Facebook & Amazon are giants. 

2. We’re getting closer to friction-less course buying

One of the biggest obstacles in selling courses is getting someone to take out their credit card, put it your checkout and click buy. Once you’re able to use a checkout (let’s say Amazon’s) where someone can simply click buy on your site without doing anything else… it will increase conversions better than any split testing I can think of.

3. There will be a consolidation of course platforms

We’re still at the stage of “which platform should I use for my course?” when in reality it barely matters. All it does is give marketers such as me headaches as we try to figure out how to track them all when doing marketing. I’ve seen over 10 new ones in the past 6 months and there are already too many. The challenge has been that none was big enough to buy out others but now with so many going public it will happen.

4. More course creators will make 7 & 8 figures (…more once someone breaks the 9 figure mark)

As the market expands and even more of world class consultants, coaches & experts into the space. A lot still have not. Course creation is not as mainstream as Twitter and Facebook want you to think. It’s simply a matter of time. They’ll bring in more money, larger networks and higher quality courses. There’s an industry of roughly 200k freelancers that work for huge learning organizations (old school) with day rates of $800-4.5k that’s still oblivious to what’s possible. I hope you welcome the competition. 


Until next week

Tom

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