Both Udemy and Skillshare have affiliate programs you can leverage for your blog and YouTube channel as a way to make money online. In fact, you can hundreds of dollars perhaps even over a thousand dollars in passive income
All it takes is the right traffic and putting a relevant offer that converts in front of that traffic.
Let’s take a look at both programs to compare these two competitors. The goal of this guide is not to persuade you to use one over the other. Instead it’s to break down each program and to look at the pros and cons objectively. Let’s get started.
Udemy vs Skillshare Affiliate Programs
So to begin this review we are going to take a look at a few different aspects of both programs. We will take a look at the application and approval process. Then we we will look at the back end digital marketing platform each program uses and lastly we will look that the payout structures for each.
- Application and approval process
- Digital marketing platform
- Commission structure
Udemy and Skillshare application and approval process
The affiliate programs for both Udemy and Skillshare have their own dedicated sign up page. For Udemy, you can simply visit Udemy.com/affiliates/ and for Skillshare you can visit Skillshare.com/affiliates/.
Both have an application and approval process. Unlike some programs that automatically approve you, each program does have some standards to meet.
The Udemy affiliate program requirements
The Udemy affiliate program expects potential affiliates to have some sort of following which you need to disclose upon applying. This following can be in any form. A high traffic website, social media following, YouTube audience or an email list.
Udemy accepts affiliates who have an engaged audience with consistent traffic and followers. Website traffic needs to be at least 1k over the last three months and if you’re applying through a social media platform like YouTube or Facebook you’ll need at least 1,000 followers.
In summary, don’t apply to the Udemy affiliate program until you have some established audience because they will reject your application if you don’t meet their requirements.
The Skillshare affiliate program requirements
Skillshare actually has the same standards as Udemy. While they don’t publicly share why some applications get rejected, they do state some basic requirements that need to be meet.
Skillshare’s affiliate program is free to join for anybody that has at least one demonstrated channel and audience that is aligned with Skillshare’s brand.Skillshare.com/affiliates
By channel they mean your traffic source. Which like Udemy can be a Pintrest page, Facebook group, high traffic blog or a YouTube channel.
In short, to get accepted into the Skillshare affiliate program requires you to have some established web presence.
After applying to both, I found the Udemy process a lot more responsive. When I first applied with a new website my application was rejected. When I applied again through one of my more established websites I was approved within days.
Skillshare takes a long time to go through and accept or reject applicants. With Udemy, you can expect a quick response.
Digital Marketing Platform for Skillshare and Udemy
Both these affiliate programs use two different digital marketing platforms to help run and maintain their program. As an affiliate, the value of a proper, well developed platform is that it should be easy to generate affiliate links, coupon codes as well as tracking.
Udemy uses Rakuten Marketing
Rakuten Marketing is a clearing house service that manages multiple affiliate programs. From one account you can apply to various affiliate programs and all commissions earned are accrued through one platform.
With Rakuten Marketing and using the affiliate program features you’re able to create deep links to specific pages on Udemy. That means you can link to an promote specific courses as they relate to the type of content you’re producing.
This is essential because if you have a personal finance website for example, it’s going to be worth your time promoting personal finance related courses.
Skillshare uses Impact Radius
Impact Radius is a more modern digital marketing platform that manages individual programs for companies. With one account, you’re able to be an affiliate for multiple companies with ease.
Impact Radius is a slightly different in that it’s not a clearing house like Rakuten. That means you can’t search for affiliate programs to join when you’re logged into Impact Radius.
Instead you have to apply through a dedicated affiliate page (like Skillshare.com/affiliates/) and then Skillshare will be added to your account.
Impact Radius is quicker and easier
Rakuten Marketing on the backend as an affiliate is quite dated now and overly clunky and confusing. With small text, a sidebar filled with other potential programs to join and the overall process of creating affiliate links annoying, I much prefer Impact Radius.
This obviously not to say Rakuten is bad, but it’s just way more cumbersome. With an affiliate program like Udemy you’re going to be wanting to create links to various courses instead of the Udemy homepage.
For this process, Rakuten is simply more difficult:
When logged in you have to sort through 20+ categories and 90,000+ courses. It makes finding the link to the course you want way more difficult than it needs be.
For Impact Radius it’s much easier:
You simply copy and paste in the link you want to turn into an affiliate link. So with Impact Radius you can simply make affiliate links to specific pages quickly and easily.
Both work fine, but Impact Radius is just easier.
Udemy and Skillshare Commission Structure
Let’s compare the commission structure of both. Udemy is a vastly more popular platform as they are the go to website for those looking for quality courses for cheap. Skillshare is a tougher sell as they sell based on a membership model.
For Udemy you get a flat 15% on the sale price of any courses you promote. That does not mean you get 15% on the listed price, it means you get 15% of what a course purchaser actually pays.
As a Udemy course instructor, my courses regularly sell $6-9 after Udemy takes it’s cut and any affiliates who promote my courses. So if someone was to purchase a course for say $9.99 or $12.99 you get 15% of that sale price.
This means that the commissions are quite low for Udemy over all with each course sale netting you a few dollars.
Udemy courses are low cost and are typically an easy sell. With courses that have thousands of students that are highly rated, it’s easy to make sales of Udemy courses passively if you’re able to create the right content that ranks.
The commission is quite low. $2-3 as an average payout. You won’t make thousands of dollars with Udemy but it is possible to make it into a passive income source of a few hundred to perhaps over a thousand dollars.
Skillshare is weird for lack of a better word. On their affiliate page they state the commission is $10 per new customer you refer but when you actually go through the application process it is 7$.
Here is the copy they have on their affiliates page:
But when you go through the signup process it says:
This is clearly an error and the affiliates page needs to be updated as the actual payout is $7 if the customer you refer buys.
What I like about the Skillshare program is that you can refer people and they can get a free signup. Everyone likes free and it makes pushing Skillshare an easy sell. However, you only get paid if the people you refer actually convert.
Instructors can Earn Premium Referral Fees
One other aspect that is great about Skillshare is that if you have courses on Skillshare, you’re able to promote either your individual courses or the Skillshare.com homepage and earn referral fees.
If you’re set on promoting Skillshare, it’s actually a great idea to create a course and then get access to the referral program where you get $10 per signup.
Skillshare vs Udemy Affiliate Program Review Conclusion
Both these programs provide unique opportunities to make passive income. I like Udemy more for blogging related content as it’s easy to mix in various courses into your content with ease. For example, you could make a piece of content like the “top 10 best courses for YouTubers” and publish that blog post with your affiliate links to each individual course. With showing the amount of students and ratings, it’s a much easier sell.
Skillshare you can be an affiliate upon which you can promote Skillshare.com or any course for that matter and get $7 per premium sign up. Better, you can become an instructor and leverage the referral program where you get $10. It’s an easy sell if you actually have a few successful courses on Skillshare.
So Udemy is better for blog posts as you have more flexibility with what to promote and Skillshare is better used in the description of YouTube videos.
Join Skillshare and get 2 months free.