This post was most recently updated on May 16th, 2019
This is a review of Skillshare’s affiliate program for non-teachers, and referral program for teachers. For a review of Skillshare as a platform, and how good it is for teachers and students, please see here.
You can promote Skillshare as either a teacher, or an affiliate (“ambassador”).
Promoting Skillshare As A Teacher
Teachers get promotional links for each of their classes and for their profile page. Furthermore, they can create free access links (“coupons”) for their premium classes, and give those away as promotional tools. I have an article on how to create a free access link for a Skillshare class, here. I also run a Facebook Group where you can post free access links, here.
Promoting Skillshare As An Affiliate
Affiliates can promote any class on Skillshare and earn $10 if someone takes a premium trial after clicking their link. The program is run through the Impact Radius platform. Note, the Impact Radius page says affiliates earn $7 per referral, but the Skillshare page says $10. I’m not sure which is correct.
The last time I checked, Skillshare teachers cannot be affiliates, so someone couldn’t teach and use the tracking analytics of Impact Radius to promote other teachers. It’s important to decide whether you’d like to be an affiliate or a teacher because you can’t be both. Let’s see how the two programs differ…
Teacher Or Affiliate?
The first consideration is that teachers seem to earn more, at $10 per referral, compared to the affiliate program at $7 per referral. Obviously, that’s a big reason to choose being a teacher over an affiliate.
(I’ve just sent Skillshare an email asking if teachers still can’t be affiliates, and to resolve the payout discrepancy. I’ll update this article when they reply)
However, the affiliate program allows you to track signups back to clicks and different traffic sources, so you can potentially monetise your traffic better. This is especially important if you choose to pay for advertising and want to determine your return on investment (ROI).
How I think it works is that you sign up for a free account at Skillshare, and then your account number is used as part of your affiliate tracking code. You simply append the Skillshare URL you’d like to promote, which could be any class on the website… any of 27,000!
Skillshare says that affiliates can also, “share special promotions“, which may be important when there’s a good promotion running. Teachers can’t monetise offers.
An example would be the New Year “3-months premium for free” offer which beats the usual teacher offering of “2 months premium for free”. The teachers referral offer isn’t actually as good as the homepage offer during the time the 3-month promotion is available.
Skillshare also say that affiliates get access to “real time tracking“, which sounds very useful. Presumably the tracking uses the Impact Radius platform. Skillshare probably let IR know when a sale is made via a callback and IR can then let the affiliate know which traffic source generated the referral.
One of the huge drawbacks to teacher referrals is that the tracking information is very limited. Teachers see either the name of the class associated with the referral, or the word “general“. There’s no other information apart from the name of the referral and a link to their profile. So teachers have almost no analytical data such as click tracking statistics or earnings per click. There’s no real way for them to know whether or not traffic converts to referrals or not.
I’ve never been a Skillshare affiliate because I started teaching on Skillshare in 2016 and you can’t be both, so I can’t personally confirm how important the affiliate advantages are.
Skillshare pay their teachers on the 16th of each month for the premium minutes and premium referrals they earned in the previous month. So, if a teacher earned $100 from premium minutes and $50 from premium referrals in April, they’d get paid $150 on the 16th May. The only way Skillshare pay teachers is via PayPal.
I’m not sure how often Skillshare pay affiliates, but their page says “get paid each month for every new customer you refer”, and the Impact Radius page says, “16 day(s) after the end of the month”, so it seems the same as for teachers. However, they also say, “Depending on the specific terms of our agreement you can get paid as frequently as daily using direct deposit into your bank account. “
As the program is run by Impact Radius, the payment methods are likely to be more than just the “PayPal” option for teachers. In fact, Impact Radius pay by these methods… PayPal, Check, Wire Transfer, Direct Deposit, and ACH Transfer.
Cost To Become An Affiliate
It doesn’t cost anything to become a Skillshare affiliate, although they will review your application and require that you have…
…at least one demonstrated channel and audience that is aligned with Skillshare’s brand. Channels include: blogs, Facebook groups, Pinterest, Instagram, or Twitter followers, or email newsletters.
It also doesn’t cost anything to become a teacher, although you will need to create a class before you can use a class referral link. It’s also likely that your profile referral link won’t convert very well until you have some classes.
Earn Free Months Of Skillshare Premium
If you’re a Skillshare premium member, but don’t teach on Skillshare, you can use a “invite friends” link or email function to send your friends an invitation to join Skillshare. For each person who joins and becomes a paying member, you’ll get a month of premium added to your subscription.
Interestingly, the requirement for the friend to pay is different to the requirement for teachers and affiliates, who only need to sign people up for the free trial of premium to trigger the payment. In affiliate marketing terms, this is the difference between a payment per lead (the free trial) and payment per sale (when someone pays).
I also wonder why free members who don’t teach are given invite links when they have no premium subscription to extend! Perhaps it’s to encourage them to join as premium members, then invite their friends.
Affiliate Tracking Through The Skillshare App
I don’t know whether or not teacher referrals and affiliate links track through the Skillshare app.
The Skillshare app is available on both Google Play and iTunes, but whether a cookie is set when someone clicks your link on a mobile device, and that cookie is then read when they sign up to a free trial of premium on that device, I’m not sure.
Presumably, Skillshare would need different callback scripts for Apple and Google which integrated with their own tracking (for teacher referrals) and with Impact Radius (for affiliate referrals).
Teachers Promoting Other Teachers
While I need to confirm this with Skillshare, it does appear that teachers can promote other teacher’s classes and earn referral credit.
Until recently I thought this wasn’t possible, but when I posted the original version of this blog post to my Facebook Skillshare Mastermind group, I found out that some members had successfully promoted other teachers’ classes and earned referral bonuses for new members taking a free trial of premium having clicked their referral links.
So here’s how it works… when you go to another teacher’s class, you see a “share button” on the right-hand side, and a prompt to share the class also appears when you complete the final lesson…
When you click the button to share the class, you can choose to share to Facebook, Twitter, via email, or to get a link. Clicking the link option gives you a referral link for that class…
That link is specific to you, and to that class. You can share it on your own social media accounts, in blog posts or wherever you like (without spamming!) and you’ll earn referral credit if anyone clicks your link to the other teacher’s class and signs up for a Skillshare Premium trial.
When someone takes the trial, having clicked your link, you’ll see the name of the class reported on your referrals page. In the image, below, it says “general”, because whoever signed up didn’t click a link associated with a specific class. They probably came through a link to my Skillshare profile. However, if the person did click a class-specific link, the word “general” would be replaced with the name of the class, even if it’s a class by another teacher.
From this information, you’ll have some idea which content you created successfully converted clicks to referrals. However, while this is a useful indicator, it’s still very rudimentary tracking. If you promote a specific class with multiple pieces of content, you won’t know which of your pieces of content resulted in the signup.
It would be very useful to append your own tracking ID to each link. For example, the link skl.sh/1234 could be appended with ?tracking=A , ?tracking=B , ?tracking=C for three different pieces of content. If the tracking ID were then reported along with the class name, it would be possible to know which piece of content (social media post, blog post, ad), generated the referral.
Skillshare Ambassador Program
Recently, Madhumika asked in my Skillshare Mastermind Facebook Group whether anyone was a Skillshare Ambassador.
That got me thinking. Was the Ambassador program another way to refer people to Skillshare, like the affiliate program and teacher referral program? If so, what were the terms? Who was eligible, and what rewards were offered? I looked into it…
The first thing to note is that when you Google for “Skillshare ambassador program”, the affiliate program is the first result. On their affiliate page, Skillshare says, “We partner with like-minded brand ambassadors“. Hmmm.
When you use Google to do a search for the word “ambassador” on any pages on the Skillshare website, there is no dedicated result. It appears that Skillshare don’t have a page describing the program, and, again, the first relevant result is the affiliate program page.
I also found this page online, which seems to use content supplied by Skillshare to describe their affiliate program on Impact Radius. Again, it refers to “brand ambassadors”…
I do remember reading something about an ambassador program in the past, so perhaps there was one, back in 2017, but it’s since been merged into the affiliate program.
Alternatively, it’s a “invite only” program where Skillshare invites their best teachers to join, but doesn’t have publicly available information about the program. Interestingly, in response to her question, no-one in my Facebook group said they were an ambassador!
However, the most likely explanation is that Skillshare refers to their affiliates as “brand ambassadors” and the ambassador program is their affiliate program, run through Impact Radius.