Research Outline

Outlook for Subscription Based Online Digital Marketing Courses


Gain an understanding of the outlook for subscription based online courses in digital marketing, with a focus on those offered by companies rather than universities, including the impact COVID has had, pricing and positioning of these courses, and opportunities to purchase or merge with existing smaller companies in the space.

Early Findings

While there was limited data specific to subscription based online courses in digital marketing, we instead were able to find data on growth trends in online course demand, demand for learners looking to learn digital marketing, as well as performance of subscription based learning platforms, all of which would offer relevant insight into investing in digital marketing online courses in the coming year.

Online Course Demand & Competition

  • Experts have predicted that in coming years, open online course on e-learning platforms like Khan Academy, Coursera, Udacity, and edX will eventually entirely kill off college education.
  • It's also been recently noted that coronavirus has sped up that disruption, with private e-learning platforms offering a more economical approach than the higher priced online courses offered through universities and higher education institutions.
  • The corporate segment is expected to drive the largest revenue opportunity in online courses, as employees and specialists upskill to keep up with innovations, including those in the digital marketing space, and have larger budgets than individual learners.
  • The e-learning market in general was already projected to grow 14% per year between 2019-2025, prior to COVID.
  • How COVID will impact this is yet to be determined, as while there has been a spike in online course enrollment during the pandemic, that enrollment may drop as social distancing restrictions are eased.
  • It's also noted that while the market is growing, average revenues in the space are declining, which may suggest increased competition in the space.
  • The cost of content creation is also projected to increase, as increased offerings in the online course space increases consumer demand for highly innovative and engaging content.
  • Additionally, e-learning providers and course creators are increasingly able to provide course content with increased ease given technological advances and low price production tools, leading to more competitive pricing in the e-learning space, further potentially decreasing profit margins.

Course Demands Specific to Digital Marketing

  • Skill building courses such as digital marketing courses offered by private platforms are more in demand than those offered by universities and institutions of higher education due to pricing.
  • This mode of education was estimated to cost on average 70% less than on campus courses, and is also likely to cost significantly less than online course offerings from colleges and universities.
  • Mass unemployment brought on by COVID has increased the demand for upskilling and workers looking to learn in-demand remote skills such as digital marketing.
  • Demand for online courses on subscription based platform Skillshare has tripled since mid-March.
  • Additionally, a report shows that the supply in skilled workers has not yet met the rapid growth in demand for digital marketing skills.
  • Demand for digital marketing talent was estimated at 59% compared to 19% active supply.
  • It's also noted that because digital marketing skill requirements evolve rapidly, marketing companies increasingly seek upskilling resources for their existing team members.

Other Relevant Information

  • While investments in other industries have declined during COVID, investments in e-learning companies and edtech rose.
  • Group based online courses represented the fastest growing market opportunity in the space, with an estimated 35.5% annual growth.
  • Microlearning is a rapidly expanding trend in education, with individual courses in small portions more in demand than extensive programs or degrees due to the attention span of the modern learner.
  • The self-paced segment of online education is predicted to grow at a faster rate than instructor-led e-learning modules.