Metrics Case Study
Prepared by: Lee Nau (firstname.lastname@example.org) -
Metrics Case Study: Lynda.com
My ability to find actionable metrics was limited by the fact that I don't have internal metrics for Lynda.com. I used SimilarWeb to generate the metrics I'm using here, along with some simple mathematics and a couple of untested assumptions.
Founded in 1995, Lynda.com was sufficiently profitable to get their first round of venture funding in 2013, after 18 years in business. Financing rounds totalled $289 million (Series A: $103 million in Q1 2013, Series B: $186 million in Q1 2014) before the LinkedIn acquisition of Q2 2015.
According to TalentedLearning.com, Lynda.com has 4 million active members and offers more than 3400 courses. According to SimilarWeb, Lynda.com gets about 14.6 million visits per month, 72% of whom come from the top five countries (US, Canada, UK, India, and Australia). With a 45.41% direct rate, this likely tells us that just under half the total traffic (6.6 million / month of 14.6 million total) to Lynda.com comes from subscribers or perspective subscribers looking for courses, which amounts to 1.65 visits per month. At a $25/month minimum, that's good for at least (ignoring premium and enterprise subscribers) $100 million / month in revenue.
According to a talk at the Colligan Theater at Tannery Arts Center in
Santa Cruz, California (December 2, 2015), Lynda mentioned that their prefered
methods of marketing were advertising courses on their own web site and
mentioning that in magazine articles and speaking engagements. Most of their
advertising was relatively small-scale with heavy reliance on word-of-mouth.
LinkedIn recently acquired Lynda.com and will likely put more resources into
internationalization and marketing certified course suites to the LinkedIn userbase.
Opportunities to Improve Metrics
Lynda.com could improve their metrics in three ways:
- Ramp up ad buys on Google and other ad networks to drive traffic: According to SimilarWeb, Lynda's display ads refer 0.33% of its total traffic (48K visitors per month). This indicates that reputation and word-of-mouth have been key drivers for Lynda's traffic so far.
- Continue to build excellent courses, with more focused content in design and engineering topics: Adding more intermediate and advanced coursework and seeking industry recognition for their certification would likely increase stickiness and ramp up engagement.
- Consider offering specific internationalized content and offer video subtitling options in languages other than English: Current subtitling is primarily for the DHH (deaf and hard-of-hearing) community. Focusing on internationalization and foreign language accessibility would dramatically increase stickiness and engagement on the part of people whose first language is not English. This could increase revenue significantly. Lynda.com currently offers instructional materials in German, French, and Spanish via video2brain, which was acquired by Lynda.com in 2013. Video2Brain's traffic, according to SimilarWeb, is a little less than 10% of Lynda's. Aggressive internationalization in major languages in important international markets (Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish) could come with an easily-targeted LinkedIn userbase. Engineering effort, if starting merely with transcription and subtitling, could be relatively straight forward.
Feature to Focus On
My priority at Lynda.com would be to identify initial target coursework and markets to initialize an international acquisition test campaign. In order to understand which areas to focus on first, it's important to ascertain what the customer needs are in the first four target languages.
Questions to find in the user metrics / Google Analytics:
- What are the most popular courses on the service in general?
- In each of the primarily language markets identified above, which are the most popular and sought-after courses in those countries? Using search engine keyword analysis, which are the most sought-after courses found by search engines, but not offered with subtitling in the target language on Lynda.com?
- What's the budget (time and money) for rolling out a limited release of time-sensitive courses and a limited release site overhaul where end-users are empowered to set a language preference other than English?
- What are the specific features we'd need to help customers get through an onboarding process and have the site experience match their language preference?