Micro-Transactions Making Strides in Education

May 21, 2014

Marley Wagner

Category: Education Sales, Enterprise Learning Solutions, Managed Training Services

Training is constantly evolving. This holds true not just with how students consume information and learn, but also with how a company needs to think about the business model to support these changes. Similar to how there has been significant growth is the SAAS (Software as a Service) model for the purchase of software, the education model will also need to adapt to offer some Training as a Service (TAAS) model and enable people to access smaller chunks of training when needed.

More companies are working on how the financial models could work in this new environment. In simple terms, think of Micro-Transactions (MTs) as small sum financial transactions that might be paid on a use basis or also include a monthly or annual fee for the right to access certain training modules. This model requires a different way of thinking related to running a profitable business. It will require more up front investments in improved digital platforms (LMS or the like), more on-line marketing to create appropriate (not annoying) awareness, and adequate sales and service support.

Examples of Micro-Transactions (MTs)

Currently, MTs are popular in the Apps world where prices do not normally exceed $10 and may often cost less than $1. In the software world, many small training transactions are currently free or built into the tool being used (a common example being something like Microsoft’s on-line help/tutorial).

This works well for some fairly straightforward step by step training, but what about more complex tasks? The key here is to break down bigger chunks of information into learning modules that can be consumed in an organized path to specific outcomes.

Benefits of Micro-Transactions for Education Sales

Not only will your customers benefit by being able to better consume the actual information that they want, a company can benefit from monetizing assets that can be faster to market and draw a broader base of customers in to learn more about how to best use your products or services. This content can also be added to the “library” for monthly subscription fees or internal and partner enablement.

Success Stories for Business

If you are still not convinced that micro-transactions can positively impact education sales, gain inspiration from these success stories:

  • Zynga – These social game services have 41.5 million monthly active Facebook users. The annual revenue exceeds $200 million, thanks to micro-transactions for virtual goods, including poker chips for “Facebook Texas Hold’em.”
  • Social Gaming Network – Virtual good sales for games like Rainbow Rush and Panda Jam top $50 million per month.
  • Playdom – Approximately 5.2 million people use Playdom games on a daily basis. There is a 23 percent play rate and annual sales top $50 million.

Although your content might not have the mass audience of some of these businesses, the concept of creating small and consuming fast is a trend I expect to continue to grow. As the new generation of learners enters the workforce, they will not only expect to buy in smaller quantities to get started, they will demand it for products that want to gain their loyalty.