Economies have made progress in reopening despite the coronavirus pandemic and institutions of higher learning are bringing students back to campus after a year of remote learning. Investors are interested to learn how these changes have impacted activity on the online student learning platform Chegg (NYSE:CHGG).

Those investors should get some indication of the effect when Chegg reports fiscal third-quarter earnings on Monday, Oct. 25. The company definitely benefited at the pandemic onset when millions of students were sent home to learn remotely. It experienced a surge of new subscribers. The question is whether it can maintain its growth now that colleges and universities are trying to get back to having classes on-site.

Here are some other things to consider ahead of Chegg's Q3 earnings report. 

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Proprietary content fuels growth for Chegg

To put the surge in Chegg's revenue during the pandemic in context, it's helpful to know that its growth rates for fiscal 2018 and 2019 were 25.9% and 28%, respectively. Chegg's revenue growth in fiscal 2020 was 56.8%, just over double the rate of the year prior. Considering the robust growth in 2020, it is impressive the company has been building on top of that.

In its most recent quarter ended June 30, Chegg reported year-over-year revenue growth of 38%. Further, management has guided it will reach overall revenue of $810 million at the midpoint for fiscal 2021. If it hits that target, it will be 25.7% over the total in 2020.

Fueling the growth is the value Chegg is providing students. Here is what management noted in its Q2 press release:

Most importantly, we survey our students and 92% of them say that using Chegg helps them learn their course material, which is why 94% of them also report that using Chegg helps them get better grades. We also believe that this kind of support directly impacts student's mental health, as 89% of students reported that Chegg Study helps them get their work done with less stress and 77% said that Chegg Study builds their confidence before an exam.

The figures are impressive, no doubt. Although be aware that this was an in-house survey, not an independent analysis. Nevertheless, looking at the company's proprietary content will show investors why students value Chegg's help. The company has 66 million pieces of unique step-by-step examples of how to solve curriculum content. What's more, if Chegg does not have the specific content a subscriber is looking for, the subscriber gets to ask 20 questions per month -- answered by subject matter experts -- to perhaps find what they need. Those answers are then shared with all the other subscribers to generate additional content for users.

Chegg stock is out of favor with investors

Analysts on Wall Street expect Chegg to report revenue of $174 million and earnings per share of $0.20 in Q3. The revenue estimate is near the high end of the $170 million to $175 million revenue target management guided for in Q3.

The stock price is down about 31% year to date. Investors are concerned about how students returning to campus will affect Chegg. Still, Chegg's stock price grew over 20% in both 2018 and 2019 before the pandemic.

Moreover, online classes have long been a part of college course offerings. Following the onset of the pandemic, those offerings are likely to increase permanently. Investors can put Chegg on their watch lists and look for an opportunity to add shares for the long term. 

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.