In affiliate marketing, you want people to buy products you’ll get a commission for. YouTube is an excellent platform for this.
By 2025, YouTube is expected to have 2.8 billion users, making it the world’s second most popular social media platform.
The platform isn’t just used to entertain people. Consumers worldwide have spent $3 billion on YouTube. If you promote products to shoppers, your affiliate marketing business can take a piece of the pie.
Are you ready to take part? With this guide to YouTube affiliate marketing, you can learn how to earn affiliate commissions on YouTube.
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How to start an affiliate marketing business on YouTube?
Affiliate marketing involves getting paid to promote someone else’s products or services. There are several affiliate networks such as ShareASale and ClickBank where you can find many affiliates on one dashboard, but many eCommerce companies have their own affiliate marketing programs.
You can make passive income as an affiliate marketer by creating video content on YouTube. 68% of internet users have viewed a YouTube video before purchasing. Affiliate YouTube videos can have a higher conversion rate when their favorite content creators recommend products.
What’s the best part? When your audience makes a purchase after watching a video, you get paid. Everybody wins – including your brand partners.
Affiliate video ideas on YouTube
Most creators find it challenging to package their sponsored recommendations in a way that engages their audience. It’s no wonder that 28% of consumers unfollow influencers if they find their content boring. Another 14% will do the same if the creators post too much-sponsored content.
In order to promote affiliate products on YouTube, try these five types of content:
- Product review videos. A review is read before purchase by almost nine out of ten customers. Video reviews can appeal to visual learners. Tell your audience what you like (and dislike) about the product you’re paid to promote. Make your pitch convincing when a viewer is ready to buy.
- Tutorials. Watching tutorials is more likely to advance the sales process than passively watching trending videos. Walk them through how the product works so that you can earn commissions from their purchase. For example, you can demonstrate how to change the height, incline, and footrest of an ergonomic desk chair if you’re an affiliate.
- Trending videos. YouTubers create their own trends, like the “what’s in my bag?”, the craze of the early 2010s. You can create a spin-off of what’s trending on the platform with affiliate-recommended products.
- Unboxing videos. Viewers enjoy these types of videos because they can imagine being the star. On her YouTube channel, Estella of Study to Success, for example, unboxes iPad Pro accessories. Her video descriptions contain affiliate links to the same products.
- Round-up videos. You have a greater chance of influencing a sale with more variety in your YouTube content-especially if the viewer isn’t actively searching for something to buy. With round-up videos including affiliate links, you can encourage impulse buying.
A YouTube affiliate marketer who has seen success is Ryan Robinson. Ryan has been creating video content for his YouTube channel for the past year, including a few videos that are geared toward driving affiliate conversions, such as this 44-minute tutorial that explains everything you need to know about starting a blog.
Ryan’s affiliate video has received more than 6,700 views and more than 70 comments to date, most of which are questions from people seeking advice about starting their own blogs.
It has done really well in organic search rankings on Google and YouTube due to its depth and focuses on all the nitty-gritty details of getting a blog up and running from a technical perspective. This continues to drive dozens of new viewers to the video every day without Ryan having to do anything.
YouTube affiliate marketing tips
You’d like to tap into the billions of dollars consumers spend every year on YouTube? Read on for seven YouTube tips that will increase affiliate sales.
- Make your thumbnails appealing
- Add chapter markers
- YouTube search optimization
- Create related playlists
- Produce YouTube shorts
- Embed YouTube videos in blog posts
- Be transparent about affiliate links
1. Make your thumbnails appealing
If no one watches your YouTube videos, it will be hard to earn affiliate commissions. A thumbnail, which appears before a video is played, plays a large part in this.
Imagine YouTube thumbnails as book covers. In the end, no matter how good a story is, if the cover does not entice the reader, the story will not be read. Create a cover that makes your book stand out on a crowded shelf, and you’ll be on your way to becoming a bestseller.
Look at your competitors’ thumbnails to see what you are up against. Here’s what you need to beat when you’re preparing a coffee art tutorial (with a machine that will pay you kickbacks):
Industry creativity varies from industry to industry. It is imperative that you create colorful, text-heavy thumbnails if you are showcasing technology products.
You can use tools like Canva and Fotor to create your own YouTube thumbnails, but some affiliate marketers find investing in a graphic designer pays off.
I have always focused on quality content and search engine optimization. However, because I was making my own thumbnails and I’m a bad designer, my first few months of YouTube focus were not good (under 2%).
With the help of a professional designer, my click-through rate jumped from 3% to 5%, meaning twice as many people were watching my videos.
It is especially important if your content is evergreen to update your YouTube thumbnails. To make your content relevant and therefore clickable-add the current year to your thumbnail.
2. Add chapter markers
How many times have you clicked on a YouTube video to find a solution, only to spend 15 minutes watching something you don’t care about? When you only need to know how many eggs you need to cook a recipe, it’s the same as reading how a blogger’s mom came up with it.
Regardless of how hard you try, people will come to your YouTube video looking for short answers. Make it easy for them by adding chapter markers.
As an example, Wandering Aimfully created a YouTube video to share what they are packing for a year of travel. The video is divided into sections by chapter markers. Viewers can skip straight to the section where the creators discuss roller suitcases and travel backpacks without watching the entire 30-minute video.
3. YouTube search optimization
Google is the world’s largest search engine, but YouTube is the second largest. Website users use it for a variety of purposes, including learning something new, entertainment, and researching products they’re considering buying.
Affiliate marketers should be happy about that. Make YouTube videos that meet the needs of your target audience by finding out what keywords they are searching for. When you do a little YouTube SEO upfront, you’ll see compound organic traffic coming your way.
Find competing YouTube channels that promote similar products to the ones you are trying to promote. Using the Keywords Everywhere browser extension, search for other related terms, monitoring search volume and trend over time.
Following keyword research to learn what terms your target customer is searching, optimize the video so it appears higher in search results.
- Include the keyword in the video title. Make it as catchy as possible; how well your video ranks is influenced by the click-through rate.
- Describe the video with keywords. Include phrases like “Canon camera review” and “reviewing the Canon camera” in the description if you are reviewing a Canon camera, for example.
- Increase the watch time. YouTube’s algorithm favors videos with long watch times, as the content is proven to keep viewers hooked on the platform.
4. Create related playlists
You are more likely to earn affiliate commissions if your video has more views as an affiliate marketer. Playlists on YouTube allow you to create a never-ending video reel by compiling similar videos.
Here are the steps for creating a YouTube playlist:
- Organize related videos together
- Click on each video to open it in your browser
- Under each video, click “Save”
- Add the playlist to an existing playlist (or create a new one)
- Set the privacy settings to public
There are ten videos on Wirecutter’s “working from home” playlist that give tips on how to set up your home office. A playlist that includes tips on decluttering your desk, Zoom tutorials, and chair comparison videos is monetized with affiliate links. Home office owners could purchase several items for each video.
5. Produce YouTube shorts
Short videos, similar to those on TikTok, can now be uploaded to YouTube channels through YouTube shorts. Video must be vertical, filmed with a mobile device, and less than 60 seconds long. They’re short videos that users can watch quickly, but that doesn’t mean they should be excluded from your affiliate marketing strategy.
One YouTuber who produces affiliate content on the platform is Teeth Talk Girl. On her channel, she uploads shorts such as “Fastest Way To Whiten Teeth.” It’s less than a minute long, and the video description includes an affiliate link for purchasing the teeth whitening kit displayed.
6. Embed YouTube videos in blog content
Together, a blog and YouTube channel are powerful marketing tools for promoting affiliate links for the following reasons:
- Appeal to a wide audience. There is probably a wide range of learning styles among your target market. While some are more interested in reading blog posts, others are more interested in watching videos. By combining the two, you won’t alienate those who would buy your recommended products.
- Gain more views for videos. Show your affiliate videos to people outside of YouTube who are looking for recommendations. When Google searches for certain keywords, YouTube videos appear in search results.
- Increase search engine ranking by improving dwell time, time on page, and bounce rate. Search engine algorithms take these factors into account when determining where a page should appear. Embed relevant videos on your site can increase relevance.
With his blogging tutorial videos, Ryan Robinson does this. Ryan embeds related YouTube videos in an article about starting a blog-such as this one on installing WordPress.
This not only drives more traffic to the YouTube video from my own blog –and thus signals to YouTube that it’s still getting attention –but embedding the video in the written guide also gives those readers a chance to see a video version of the article.
7. Be transparent about affiliate links
You need to clearly label each affiliate product you’re incentivized to share. It doesn’t matter what type of content you create to share affiliate links. You risk losing your audience’s trust if you do not take these steps.
The YouTuber might be affiliated with HelloFresh if she recommends it instead of Gousto. If so, she should disclose her affiliation. If not, you’ll only feel suspicious of her recommendations.
As a customer, you will certainly consider the fact that she partners upfront with HelloFresh when selecting between the two services.
A product recommendation also carries strict guidelines from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regarding affiliate income. Fines are imposed on content creators who mislead their audience and fail to highlight products they’re incentivized to sell.
Be transparent with the affiliate products you’re promoting to overcome this problem. You can just put together something nice and simple like this:
“If you purchase something after clicking on this link I’ll probably earn a few bucks from it.”
Use YouTube in your affiliate marketing strategy
YouTube is a powerful affiliate marketing weapon for many affiliate marketers.
With the tips outlined in this guide, you can earn income from the platform. Create content your audience is searching for, optimize it for YouTube search, and don’t use clickbait to monetize.
As an affiliate marketer, honesty is the best policy. Your audience’s trust is on the line.
Related Content: How to make money on Youtube.
YouTube affiliate marketing FAQ
Can you make money with YouTube affiliate marketing?
YouTubers often monetize their channels with affiliate links. By recommending a product and linking to it in the video description, they earn a commission when the viewer purchases it.
Do YouTubers make money from affiliate links?
YouTubers can earn money by sending viewers to buy products via affiliate links. Their exact share depends on what brands they are partnered with-usually between 5% and 50%.
Does YouTube allow Amazon affiliate links?
Certainly. Content creators can share affiliate links through YouTube, including those generated by Amazon Associates, its affiliate program.