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Your Definitive Guide to Youtube Affiliate Marketing

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Are you planning to create a YouTube channel or already own one? Do you want to make money online from YouTube?

If that sounds like you, there are many YouTube monetization strategies you can embrace.

Affiliate marketing is one of the easiest methods to make money on YouTube. Why?

YouTube is the world’s busiest video search engine. The platform is projected to have 2.8 billion users by 2025. On top of that, it’s the most visited website after Google.

YouTube reached $3 billion in global consumer spend in 2022. Hence the platform isn’t only for video cruises and entertainment.

If you’ve got the hang of affiliate marketing, you can have a cut of the billion-dollar spend. Don’t worry if that sounds like a fairy tale. This guide will bring it closer. Let’s go.

Youtube Affiliate Marketing: The Basics

If you are still wondering why YouTube is the perfect platform to run an affiliate marketing business, read this;

People watch over a billion hours of YouTube videos every day. Plus, 91% of adults aged 18-29 in the United States watch YouTube.

The opportunity to promote affiliate offers and earn decent commissions regularly on YouTube is huge compared to other channels. There’s a massive number of potential audiences waiting for you to reach.

Furthermore, videos are the most consumed content type of this age. And there’s no platform primed for that like YouTube. That’s why Youtube records an estimated traffic of 122 million users every day.

But where does this affiliate money come from? Simple- Over 80% of brands have affiliate programs.

Before we show you how to get started, let’s first explain what affiliate marketing means and what it means on YouTube. So what’s affiliate marketing?

What is YouTube Affiliate Marketing?

YouTube affiliate marketing is similar to the traditional affiliate marketing format, only that it happens on YouTube. You still need to create content- videos this time, and recommend products or services.

Affiliate marketing is an online business model where content creators promote products or services of other companies to their audience and get a kickback commission from the sales.

Most brands and businesses have affiliate programs. Marketers are given a unique affiliate link when they register for their programs.

This link is what marketers promote to their audience. When clicked upon, these links store trackable cookies on the consumer browser indicating which affiliate marketer owns the link.

These cookies have an expiration date. If a consumer buys the product before the date expires, their sales are credited to the marketer, and they will earn the set commission for the product sold.

However, the affiliate marketer won’t get the commission if the consumer purchases after the cookie’s expiration date.

Sometimes, marketers don’t get affiliate links directly from the companies they promote. There’s an extra layer between both parties called affiliate networks. 

These networks manage affiliate marketing programs for several brands and companies. They have a catalog of products from several partners within a single dashboard.

So they make it easy for marketers to find niche-related products they can promote and manage them all from their affiliate’s dashboard.

Is Affiliate Marketing Allowed on YouTube?

Youtube doesn’t have an official affiliate program. But yes, affiliate marketing is allowed on YouTube.

You can register for a third-party affiliate program and promote the links in your YouTube video.

However, there are rules you must abide by to avoid heavy penalties on your YouTube channels. We’ll also cover this in one of the coming sections.

How Does YouTube Affiliate Marketing Works?

Once you have your affiliate links, either directly from the brand or via affiliate networks, here’s how a 5-pointer on how affiliate marketing works on YouTube:

  1. You create relevant content and recommend a product in your YouTube video
  2. You add your affiliate link to the product in the video description or other places on your video.
  3. Your audience clicks on your link and purchases the product.
  4. The company identifies that a sale is made with your affiliate link
  5. You get the set commission for that sale.

It’s that simple. Here’s an example.

Say you are making a video about your new remote workplace setup and recommend that viewers try out some of the gadgets and accessories you use.

You’ll put your affiliate link for the products in your video description. Thus, whenever someone uses your link to buy a recommended product, you are credited with the sales and get a percentage of their purchase.

What are the Youtube Affiliate Link Rules?

YouTube allows creators to use affiliate links in their videos, but there are rules to the game;

No spamming Affiliate Products

According to Youtube, “Affiliate content doesn’t violate YouTube’s Terms of Use.

However, massively posting affiliate content in dedicated accounts may violate our policies around spam.” You can learn more about Youtube Spam policies here.

YouTube only tolerates affiliate links if they are directly related to the video, there aren’t too many of them, and they aren’t emphasized (e.g., they are not the first thing in the description).

Affiliate Links in Video Descriptions

YouTube has no problem with you placing naked affiliate links in your video descriptions. Just make sure you don’t overuse them. But it’s better always to cloak your affiliate links.

If Youtube discovers that the primary purpose of your video is to drive people to the affiliate links in your video’s description, they may terminate your channel.

Embed Affiliate Links in Videos

YouTube also allows you to add and embed affiliate links in your video. You can use End Cards for this. YouTube allows you to add up to 5 End Cards per video.

But promoting affiliate links with End Card isn’t very straightforward.

Youtube doesn’t allow users to add direct affiliate links to End Cards. You can only add links to End Cards if It’s a website associated with your YouTube channel.

You can use an End Card to drive traffic to a landing page if you have an affiliate marketing funnel.

Disclose the Usage of Affiliate Links

You must be transparent and disclose the use of affiliate links, whether verbally in the video or written in the video description.

YouTube has a built-in Paid promotion feature that you can use to disclose your affiliate links. When you upload your video, you’ll see a checkbox to notify viewers that your video contains paid product placement.

Federal Trade Commission has guidelines on endorsements and testimonials, which require you to disclose your connections with the companies or products you’re promoting.

Follow Youtube Content Guidelines

It’s also essential that your content and the products or services you’re promoting comply with YouTube’s content policies. 

Some types of content are prohibited, such as those related to alcohol, tobacco, firearms, drugs, and adult content.

So, if your channel is about partying, you might want to reconsider promoting that new vodka brand.

Why use YouTube Affiliate Marketing?

If you are still on the fence about giving affiliate marketing on YouTube a nod, here are some reasons YouTube affiliate marketing is a thing;

Zero Upfront Investment

One of the most significant advantages of Youtube Affiliate marketing is that it’s easy to start. Virtually anyone can set up a YouTube channel without any upfront cost.

Unlike the traditional affiliate marketing models, where you buy a domain, host your website, and publish long-form content.

You can start Youtube affiliate marketing with only your smartphone and upgrade to better video kits once you make money.

Low Barrier Entry

Many Youtubers aim to join the YouTube Partner Program and get monetized from ad revenue.

You must have at least 1000 subscribers, live in a country where the partner program is available, and have over 4,000 public watch hours within the previous 12 months.

But you don’t have to wait till then to start making money on YouTube. YouTube affiliate marketing allows you to earn before qualifying for the YouTube ads program.

Repurpose Your Content

A YouTube channel can be an extension of your blog site, and you can cross-promote content on both platforms.

If you already have great blog posts on your site, generating YouTube content ideas should be less of a headache. You can repurpose those blog posts into videos. You can also embed these videos in your blog. 

Going forward, you can create videos and turn them into blog posts and vice versa. Better still, you can promote the same affiliate offers on both platforms.

Community Building

YouTube allows you to build a loyal community of followers without spending a dime on ads or any link-building effort.

If you publish quality content consistently, people can join your subscribers list and even switch on notifications for alerts whenever you publish new content.  

Above any other content types, Videos are engaging and allow you to build strong relationships with your subscribers. And the more robust and loyal your follower base becomes, the higher the affiliate sales and commissions you make.

Recurrent Earning

Publish once, earn forever. That’s what YouTube affiliate marketing means. Once you publish a video, you keep earning so long as people watch and click your links. Your earning potential increases as your content library grows.

One Youtube video won’t give you the life-sustaining income you want. However, with time, as you publish more, you get more views, more clicks, and, consequently, more affiliate commission.

Are There Any Downsides to YouTube Affiliate Marketing?

Of course, there are a few drawbacks to YouTube affiliate marketing.

We’ll mention some here not to deter you from forging ahead but to prepare your mind for what’s to come. So brace up and prepare for the battle. If you can survive it, you’ll make it big.

Huge Competition

A low barrier entry also means a ton of competition. Since anyone can create a channel and produce content, YouTube affiliate marketing can be highly competitive.

Due to this overwhelming amount of content on YouTube, it takes extra effort to create creative, informative, and unique content. You must still learn YouTube SEO, constantly develop new and exciting ideas, and devote time to filming and editing.

The Uncertainty of it

Relying on affiliate marketing can be risky due to its uncertainty. Affiliates’ revenue fluctuates depending on factors such as the demand for the product or service you’re promoting, changes in the affiliate program’s commission rates, and shifts in consumer behavior.

This uncertainty can make it challenging to depend on affiliate marketing as a stable income source.

You’re Not in Charge

Unlike your website, where you can post and promote whatever you want, you must be careful about what you post on YouTube.

YouTube channel deactivation can devastate your online reputation and result in a loss of revenue. You may even lose the audience and subscribers you’ve labored to build.

 Starting from scratch is never always easy. To avoid this, always;

  • Stay up-to-date with YouTube’s community guidelines and policies.
  • Ensure you adequately disclose any sponsored or affiliate content and
  • Avoid any practices that could be deemed manipulative or deceptive

What You Need to Be a YouTube Affiliate Marketer

A Google Account: YouTube is a Google service. And to use any Google service, you need a Google account. If you have a Gmail account, you already have a Google account. If you don’t, here are simple steps to create a Google email account.

A YouTube Channel: Once you have a Google account, the next thing you need to start your YouTube affiliate marketing journey is a Youtube channel. Creating a YouTube channel is pretty straightforward. You can get it up in less than 5 minutes.

Good Content: High-quality content is critical to becoming a YouTube affiliate marketer. Your videos need to be engaging, informative, and visually appealing. Consider investing in quality equipment, such as a good camera and microphone.

Lots of Traffic: Creating high-quality content isn’t enough to succeed with affiliate marketing on YouTube. Without traffic, you won’t make any money. You have to drive traffic to your affiliate videos actively.

Affiliate Links: You also need to join an affiliate program and obtain unique affiliate links to promote products. You’ll use these links will be used in your video descriptions, annotations, or comments.

How Can You Make Money With YouTube Affiliate Marketing?

Narrow Down Your Niche

There’s a common characteristic to all successful YouTube channels. They all publish videos related to a specific topic or niche. You should tread the same path.

Covering as many topics as possible to maximize your affiliate earnings may be tempting. But the point is that most YouTubers are looking for subject matter experts who can deliver expert-level content around a central theme. A catch-it-all content approach takes you out of this fold.

When picking a niche, you also have to look at how profitable and competitive the niche is. As a newbie with a small channel, going into a highly competitive niche can be discouraging as the chance of success is slim.

Target a niche that’s highly profitable yet not overly competitive. And most importantly, pick a niche you are passionate about. You’ll have it easy creating content.

Focus on Your Audience

Once you’ve identified your niche, you need to understand the target audience for your YouTube channel. You need to identify their needs, pains, interest, and concerns.

You may need to research to gather information about your audience. It involves analyzing your competitors’ channels, looking at their comments and feedback sections, and monitoring social media trends. 

Understanding your audience helps you create content tailored to their interests, facilitating faster growth for your Youtube Channel.

Create High-Quality Content

Now you have a niche and a target audience to satisfy. Next, create content that emphasizes your authority and credibility in that niche and to that audience.

And there’s only one way to it- always create informative and engaging content that adds value to your audience’s lives. Besides that, you may need to invest in good equipment, such as a decent camera for Youtube, a microphone, and lighting to shoot high-quality videos. It matters.

Below are popular YouTube video ideas suitable for promoting affiliate offers.

  • Product Reviews: Reviews are the most common type of affiliate marketing video. Giving an honest and detailed review helps people understand its strengths and weaknesses.
  • How-to Videos: Demonstrating how to use a product can help viewers understand its benefits and encourage them to purchase. Say, you’re promoting a new blender. You could create a video showing viewers how to make a healthy smoothie using the blender.
  • Best-of Videos: Best-of videos are suitable for creating a sense of excitement and urgency around the product. If you’re promoting a new line of skincare products, a best-of video showcasing the top 10 skincare products of the year is perfect.
  • Unboxing videos: Unboxing videos are a great way to generate buzz and excitement around a product. It’s most common on channels that promote gadgets.
  • Ranking Videos: Ranking videos are similar to the best-of content.  You help viewers make informed decisions easily by ranking the products based on their features, benefits, and pricing.
  • Gear List Videos: If you are passionate about activities like hiking, biking, skydiving, etc., Gear list videos are great for promoting the products you use.

Drive Traffic to Your Affiliate Videos

Your affiliate link won’t convert if no one gets to see your video. You need to be proactive to get the much-needed eyeballs on your content. Here are a few strategies you can embrace to get traffic to your affiliate videos:

YouTube SEO

Like Google, YouTube is essentially a search engine. The best thing that can happen to you as an affiliate is to get your content to rank on YouTube search results.

You need to understand YouTube SEO practices. It starts by finding high buyer intent keywords relevant to your content and adding them to your video Title, description, and metadata.

Use Social Media

If you already have an established presence on other social media platforms, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., you can promote your YouTube video to your audience. Or, if you have an email list, you can promote it to your subscribers.

Post Consistently

Publishing frequently on YouTube doesn’t only keep your audience engaged and anticipate your next video. It also notifies YouTube that your channel is active.

That way, the algorithm favors your content, boosting your exposure and making you reach new audiences.

Join an Affiliate Program:

Many affiliate programs are out there, but not all are created equal. Look for programs offering high commission rates, good support, and products relevant to your niche.

Here are 3 popular affiliate programs you can join for YouTube affiliate marketing

Amazon Associates: If you’re looking for a reliable affiliate program with a wide variety of goods to promote on your channel, look no further than Amazon Associates. Amazon’s commission rates are competitive, up 10%, depending on the product category.

ClickBank: ClickBank is a dedicated affiliate network for digital goods such as e-books, computer programs, and online courses. Affiliates can earn up to 75% commission on sales of some products.

ShareASale: ShareASale is another affiliate marketing network that offers thousands of digital and physical products for marketers to promote. The ShareASale affiliate program pays between $30-$150 per successful sale.

Choose the Right Products

Choosing the right product to promote is crucial for the success of your Youtube affiliate marketing campaign. Here are some helpful tips when hunting for products to promote.

  • Choose a product that is relevant to your niche and audience’s interests.
  • Research your niche to know product demands and competition. Select products that are in high demand and have low competition.
  • Analyze trends to find evergreen products to promote in your niche
  • Choose products with long cookie duration and easy tracking
  • Ensure the product you want to promote is high quality and solves your audience’s problems.
  • Go for products with a high commission rate and timely payouts

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Become an Amazon Affiliate on YouTube?

Yes, you can become an Amazon affiliate on youtube.

Once you sign up for the Amazon Associates affiliate program, you find relevant products for your audience and promote them in your videos.

How Much Can I Make From YouTube Affiliate Marketing?

Typically, affiliates make between 5% and 50% commission per sale.

So you can make hundreds or even thousands of dollars from  YouTube affiliate marketing. Your earnings depend on the products you promote and the affiliate program you join.

Wrapping up

YouTube can be an incredibly profitable channel for new and established affiliate marketers. Above are all you need to know about affiliate marketing on YouTube.

To make sales, you must make your videos value-packed and engaging, use Youtube SEO to optimize them, choose the right product to promote, and don’t forget honesty and transparency. They are your best shot at retaining people’s trust.

We hope you find this guide helpful. Do you think there’s something we missed out on? Feel free to tell us in the comment section.

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