September 14, 2020

YouTube Affiliate Marketing: Everything You Need to Know


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How to Get Started and Make More Money with YouTube Affiliate Marketing

What is YouTube Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing, also known as referral marketing, is a business arrangement in which a promoter (or affiliate) promotes a merchant’s products or services. The affiliate is paid a commission by the merchant whenever a customer buys the product because of the affiliate’s marketing.

As an affiliate (or promoter) you can market the product on different channels, such as your website, blog, social media, or email. You can also make YouTube videos about affiliate products and provide affiliate links. When a customer clicks on your affiliate link on YouTube and buys a product from the merchant’s website, you get paid the agreed-upon percentage of the sale price.

Finding Affiliate Programs for YouTube Marketing

Not everyone is aware of YouTube Affiliate Marketing. It’s surprising to see how many people post unboxing and gadget review videos to YouTube with no affiliate links. They can easily earn money if they insert links to the affiliate products they are reviewing.

More than half of products available are connected to an affiliate program. All you need to do is search on Google for a product name followed by the phrase ‘affiliate program’.

Let’s say you just bought a GoPro camera and are making an unboxing video. You can search for ‘gopro affiliate program’ to discover they do have an affiliate program that pays 5% commission. It’s not much but these sort of gadgets sell themselves. You can sign up with CJ Affiliate, GoPros affiliate marketing company, and start posting links with your videos.

Competition and demand are the key considerations for selecting affiliate programs. GoPro is an extremely competitive product with tons of established affiliates and awesome content already out there. It will be a tough space to enter.

Instead, select a product that has reasonable demand and low competition, such as chainsaws or fish aquariums. Use Junglescout or read this blog post to select high demand, low competition affiliate products.

Why Get into YouTube Affiliate Marketing?

Because it pays well: A YouTuber earning from video ads can make around $3 to $5 per 1000 video views. An affiliate marketer can make many times as much even if 5 out of those 1000 viewers buy an affiliate product.

Because it’s quicker than Adsense: If you have a million video views a month, you can earn around $3,000 to $5,000 with Adsense. Sounds exciting! But the question is, where will a million views come from? With affiliate marketing you don’t have to wait for a million views to start earning a handsome paycheck. Even smaller channels with a few thousand views can earn a handsome paycheck.

Because people love videos: Over 30 million subscribers log on to YouTube to watch over a billion hours of video every single day. Seventy-six percent of consumers and 85% of millennials say they've purchased a product or service after watching a video.

Getting Started with YouTube Affiliate Marketing

It’s easy to start your YouTube Affiliate journey. If you really wanted to, you could launch your YouTube channel today and start posting videos within the hour. But if you’re serious about earning money, you’ll need a plan for creating the type of videos you want to make. For example, do you want to ame real life videos, onscreen videos, gaming videos, live videos, or …?

Here’s a list of things you need to get started.

A YouTube Account

YouTube is free and you can sign up in less than 5 minutes. You’ll have your own channel and access to the Creator Studio, where you can upload videos, write titles and descriptions, select thumbnails, and analyze how your videos are performing.

An Affiliate Account

Amazon has one of the world’s largest affiliate programs that most affiliate marketers like to join.  You can easily sign up to become an Amazon Associate. Most affiliates are approved within a couple of days, after which they can promote links for millions of products.


On the other hand, if you don’t want to use Amazon, you can take a look at the thousands of other affiliate programs out there. Some companies will want you to agree to certain conditions before they approve you as one of their affiliate partners. These conditions may include working an exclusive affiliate network, posting content regularly, or having their product feed on your website.

A Powerful Computer

HD and 4K videos take a lot of memory and processing power. Get a good machine with a big RAM (16GB or more is best) and Hard Drive (3-4 TB or more is ideal). It should preferably have a good processor and a graphics card for editing high-res videos and rendering animations.

Camera and Photo Gear

The camera you need depends on the type of videos you want to produce. A GoPro may be needed for action videos, a DSLR camera for portraits and a webcam for live videos. Onscreen videos can be created with one of the paid or free video capturing tools. The camera on iPhone X (and up) can do a solid job if you don’t have the budget to buy a DSLR. You may want to buy a microphone and lights too if you want to make professional videos.

Video Editing Tools

You may need video editing software to edit out irrelevant or boring parts of your video and add music, voiceover, animations, special effects and graphics.

Optional: An Affiliate Marketing Agency 

If you want to increase your earnings and do it quickly, but you have little or no experience in video making and affiliate marketing, it’s not a bad idea to work with an affiliate marketing agency. 

How to Create Great YouTube Affiliate Videos

You have to get video views if you want to earn money through YouTube Affiliate Marketing. If no one watches your content, no one clicks your affiliate link--and you don’t get paid any commission. With over 300 hundred hours of video being uploaded to YouTube every minute, it’s not easy to get views unless you can create amazing video content.

If you’re making YouTube videos for the first time, it’s likely that your videos look awful. But don’t give up. Do the best you can and get your first video up there. Look for audience feedback and compare your video with other videos in its category. Apply your learning and you’ll be creating awesome videos very soon.

Use the following tips to make great YouTube affiliate videos:

Plan Your Videos

You can just start rambling in front of the camera and produce a quick, long and boring video. But most of your viewers are likely to bounce away after watching the first few seconds. Write and follow a script and make a crisp video by editing out the irrelevant or uninteresting parts.

Make Your Videos Relatable

You want to attract people who are interested in a specific product. Your videos must relate to that product. There’s no point making a video about fish tanks if you’re peddling a VPN.

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/1ayxv7GOuiU" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe>

A video about ‘unbelievable home aquariums’ tries to sell a VPN.

Target Your Videos

Target your videos towards smaller sub-segments within your larger audience. For example, if you’re promoting fish aquariums, you can make a video about table aquariums. This will make your video appear higher when someone searches specifically for table aquariums.

Be Excited About the Video

The video must sound as enthusiastic as you want your audience to be. The viewers are unlikely to feel excited and buy the products if you are talking in a dull and monotonous voice.

Pay Attention to Video and Audio Quality

The video and audio quality must be great if you don’t want your audience to bounce off after the first few seconds. The video should be at least 720p resolution, but it’s even better if they have 1080p or 4k resolution. Get a high quality mic if you’re going to provide voiceover or commentary. Cheap mics are obvious because of the voice quality and can put off viewers.

Don’t be Salesy, Sketch, or Stupid

People watch videos to get information so they can make their own decisions regarding the purchase. Pushing them to buy is likely to drive them away.  Supplying incorrect or sketchy info is likely to put them off. Loud, obnoxious or repetitive videos kill the sales faster than any other medium.

Use Editing Tools

Video editing software such as Nero Video, Adobe Premier or Corel Videostudio can put a zing on your videos. Use special effects, filters, animations and graphics to make your videos more exciting. Windows Movie Maker is the easiest free tool to start if you are new to video editing. Don’t be hesitant to use the trial version of paid software you’re short on budget.

Reply to Comments

Engage your audience by replying to their comments and answering their questions. It shows that you know what you’re talking about, so people will trust your videos more. Reply to Facebook comments and Tweets if you’re sharing your YouTube videos on Twitter and Facebook.

Know the Product

Affiliate marketing gurus advise selecting affiliate products that you know well and are passionate about, rather than selecting products merely because they pay well. The more you know the product, the greater the value your videos can provide to the viewers.

A comment on the aquarium video shared above

Be Discreet with Affiliate Links

There are two ways to place affiliate links in YouTube videos. You can place links in the description and mention it in the video; or you can place them as clickable annotations on the video itself. We recommend putting the links in the video description, because on-screen annotation can deteriorate the watching experience of the viewers. But if you want to put them on the video make sure you do it discreetly. The viewers should not think that you’re pushing for a sale.

How to Make More Money as a YouTube Affiliate

In YouTube affiliate marketing, views are money. The more views your videos have, the more people will click the affiliate links and the products you’ll sell. It’s that simple. Before we tell you how to have more views, let’s see how much an average YouTube affiliate can earn with affiliate marketing.

How Much Money Can a YouTube Affiliate Earn?

The average conversion rate on YouTube ranges from 2% to 5%, but might be as high as 8% for some products. The commissions for different products may vary widely, but let’s say you have a product that pays 5% and costs $50. If your video has 10,000 views, and the conversion rate is 2%, here’s what the earnings will look like.

·         Views = 10,000

·         Conversions (2%) = 200

·         Sales = $10,000

·         Commission (5%) = $500

Not very impressive, but imagine if your video had 50,000 or 100,000 views. You’d be a very happy person, earning an affiliate income of several thousand dollars with each video you post. But how can you increase the video views?

How to Increase Video Views on YouTube

In the real world, a startup YouTube affiliate will have a hard time generating even 1000 video views. But don’t get discouraged. If your content is great, you can apply the following tips to promote it and make it go viral.

Get On Facebook and Other Social Channels

Make your company profile on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Reddit and other social media networks that are relevant to your product. Share your YouTube videos on social media so that your followers can also share it and expand the reach of your content.

Optimize Your Videos for Searches

Video SEO can make your videos rank higher when a viewer searches for your products. The higher your videos appear, the more views you’ll get. YouTube (which is also the world’s second-largest search engine), Google, and other search engines depend on keywords to find and rank content. Put your main keywords in the title and description of your videos. However, make sure the keywords are relevant to the video they’re used for.

Use Intriguing Thumbnails

A catchy thumbnail is one of the keys to make people click on your video. As with keywords, make sure that the thumbnail relates to the video and is not a mere clickbait.

Which one out of the top 4 results for ‘gopro hero 8’ do you think the customer would be more likely to click?

Create an Affiliate Website

Having your own website will not only make you look more credible and professional, it will also serve as a channel for promoting your videos. Embed the videos on your website so that people coming to your site via organic searches, social media and other channels can also view them.

Always Be Consistent

It’s the ABC of YouTube affiliate marketing, or any type of digital marketing. Upload your videos consistently and make the publishing times and days predictable for your subscribers.

Ask Viewers to ‘Click the Bell Icon’

Almost every other YouTuber asks people to ‘click the bell icon’ on their channels so they could get a notification as soon as a new video is published. This can reduce your dependence on YouTube searches and get you views right off the bat.

The Way Forward

If you are getting started with YouTube affiliate marketing, we wish that you have a million subscribers one day. Only around 16,000 out of the total over 31 million YouTube channels have over one million subscribers. But on the brighter side, the number of channels with over one million subscribers grew an impressive 65% last year.  

That means affiliate marketers who can create great video content have nothing to fear. 

YouTube has no parallel when it comes to making videos go viral. But you have to be smart in selecting affiliate products, great at producing videos, and consistent in uploading and promoting video content. So go ahead, start by looking for the right affiliate products to promote and never hesitate to contact Josh Meah & Company if you need help with any aspect of YouTube affiliate marketing.

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