There are lots of ways to make money online as an affiliate marketer. But YouTube is a particularly valuable platform for promoting affiliate products.
That’s because a growing number of consumers turn to YouTube for buying advice:
If you’re ready to earn affiliate marketing income from YouTube, here’s everything you need to know to get started:
How YouTube for Affiliate Marketing Works
Working as an affiliate marketer on YouTube is like being a blogger. Bloggers write a post reviewing or recommending different products. Then they include an affiliate link that their audience can click through to buy.
YouTube works in a similar way. You create valuable videos reviewing and recommending different products. Then you include an affiliate link in your video description. Your audience can use the link to buy the product, then you get a commission.
Here’s an example of a YouTube video with an affiliate link for funnel building software:
You can also highlight affiliate links using annotations over your YouTube video.
Many affiliate marketers also use YouTube as a content platform to attract leads. In this case, they don’t promote affiliate links right from the video. Instead they use it as an opportunity to encourage signups to a free course or email newsletter related to the niche topic. Then they can nurture leads through email and promote affiliate products there.
So YouTube for affiliate marketing really isn’t all that different from regular affiliate marketing. You’re just creating a different kind of content.
A lot of people use YouTube to earn online income, but it’s done by showing advertisements during their videos. If you’re an affiliate marketer, you don’t need to join this monetization system. Instead you can earn money from affiliate commissions. Your affiliates would be third party platforms you have an agreement with. They offer a percent commission on the price of the product (e.g. 2%).
Just like with blogging, you can create all sorts of videos to promote a product. The biggest challenge of affiliate marketing is attracting traffic and getting views for your content. The rest of this post will explain how to create great videos, get views, and grow your affiliate marketing business.
How to Create Great Affiliate Videos
You don’t need to be an expert videographer to create valuable YouTube videos for your audience. Depending on your niche, you might be able to get away with just using your computer camera to video yourself discussing a topic/product.
Most YouTubers use just their phone camera and basic video editing software to create their videos. To help you understand how simple your videos can be, here’s an overview of some popular types of affiliate marketing videos:
Types of Affiliate Marketing Videos
Here are some of the many types of affiliate videos you can create:
- Product reviews / Unboxing videos
Product reviews are a classic affiliate content type. They work well on YouTube, giving a visual element to the review. Just offer up an honest assessment of a product you love, and include an affiliate link to buy it. A similar content type popular on YouTube is called an “unboxing video.” It’s like a review, but first you video yourself opening and checking out the product.
- How tos or tutorials
How to videos are extremely popular. People turn to YouTube to see step-by-step instructions on how to do all kinds of things. Think of a skill you have related to your affiliate niche and create a tutorial video. In it, you can recommend related products as part of the process. For example, a YouTuber walking someone through how to set up a website could recommend a hosting service and get affiliate commission.
- Best of/ Shopping advice
Do a round-up video highlighting the best products related to your niche. You can include a few affiliate products where appropriate. This should be an area where you offer an expert opinion on each product. Here’s an example of a best of video roundup:
Your video doesn’t necessarily have to be a “best of” list. It can also be a generalized video offering shopping advice on a niche product topic. Fashion bloggers will often create videos discussing clothing do’s and don’ts. For example, how to choose the best mini skirt for date night.
- News and entertainment
Offer your opinion and/or commentary on the latest trends related to your niche. Popular examples include award show commentary or celebrity gossip. But you can dig down much deeper to find relevant topics to discuss related to your niche. For example, an affiliate for novelty Sci-Fi products could create videos discussing the latest Star Trek show, or other niche news. These videos might not offer an opportunity to promote affiliate links. But they will help you build a subscriber base that you can direct to your other affiliate videos.
- Comedy or sketch
Get really creative, and you can create a short drama or comedy sketch while promoting an affiliate product. These videos have the potential to become wildly popular. This will broaden your reach and potential affiliate sales in the process.
If you need some inspiration for great comedy or entertainment videos, check out PewDiePie. He has nearly 83,000,000 subscribers and tons of great sketch videos:
7 Ways to Get More Views for Your Affiliate Videos
Probably the most challenging part of using YouTube for affiliate marketing is getting views. You can’t simply create a video, upload it to YouTube, and leave it at that. You need to actively promote it. This ensures each video gets views and you get affiliate commissions.
Here are 7 ways to get more views for your affiliate videos:
- Optimize for Google search
Creating YouTube videos is a great opportunity to appear in Google search results. Whenever a search query has relevant related video content, Google will include videos at the top of search results.
This is great news for SEO. You don’t have to compete against other web pages with high authority domains. Instead your content can shoot right to the top of search results as a YouTube video.
Before creating a video, you’ll want to do some keyword research. There are lots of free tools out there that can help you find keywords to target. Google Ads Keyword Planner, for example, can help you identify new relevant keyword ideas based on a root keyword. KeywordTool.io is another tool that can help you find long tail keywords to target.
You’ll want to find a keyword that has enough search volume that it’s worthwhile to make a video about. Then you want to check and make sure that Google is actually ranking YouTube videos for this specific query. You can figure this out using another keyword research tool like Ahrefs. Or just type your keyword into Google and see if videos appear at the top. If they do, these videos will be your competition to beat.
- Optimize for YouTube search
YouTube has an internal search engine. This is the most popular tool people use to discover videos on the platform. Optimizing for YouTube search is a lot like optimizing for Google search engines, with a few key differences.
You can use traditional keyword research tools to discover relevant keywords for YouTube. But you should also plug these into YouTube’s internal search engine. Then you can see if they’re really what you want to rank for. There are also a few tools out there that can help you with keyword research specific to YouTube. Keywordtool.io and Backlinko are two tools you can use for this.
The main aspects of your YouTube video you’ll want to optimize are called “metadata.” These include your:
YouTube allows you to tag your video to categorize it by specific keywords. To get an idea of what kind of tags to use, you should check out your competitor content. There’s no way to view competitor tags right on YouTube. Instead you’ll need a third-party insights tool like vidIQ and TubeBuddy. TubeBuddy offers a variety of video SEO tools, such as a keyword explorer to help you identify worthwhile keywords to tag:
- Optimize your video’s appearance
The most important factor for getting clicks on your YouTube videos is appearance. Optimize how it appears natively on YouTube and when you embed/share it across the web. Having a compelling video title is key here. Use something interesting that drives people to click. But never use clickbait tactics! Make sure your title is true to what your video is about or risk a high bounce rate or getting a lot of dislikes. These factors show YouTube that your video is deceptive and it will get pushed down in search results.
The other important factor of your video’s appearance is the thumbnail. This is the image people will see alongside your video before they click on it. So make sure it’s something visually appealing that helps show people what to expect when they click on the video.
- Build a subscriber base
One of the best ways to ensure your new videos get views is building a strong subscriber base. Once people subscribe to your channel, they’ll receive a notification whenever you publish a new video. Your channel will also appear in the subscription panel on the side of YouTube.
Encourage your audience to subscribe with a strong call-to-action at the end of each video. You can also plan on creating a lot of videos, even ones that aren’t promoting affiliate products. These will help you get visibility and build your subscriber base on the platform.
- Optimize for related videos
YouTube’s service is set up using a powerful algorithm to suggest related videos and keep people watching. Whenever someone watches a video, there’s a prominent section of suggests related videos to check out:
Getting your video featured in this section is a great way to get more views. Luckily, much of what you need to do to optimize your video for this is covered in the other points of this post. Make your thumbnail visually appealing and your video title compelling. This will drive more clicks which shows YouTube that your video is relevant for the feed.
- Cross-promote on your website
Featuring your YouTube content on your own native website is a great way to get more visibility and views. Hosting video content on your blog gives you another opportunity to optimize for search engines using long-tail keywords. A lot of affiliate marketers that focus on YouTube will also create blog content to go with their videos. These can be a simple transcript of the video content or supporting material to go along with the embedded video.
- Share across the web
Another great way to get more reach for your content is sharing it across the web. Promote your videos on social media accounts like Facebook and Twitter. Video is one of the most popular content types on social platforms. This can attract your social audience back to YouTube. Encourage them to share to get even more reach and grow your social following in the process.
There are lots of other related websites that you can use to promote your YouTube content as well. Online forums or social sharing sites like Reddit are great examples. Join and engage in relevant conversations. Then recommend your YouTube content wherever it offers value to the discussion.
YouTube is a powerful tool to help you achieve important affiliate marketing goals. These include reaching your audience, offering value, building trust and more. Just choose the right affiliate products for your audience’s needs. Then create and optimize educational, informative, and entertaining videos. Then YouTube’s powerful platform and your promotion strategies will be all you need to start driving affiliate sales from your video content.