YouTube Affiliate Marketing – How To Make Money On YouTube

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Last Updated on 6th March 2024

It’s no secret that there are a ton of people who are making a lot of money with YouTube affiliate marketing.

But is affiliate marketing on YouTube really something that anyone can do? Is it possible that beginners can start affiliate marketing on YouTube and actually make money?

The answer is yes, even beginners can make money on YouTube. It just takes a little practice with the right strategies.

If you’re looking to jump into affiliate marketing with YouTube, then our easy guide will tell you what you need to know.

Let’s get to it!

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What Is YouTube Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing is a type of performance-based marketing in which a business reward promoters of their products (a.k.a affiliates) for sending new customers their way.

If you’ve joined an affiliate marketing program, the product owner will give you a unique tracking link, known as an affiliate link. You can place this link wherever you like on the internet.

When someone clicks your referral link, they will be diverted to the merchant’s website. If the visitor then makes a purchase, you as the affiliate will receive an affiliate commission.

Affiliates use all kinds of platforms to reach their audience, from blog posts to social media platforms. So, YouTube affiliate marketing is basically when an affiliate uses YouTube as a method to reach a target audience and drive traffic to their affiliate tracking link.

 YouTube is a hot commodity, with around 1.7 billion monthly users. it’s one of the most popular platforms in the world, and for marketers, it serves up high-quality, targeted traffic.

How To Start Affiliate Marketing On YouTube

The first step is to choose a niche. There are tons to choose from. The beauty of using YouTube is you can vlog about pretty much any topic and get traffic. This is because YouTube, like Google, is a search engine. People go there to search for videos on all kinds of topics. The platform pretty much has appeal for everyone and covers almost every topic.

However, unlike Google, it’s MUCH easier to get traffic on YouTube. Google is particularly picky about what websites it chooses to rank on page 1. While YouTube also has its own algorithm, it’s not as difficult to get to the top of the YouTube search results.

Once you have chosen your niche, the next step is to find good affiliate products to promote that appeal to your target audience. It’s important to make sure the affiliate program you choose will earn you a decent commission.

Some affiliate products pay very low commissions, while others can earn you big money for just making one or two sales per month. So choose wisely.

To get started quickly, I recommend joining an affiliate network.

The next step is to research your niche to see what kinds of videos your target audience likes to watch. You can do this by first making a list of the most popular YouTube channels in your space.

Then, go check out their videos and make a note of which videos are getting the most views. Then, write down any patterns and similarities you notice between your competitor’s most popular videos.

The next step is the fun part. This is where you start producing content and uploading your videos to YouTube!

Once you’ve uploaded your video, you’ll need to give it a title and write a short description in the description box that appears under your video. The description area is also the place where you add your affiliate links to products.

Some basic YouTube SEO work will also be needed here – more on that later. As visitors stop by to view your videos, just kick back, relax and hope they click the link!

Well, not really…

When you shoot your video you should remember to tell your audience to click your link in the description below. You could then kick back and relax, but I highly recommend you continue to shoot and upload more videos on a weekly basis.

You don’t need to go crazy, although the more videos you upload the better. However, many YouTubers see a lot of success from uploading just one video per week.

The key, though, is consistency!

Over time you’ll gain more traction, and with more views comes the potential of more clicks to your link. Then, when people start making purchases, you start making money.

What Are The Benefits Of Affiliate Marketing On YouTube?

There are multiple benefits for affiliate marketers using YouTube.

One of the biggest benefits is YouTube can provide you with a steady flow of highly relevant traffic to your videos. This steady flow of traffic means you have the potential to earn money from each of your videos long into the future.

Basically, you’ve done the work once to create a YouTube video, and that video now has the potential to earn you money month after month for work you did just one time. The more videos you have out there, the more passive income assets you have earning you commissions on autopilot.

And if you’re good at it, the amount of money you earn can snowball real quickly.

Here’s a breakdown of the main benefits of using YouTube to drive traffic to your affiliate offers:

  • Steady flow of highly targeted traffic
  • Can be a passive income stream
  • Low business start-up cost
  • Low maintenance and operational costs
  • High returns on investments
  • You can reach a wide audience
  • Appeals to pretty much any niche
  • Simple business model

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How Can You Make Money As a YouTube Affiliate Marketer?

With over 5 billion videos being watched on the platform daily and 1.7 billion unique monthly users, it’s no wonder that people are flocking to YouTube to make money through affiliate marketing.

There are several ways to make money on YouTube. But when it comes to affiliate marketing, the way to actually make money with this method basically comes down to two main methods.

Method 1: Place your affiliate link in the description area of your video, and invite people to click your link.

Method 2: Instead of placing an affiliate link in the description area, you place a link to a landing page instead. When people visit your landing page you offer them some kind of free gift (known as a lead magnet) in exchange for their email address. They click the button to submit their deets, and they automatically receive an email from you with the free gift. At the same moment, they click the ‘submit’ button, you can also redirect them to an alternate page (known as a bridge page). Here is where you pitch them your product. If they purchase, you make money. If they don’t, no worries, you now have their email address, and your automated email sequence will follow up with them several times a week to build a relationship (trust), offer helpful info, and pitch more products.

Both methods work. By far, method 2 is the most effective. After all, building an email list is one of the most profitable things you can do in any business, including affiliate marketing.

What Types Of Videos Generate Affiliate Revenue?

There are lots of different types of videos on the platform. But as a YouTube affiliate, the following types of videos are the most effective for affiliate marketing:

  • Unboxing videos
  • Product reviews
  • Product round-up videos
  • Product X vs Product Y
  • Product demos
  • How-to videos
  • Step-by-step guide videos
  • Case study videos
  • Trending topic videos

This is not an extensive list here, but these are some of the most effective types of videos you can make as an affiliate.

Naturally, a video type that works for one content creator, may not work for others. This is why studying your audience is of utmost importance. A great way to do this is to look at successful affiliate marketers in your niche on YouTube to see what they’re doing and note what’s working well for them.

Where Can You Place Affiliate Links On YouTube?

Firstly, you may be asking yourself, are affiliate links allowed on YouTube?

You will be pleased to hear the answer is yes, affiliate links are allowed on YouTube. However, YouTube has a few do’s and don’t when it comes to affiliate links, which I’ve listed below.

Most commonly, YouTube affiliate marketers put their links in the description area, immediately below a video. Despite the site’s terms of service stating that any form of advertisement is not allowed without prior consent, in practice, YouTube tends to be a little forgiving when it comes to affiliate links.

If you want to follow the best practices, then here’s a quick guide:

  • Links must be directly related to the content of the video
  • Content creators must explicitly state that they are displaying an affiliate link with their video
  • Links shouldn’t be placed at the topmost of the description section
  • Don’t stuff the description box with links
  • Avoid shortened/masked links
  • Videos should be soft-selling with links serving as a suggestion rather than an advertisement
  • Links to sites selling contraband are prohibited

Tips To Make Great YouTube Content

Affiliate marketing, even on YouTube, is all about the honesty and transparency of the creator or influencer involved. People have grown to become desensitized to hard-selling, so much so, that many marketing techniques have shifted to soft-selling instead.

Reviews that are packaged to be centered around sharing an experience with the viewers do much better in comparison to one that actively sells the product. 

Another thing to keep in mind is the general attention span of your channel’s key audience units. A younger demographic would be used to shorter, straightforward videos that cut to the chase. Older viewer fragments may prefer videos that offer in-depth explanations or more extensive information on what they’re looking for.

The content-type also plays a role in determining your video length. No one wants to watch a 3-hour long unboxing video, do they?

Hell no!

Although it’s not necessary for the early days of starting your YouTube channel, as you grow it’s worth hiring an experienced video editor to give your videos some pizazz.

Although this will cost a bit of money, good videos editors can drastically help you to increase video watch time, boos channel subscriber count, and increase affiliate sales. It’s definitely with it once you start making some money from your videos.

You can find some great videos editors at very reasonable prices here.

If you can’t afford to do that yet, then you can get some video editing software and do this part yourself.

How To Get More Views On YouTube

Firstly, you might be asking, what counts as a view on YouTube? A view counts on YouTub when someone clicks to play your video and they watch at least 30 seconds. YouTube’s algorithm also has ways to detect if the view is genuine.

So, how do you get more views on YouTube? Here are a few things that really make a big difference to your view count.

YouTube Thumbnails

A thumbnail is a picture you use as the cover image of your video. The thumbnail is hugely important in attracting viewers to watch your videos.

Crappy-looking thumbnails don’t get clicked. The idea of using a thumbnail is to give potential viewers a quick pictorial representation of what your video is about.

The more intriguing and eye-catching you can make it, the more likely you will be to attract video clicks.

It’s also a good idea to write a few catchy words to try to grab viewers’ attention and spark their curiosity. Make it related to the video content, and make it curiosity-provoking. It’s also a good idea to write something that is different from your video title.

Using a nice-looking background image also helps to make your video stand out too and grab the attention of would-be viewers.

Video Titles

Your video title is also another important piece of the puzzle for a couple of reasons.

Firstly, a catchy headline will help to further grab people’s attention, ignite curiosity, and attract people to click.

Secondly, the video title is an important place to place your main keyword. Letting people know what the video is about straight away will assure them that they’ve found the right video they’re looking for, so make it clear in your title.

Of course, there’s a bit of clickbait going on here. Spice up your titles. Use some scandalous, shocking thumbnails if it’s appropriate to the video content. Create buzz around your future video releases and get people to subscribe to your channel and be notified of your upcoming content when you publish it.

Community posts and YouTube Shorts are also great buzz boosters for your channel too.

Use Social Media

A no-brainer way to get more YouTube views is to use social media and other networking sites.

In particular, sites like Facebook see 2.91 billion monthly active users, while its more visual counterpart, Instagram, receives over 1 billion of them each month. You can easily leverage these platforms to improve your video marketing.

Posting your links on social media can quickly get you more traffic. That’s especially true if you already have an established audience on those other social platforms.

Alternatively, you can also connect with other influences in your space and ask if they’d be interested to share your YouTube videos with their audience. Some influencers might ask you to pay a fee for this, while others may ask you for a favor in return. Either way, it’s worth asking.

YouTube SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

It’s important to remember that YouTube, aside from being a video-hosting platform, is also a search engine. In fact, it’s the second-largest search engine on the planet. And when we say search engine, keywords come into play.

Be sure to do ample keyword research to get a feel of what your audience would want to see. Then, use these keywords to come up with content ideas, and place them in your video titles.

Tagging your videos with these relevant keywords also helps to display them better on search pages both on and off YouTube or as related and suggested videos.

Use End Screens

End screens (also known as “end cards”) show up during the last 5-20 seconds of your video. You can use them to showcase other videos from your channel, promote your playlists, and even place links to external websites.

This is a great want to keep users consuming more of your content, or clicking a link to your landing page.

Use Playlists

Building playlists that fit specific audience groups also work wonders to keep your audience watching more of your content. This is especially the case when autoplay is involved.

YouTuber Affiliate Marketing: The Pros and Cons

Every coin has two sides. And so does YouTube. Before you ask yourself how to make money with affiliate marketing on YouTube, it’s best to first weigh its benefits against its disadvantages. This would give you a better idea of whether affiliate marketing as a YouTuber is truly suited to you.


  • Huge audience pool
  • Frequent monthly visitors
  • Great source of free, organic traffic
  • Possibility of creating a loyal following
  • Wide viewer demographics
  • Flexible content and affiliate types
  • Global reach
  • All aspects of the channel can be self-managed
  • Facilitates changes in topic/channel direction
  • Infrequent algorithm changes
  • Does not have finicky algorithm requirements


  • Video creation can be challenging
  • Involves constant experimentation and tweaking
  • YouTube can shut your channel down if they detect you are not playing by the rules
  • No clicks, no commission

Final Thoughts: Should You Start Affiliate Marketing With YouTube?

If you want to get started as an affiliate quickly and build a passive income stream as you go, YouTube affiliate marketing is a great way to do it.

With consistency and a bit of effort, this is something everyone has a chance to win at. Especially when they’re skilled in the art of roping viewers in with great content, visuals, titles, and leaving them wanting for more.

If you don’t have those skills yet, don’t worry. You will be surprised at just how quickly you acquire this skill set once you get started with affiliate marketing on YouTube.

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