If you know anything about YouTube, it’s most likely the fact that it’s the second largest search engine right behind Google. There are more than 2 billion users on YouTube each month. You’ve heard of people using YouTube to make money and you’re probably wondering if it would be a good platform for affiliate marketing.
The short answer is YES! YouTube is actually one of the best platforms for affiliate marketing. If you have already established a presence on YouTube, you can easily multiply your profits through affiliate marketing.
In this article, we’ll provide a guide to getting started with affiliate marketing on YouTube.
What is Affiliate Marketing?
Before we can explain why affiliate marketing works so well on YouTube, we need to explain what it is. Basically, affiliate marketing is used by companies to increase their sales. A creator/influencer will promote the company and receive a commission in exchange for sales.
Most people don’t realize it, but affiliate marketing is actually quite common. In fact, 81% of brands use this as part of their overall marketing strategy. This means that most brands you know have an affiliate program.
How Does Affiliate Marketing Work on YouTube?
When it comes to affiliate marketing, there are lots of different platforms and techniques that can be employed. Things such as blogs and social media- including YouTube.
YouTube is a great place to promote products/services. Since it operates as a search engine, people who are watching the videos are interested in finding out about a certain product or seeking solutions to an issue they are having.
When doing affiliate marketing on YouTube, a creator will make a video related to the product and pertinent offers for that product. In the description, they will place their affiliate link. This way, when people click on the link and buy the product, they will be paid a commission.
Why Do Affiliate Marketing on YouTube?
Whether you are just getting started in affiliate marketing or you’re researching to find the ideal platform for your business or you’re a creator on YouTube trying to boost your earnings, there are several reasons that you should do affiliate marketing on YouTube:
- It’s free! One of the most difficult parts of affiliate marketing is getting people to click on your links. Since YouTube is a search engine, you can easily get traffic because people who watch your video have most likely searched for that specific content and are most likely to make a purchase.
- It’s a social media platform, which means that if you produce high-quality content, you’ll receive more engagement. When YouTube sees that your visitors enjoy your content, your videos will be suggested to more people, which means your channel will grow (and thus, your affiliate earnings).
- Many creators believe that the primary way to make money is to place ads in their videos. However, in order for this to work, you need a lot of subscribers and views. This isn’t the case with affiliate marketing.
- It’s easy to build trust/loyalty with your followers than if you were using ads or a blog. Videos help establish a connection and build a following that will be more likely to purchase what you are recommending.
- YouTube does allow affiliate links. This isn’t the case with other sources, such as forums, Google, or Facebook ads.
Steps to Using YouTube for Affiliate Marketing
Now that you have learned what affiliate marketing is and a few reasons why you should consider YouTube as a platform for it, let’s take a look at the steps for using this platform for your affiliate marketing strategy.
Choose Your Niche
If you are not already established on YouTube, you may still be trying to figure out what your channel will be about. The advantage of YouTube is that it works for nearly every niche and there are still many that have little competition.
Niches that have lots of competition include those related to health/wellness, relationships, and personal finances. Of course, this doesn’t mean that your channel can’t be on these topics, it just means that it will take more time/effort to get established and you’ll need a unique approach to stand out from other creators.
Choose Affiliate Programs
Once you have chosen your niche and gotten started with your YouTube channel, you’ll want to do some research and find related affiliate programs. Then, you’ll want to apply for those programs as directed.
Some brands manage their own affiliate programs, while others work through affiliate networks. Either way, the application process is pretty similar.
Create Content that Makes Money
Technically, you can include affiliate links in any type of videos. However, there are some videos that are better for this. For example, product reviews are more likely to encourage people to purchase a product than a “Day in the Life” type of vlog where you just list some affiliate links in your description. That being said, here are a few types of videos that are most effective for affiliate marketing:
- Product Review Vids
- How-to Vids
- Haul/Collection Vids
- Favorites/Best Of Vids
- Unboxing Vids
- Educational Vids
- Gaming Vids
Make High-Quality Content
Of course, this should go without saying- but high-quality content is critical to get people to engage with your videos, increase your viewership, grow your channel, and ultimately make some money. Here are the steps for making high-quality content for your YouTube channel:
- Plan ahead: you need a script or a structure to follow to keep you on course with your video.
- Use decent images/sounds: you need to upload videos in at least 720 HD- 1080 HD is even better. Consider a low-cost microphone to ensure sound quality, as most people will move on if they have difficulty hearing what you are saying.
- Get some good editing skills/software: editing is important- and if you’ve never done it, you might be overwhelmed. There are plenty of software/app options that can help you edit like a pro even if you are a novice.
- Get clicks: a good, quality thumbnail, or cover, will encourage people to click on your video to watch it.
- Increase engagement on your videos: ask viewers to like, comment, and/or share your video and to subscribe to your channel to encourage engagement. If they comment, make sure you reply to what they have to say.
- Post on a regular basis: you can’t expect to succeed if you’re randomly posting from time-to-time. You need to post on a regular basis, 2 to 3 times per week on average. This will keep you fresh in peoples’ minds. If you don’t post regularly, your views and subscribers will drop, which makes way for your competition to take over.
Optimize Content for Traffic
While high-quality content is critical, it’s not enough to get views on your videos. You’ll need to work with the search engine/algorithm to be successful. Here is how to get traffic to your channel/videos:
- Organic search
- Keyword research
- YouTube related vids
- Social media/forums
- Email list
Promote Your Affiliate Links
When you promote your affiliate links, it should be natural (and noticeable)- but not spammy. This means that you should place the link in your description and also mention it in your video. While it might be appropriate to use image overlays in some cases, the description is the best place for your links.
There’s not a policy in place on YouTube regarding affiliate links, but it’s a good idea to put a disclosure with your links to let your viewers know that you are transparent. When promoting a product, check for discounts that you can pass to your viewers. If they know they can save money by clicking your link, they are more likely to do so.
Advantages & Disadvantages of Affiliate Marketing on YouTube
As with anything else, there are advantages and disadvantaged of affiliate marketing on YouTube. We’ll take a look at those below:
- Audience size: there are 2 billion users on YouTube already- and it keeps growing.
- Video is king: more than 80% of online content is video, which has a higher engagement and conversion rate than other types of content.
- Lower competition: many niches still have low competition, which means you have the chance to build an audience if you get in early.
- Works for (almost) everything: there are only a few “no-go” niches, such as adult offers and gambling, but other than that, you’re free to promote anything you want.
- Builds loyal audience: those who like your videos/content can subscribe to your channel so they can see when you post new things.
- Fast results: while it does take time to grow your views and channel, it’s faster than building a blog/website. When you use YouTube, you’ll have views/sales within the first month, and see considerable growth within 6.
- Time: creating high-quality content takes time/dedication, which can be a huge hurdle for those not willing to invest either.
- Niche-specific challenges: depending on your market, content may be difficult to produce. Some niches only require you to do a screen-record on your computer, while others will require more. Easy niches typically have more competition.
Affiliate marketing through YouTube is a great idea. You will be able to make more money this way than by using ads- and the content will continue to make you money for years and will usually grow over time.
Honestly, this is probably as close as you’ll get to a passive income. You spend just a couple of hours making and posting a video and it will generate sales for years without you doing anything else, other than perhaps engaging with your viewers through comments and likes.
Video is already popular and will only continue to grow. The best time to get started is right now.
Keep in mind that your first few videos are not likely to be perfect- but they will still bring you views and (hopefully) sales. You can learn as you go. Don’t stress over being perfect at first.
YouTube is defintely an ideal platform for affiliate marketing. Don’t waste any more time- let’s get started!