Affiliate Marketing on Youtube: Who does it and is it worth it?

In the time it takes you to see this sentence, 100s of hours of new video will have been uploaded to

Altogether, Six billion hours of video are viewed on YouTube each month – close to 1 hour/month for every single living person on the globe.

All the stats linked to YouTube are similarly mind-boggling: the world’s 2nd largest internet search engine, over 1 billion users, larger reach than any US cable network, etc.

So, of course, affiliate marketing online on YouTube is a thing – and a hugely profitable one at that.

Who does it? How do you get into it? And is it really worth investing in YouTube affiliate marketing?

Let’s find out.

What’s YouTube Affiliate Marketing?

YouTube affiliate marketing is the process of creating videos & placing affiliate links in the actual video clips (via annotations) or in video descriptions.

That’s as easy as it gets. Just as you might write a blog post on “how to install WP” with an affiliate link to ThemeForest, for example, you can create a video showing the Word press installation process and include an affiliate link in the description:

Here is an example of a link in the video description:

And here is one in an annotation (sometimes called an overlay):

Whatever methods you use, the objective is the similar: redirect traffic to an affiliate web page.

(Additionally, you can also direct users to an e-mail sign-up form if you’ve a more nuanced funnel that promotes affiliate products and programs).

Who’s Doing YouTube Affiliate Marketing?


Or nearly.

If you are a serious content creator on YouTube, there is a good chance you’ve a minumum of one affiliate offer someplace in one of your videos. is so massively popular – among creators & consumers – that it just does not make any sense not to.

However, it’s probably worth making a distinction here between casual marketers and professional marketers.

In the first category are serious content builders who happen to place the occasional affiliate link in their video clips. For them, affiliate marketing online is one more method for them to earn money, not the only way (these folks often earn money with ad views, platforms like Patreon, & sponsored content).

For instance, the Start-up Survival channel usually shares useful survival ideas. In some videos, however, it provides affiliate links directing people to reviewed products and services.

This can be replicated for almost any niche. Think travel, weight-loss, Search engine optimization or just about any other niche you’d build a traditional authority site in.

In the second category are channels that exist solely to earn affiliate commissions. For such content builders, all content development revolves around its capacity to earn affiliate commissions.

Such as, this channel only has BlueHost review videos to earn affiliate commissions:

Luckily for everybody, YouTube seems to have far more of the former than the latter (or, perhaps, their algorithm filters out the spammier content). And due to YouTube’s immense reach, it’s possible to be a serious content creator and still make solid affiliate commissions.

For example, Marques Brownlee (MKBHD) has high-quality tech review videos where he frequently adds Amazon affiliate links:

Worth A Buy is the one other channel that reviews gaming products & tells viewers if the game/accessory/console is “worth a buy”.

The videos are high-quality and earn great money without being spammy.

What Type of Video clips Can You Make to Generate Affiliate Income?

There are almost infinite various types, styles & formats of YouTube video clips. However, there are a variety of standard formats that have shown to be successful.

While most of these do not lend themselves perfectly to affiliate marketing online, there are a variety of formats that do present the chance to promote services and products.

Product Review Videos

Single product reviews similar to this video or comparison videos, such as one below, are an easy way to create videos that can promote products.

It’s been suggested that 62% of consumers watch review videos before completing an order & 52% of customers are likely to purchase a product featured in a YouTube product review video.

This is actually the perfect chance to create content that can help get that sale over the line for retailers while earning yourself some nice commission through the affiliate income.

How To Videos

This video clip showing people the way to clean their gutters is a great example of the type of video that can be informative at the same time as recommending products.

It would be easy to put links in the information to buy each of the products mentioned in the video at Amazon or Home Depot if you were signed up to either of their respective affiliate marketing programs.

Best Of Videos

This video basically curates the commercials of the best lawnmowers on sale at this time.

Now, we would not exactly recommend that you rip 10 videos & cut them together in this way. The real value comes from building yourself as an expert on the subject matter so your target audience values your opinion.

However, this post has over 7,000 views. Within the description, there are links to buy each of the 10 lawnmowers on Amazon.

It’s easy to imagine similar round-up videos in various niches –

Best Hair Straighteners
Best Gas BBQs
Best Golf Driver
Best Keyword Research Tool
Best Running Shoes

Each of these has the potential to be a successful video that can generate substantial affiliate profits.

How Do You Get Traffic to Your YouTube Video clips?

Google Organic Search

A good way to get traffic to your YouTube videos is to rank in Google search engines.

For certain queries (like the one below for “apple cider vinegar dosage”), you can see that YouTube videos occasionally rank.

You can use SEMRush to come up with ideas for what posts you should make videos for. You want to develop video clips for keywords that already have videos ranking.

To find out what keywords have videos ranking, you can use SEMRush.

Begin by putting your keywords on SEMRush

From this, you should have an endless stream of content ideas and a way to get visitors to them because you know that type of video ranks for a specific keyword.

Pro Tip

Remember to do keyword research so you know if there is sufficient search traffic. It’s probably not worth your time to create a video for a search query that only gets 20 searches each month.


The simplest way to get traffic to your video clips is to build up a base of subscribers.

The top account on YouTube, PewDiePie, has over 95 million subscribers.

Each time he releases a new video, each of these subscribers can see in their subscription bar that there’s a new video available.

As you can see on the right-hand side of the screen, there are a variety of channels with numbers beside it who’ve released new videos.

On top of that, there is the added bonus of the recommended videos.

YouTube will recommend video clips similar to the ones that a viewer regularly watches to them on their home-page.

YouTube Related Videos

YouTube makes money through ads.

The more video clips that you can get your viewers to view, the more ads they’ll see. Similarly, if you can get users to come to your channel from other sites, such as Fb, and have a long session viewing many video clips, YouTube will give you more prominence in related video clips.

YouTube wants you to attract as many users as possible back to YouTube to begin a new session and wants them to watch as many video clips as possible.

If you can do that, YouTube will work along with you to promote your content as it’s beneficial to them.

There is clearly more to gaining prominence in the related video section than that, but it’s definitely a good place to begin.

YouTube Organic Search

YouTube is the 2nd largest search engine, behind Google.

Ranking in YouTube organic search can be an amazing source of highly targeted traffic.

YouTube organic search is the same in principle to Google search engines. There are many ranking factors, tricks and tips that can help you rank.

However, because of the different platforms, these ranking factors are different.

You can see the tools to increase video rankings on YouTube

What Affiliate Offers are Available?

All affiliate offers.

This is the beauty of YouTube. YouTube isn’t a niche in itself but a platform that enables you to broadcast to an audience regardless of what your niche is.

I would suggest that, if your niche allows it, you start with Amazon.

Pros of YouTube Affiliate Marketing

Pros of YouTube Affiliate Marketing

Massive audience: I will not repeat the statistics again, but you know this: YouTube’s traffic is enormous (and growing). People across the globe are watching billions of videos on every topic under the sun. You will not find any industry that does not have a hungry audience waiting to buy.

High growth: Video is eating the net. It’s estimated that by 2019, 80% of all content on-line will be video. YouTube’s own profits have grown from an estimated $1 billion in 2012 to $9 billion in 2016. This means that not only will you get a lot of views, your views – and revenues – will actually grow over time.

Lower competition: Unlike the web, video is still largely without competition outside of a few niches (gaming, tech, beauty, fashion, etc.). If you can get in early with some high quality content, you can master the niche and build an enormous audience.

Freedom to select offers: Outside of a few no-go niches (gambling & adult offers), you’ve pretty much all the freedom on the globe to plug in any offer or web site, especially after you have established trust by maintaining a non-spammy, premium quality channel. It is still not the same as owning your site, but close.

More stability: A large number of marketers spent millions building up Fb pages only to see their organic reach drop the drain as Fb changed its algorithm. This is unlikely to happen to YouTube because of the subscriber system and the more stable search algorithm.

Can build a loyal audience: People who like your video clips can “subscribe” to your channel. This means that they will get your new video clips in their “Subscribed” feed even if you do not do any promotion. This captive, loyal audience is a huge plus for anybody creating quality content.

Easy SEO (sometimes): Videos appear in 55% of keyword searches on Google. 82% of these video clips are from YouTube. Because of lower competition on YouTube, it is relatively simple to get your video ranked at the top of the SERPs.

Cons of YouTube Affiliate Marketing

Content creation: The largest hurdle by far. You can not just hire a $10 author and build up a bunch of pages. You actually have to make interesting, compelling video clips to get any viewers. Does not help that most people are not comfortable before cameras.

Niche-specific challenges: It’s relatively simple to create content for the “tech how-to” niche (like “how to set up Windows” or “how to use WinRar) – you simply need a screencasting software and a microphone. For niches like DIY plumbing, however, you need significant time, energy & skills. This often compels online marketers to flood the simpler niches, increasing competition.

Linking restrictions: Based on Google: “If the main purpose of your articles is to drive people off of YouTube & onto another site, it’ll likely violate our spam policies”. This should not be a problem if you’ve quality content, but if you’ve a purely

Difficult to get traffic: For a topic like “how to set up WordPress”, you’ll be entirely dependant on google search traffic (either YouTube or Google/Bing). In such niches, getting traffic can be the most difficult.

Should you Start Doing Affiliate Marketing Online on YouTube?


Video is the future.

However, YouTube itself is a very competitive place already. This means that you should be really sensible when selecting your niche.

It makes sense to submit a YouTube channel in conjunction with a web site. This gives you more options for monetization rather than simply based on on-page conversions from links in the description.

Especially considering that these conversion rates will become more difficult with YouTube now advertising related products beneath video clips.

With a web site, you will get people to opt-in to e-mail, push notifications & re-targeting. This enables you to maintain the relationship across various platforms and sell to your audience when the time and products are right.

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