Maximize Your Earnings: The Ultimate Guide To YouTube + Affiliate Marketing

Maximize Your Earnings: The Ultimate Guide To YouTube + Affiliate Marketing

Read how to effectively integrate affiliate marketing into your YouTube content and take your earnings to the next level. Learn the tips, tricks and strategies here!

Once you become a part of Youtube's Partner Program (YPP), you are eligible to monetize your video content. With it, you can leverage ads, channel memberships, and sell merchandise to earn passive income. If you want to explore other options, check out YouTube affiliate marketing.

Let's clarify: YouTube doesn't provide an affiliate program but does allow affiliate marketing. All you need to do is join one or more affiliate programs and promote them on your YouTube channel. You will receive compensation for every successful conversion. If you are new to this concept, this guide is right for you.

The guide includes details like how it works, types of video content to share, and best practices. It also highlights other essential information to help you become a successful affiliate (publisher). Before we jump into the specifics, let's understand what affiliate marketing is.

What is affiliate marketing & how does it work?

Affiliate marketing is a performance-based marketing strategy where business owners collaborate with third-party publishers to increase brand awareness and sell products. The publishers will receive a percentage of the sales they generate or business objectives they meet.

The good news is that you don't have to be an expert to be an affiliate marketer. All you need is a good understanding of digital marketing or SEO. If you’re new to the world of digital marketing, don’t worry. There are tons of digital marketing websites and resources available online to help you get started.

Other specific requirements will depend on the affiliate program you want to join. If you're interested, here's how it works:

  • Step 1: Find a product/service you like
  • Step 2: Join the merchant's affiliate program, then wait for the acceptance confirmation
  • Step 3: Go through onboarding to help you understand the program details (e.g. commission, payout, terms of service, etc.).
  • Step 4: Promote the product/service to your website, social media platforms, and podcast.
  • Step 5: The merchant will give you a commission for every visit, signup, or sale you generate.

When promoting products/services, most companies provide marketing materials like image banners and product feeds. But on YouTube, companies provide affiliate links you can add to your video descriptions.

YouTube companies provide affiliate links to add to your video descriptions


Can you put affiliate links in YouTube video's end cards? No, it's against YouTube's Terms of Service. What you can do is add your website/blog content (where your affiliate links are) on the end cards. YouTube allows it because the end card's purpose is to promote and lead viewers to other relevant content.

Regarding the affiliate commission, there's no standard rate. It purely depends on the merchant's discretion. But according to ReferralRock, the average commission rate an affiliate can earn is anywhere from 5% to 30%.

What's the best affiliate marketing program for YouTube?

There are plenty of YouTube affiliate marketing programs to choose from. Let's begin with the most popular and beginner-friendly.

I. Amazon associates

Amazon associates affiliate program


Amazon Associates is the largest and most popular YouTube affiliate marketing program today. It isn't surprising because it has over 197 million monthly active users (as of 2022) and growing.

Since Amazon has an extensive product selection, it covers lots of niches. Therefore, you can create a diverse array of content topics for your YouTube channel. It's the ideal program for beginners and anyone with a general niche on their channel.

It's also a good program for YouTubers with a specific niche, such as beauty vloggers, gardening enthusiasts, and tech gurus. You can earn up to 10% of commissions by posting Amazon Associates links on your YouTube video's description. They provide link-building tools to make the process simpler.

II. MarketBeat

MarketBeat go-to affiliate program


Are you a YouTube publisher discussing finance, trading, and investment topics? If the answer is yes, MarketBeat is your go-to affiliate program. It's an Inc. 5000 financial media company that provides the latest stock market news and research tools.

The affiliate program they run has a simple objective: encourage your subscribers to sign-up for their free daily newsletter. They will provide an opt-in form that you can embed on your website. Compared to Amazon, MarketBeat offers a flat fee of $2 per unique subscriber.

Promoting MarketBeat is easy because they offer plenty of interesting topics, like real-time stock market exchange news (also during holidays), premium stock lists, and more.

III. Going™

Going is travel-inspired YouTube affiliate marketing program


Travel is one popular category on YouTube. Everyone enjoys a 360° viewing of beautiful sceneries and landscapes with cinematic flair. Going™ is the recommended choice for a travel-inspired YouTube affiliate marketing program.

The company finds the most affordable US flight deals for everyone. Build an affiliate partnership with them to help your community travel with ease. Currently, they offer 3 agreements:

  • Email Sign-Up Verification: Bring organic traffic and leads into your website/social channels and encourage them to sign-up with their email address. Earn a fixed fee of $3 per subscriber.
  • Premium Free Trial Sign-Up: The fee depends on the membership subscription the consumer signed up for (Premium or Elite).
  • Paid Premium Membership: Similar agreement with free trial sign-up.

IV. SimplyBook.me

YouTube affiliate marketing program for digital marketers


SaaS affiliate marketing is another popular option with a simple objective: to drive organic traffic to their website. It's a great YouTube affiliate marketing program for digital marketers, tech gurus, freelancers, and more.

SimplyBook, a scheduling program for SMBs, is one of the recommended options. They provide banners and affiliate links you can add to your YouTube video's description or send directly to your contacts. You will receive a 25% commission for your first payment.

If your referral purchased a premium subscription, the company would pay you an additional 15% of consequent payments for up to 2 years (based on the referral's first payment).

V. RZ mask

RZ Mask YouTube affiliate marketing program


Wearing a face mask is the new normal during the pandemic. The KN95 face masks (kids and adults) serve as protective equipment to prevent the spreading of the virus, infection, and other contagious airborne germs. If you're a safety crusader, RZ Mask is the right YouTube affiliate marketing program for you.

Spread their safety message and help increase their sales, and you will receive a base commission between 8-16% on affiliate sales. Like most affiliate programs, they will provide you with a unique link that you can add to your affiliate videos on YouTube.

Aside from KN95 face masks, they also produce durable PPE and safety equipment for woodworkers, builders, and landscapers.

How to make money with YouTube affiliate marketing?

With the amount of affiliate marketing efforts required, some people wonder if they can really make money with it. The answer is a simple yes. You can earn a passive income with it by redirecting your traffic to affiliate programs and encouraging them to convert.

Sounds interesting? If you answer yes, here are the best practices you need to implement to earn a stable income. The first step is finding out which type of affiliate marketing is best for you.

1. Select your preferred type of affiliate marketing

Currently, there are 3 types of affiliate marketing. Each type represents the relationship an affiliate marketer has with the products they promote.

A. Unattached

As the name suggests, unattached affiliate marketing doesn't require you to have expertise or authority over the product you promote. It may sound like a bad option because consumers prefer to believe a product reviewer who actually uses it.

However, many (particularly beginners) still find this a promising option because it doesn't require them to commit to creating/managing a YouTube channel, blog, or website. One method to make this work is running Pay-Per-Click (PPC) marketing campaigns.

The screenshot above is one example of a marketing campaign that an affiliate can run on YouTube. It's about finding the best luxury hotels, which is an ideal campaign for travel-related services and review sites. It works because it includes relevant keywords that ensure it will appear on YouTube searches.

It's a plus that it also includes a promising offer and clear call-to-action to increase views, clicks, and conversions.

B. Involved

The involved affiliate marketing is the best option for anyone who targets the same audience base and niche topic of the product they promote. Not to mention, they have used the product and enjoy it. Therefore, they have the authority to make claims about its use and benefits.

Ben Brown, a travel YouTube Vlogger, gained the trust of 646,000 subscribers because he shows proof of how he uses and tests the products.

Ben Brown a travel YouTube Vlogger


The related affiliate marketing is somewhere between unattached and involved. It's about promoting products/services related to what you are currently promoting.

For example, you're promoting a clothing brand for cosplay conventions and other big events. Therefore, you can also promote other brands selling pumps and heels, jewelry, and other party apparel. Since it's related to your niche, you remain to have some credibility in promoting these products/services even without using them.

2. Build an audience

Work on a solid audience with a shared interest. Since you already earned their trust, promoting the affiliate products will be much easier. Don't worry if you don't have any. Most affiliate marketing programs don't require a massive audience of subscribers.

What matters is you can strategize a plan to attract the right audiences and gain their trust. Creating relevant and quality videos always produces successful results. A mix of informational and affiliate marketing content is ideal (around a 70-30 ratio). It will help you connect with your audience and take your recommendations seriously.

Here are some of the video ideas you can create for your YouTube channel:

  • Tutorial videos
  • Unboxing videos
  • Round-up videos
  • Product review videos

3. Mix it up

People have different preferences. Some enjoy reading a written post, while others prefer watching videos. You can combine the two to ensure you will pique the interest of your target audience and increase video views. You can deliver this by embedding your YouTube videos in your blog or website.

Ian Fernando a popular affiliate marketer


The screenshot above sets a good example. It's owned by Ian Fernando, a popular affiliate marketer. When creating a product review video, he also creates a blog post version to meet all his target audience preferences. As a result, it reaches and helps more people, which drives more conversions.

4. Create compelling video content

Video is your bread and butter on YouTube. Therefore, you need to create entertaining, enticing, and informative video content to reach an audience of millions. Effective storytelling is the first step because it helps create an emotional connection with your audience.

You can tell the story with suspense. You can present a pain point, then control the information you release next. It's an effective strategy to get your audience curious about what will happen next. But don't hold the story's climax and ending too long to prevent boring your audience.

When you deliver the story, make it empathetic. It makes it more personal and relatable, which the audience appreciates the most.

Next, you need to focus on the video and audio quality. Many didn't pursue being YouTubers because they were not a professional video editor or graphic designer. You don't need video editing skills or hire a pro to create video content.

There are plenty of video editing software and audio editing tools you can use to make a viral video.

  • Audacity: Digital audio editor
  • Adobe Lightroom: Photo editing and organizing
  • Adobe Premiere Pro: Overall best for editing videos
  • Adobe Photoshop: Recommended for editing photos (creation to image manipulation)
  • Adobe Creative Suite: Recommended for graphic design, video editing, and web development

5. Select the right type of video

Now that you know how to create your story and video, it's time to determine the type of content you want to build. There are many options available, but educational videos remain the top choice.

This type of video allows you to position yourself as an expert in your chosen niche. You can gain your audience's trust by providing them with free value about the product or service. SaaS-related products are the best topics to discuss.

You can provide a product demonstration so your audience can see if it looks exactly as advertised. It's also ideal to create a comparison of different products to offer options. You can always repurpose your old blog post if you don't have new material.

Take Aisensy's Top 10 Official WhatsApp Marketing Platforms blog post as an example. Some YouTubers create a talk show type of video to discuss the products. But if you're camera shy, you can use animation. It's a fun and lively approach to presenting various Whatsapp marketing software and their perks. Do it right, and you will reach an audience wider than expected.

6. Create a high-converting headline & call to action (CTA)

The headline and call-to-action phrase are the key factors that determine if your audience will watch your YouTube video (also video ads) or not. The headline describes the subject matter discussed in the video, while the CTA phrase provides clear instructions for the next action to take.

You don't have to be a wordsmith to create a catchy, high-converting CTA and headline. Just choose the words that best describe your video. Let's take Thunkable's YouTube channel as an example.


Thunkable offers a no-code mobile development platform where users can turn their ideas into mobile apps. So, they use YouTube to provide tutorial videos and other relevant video content to help the audience get started. They prefer to use straightforward headlines to prevent confusion.

They use the same approach for their CTA phrases. Some CTAs they write are 'Start building your project here' and 'Learn more about Hour of Code here'.

7. Optimize your affiliate marketing videos

YouTube is the second largest search engine today. Therefore, you can expect tough competition in getting your audience's attention. You can level up your affiliate marketing game with video SEO.

Optimize your videos to secure a higher search ranking with the right keyword term. You can find them through keyword research tools like Ahrefs and SEMRush. You can also check your chosen keyword's popularity through Google Trends.

Assuming you find the right set, add the primary keyword in the video's title and description.

8. Increase video views

The more viewers engage with your videos, the greater it will impact your affiliate profit. You can increase the video views by adding the following elements:

8.1 Catchy thumbnails

Add the best font style for the title text, a vibrant background, and a high-quality image. Filters, stickers, and visual effects are also ideal for adding.

8.2 Create mobile-friendly design

People often watch YouTube videos on their mobile devices. Ensure your video designs are readable and accessible to all screen sizes.

8.3 Add rewards

You can reward your audience with free merchandise or exclusive access to fun games. If you're offering game access, discussing their details/benefits is advisable to make it more enticing. You can take Hogwa5h Gaming videos for inspiration.

One particular video you can imitate is the introduction to text-based adventure games, where he explains how the game works. You can also include handy tools to solve the puzzles and other methods to help them win the game. Remember: happiness is contagious. If your viewers can see and feel that, their chances of engaging with your YouTube videos are high.


When it comes to YouTube affiliate marketing, there are plenty of great choices. So, no matter what your chosen niches are, there are relevant affiliate programs you can join.

The affiliate programs discussed above are only a few of the good options. If you prefer to find your own, check thoroughly to avoid affiliate fraud. You also have the option to reach out to retailers to learn more about their affiliate programs.

Also, comply with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) practice. It's a mandated practice to maintain transparency and protect your consumers from fraudulent marketing practices. Lastly, post content consistently. Posting multiple posts with a regular schedule can help your channel to rise in YouTube's algorithm quickly.

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Sam Makad is a business consultant. He helps small & medium enterprises to grow their businesses and overall ROI. You can follow Sam on Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin.

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