youtube for affiliate marketing

(How to Make Money) with Affiliate Marketing on YouTube

Is writing not really your cup of tea, but do you love shooting and editing videos? If so, then this is the article for you, because we’re going to show you how to make money with affiliate marketing on YouTube.

Starting a website and creating great, informative content is usually what comes to mind when thinking about affiliate marketing. This is not the only channel to generate a passive income for yourself, however. YouTube affiliate marketing can be a great way to earn an (additional) income by making videos.





What is affiliate marketing and how does it work?

Let’s start with the basics. What is affiliate marketing exactly?

It’s actually quite simple. As an affiliate marketer, you promote the products or services of another company by adding special, traceable links to the content you’re creating. That special link is called an affiliate link. If someone clicks your affiliate link and makes a purchase within a specific time period, you earn a commission. This can be a fixed amount, a percentage of the revenue or any predetermined reward.

The important thing to keep in mind is that this doesn’t cost the customer anything extra. The pay the same amount and the seller pays you the fee, as they would for any marketing outing.

You can promote affiliate links anywhere where you can reach an audience. That could be a website or blog, your social media channels, or YouTube. You don’t even have to stick to just your own YouTube channel.

You can try and grow your reach by finding YouTube channels that aren’t already making an affiliate income. Contact them and see if they’re interested in doing collaborative YouTube videos with you where you review products together or share your specific knowledge and insights with each other’s viewers. You could split any sales or commissions from videos you post on each other’s channels.

This is called co-promotion, and it’s a great way to promote products to a bigger audience, get more traffic, earn commissions and build relationships!

The best part about YouTube affiliate marketing is that it’s not just sales where customers are spending money on the product they use your link for. It also counts downloadable products; services like Uber or Lyft where customers are paying for ride-share transportation using your link, bookings made with their service using your affiliate link…etc.


Frequently asked questions about affiliate marketing on YouTube

How do you add affiliate links to YouTube videos?

The easiest way to add affiliate links to YouTube videos is by incorporating them in the description of your video. It’s good practice to mention there that it’s an affiliate link and that you earn money when people make a purchase after following it.

Do you need a YouTube channel for affiliate marketing?

You don’t need a YouTube channel for affiliate marketing, because there are many different ways to earn commissions. Even with video you have different platforms to choose from. However, a YouTube channel might be a great addition to other affiliate channels you’re using, or could even be the start of your affiliate marketing empire.

How many views do you need for affiliate marketing?

You don’t need a certain amount of views to be able to make money from affiliate marketing on YouTube. In theory, you could earn money when one person is watching your videos but still clicks on the affiliate link in your description. However, you are going to need many views in order to earn a decent amount of money from affiliate marketing on YouTube.

Why is affiliate marketing a great opportunity for YouTubers?

So why is YouTube such a great platform for affiliate marketers to be active on? Well, the answer is quite simple actually.

Because most people spend hours watching YouTube videos every week! Did you know that YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world, bested only by Google?

It’s the main reason why Google paid $1.65 billion to purchase YouTube and strengthen its position as the market leader in search. Every day, millions of people use YouTube to search for videos that can help them achieve certain tasks or goals, or simply to entertain them during their lunch break.

Use this to your advantage and promote affiliate products within YouTube videos that people enjoy watching, answer the questions they’re struggling with, or generally help them to achieve their goals and desires.

In the description of your videos, you can add your affiliate links to products, services, or courses that might interest the audience of your videos.


Make money with YouTube affiliate marketing: Step-By-Step

So, how did that all sound? Are you psyched about making money as an affiliate marketer yet? If so, these tips will help you to get started on building your own YouTube affiliate marketing machine:

  1. The first step is of course that you have to have a YouTube channel, but building your channel doesn’t stop once it’s live. You’ve got to be constantly building your following and expanding your reach. If your channel doesn’t have many subscribers yet, do some collaborations and guest appearances on other channels that are relevant to your topic. This is a nice way to get additional exposure while you’re still building your subscriber list.
  2. Create YouTube videos that provide great value and answer the questions and challenges your target audience is facing. The best videos cater directly to a question or “how-to” that people are typing into the search bar in YouTube, so try to create content that targets those searchers as well as possible.
  3. Keep track of your performance from the beginning. When you don’t have many viewers yet, it might seem redundant to track activity and how many clicks you get on your affiliate links. However, setting up tracking in the right way from the beginning will benefit you down the line. You’ll be able to see your progress from the beginning and can analyze right away what’s working and what’s not. Tracking YouTube affiliate marketing conversions is also very easy by using a tracking software like WeCanTrack and an affiliate dashboard.
  4. Use the right keywords in your video titles and descriptions. This will help increase your YouTube rankings when people are searching for your type of video and thus boost the traffic to your YouTube channel. Try and discover what your audience is searching for and tailer your videos and descriptions to these searches as well as possible. You can use your YouTube analytics or a keyword tool like Ahrefs to assist you in your keyword research.
  5. You can boost the reach of your channel by starting a blog where you can publish article versions of the videos you’re making. This is not a necessary step of course, but it can help you to also attract people to your content via Google. You did the research, why not try and attract a broader audience by also putting it on a website? What’s more: articles with embedded YouTube videos have proven to achieve better results in Google as well.
  6. Try different forms of content and videos that generally work well to find the best form for you. You can try formats like tutorials, best-of video listicles, unboxing videos, video reviews etc.
  7. Try to increase your audience by utilizing YouTube livestreams. This will get you in more direct contact with your viewers and thus build your relationship with them, but could also attract new viewers because people will start to notice the live content and information you’re putting out.
  8. Promote YouTube videos on your Facebook page and turn your Facebook fans into YouTube followers by sharing video content related to what they’re interested in.
  9. Refer to the affiliate links in your description in the video itself, by noting that people can find interesting bonuses, rewards, or incentives there. Not everyone will read the description of your videos, so you will have to refer people actively in order for them to find your affiliate links. Make sure to select the right products to advertise or have a look at our article on high ticket affiliate marketing for some extra inspiration. This can work well on YouTube and you’ll have less sales but your revenue will be significant.
  10. Try advertising your affiliate offers or products with YouTube Ads. After you’ve created your channel and started growing your audience and reach, a great way to boost your revenue is to use YouTube Ads for affiliate marketing, with this powerful advertising platform you have to chance to reach a much bigger audience that’s likely to be interested on the products or services you’re promoting. You can create your YouTube affiliate ads via the Google Ads platform and by linking your Google Ads account with your YouTube channel.

How do you choose the right affiliate products to promote on YouTube?

The right type of product depends on the type of content. For example:

  • In a video review or unboxing video, promoting the products you’re reviewing or unboxing is the obvious way to go.
  • The same goes when you’re making a video in which you are discussing “The 7 best vacuum cleaners of 2022”. People are actively searching for these products, so getting them to sell is quite easy.
  • When you’re answering a specific question or helping people to solve a specific problem, promote products or services that can help them to address this even further. For example, when making a video about tips for getting a better night’s sleep, you might want to promote a digital course for better sleep habits.
  • With more entertaining content, the sell is a little harder. Choose products that are useful, affordable, or simply “fun”, and people will end up purchasing even if they weren’t thinking of buying one.

Again: measurement is everything, so don’t forget to look at your data in order to make more informed choices for your next videos and affiliate marketing products.


How do you use YouTube Analytics?

YouTube Analytics is a free tool that provides data on how viewers interact with your videos. You can use YouTube analytics to better understand which videos your viewers like the best, as well as to find promising keywords related to your niche.

These are the most important parts of YouTube Analytics:

  • The YouTube insights homepage gives you a snapshot of how your channel is doing.
  • You can also click on traffic sources and see which social media or websites are delivering your channel the most traffic.
  • Youtube analytics lets you track the demographics of your viewers as well as which of your videos they like the most.

Examples of successful affiliate marketing channels

The success of other people is often the best motivation to get started or keep going on your quest to acquire the same level of success. To help you get motivated to start, now that we’re nearing the end of this article, here are some examples of some people who are killing it with their YouTube affiliate channels.

Graham Stephan

Graham Stephan is a real estate agent and investor with over $120,000,000 in sales. He skipped college to become a real estate agent at age 18 and was a millionaire at age 26.

Today, Graham runs one of the largest personal finance YouTube channels, with over 10,000,000+ monthly viewers and 4.35 million subscribers. He has an estimated net worth of $22 million.

In his channel, he shares his successes, failures, and experiences in the industry to support others who are thinking of getting into real estate. Affiliate Marketing has made him millions which he is very open about in his videos.

Here’s one of his videos to inspire you:

The Deal Guy

The Deal Guy is Matt Granite. The goal of his channel is to help people save money by sharing the best tech deals, secret sale days, and consumer tips and tricks. The beauty of this is that, while he is helping other people to safe money, he is making a fortune for himself from affiliate links and sponsorships.

Matt has 2.33 million YouTube subscribers. But what is even more impressive is his ability to engage with his audience.

Take the following video, for example:

YouTube engagement example

Within one week, the above video got 882K views, 34K likes, and 680 comments!

And again, here’s an excellent example of how he’s doing affiliate marketing on YouTube:

Kelly Anne Smith

You do not need millions of subscribers to earn a decent income from affiliate marketing on YouTube.

Kelly Anne Smith (@freedominabudget) has 52.1K subscribers, and according to her latest YouTube Income Report, she made $4,135.83 from affiliate marketing in May 2023.

Her videos got 44.6K views, 2.8K hours watch time, and she made $735.72 in ad revenue from YouTube. 

“By promoting products and services to your audience and earning a commission on any resulting sales, you can create a passive income stream through your YouTube channel.”

– Kelly Anne Smith

Here is an example of how she is doing affiliate marketing on YouTube:

Cathrin Manning

Cathrin Manning is not a big name in affiliate marketing circles. However, she earns a couple of hundred dollars every month from posting affiliate links in her video descriptions of products she uses and love.

The main takeaway from Cathrin is you should promote products you love that you are using yourself. And, tell visitors to look for the links in the description of your video – they won’t do it on their own.

Chris Derenberger

Chris Derenberger is a full-time YouTube affiliate marketer with several channels in different niches.

Below is an example of him promoting a pool cleaner on his Home Reviews channel that only has 6K subscribers:

And here is a video where he explains how he made $1,153 in affiliate commissions in 3 weeks from his unboxing pool cleaner video review.

Tips and Tricks to properly set up your YouTube affiliate ads

Before creating a YouTube ads campaign, you must link your YouTube channel to your Google Ads account to be able to track the campaign’s performance and its data through your account according to the interactions of the fans with the videos on your channel, including video ads. It is also important to select the correct campaign objectives and leverage the bidding strategies that are now available since your conversions can be pushed in your campaigns by using an affiliate tracking software. The most important things to consider when creating your YouTube affiliate ads are the following:

  • Select the Campaign Objective 

When you start your YouTube Ads campaign you can choose a goal for the video campaign you want to create. Now that you have the chance to integrate the affiliate sales on your campaigns by using an affiliate tracking software like WeCanTrack, you can select the campaign objective “Sales”.

If you previously followed the wecantrack Google Ads integration guide and set up your integration, the required conversion goals will be visible in your account. If you didn’t do this, please visit this page and follow all the steps required before creating your YouTube Ads.

  • YouTube Ads bidding strategy

Since the wecantrack integration is going to push the conversion data and values into your YouTube Ads campaigns you can now use automated bidding strategies like “Maximize Conversions”. Google Ads will automatically sets your bids to help you get the most conversions within your budget.

  • Placement networks for YouTube ads (if available)

Google usually assigns networks automatically according to the goal you set for your YouTube video campaign and the ad formats available for campaigns. There is three types of networks available:

YouTube Videos – Your YouTube ads are displayed on YouTube videos, Channels pages, and the YouTube homepage. Ad formats available for display on this network are In-Stream ads (skippable and non-skippable) and Discovery ads.

YouTube Search Results – Your ads are shown alongside search results on YouTube, and only Discovery ads are available.

Video Partners on the Display Network – Ads are displayed on a group of sites and applications in the Google Display Network to increase their reach and reach new audiences outside of YouTube.


  • YouTube Ad length

When it comes to TrueView ads, if the ad is under 30 seconds, you pay only if a viewer watches until the end. If the ad is longer than 30 seconds, you pay if the viewer watches it for at least 30 seconds. In both cases, you only pay if the viewer interacts with your ad before it’s over. You may want to put messaging at a certain point so uninterested viewers can skip the ad, or you might provide special offers towards the end of the video.


If you’re curious about the wecantrack Google Ads (YouTube Ads integration), you can have a look at the below step-by-step video guide and learn how easily you can start improving your tracking and integration capabilities.


Some final tips to boost your YouTube affiliate videos

To wrap up, here are some final thoughts on how you could give your own YouTube affiliate channel that little something extra to make it stand out from the competition and help you make a decent affiliate income.

  • Interact with your subscribers by taking polls, getting feedback from fans about YouTube product reviews they’d like to see. This will help you to continually improve the type of content you’re putting out so that it fits with your audience better and better.
  • Donate a portion of your YouTube affiliate income to charity to win the hearts of your subscribers and motivate them to buy through your links.
  • Only promote products that are actually better than their competition, so your subscribers know they’re getting the best deal when following your advice. This will help you to build trust over the longer term.
  • Test your YouTube Ads carefully and try to narrow down your targeting by using relevant audiences, retargeting strategies and relevant keywords.

And we can’t stress it enough: don’t forget to track the results of your efforts by hooking up to a good affiliate attribution dashboard. This will help you to make informed choices, to continually improve the content you’re creating and the way you are building your YouTube affiliate channel.

All your affiliate data in one dashboard and your marketing tools?  🚀 🔍

Grow your affiliate income?

Start tracking your affiliate conversions in your marketing tools like Google Analytics, Google Ads, Facebook Ads to fully optimise your content and campaigns.

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