With over 1.5 billion active monthly users spending an average of 16.26 minutes on site per visit, YouTube provides an excellent opportunity to connect with a massive and highly-engaged audience.

Can you do affiliate marketing on youtube?

Yes, and you can make a lot of money doing it.

In this guide, we’re going to cover everything you need to know about YouTube affiliate marketing.

Let’s get started.

What is YouTube Affiliate Marketing?

YouTube affiliate marketing is the process of publishing video content on YouTube to promote affiliate products and services.

You can create video product reviews, roundups, lists, and how-to content, and use annotations and video descriptions to drive traffic through your affiliate links.

As with all affiliate marketing, the goal is to send people to a merchant’s landing page.

When somebody clicks on your link and makes a purchase, you earn a commission on the sale.

Here’s an example of affiliate links in the video description of a YouTube buyer’s guide:

Just like the content published on your affiliate website, you need to upload videos on a topic in your niche that you know people want to know more about.

Importance of Video Content in Affiliate Marketing

Video content has seen massive growth over the last decade and now accounts for 80% of global internet traffic:

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Far from slowing down, video is expected to see even faster growth when 5G becomes more widespread.

If you don’t use video content already, you’re missing out on an effective content medium for generating affiliate sales.

Key Video Marketing Stats:

  • 72% of customers would prefer to learn about a product through a video.
  • 78% of people watch online videos every week, and 55% view online videos every day.
  • Mobile video consumption rises by 100% every year.

Video content can help you take your affiliate promotion to the next level and add a new stream of passive income.

Getting Started with Affiliate Marketing on YouTube

Using your smartphone, you probably create a video product review and upload it to YouTube in less than an hour.

However, the quality won’t be great, and you’ll be lucky to generate any sales.

If you want to make YouTube part of your affiliate marketing strategy, you need to treat it like a business.

It doesn’t cost much to purchase the equipment you need to produce quality video content that will stand out from your competitors and get views.

So what do you need?


If you’re operating on a shoestring budget, your smartphone is a more than capable camera for recording your first YouTube videos.

Lot’s of successful YouTubers use their phones to record and upload content.

However, it’s highly recommended that you get hold of a DSLR camera if you have the budget.

DSLRs are great for recording in low light and capturing high quality and crisp video footage.

There are a bunch of budget and mid-range DSLR cameras that can be purchased for a few hundred dollars.

Lighting Equipment

If you plan on filing the majority of your videos inside, you should consider buying some indoor lighting equipment.

You don’t need to spend much.

Lighting kits are available online for less than $50, or you can go to your local hardware store and pick up a stand and some clamp bulbs to light your home studio.

If you plan on recording your videos outside, don’t worry about lighting equipment but make sure you invest in a decent microphone.


Microphones are one of the most overlooked pieces of recording equipment, but they’re one of the most important.

Nobody is going to watch your videos if the audio is too quiet or muffled.

Your phone or DSLR will have an in-built microphone, but the audio quality from these mics is usually substandard, especially if you are recording outside.

Buy a microphone.

They don’t cost much, and they can make a huge difference to your audio quality.

Editing Software

There are plenty of free editing tools you can use to edit your footage and add music, effects, and graphics.

Lightworks is a great free option that’s beginner-friendly and easy to use.

Once you’ve got the hang of editing, you might want to consider upgrading to a premium tool like Adobe Premiere Pro to access more advanced editing features.


A tripod is essential for recording video content...

...Especially if you are shooting without any help from anyone else.

While your footage might look steady when you’re recording, you’ll see how shaky handheld footage really is when you get to the editing stage.

You can pick them up online for around $30, and some even come with spirit levels to help you level off your shots before filming.

Types of Videos for Affiliate Marketing

There are several types of YouTube videos that are proven to work for affiliate marketing.

Here’s a rundown of the best formats for promoting your affiliate products and services on YouTube.

Product Reviews

Just like the affiliate content on your website, product reviews are a great way to promote your products on YouTube and generate sales.

According to MediaKix, 52% of people are more likely to make a purchase after watching a YouTube product review.

Internet users seek validation and advice before they make a purchasing decision.

By creating a detailed video review, you can give people all the information they need before they make a purchase.

As a reward, you’ll earn an affiliate commission from the merchant.

How-To Videos & Tutorials

When people want to learn how to do something, they turn to the internet.

How-to videos show people how to accomplish a task and the products they need to do it.

Here’s an example of a video guide that shows people how to build a gaming P.C.

You’ll notice affiliate links are included in the video description.

This type of actionable content is excellent for generating sales.

You can show people the step by step process of completing a task and include your affiliate products as a necessary part of the process.

Best-Of Videos

People love listicle content and product roundups.

You can create a list of the top products in a category in your niche.

Here’s an example of a best-of video for budget 4K T.V.s:

This type of content works well, but you need to establish credibility first.

If you create a short rundown of products without offering any real value and with zero reputation in your niche, don’t expect to make many sales.

You need to build trust and position your channel as an expert source of reliable information.


When BigCommerce asked people about their online shopping concerns, 58% stated that not being able to try the product stops them from buying online.

People want to know exactly what they will get before they part with their hard-earned cash.

That’s why unboxing videos are an effective video type for affiliate marketing.

When somebody searches for an unboxing video, they are in the final stages before making a purchase.

They already know which product they want to buy.

By showing people the process of unboxing the product, you can provide the final nudge people need to make a purchase.

Product Comparison Videos

Comparison videos are another excellent video type for affiliate marketing.

While a best-of list ranks the top products in a category, and a review focuses on a single product, a comparison video puts two products head to head and declares a winner.

Here’s an example of a video comparing website builders Wix and Squarespace:

For most niches, there are lots of different products aimed at specific audience segments and available at various price points.

You can take two similar products and show your audience the pros and cons of each.

Even if you declare a winner, you can still recommend the losing product.

For example, you might rate Squarespace as the winner because of its attractive website templates, but you can still recommend Wix as the better beginner-friendly website builder.

How to Do Affiliate Marketing on Youtube

Now you know the types of YouTube content that works best for affiliate marketing, it’s time to create your account and make your first video.

You’ll need a Google account before you can create a YouTube channel.

If you haven’t got a Google account, create one first before starting with the first step.

Step 1: Sign in to YouTube

Go to YouTube.com and click on the “SIGN IN” button in the top right of the YouTube homepage:

Log in using the Google account you’d like your channel to be associated with:

Step 2: Go to YouTube Settings

Once you’ve signed in, click on your profile icon in the top right and click on “Create a channel” in the dropdown menu.

Step 3: Choose Channel Type

Now you need to choose the type of channel you want to create.

If you have an affiliate website or brand, choose the “Use a custom name” to be able to add branding and a channel name separate to your personal Google account.

Step 4: Create Your Channel

Once you’ve entered your channel name, click on the “CREATE” button.

This will create a new Google account with separate settings and Youtube history to your personal account.

You can access your new account from within your personal account, but this way, you’ll be able to add comments and engage with your followers as your brand name.

Once you’ve created your account, you can customize your channel and add a channel description.

Step 5: Customize Your Channel

The first element of your channel to customize is the cover photo.

This is the first thing people will see when they land on your channel.

You want to showcase your value and give people a good indication of what your channel is about.

Here’s an example from an affiliate YouTube channel in the coffee niche:

The cover image gives you a good idea of what people can expect and includes a tagline to make it clear who the channel is for.

After uploading your cover image, it’s time to choose a profile picture.

This is shown on your channel page and as a thumbnail for your account whenever you comment on YouTube.

If you have an existing logo for your brand, use that as your profile image.

If your channel is a personal account, choose a high-quality headshot.

YouTube also lets you include a trailer video that autoplays whenever somebody visits your channel.

This is an excellent opportunity to introduce your brand and give people a reason to check out your content in a short video message.

If you’re unsure what to include in your trailer video, take a look at what other channels in your niche are doing.

Try to differentiate your channel from your competitors by showcasing the value you bring and encouraging people to check out your content and visit your website.

Step 6: Write Compelling Video Titles

A good title is vital for the success of your Youtube video.

If your title is terrible, you can have the best video content in your niche, and nobody will watch it.

Your video title has two jobs.

It needs to make it easy for people to find your video…

…And it needs to get people to click.

When it comes to making your videos easy to find, use keyword research tools to determine the level of interest in a topic and which high search volume keywords to include in your title.

To make your title compelling and encourage people to click, you can use a free tool like Sharethrough’s headline analyzer.

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Enter your video title, and the tool will provide a rating and recommendations to make it more engaging.

Step 7: Eye-Catching Thumbnails

A thumbnail is a small image that YouTube users see in search results.

Your video title and thumbnail work together to convince people to click and watch your video.

When you upload a video, YouTube will automatically generate a random thumbnail.

To make your video more clickable, create a custom thumbnail image.

If you look at any professional YouTuber channel, you’ll notice they always use custom thumbnails.

You can add arrows, logos, graphics, and effects to make your thumbnail more eye-catching and boost your clickthrough rate.

Step 8: Well-Crafted Video Descriptions

When you upload a video, YouTube lets you add a description that is displayed beneath your video.

It’s vital that you add the important parts of your description “above the fold.”

This is where you want to include your affiliate links.

When somebody watches your video, Youtube will show the first few sentences of your description, with the rest hidden behind a “SHOW MORE” button.

Make sure your affiliate links are displayed “above the fold” and not hidden behind the “SHOW MORE” button.

The description is also an excellent opportunity to target relevant keywords to increase the chances of your video ranking higher in YouTube and Google search results.

Step 9: Tell Your Viewers to Like, Comment, Subscribe

If you’ve spent any time watching videos created by professional YouTubers, you’ll have noticed they always ask their viewers to “Like, Comment, Subscribe.”

YouTube wants people to stay on the website and watch as many adverts as possible.

If lots of users like and comment on your video, it indicates to YouTube’s algorithm that your content is engaging and increases the chances of your video ranking high in search results...

...And when a user subscribes to your channel, your videos can be displayed on their YouTube homepage and in the recommended videos section.

Your subscribers will also receive a notification every time your post a new video.

Make sure you ask your viewers to like, comment, and subscribe at least once during each video you upload on YouTube.

Step 10: Use Relevant Tags

When you publish a new video, YouTube lets you add tags to help people find it through organic search.

You can use these tags to increase your video’s reach and boost the chances of it ranking high in search results.

In the example below, the affiliate Youtube channel Honest Reviews uses tags of the brand names of the two products they are reviewing in a comparison post:

You can also use tags to target longtail keywords and broader topics to help people find your videos organically.

How to Get Traffic to Your YouTube Videos

YouTube is the second biggest search engine, but most people turn to Google when looking for information online.

Ranking in Google’s organic search results is an effective way to send traffic to your YouTube videos.

For some search queries, Google ranks video content in the top spots of the search engine results page (SERP).

Here’s an example of a YouTube video ranking in the featured snippet for the query “how to use thinning scissors”:

Just like when you write a blog post, you want to conduct keyword research to identify the queries and topics people are searching for in your niche.

You need to identify the keywords that receive enough search volume to make it worth you while creating a video on the topic.

It’s also important to identify the search terms where Google is ranking video content high in the SERP.

If Google doesn’t feature any video content on the first page of results, you’ll struggle to get your video into the top spots for the keyword.

YouTube Subscribers

The best way to consistently get views on YouTube is to build an audience of subscribers.

When somebody subscribes to your channel, they will receive a notification every time you upload a new video.

Your new videos will also be displayed on your subscribers’ YouTube homepage under the “Subscriptions” category...

...And your videos will also be displayed as “recommended videos” in the sidebar when a subscriber watches a YouTube video.

YouTube recommends videos based on user viewing history and subscriptions.

Recommended videos are also displayed on the YouTube homepage.

By ranking high in YouTube search results, you can tap into a source of targeted traffic.

YouTube uses a similar algorithm to Google.

There are several tactics you can use to optimize your videos for YouTube SEO, including:

  • Use a relevant keyword in your video file name
  • Include a targeted keyword in your video title
  • Add keywords naturally into your video description
  • Use relevant tags
  • Optimize your thumbnails for increased clickthrough rate

When it comes to keyword research, Ahrefs is a paid SEO tool that offers an excellent feature for YouTube marketing.

The Keyword Explorer feature enables you to conduct keyword research for individual search engines, including YouTube.

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You can see monthly search volume, how many clicks the top ranking videos receive, keyword suggestions, and a bunch of other useful insights to inform your YouTube keyword strategy.

Guest YouTubing

Just like guest blogging is an effective way to build an audience and attract people to your website, appearing as a guest on other YouTube channels can be an effective way to boost views and drive traffic to your videos.

Here’s an example from the affiliate YouTube channel The Urban Prepper:

You can also invite experts and influencers in your niche to appear as guests on your videos and share a link to their channel or website in your video description.

Use End Screens

When you upload a video to YouTube, you can include an end screen that is displayed when the viewer finishes watching your video.

The end screen is an opportunity to encourage viewers to check out more of your videos.

Here’s an example from the YouTube channel TechDaily:

You can add end screens from within your YouTube account.

Go to Video Manager and click on the video you want to add an end screen to.

Click on “End Screens & Annotations,” and you’ll be able to create your end screen and include links to any videos you want to recommend to your audience.

Using end screens is a great way to promote your content before YouTube automatically redirects people to other YouTube videos.

Tips on YouTube Affiliate Marketing

1. Understand Why People Are on YouTube

Affiliate marketing on YouTube is much easier when you understand the reasons and mindset users have when they watch YouTube videos.

For affiliates, there are two audience mindsets that you want to target when you create video content.

  • People who want to learn how to do something.
  • People deciding which product to buy.

Understanding these two audience mindsets is vital to the success of your affiliate YouTube channel.

When people have a problem they need to solve or a task they need to complete, they turn to YouTube for advice and instructions.

For example, a novice gardener might turn to YouTube to find out how to grow tomatoes:

As an affiliate, you want to target this audience mindset in your video content.

You can create actionable content that helps people to complete a task or overcome a problem…

...And promote your affiliate product as a tool that people need to achieve their desired results.

For the second mindset, these people have already decided they need to buy a product, and they are evaluating their options before making a purchasing decision.

For example, somebody looking to purchase a new pair of wireless headphones will want to know which product is suited to their needs before making a purchase.

If they go to YouTube, they’ll type in something like “best wireless headphones” and see a results page like this:

After watching your video and learning the top wireless headphones’ pros and cons, they click on the affiliate link in the description, and you earn a commission.

2. Deliver Value and Be Unique

Rather than a tip that you can use in a video, this is a strategy that you want to implement right from the start of your affiliate YouTube channel.

Every successful affiliate marketing business is built on trust.

If people don’t trust you, they won’t listen to your recommendations or purchase your affiliate products.

You need to show your value before people will trust you.

That means creating video content that offers real value to your audience.

Take a look at what other YouTube affiliates in your niche are doing and work out how you can do things better.

Can you be more in-depth, more entertaining, or more helpful to your audience?

Rather than regurgitating what’s already out there, find a way to be unique and double-down on the value you offer.

When you stand out from the competition, you’re much more likely to build an audience and generate sales.

3. Focus on Quality

The first-ever video posted to YouTube was an 18-second clip titled “Me at the zoo”:

Despite its short length and subpar quality, the video showing YouTube founder Jawed Karim at the San Diego Zoo has racked up over 115 million views.

Since those early days, YouTube has come a long way, and the quality of the video content uploaded is much higher.

The quality of your video content can make or break your YouTube channel.

We’ve already covered the equipment you need, but you should keep in mind a few rules and tips when creating your content.

First up, avoid shooting against an untidy or overly bright background.

You don’t need a custom made studio, but choose a quiet location with a neutral background that doesn’t distract from your message or result in overexposed footage.

Second, write a script before you start filming.

You don’t have to write a line by line script, but you should definitely have an outline covering everything you want to include in the video.

And lastly, when it comes to editing your footage, take your time and learn the craft.

It’s a valuable skill that’s worth learning.

If you don’t have the time, consider hiring a freelancer to help you with the editing process and maintain your upload schedule.

4. Upload Consistently

Lots of affiliates make the same mistake when they launch their YouTube channel.

They upload a couple of videos as a trial before they dedicate more time and resources creating more videos.

This is a bad strategy.

When somebody finds and enjoys watching your video, they’ll click on your channel to watch more.

If you only have two videos, people can’t watch more of your content, and your channel is instantly forgettable.

Create five videos and release a video each weekday during your channel launch week.

After the launch week, try to publish at least two new videos per week.

If you’re struggling with video ideas, consider creating a short series on a particular topic in your niche.

Rather than a single in-depth video, break the topic down, and create a shorter video for each sub-topic.

It will help you to keep your publishing schedule busy and increase the chances of the YouTube algorithm giving your channel a boost in search visibility.

The time that you choose to upload your videos can also be important for attracting an audience.

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According to Ahrefs, weekday early afternoons are the best times to post, with late morning seeing more engagement on the weekends.

5. Ignore Negative Comments

If you’ve ever spent any time reading the comments section under a YouTube video, you’ll already know that a lot of negative comments get thrown around.

No matter how awesome your content is, there will always be people trying to ruin your day with a nasty comment.

Unfortunately, that’s an unavoidable part of the internet.

You should engage with your subscribers and users that comment on your videos but don’t engage with any negative or offensive comments.

Focus on the people that like your videos, and make more of the content that they enjoy.

We’ve covered how to set up your YouTube account, create content, get more traffic, and tips to help you succeed…

…But where do you actually put your affiliate links?

There are two ways to put affiliate links on your YouTube videos.

You can place them in the video description:

And you can use Video Manager to include annotations containing your affiliate links.

In the example above, the annotation contains a link to relevant affiliate content on the Wirecutter website.

This can be a good tactic for driving traffic to your best performing affiliate content.

It’s worth noting you should always include a disclaimer in the description that states your affiliate relationship with the merchant if you place affiliate links in your YouTube videos.


Affiliate marketing on YouTube is a great way to grow your affiliate business and get your offers in front of a bigger audience.

If you research your audience preferences, create quality video content, and stick to a consistent publishing schedule, you’ll start to see your channel grow.

Your view count will get bigger every time you upload a new video.

The more people that watch your videos and click on your affiliate links, the more money you’ll make.




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