In simple terms, affiliate marketing on youtube is a way of using your youtube channel, to promote products from other companies and keep the profit you make selling those products. The company that’s selling the product will give you a special link or domain where people can buy their products.
For example, on my Youtube Channel, I teach people how to make money online through their blog, website, podcast, or Youtube channel. I review and teach software.
With most of the software that I teach, I have an approved affiliate relationship with the software company. I use my affiliate link to refer the video watchers too and earn a commission when qualifying purchases are made.
According to YouTube’s Partner Program, YouTube’s ad revenue amounted to over five billion U.S. dollars.
Youtube is the second largest search engine on the internet (second only to Google). When people want to find out things, they seem to turn first towards Youtube for answers. If you are not utilizing this platform to market your products, videos, and websites, you are missing out on a significant opportunity.
Youtube has also introduced a new program in the last year that allows for more flexibility when it comes to videos and monetization.
With these staggering numbers, it’s no wonder that affiliate marketers are taking advantage of this massive platform.
The trick is to generate high-quality traffic that converts into affiliate sales or leads, rather than the kind of traffic that ends up with your site getting banned (if you’re an affiliate marketer, this probably sounds all too familiar).
While I also do affiliate marketing on my blog, Youtube is very powerful for affiliate marketers because you are much more able to influence a buying decision. People are more likely to trust someone they can hear and see that is validating a product.
How to Use Affiliate Links on Youtube
Once you have been approved as an affiliate for a product, you can add that link to the description of your Youtube video. You have to be careful, though. Affiliate links are often invalid when a brand switches affiliate networks.
I use a software called Thirsty Affiliates for my links. I can add the special affiliate link, and get a bit.ly link to use on Youtube. This way, if the affiliate link changes, I can change it once in Thirsty Affiliates, and the bit.ly will stay current everywhere it was used.
You can also add the affiliate link to the end of your Youtube video in a call-to-action. These can be embedded for any site that uses them, such as Leadpages and Clickfunnels.
Right Link to the Right Product
Your affiliate links should point to the product pages, not just the home page of the company you are promoting. The reason is that this keeps everything nice and organized for your customers.
Even if you send them to the sales page via an affiliate link, they can easily navigate back to Google or Youtube, so it’s important to point them towards the right resource.
If you send them to the homepage, they could easily get lost or not know what to do next. You don’t want that; it’s far better to give them the right support and direction if they are actually interested in your offer.
As an affiliate marketer, you should be insisting on these specific pages so that your customers get the best experience possible.
Landing Pages Vs. Direct Linking
Using your own landing page rather than sending someone to the direct affiliate product has its advantages. You can use the landing page to collect visitor information, make special offers, track visits, or launch a sales funnel.
The FTC (Federal Trade Commission) stipulates rules about affiliate marketing disclosures and mandates that any video containing product pitches or endorsements that are financially compensated must also come with appropriate disclosures.
It is important when using either method to disclose that it’s an affiliate link, qualify the viewer with a message similar to this: “Hey guys, this is a sponsored video. I got the free products in exchange for my honest review and promotion of [PRODUCT NAME]. If you have any questions about the product just post them in the comments section. Thank you all so much for watching!”
You can add it to text that appears on the screen at the beginning or end of the video.
YouTube now requires this disclosure to protect its users from liability as well as to comply with FTC laws and regulations.
According to the FTC, “the failure to disclose this fact would be considered a deceptive act.”
That means claims like “I was paid for this video” and “Product provided free of charge” doesn’t cut it anymore. The FTC has launched an investigation into Youtube because of alleged failure to disclose that certain influencers have been paid or compensated.
This means that if you are doing product review videos, you need to ensure that your viewers know what they are getting if they purchase through your link.
Make sure it is clear to your viewers that you were provided a product free of charge for review, and that if they purchase the product through the link in your video description, you will get a commission from that sale.
I add a disclosure in the description of my videos above any links. I also verbally disclose that I’m an affiliate and benefit if they make a purchase when I reference a link.
Best Types of Videos for Affiliate Marketing
As I said before, I prefer software. In most cases, Saas (Software as a Service) generates recurring commissions. As long as that subscriber is paying for the product, I can generate commissions month over month or year over year. This is not always the case though, check with the software!
Comparisons and Reviews
I think the best types of videos for affiliate marketing are comparison reviews. Pick two products that do roughly the same thing, and show how they stack up against each other. It’s important to only compare things that are apples-to-apples though!
Another great type of video is a tutorial on how to use your product, especially if it is complicated. This type of video will build trust between you and the viewer, making them more likely to purchase through your link if they are so inclined.
I have a video where I do a review of magnetic lashes and use a blow dryer to test if they fly away. I have another where I demonstrate how to attach another monitor to your laptop computer.
And in another, I steam clean my carpets and demonstrate the before, and after.
Another popular style of videos for affiliate marketers is unboxing videos. These are videos where the affiliate goes through and unboxes a new item, shows what is inside, and then gives their opinion of it.
These types of videos attract product junkies like myself (I know I am not alone here!) who want to see all the goodies that come in those Amazon boxes, or subscriptions boxes.
Case Study Videos
A case study video is an analysis of a project. I did X and Y happened. I tried X for 90 days, and here’s what I learned. I tried X and I failed, here’s why.
Best Of Listicle Style Videos
People love to get quick ideas of products, and solutions to their problems. For example, right now, I’m working on a series that showcases the best-related posts plugins for WordPress.
I’m testing the user interface, how they look on a blog, the filtering options, pricing, and page speed.
Some of these Plugins have affiliate links, and some don’t. But the series will push the users to one that does.
And, I’m being honest about what I like and don’t like staying unattached to which one they choose.
Why Niches Win
The best affiliate marketers understand the power of a niche. When you focus in on a particular niche for your affiliate offers, you’ll build a target audience that is a potential customer for your offers.
Videos that teach people how to succeed on Youtube most often pitch affiliate offers related to video equipment, and software.
They don’t also review tennis shoes.
A niche also works when you review products in the niche. For example, I do reviews of plugins related to growth hacking, marketing automation, and WordPress. These niches all overlap, but they aren’t the same audience.
While product reviews are highly successful for Youtube affiliate marketers, the more niche-focused the channel is, the more conversions there are on their affiliate offers.
How to Make a Video for Affiliate Marketing
- Have your target product in mind, and available
- Have your special affiliate link ready. (I suggest Thirsty Affiliates for tracking links).
- Prepare your script and teleprompter if using one. Here’s a list of teleprompter apps for Mac if you need one.
- Light the area.
- Be sure there is no background noise, and use clear audio
- Record your video on your phone, tablet, or camera
- Add your intro and outro, cards, and end screens
- Create a compelling description (Check out Jarvis, the AI writing assistant that helps write video hooks).
- Include your affiliate link
How to Generate Traffic to your Youtube Videos
Optimize for Search
Create a compelling thumbnail.
The thumbnail is the first thing people see. Make it interesting, make them stop, and take a closer look. I use Canva Pro to create my Youtube thumbnails.
Promote on social media using relevant hashtags
Getting views quickly, especially from an audience that likes your work, can help your video appear more often in Youtube’s suggested videos.
Distribute to your Contact List
This is your inner circle or those who like and trust you. You can do this by email, and let them know the video has been published on Youtube.
Tubebuddy also has some great analytics that tells you how many of your contacts viewed the videos!
Promote with Ads
You can use Youtube and Google Ads to show your video to a particular audience. This will cost you to show your video in related videos, and in search.
Promote in Social Groups and Forums
Groups like Reddit, Slickdeals, Fatwallet, etc can also be used to promote affiliate marketing videos. You may need to submit your posts for review because these groups do not accept all promotional posts. Don’t spam groups. Start your own group, or follow the rules of other groups.
Affiliate Marketing for Youtube Best Practices
- Post new videos frequently
- Be Honest
- Include your Affiliate Link
- Disclose, Disclose, Disclose.
- Be Transparent
- Be Consistent
- Be Helpful
What Not to do when Affiliate Marketing on Youtube
- Spam: Don’t spend your time spamming people with links all over the internet.
- Trolling: Respect others’ opinions and views even if they don’t agree with you. You never know who is watching or what they will take away from your video.
- Be Controversial: Don’t go out of your way to start drama or court controversy unless it’s related to the product, and relates to what you are talking about in the video.
- Lie about a product just to get a sale.
- Don’t be too salesy. You can toss your affiliate link in the description, but don’t bludgeon them over the head with it!
- Don’t promise something you can’t deliver. Let your product and its results speak for themselves.
- Don’t overinflate a product, or overstate what it can do
Youtube is a great platform for affiliate marketers. You can share your knowledge, show off products that you love or don’t mind selling.
The thing to remember is, to be honest, and not spammy in your videos. Also, make sure they are relevant to the niche you are promoting.
Lori Ballen is a real estate agent in Las Vegas. She’s a digital marketing specialist, speaker, and marketing coach and loves to share her “Ballen Method” to generate website traffic and leads online. Lori’s specialties are SEO content writing (ranking on the search engines), social media strategies, and affiliate marketing. Need a website? Contact Lori’s brothers Jeff and Paul Helvin at Ballen Brands.