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YouTube Affiliate Marketing 101: Best Tips to Boost Your Income

YouTube stands as the second-most popular social media platform globally, with more than 2.7 billion monthly active users across the globe. Beyond being a source of entertainment, people turn to YouTube to acquire new skills, gather ...

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YouTube Affiliate Marketing

YouTube stands as the second-most popular social media platform globally, with more than 2.7 billion monthly active users across the globe. Beyond being a source of entertainment, people turn to YouTube to acquire new skills, gather information, and make informed purchasing choices.

This opens up more opportunities to promote and sell stuff. Since it’s a social media platform, success on YouTube doesn’t just mean earning money; it also lets you connect with new people and build relationships that might help you in the future.

So, how can you achieve success in affiliate marketing on YouTube? Relax, and we’ll share with you the best nine tried-and-true tricks and other valuable insights in this post.

Youtube Affiliate Marketing: 9 Useful Tips to Improve Your Campaign

To make more money with affiliate links on YouTube, focus on driving more people to watch your videos. The more viewers you have, the greater the opportunity for them to click on your affiliate links.

Check out our best 9 helpful tips below for secrets to succeed in YouTube affiliate marketing, including:

  1. Create compelling and valuable content
  2. Craft engaging thumbnails  to boost clicks
  3. Segment videos with chapter markers for enhanced navigation
  4. Create a playlist of similar/related videos
  5. Leverage YouTube Shorts for additional content delivery
  6. Optimize YouTube search engine optimization  for increased visibility
  7. Repurpose videos on other platforms to broaden audience reach
  8. Disclose affiliate links transparently

Collaborate with other YouTubers to foster a sense of community

Just keep reading to learn more and boost your affiliate sale by diving into each tip!

Create high-quality & valuable content

To attract the right audience to your videos, you need to create interesting content. Make high-quality videos that people want to watch and engage with. If your content grabs their interest, they’re more likely to click on your links.

Start by choosing a specific topic or niche for your videos.

You can use Ahrefs or Google Trends to generate ideas for your video content and identify keywords that have good search volumes.

Then, you can produce awesome videos using the right equipment and recommend products and services you genuinely like.

Throughout your video, encourage your target audience to interact by leaving comments and likes. At the end, include a call to action, urging them to subscribe or check out the links in the video description.

Youtube Affiliate Marketing 1

Kenna Marie crafted a “get-ready-with-me” video showing the cosmetics products and accessories in her daily routine.  In the video description, she provided links for viewers to conveniently purchase the featured items. She also makes her video more engaging by asking viewers to share their favorite clothing pieces or style tips to get ideas for her upcoming videos.

Make click-inducing thumbnails 

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Earning affiliate commissions on YouTube depends on the number of views, and attracting viewers starts with a compelling thumbnail—the image displayed before a video plays.

Think of thumbnails like book covers: an unappealing cover means people won’t watch, regardless of the content quality. Just like a captivating book cover attracts readers, an eye-catching thumbnail draws in viewers and increases the click through rate.

Before creating your thumbnail, research competitors in your niche for both long-form videos and Shorts.

For home workout creators wanting to push affiliate links, you can check other fitness channels’ thumbnails for inspiration. Make your thumbnail unique and eye-catching by adding your own style.

Learn from what works in those thumbnails and make yours stand out by adding unique elements. Grab attention with a distinctive design to make viewers more likely to click on your video.

The ideal thumbnail varies by niche—some are vibrant, some feature a prominent photo, and others emphasize large text. Researching your niche can guide your thumbnail choices, often incorporating elements like strong colors, descriptive text, arrows, circles, and branding.

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If you’ve ever clicked on a video without reading the title, you were likely swayed by the thumbnail. Crafting attention-grabbing thumbnails is key to getting more clicks; they capture viewers’ attention effectively.

You can use tools like Canva, which offers excellent YouTube thumbnail templates for creating your images. Some affiliate marketers find value in investing in a graphic designer for a polished look.

💡 Pro tip: Keep your YouTube thumbnails fresh, especially for evergreen content. Include the current year to signal that your content remains relevant and worth clicking.

Split videos in chapter marks

To grab more interest in your videos, try out YouTube’s Chapter feature.

Recognizing that many users treat YouTube as a quick-search tool, offering speedy results is key. Some viewers might click through your video seeking specific information, and if you make it easy to find, they’re likely to engage more and potentially click on your affiliate link.

Think of YouTube Chapters like bookmarks for your video. By organizing your content into chapters, you help viewers navigate and find exactly what they’re interested in.

For instance, if you’re reviewing tech gadgets. Use Chapters to organize your video, dedicating sections to each gadget. If someone’s interested in a particular device, they can skip directly to that part. After your video convinces viewers to consider a product, they’ll likely head to the description for the link.

Create a playlist of similar/related videos

Boosting traffic to your YouTube channel is vital for increasing the chances of earning affiliate commissions. One effective method is creating playlists with similar videos.

When someone watches one of your videos, the playlist ensures that a related video automatically follows, keeping them engaged.

This playlist strategy is especially beneficial for those searching for specific content on YouTube. By organizing similar videos together, viewers can easily find relevant content to answer their queries.

To create a playlist on YouTube:

  1. Go to the video’s watch page.
  2. Click on “More” > “Save.” > Select “Create new playlist.” > Enter the playlist name
  3. Click “Create.”

For instance, if your channel focuses on reviewing various products, you can create playlists based on product type or brand. This organized approach encourages viewers to explore more of your content, increasing overall engagement and the potential for affiliate link clicks.

Utilize YouTube Shorts

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YouTube Shorts is a feature enabling creators to share short, TikTok-style videos on their channel. These must be vertical, recorded on a mobile device, and under 60 seconds.

In this type of video, you should emphasize immediate benefits and then internally link to your comprehensive review video.

You can also start your video with a captivating opening, wrap up with a clear call-to-action, and consider placing affiliate links in the video’s comments for convenient access. Keep your audience engaged from the beginning to the end for easy access.

For instance, you can create a snappy YouTube Shorts video by crafting an easy DIY Christmas tree project. In under a minute, show how to make a unique and budget-friendly tree using materials you recommend through affiliate links (attached under the comment section).

Start with a catchy intro, then quickly go through each step, highlighting the affiliate-recommended items like ornaments and lights. Use short captions to guide viewers and emphasize the affiliate products, and end by encouraging them to check the link in the comments for more details.

Optimize YouTube SEO 

Just like any other search engine, you can make your content more visible on YouTube by using the right keywords.

But where do you find these keywords?

You can start with the suggested terms from both YouTube and Google searches (the largest search engine) – they give you insights into specific things people are interested in within your niche.

For a bit more advanced keyword research, try the free Google Keyword Planner tool.

Now, when optimizing on YouTube, remember you’ve got limited characters in your video title (up to 100 characters), video description (up to 5000 characters), and tags (up to 400 characters). So, focus on one main keyword to increase your chances of showing up in search results.

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Keep in mind character limits – only 70 characters of your title show up in search results. For your description, the first 100-150 characters are what people see, so put your crucial info and affiliate link there. Also, pick related tags and make the most of the 400 characters allowed.

Here are a couple more tips to boost your YouTube search optimization:

Catchy Title with Keywords:

Include your main keyword in a catchy video title for better click-through rates and improved rankings not only on YouTube but on search engines as well.

Keyword-Rich Description:

Naturally, weave relevant keywords into your video description, especially phrases related to your content.

Boost Watch Time:

Increase your video’s watch time, as YouTube favors content that keeps viewers engaged for longer periods. It positively influences visibility and ranking.

👍A cooler tip: Google often ranks YouTube videos high in its search results. So, check if your targeted keyword displays YouTube videos in Google searches – if not, tweak your approach.

Repurpose videos on other platforms

To get more people to watch your YouTube videos, try sharing them on different platforms.

If you’re active on Instagram or TikTok, let your followers know about your new YouTube video or share short clips to get them interested. Keep chatting with your followers and sharing regular stuff so they’re more likely to check out your videos when you talk about them.

Another trick to bring more people to your YouTube channel and get them to click on your special links is to put your videos on your website or blog. Write a blog post about the same topic as your video, giving more details and links.

This way, you’re offering extra information and making it easy for people to explore and click on your affiliate links.

Let’s look at this example: Your video reviews a cool phone. In the blog, talk about its nice design, camera performance, and battery life. Share enough info to help viewers decide if they want to buy it through your links.

Remember to keep things consistent by staying active on all your platforms. These affiliate marketing tips will help more people discover your content, bring in a wider audience, and increase the chances of them clicking on your special links.

Disclose affiliate links transparently

Regardless of the content type, clearly label every product incentivized for promotion through affiliate links. Transparency is crucial; failing to disclose could lead your audience to question your recommendations’ authenticity.

It’s important to be clear with your audience that you earn a small commission from the links they click. In your video, openly say that the links in the description are affiliate links. Also, include a note in the description, explaining that this support helps keep your content going.

Being transparent fosters trust with your audience, showing that you value their understanding and aren’t trying to deceive them into clicking on links. By openly talking about the affiliate relationship, you build a more genuine and trustworthy connection with your viewers.

Abbey Yung includes the following disclaimer below her affiliate links in the video description:

Collaborate with other YouTubers

You can also boost your YouTube affiliate marketing by teaming up with other content creators. Start by finding YouTubers whose content complements yours. Engage with them, share their work, and build a connection.

Once you’ve established a relationship, propose a collaboration with clear goals in mind.

It’s better to create content that’s interesting for both your audiences. If your channel is about makeup, team up with someone who explores skincare routines or beauty tools. Cross-promote each other’s channels on social media and within your videos.

Also, seamlessly add affiliate links to your collaborative content. For instance, if you’re collaborating on a fitness challenge, include links to recommended workout gear or nutritional supplements.

What is Youtube Affiliate Marketing?

YouTube affiliate marketing is a method of earning money through the influential social media platform by adding a unique link to your YouTube video descriptions or annotations. When people purchase products or services through that link, you receive a commission.

In regular affiliate marketing, people use blogs or websites to attract potential customers. They insert carefully crafted links in blog posts, hoping that visitors will click on them and make a purchase.

YouTube affiliate marketing is similar, but instead of using blogs or other channels, people use the YouTube platform itself to promote products and encourage viewers to buy.

For example, suppose you’re creating a video on cooking spaghetti and suggesting a particular pasta brand that sells the necessary ingredients. In that case, you can add an affiliate link for the product to your video description.

What makes YouTube a preferred choice over other social media platforms? With a monthly user base exceeding 2.70 billion globally, it stands as the second most popular social media platform.

Many people use YouTube, and that’s a big opportunity to bring customers to an affiliate brand. Even if you only get a small number of YouTube users, it can still be a big deal.

YouTube affiliate marketing presents a promising opportunity for YouTubers to earn money from their content and expand their audience reach.

Newly Added! Youtube Shopping Affiliate Program

YouTube indeed has its own affiliate marketing program called the YouTube Shopping Affiliate Program. However, it comes with some additional requirements compared to the typical YouTube affiliate marketing.

So, what do you need to know before jumping into that program?

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What’s in it for You

The YouTube affiliate program lets creators make money on YouTube while guiding their audience to products they like. Creators can tag products in their videos, and viewers can easily check details like prices without leaving the video.

This program boosts exposure for shopping content, connecting creators, brands, and viewers on YouTube, which means more money for creators.

It also makes things easier for creators by letting them tag products, check insights, and review earnings in YouTube Studio. This way, creators can focus more on making content people enjoy and spend less time managing links.

Who Can Join and How

To be qualified for YouTube affiliate program, you need to meet a few requirements:

  • Be a part of the YouTube Partner Program.
  • Have more than 20K subscribers.
  • Be based in the United States.
  • Not be associated with music channels or partners.
  • Have a non-made-for-kids channel without active Community Guideline strikes.
  • Your channel currently has no active Community Guideline strikes.

Get the Scoop on Earnings

You get a commission for each tagged product that a viewer clicks on and buys. You can track your YouTube earnings using YouTube Analytics.

Earn Bonus

If you do a really good job selling stuff, you can get a bonus, and it could be as much as $3000 if you help sell more than $15,000 worth of products. Basically, the better you do, the bigger your bonus! It’s like a little extra reward for doing a great job.

So, if people buy a lot because of your videos, you get a nice bonus as a thank-you. Cool, right?

While the YouTube Shopping Affiliate Program offers exciting opportunities for big channels, especially those with established channels, it might not work for everyone. As creators need at least 20,000 subscribers, and you must be in the U.S. to join.

Pros and Cons of Affiliate Marketing With Youtube?

If you’re uncertain about using YouTube for your affiliate marketing, consider the following advantages and disadvantages for your decision-making process.

  • Massive audience & high growth
  • Easy to get started
  • More freedom of creation
  • Easy building a loyal following
  • Getting free traffic
  • Learning curve on the vlogging process
  • Risks of channel ban
  • Linking restrictions


A big platform: Over a quarter of the world’s population uses YouTube monthly. People from all over the world are watching millions of videos on a wide range of topics.

Easy Start: Getting started on YouTube is easy. You may need to invest in filming equipment, but the platform is free, and free courses are available, like those in the YouTube Creators Academy.

Creative Freedom: If you enjoy video creation, vlogging offers more creativity than blogging. You can experiment with a different video format, animations, and effects, especially as you gain experience. Creative approaches often perform well in the algorithm.

Loyal Following: You can build a loyal following through subscribers, and they can set up notifications for your new videos. A dedicated following leads to more clicks, conversions, and commissions.

Free Traffic: YouTube is known for keeping people engaged for hours, and there’s less competition compared to blogs and websites. The platform attracts lots of free traffic.


Learning Curve: If you’re new to video creation, the vlogging process has a learning curve. It takes time to grasp technicalities, but the effort is worthwhile.

Risk of Channel Ban: Since YouTube isn’t your platform, there’s a risk of your channel being banned or wiped. Sticking to safer topics can mitigate this risk, but it’s a significant disadvantage if you’ve built a following.

Linking Restrictions: You have limitations on linking in YouTube. The description has a character limit, and displaying links in the video is also limited. This can be challenging if you have multiple affiliate links.

The advantages of using YouTube for affiliate marketing exceed the disadvantages, notwithstanding the difficulties. YouTube is a great place for marketers to succeed if they put in the time and effort to create interesting video content and follow the rules.

Start Making Money From Youtube Affiliate Marketing in 5 Steps

Succeeding on YouTube is about making and sharing videos that people like. You can start to monetize your affiliate marketing efforts on YouTube within five steps:

  1. Get to know your crowd
  2. Pick good affiliate programs
  3. Talk about and recommend products naturally
  4. Ask viewers to check things out
  5. See what works and improve

Step 1: Get to know your crowd

First, you can start by figuring out who your videos are for and what topic gets them excited. This is your unique niche. Maybe it’s fashion, gaming, DIY crafts, or life hacks. Knowing your crowd helps you tailor content that speaks directly to their interests.

Step 2: Pick good affiliate programs

Picking the right affiliate program boosts the chances of your product recommendation matching with your audience, making it more likely for them to engage and purchase the products you endorse.

You should go for companies that are trustworthy, clear about how much you’ll earn, and pay on time. This way, you’re building a reliable partnership that your audience can trust.

Step 3: Talk about and recommend products naturally

Now that you understand your audience, it’s time to craft videos that strike a balance between entertainment and information. Whether you’re sharing a funny story or giving a how-to guide, make sure it’s something your viewers will like and find useful.

When you talk about affiliate products in your videos, make it feel natural. You should Show how the product fits into your life and helps you. This makes your audience more likely to trust your recommendations and buy through your links.

Step 4: Ask viewers to check things out

Don’t forget to encourage your viewers to take action. You need to tell them to find more info or special deals in the video description or use your affiliate links for discounts. Creating a bit of excitement can get more people interested in what you’re sharing.

Step 5: See what works and improve

Lastly, remember to check how well your affiliate links are doing regularly. It’s better to use YouTube and the affiliate program tools to see which products are popular to adjust your approach based on what your audience likes, and keep improving.

Making money with YouTube and affiliate marketing doesn’t happen overnight. Stay true to yourself, have fun, and let your excitement guide you.

How to Become a Youtube Affiliate Marketer?

To begin your journey as a YouTube affiliate marketer, an affiliate program with a brand. Most programs are free to join, and some don’t require a large following. But to do well, you need to choose products wisely and convince your audience to use your affiliate links for purchases.

Follow these steps to become a YouTube affiliate:

  1. Check what you can promote on your YouTube channel by reading their rules.
  2. Follow the FTC guidelines for YouTube affiliate marketing.
  3. Make a list of products or services you want to talk about and recommend.
  4. Sign up for affiliate programs that have those products or services.
  5. Put affiliate links in your video descriptions and the videos themselves.
  6. Tell your viewers in your videos that you’ve got links in the description, and let them know they’re affiliate links.

As we mentioned above, you can also consider joining the YouTube Partner Program, which helps you make money by tagging products directly on videos, shorts from various brands/ retailers giving audience viewers a seamless shopping experience while you earn a commission.

Best Types of Videos to Foster Youtube Affiliate Marketing

Mixing up your content is crucial to keep your audience interested and make the most of your affiliate marketing on YouTube. About 29% of people will stop following an influencer if they find their content boring. Additionally, 14% will unfollow if the creator shares too much-sponsored content.

So, you need to stick to your channel’s main theme but try different video styles for a more engaging experience.

Some types of content videos that work well for affiliate marketers on YouTube are:

  • Product Reviews
  • How-To Guides
  • Tutorial Videos
  • Unboxing Videos
  • Best-of Videos

Product Reviews

Did you know that nearly 9 out of 10 people check reviews before buying something? You can use this insight to your advantage by creating product review videos and cater to visual learners.

Don’t just highlight the good stuff; share both the pros and cons of the product you’re endorsing. Be honest, and be convincing, and when your viewers decide to make a purchase, you earn a commission.

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There are different styles for product review videos – you can do recommendation videos, ‘with me’ videos (like cleaning, shopping, and cooking with me ), or even unboxing videos. No matter your choice, the trick is to make your YouTube affiliate marketing not feel like typical marketing.

Keep your focus on providing value, and your audience will naturally feel like the products belong in your content.

How-To Guides

How-to videos are effective because they demonstrate product usage, showcase practical applications, and provide tips for maximizing a product’s features.

This is an excellent example of an informative video that seamlessly recommends products. In the case of the “Ryan Maya Cooks” video, he included affiliate links in the video description to Amazon products for all the equipment that he used, such as pan, knife, etc.

For enhanced affiliate marketing conversions, you can consider demonstrating each product within the video itself.


Tutorials are like extended How-To Videos. You create an affiliate video to show how to do a specific task or learn a skill, using one or more of your affiliate products in the process.

Some YouTube channels organize tutorials and How-To videos into a playlist, making it easy for viewers to find related videos to learn a process.

People watching tutorials are closer to buying than those watching trending videos. Grab their interest and earn a commission by demonstrating how to use the product.

For instance, if you’re endorsing a kitchen blender. Create a video showcasing how to operate its various settings, blend different ingredients, and easily clean the appliance after use.

Unboxing Videos

Unboxing videos have become unexpectedly popular on YouTube. People enjoy watching hosts open packages and share what’s inside.

The channel @vanillaa__, with over 139K subscribers, primarily features vlogs, hauls, life updates, and study-related content. The creator made an unboxing aesthetic K-beauty haul and gained over 200k+ views.

For unboxing videos to succeed, you’ll need the actual boxed products you want to showcase; simply talking about a product you don’t have won’t cut it.

If you’re promoting pricey products you can’t buy, as your channel grows and gains a good reputation, some sellers might send you free affiliate products.

Best-of Videos

“Best-of videos” are compilations or collections that showcase the highlights or top moments from a particular category, topic, or period. These videos typically feature a selection of the best affiliate content, such as top-performing products, most popular moments, or outstanding achievements within a specific context.

In the context of YouTube affiliate marketing, a “Best-of video” might include a compilation of top-rated affiliate products, best-performing reviews, or the most recommended items within a given niche.

This is basically a best-of affiliate marketing video example and Elliot attached many affiliate links in the description for the best sneakers.

You can do round-up videos in other niches including

  • Best Blender for Smoothies
  • Top Smartphones of the Year
  • Must-Have Kitchen Appliances
  • Top Travel Destinations
  • Top-rated Books for Summer Reading

All of these ideas have the potential to generate significant affiliate revenue, provided you’re collaborating with the appropriate affiliate program.


Does YouTube Have An Affiliate Program?

Yes, YouTube does offer a YouTube Shopping affiliate marketing program, however, creators can also generate affiliate income by endorsing products with commission-based earnings. To do this, join an affiliate program and incorporate affiliate links into your YouTube type of content to earn commissions.

Can I do affiliate marketing on YouTube?

Of course, you can engage in affiliate marketing on YouTube. Affiliate marketers earn commissions when viewers buy recommended products, usually through affiliate links provided in YouTube video descriptions. However, it’s important to comply with YouTube’s policies, such as disclosing affiliate links and following their content guidelines.

How many followers do you need to affiliate with YouTube?

For regular YouTube affiliate marketing, any size of engaged audience works. But to join the YouTube Partner Program, you must have over 20K followers.

How can I start affiliate marketing as a beginner?

To start affiliate marketing as a beginner, you can follow these steps: choose a niche, research affiliate programs relevant to your niche, create valuable content, disclose affiliate links, build an audience, and track your results to refine your affiliate marketing strategies.

Can I be an Amazon affiliate with just a YouTube channel?

Yes, you can become an Amazon affiliate with just a YouTube channel. You need to apply for the Amazon Associates program separately and once approved, you can generate affiliate links for Amazon products and promote them in your YouTube videos.

YouTube is a key tool for affiliate marketers, providing lots of chances to showcase and promote products through affiliate links. To succeed in YouTube affiliate marketing, create content that your audience is interested in, optimize it for YouTube search, and avoid using misleading titles or clickbait just to make money from videos.

Following these tips will help you generate extra passive income through affiliate marketing on YouTube! Remember, share stuff your audience likes, make your videos easy to find on YouTube, and be honest in your titles. That way, you’ll be on the right track to earning more with affiliate marketing on YouTube!

Ellie Tran, a seasoned SEO content writer with three years of experience in the eCommerce world. Being a part of the UpPromote team, Ellie wants to assist Shopify merchants in achieving success through useful content & actionable insights. Ellie's commitment to learning never stops; she's always eager to gain more knowledge about SEO and content marketing to create valuable content for users. When she's not working on content, Ellie enjoys baking and exploring new places.