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monetize youtube videos with affiliate marketing

  • Video Marketing Guide
    YouTube is one of the most popular websites in the world, with nearly 3 billion monthly active users. But YouTube is more than just a place to watch viral videos – it’s also one of the best revenue-earning channels for affiliate marketing. In fact, 36.9% of affiliate marketers use YouTube videos for their affiliate promotions.

Becoming a YouTube affiliate marketer allows you to earn passive income while doing what you love – creating awesome video content, sharing your knowledge, and promoting products or services to your YouTube audience.

So if you’ve got a YouTube channel and you’re interested in monetizing your influence – we’ve got everything you need to know. Explore the best YouTube affiliate programs, and tips for getting started.

How to become a YouTube affiliate
YouTube Partner Program vs. affiliate programs
Affiliate video ideas for YouTube
Creating engaging affiliate content
Choosing the right affiliate programs
The 14 best affiliate programs for YouTube 🚀
How to start your YouTube affiliate marketing
So how do you get started with YouTube affiliate marketing? It’s actually incredibly easy, and 100% free. Here’s all it takes to become an affiliate marketer on YouTube:

Create a YouTube channel
Join affiliate programs at companies you want to promote
Explore what’s popular on YouTube for these companies
Build relevant and engaging videos for your affiliate brands
Insert your affiliate link in your videos descriptions
Promote your videos!
Pro tip: Insert your affiliate links across all of your videos descriptions, including existing content, in a section around “My favorite tools/products” to broaden your reach!
The most important part of YouTube content creation is developing engaging and informative videos that drive real value. Whether it’s introducing your new favorite products, comparing different tools, or tutorials on an awesome app – viewers should leave with new knowledge and perspective on the topic.

And the best YouTube affiliates score big through authentic content. So before you sign up with a new affiliate program, ask yourself, is this a product I truly believe in? If it’s something you would use yourself, and can see how it can drive a ton of value for others – it will be a lot easier to develop compelling, authentic video content your audience is going to love.

Do you need a massive following to become a YouTube affiliate? Not at all! While a great subscriber count and existing videos will help you, there’s nothing stopping you from achieving awesome results starting from scratch. Take Keegan Mueller’s story, a 24-year old engineer who became a millionaire in less than 2 years through affiliate marketing, earning over $60,000 in a single day.

YouTube Partner Program vs. affiliate programs
Can you do both affiliate marketing and the YouTube Partner Program at the same time? Absolutely! These are two different monetization strategies though, let’s walk through their differences.

The YouTube Partner Program (YPP) allows you to monetize your content and get paid directly through YouTube. Since YouTube is generating millions of dollars a day in revenue, top content creators can get a cut of the ad revenue and subscriber revenue their videos drive through the platform.

We’re not going to lie, it’s pretty difficult to get accepted into YPP until you have an established channel. Here are the high-level YPPs requirements:

1,000 subscribers with at least 4,000 valid public watch hours in the last 12 months, OR
1,000 subscribers with at least 10 million valid public Shorts views in the last 90 days
But affiliate marketing programs are way easier to get started with! Each program has their own requirements, though unlike the YPP, most affiliate programs don’t have subscriber or watch hours minimums, making them far more accessible to content creators.

Your goal should be to monetize through both! Get started with affiliate marketing on YouTube, and once you reach the requirements for YPP, you can join to earn even more revenue from your videos every month.

Affiliate video ideas for YouTube
55% of consumers watch videos before making a purchase. But which affiliate marketing videos are most popular on YouTube? Let’s walk through some YouTube video types that have the highest earning potential:

  1. Trending videos
    Trending YouTube videos cover what’s most popular today – such as a viral challenge, a popular news event, a current fad, or a hot new product. This is a quick way to build your follower count and attract a wider audience.

The best trending videos approach for affiliate marketing would be around hot products or services, and even how these products fit in with a new fad. Take mushroom water for example, the new fashionable replacement for coffee (you’ve probably seen YouTube ads for something like MudWtr). You could create a short video series – first trying it out and sharing your experience, second comparing the health benefits of mushroom water vs. coffee, and a third covering the best mushroom water brands to try. Simply drop your YouTube affiliate links to the product in the video description of each and see which video type generates the best affiliate revenue. Here’s a trending video example:

  1. Tutorial videos
    Tutorials, or how-to videos, are extremely popular in the video space as people want to see how stuff works before they buy it. These viewers are also highly qualified as they’re already interested in the product, so you’re likely to convert higher than a top-of-funnel affiliate marketing video.

Tutorial videos can be for any type of product or service, from a SaaS application to a new phone. Go with tutorial videos that fall under your specialty – for example, if you’re a designer, creating an affiliate tutorial video for Adobe Express on a unique feature they offer can attract other designers looking to accomplish a style that’s easy through this tool. Here’s a tutorial video example:

  1. Comparison videos
    Comparison videos, as you’d expect, compare (or highlight) multiple products or services in a single video, and allow you to generate revenue on each one you cover through their own affiliate links. Many people want to find a new productivity app, CRM tool, or project management system, but have no idea where to start.

Comparison videos briefly showcase the unique benefits of each tool to save viewers tons of time researching each platform individually. They can see the tools side-by-side, and should be able to leave the video (from your link) with the best solution for their needs – whether it’s customization options, team capabilities, or special organization features that they can only get there. Here’s a comparison video example:

  1. Product review videos
    Similar to a comparison video, product review videos give your honest opinion of a product. These are more in-depth videos on a single product that highlight how it works, which features to try, pros and cons, and whether you’d recommend trying it out (which is probably a “yes” if you want to drive affiliate revenue!).

Before creating an affiliate product review video, research common questions and answers people are looking for on this product. What do they want to learn more about, what problems does this product solve, and what benefits need to be highlighted for a viewer to know before making a purchase? Become an expert! These videos perform best when people can truly tell you know the product. Here’s a product review video example:

  1. Unboxing videos
    Unboxing videos have a universal appeal as viewers love to see a product’s packaging, presentation, and your initial reaction when opening it. These fun videos build exciting anticipation, while also encouraging purchases to a highly qualified audience that’s already interested in purchasing the product. Since there’s so much online shopping (and oh so many ads everywhere), people can’t touch and feel products themselves, so they want to see it as up close and personal as possible before purchasing.

Unboxing videos are excellent ways to promote physical products in YouTube affiliate marketing. Depending on the size of your channel, you may even be able to get brands to send you free (or heavily discounted) products if you let them know you’re interested in unboxing to your audience. Here’s an unboxing video example:

How to create engaging affiliate content for YouTube
Creating content that not only engages your viewers, but also converts them into buyers, is the ultimate success metric for affiliate marketing on YouTube. Here are some tips on creating the most engaging affiliate content for YouTube:

Become an expert: Become an expert in the product or service you’re promoting! That means possessing a deep understanding of how the product works, what pain points it solves, and the benefits of using it. In order for people to trust your recommendation, they have to truly believe you know what you’re talking about.
Take an educational approach: High-performing YouTube affiliate content is educational – your viewers need to leave having learned something new. Tutorials, how-to guides, and in-depth reviews are excellent formats for this.
Incorporate a call to action (CTA): A CTA is a prompt to drive action, and you need to include CTAs in your video design, narration, and YouTube video description. End each video with a strong CTA on what to do next – start a trial, purchase this plan, contact sales, or whatever action will lead to your revenue-generating conversion activity.
Visual appeal: High-quality production can enhance the perceived value of your affiliate products and make your content more engaging. This Halo effect influences how people feel about a product – what is beautiful is also good. Make sure to use plenty of light, familiarize yourself with professional editing software, and strive for clean audio and visual quality.
Demonstrate authenticity: Be authentic and genuine in your content. People are oversaturated with ads and can recognize them from a mile away. It’s more important than ever to be authentic around your promotions – why do you like this product, what’s your personal experience, and what are both its pros and cons?
Showcase benefits: Highlight the benefits and unique selling points of the product or service you’re promoting. Why should your audience care about this product or service? What will it provide for them? Explain how it can improve the viewer’s life or solve their problems.
Use social proof: Share user testimonials, case studies, or personal success stories on the affiliate product. Social proof can greatly influence the buying decisions of your viewers, especially if they’re on the fence. If other people find a product/service useful, viewers will feel much less uncertainty about buying themselves.
Connect with your audience: You don’t want to be just another talking head. It’s important to genuinely connect and be accessible with your audience – chatting with subscribers, answering questions in the comments, and making them feel like they’re part of a fun and supportive community. Let them know you’re a real person who knows them.
Engaging affiliate content is trustworthy content
Maintaining transparency, authenticity, and honesty is essential for a successful YouTube affiliate marketing strategy. As an affiliate marketer, you have the responsibility to be honest with your audience to gain their trust. Any lack of transparency can damage that trust, and hurt your reputation and affiliate promotions.

Here are some ways to be transparent and trustworthy in your YouTube affiliate marketing:

A policy of full disclosure: It’s not only right to be upfront about your affiliate marketing, it’s also the law. Always disclose your affiliate relationships to your viewers. Not doing so can both damage trust and potentially get you in trouble with the FTC (Federal Trade Commission). Simply mention that you may earn a commission if they purchase through your links in your YouTube descriptions. Honesty is always the best policy.
Be objective & fair: When discussing affiliate products or services, especially in the context of review videos, you always want to try to be as unbiased, objective, and fair as possible. Saying “this is the best product ever” or “this thing is literally flawless” won’t help you drive any more sales if it’s not as great as you say. Being overtly biased in your videos can actually turn people off from the product or service altogether. Transparency about any potential limitations is appreciated by your audience.
Choosing the right affiliate programs
So how do you find the best companies to partner with for your YouTube affiliate marketing journey? Let’s take a look at the top things to consider when selecting the right YouTube affiliate programs:

Audience relevancy: Know your audience, and double down on what they like! Align your YouTube affiliate marketing with brands and products that will truly resonate with your followers.
Reputation & trustworthiness: You don’t want to be backing away from a scandal. Do your research beforehand to choose affiliate partners who have admirable missions, treat their employees right, and respect their customers.
Commission structure: Affiliate marketing can take a lot of time and effort. Of course, you don’t want mere peanuts in return for all your hard work. Assess the program’s commission rate and look for competitive payouts that make your efforts worthwhile.
Cookie duration: Affiliate links use “cookies” (information sent to browsers by websites) that allow your referrals to be tracked. Each affiliate program gets to set its own cookie duration, and they are usually based on how long people need to evaluate before making a purchase. More expensive, longer-sales cycle products will have longer durations, and easy quick purchases are usually shorter, though some quick self-serve products offer generous cookie lengths too that are great for YouTube affiliate marketing!
Promotional resources: Effectively promoting your affiliate links can be difficult without any support. But affiliate brands want you to succeed, so most have a wealth of promotional resources available for partners to leverage to create awesome content. This could be promotional banners, widgets, communication guidelines, brand assets, and more. ‍
Payment methods: Finally, remember that many affiliate programs use a variety of different payment methods. Some give affiliates options (PayPal, wire transfer, a check in the mail), and others are more limited. Be sure to choose affiliate programs with payment methods that suit you best — after all, you don’t want to leave money on the table because you can’t get paid!

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