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Francis Wolff, Digistore24 CEO


Francis Wolff

Digistore24 CEO

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How To Earn Money With YouTube Affiliate Marketing

Feb 22, 2023

19 Min. Read

How To Earn Money With YouTube Affiliate Marketing

YouTube is the second most visited website in the world, according to Semrush

An affiliate marketer who isn’t on YouTube is as crazy as a business not being on Google. 

Let’s just think about that statistic for a moment… 

YouTube has 2.6 billion monthly active users. Billions of hours of content are consumed every, single, day. So if you’re an affiliate marketer, why aren’t you tapping into YouTube affiliate marketing - this huge resource!

It might be because starting out on YouTube can seem daunting.

Where do you start? Creating good videos can only be done by professionals, right?

Not really…

Here is your first piece of good news if you are a total beginner: you don’t need to spend a fortune on a filming and editing kit if you want to get started with YouTube affiliate marketing!

You can most likely film with whatever phone you have and edit on any computer. Of course, later down the line, you might want to upgrade all your tech, but right now you can get started without spending thousands on fancy cameras and microphones. 

In this article, you’ll find out the pros and cons of YouTube as a platform for affiliate marketing, the types of video content you can produce, and how to make money with YouTube videos.

So, without further ado, let's dive into the meat of it and turn you into a YouTube affiliate marketing superstar!

How To Do Affiliate Marketing on YouTube

You can easily do affiliate marketing on YouTube. You can’t, however, put affiliate links directly into your videos.

So, where can you put affiliate links?

1. Link In The Description

The simplest place to put your affiliate links is in the YouTube description of your video. The classic ‘see links below’ line can be used in your video content to direct your audience to the links. 

2. Link In The Comments

You can create a pinned comment for each video you post. In that pinned comment you can add as many affiliate links as you like! Don’t go too overboard as too many will be overwhelming. This is also a good place to add timestamps to the links if you are showing off the product during the video.

3. Link In Your Community

The community tab is an often forgotten resource for YouTube channel owners! It’s a great place to engage with your audience and also offer problem solving solutions (a.k.a your affiliate offer). 

Bonus Location

There is one extra location where you can place links. You can add info cards in your videos (which appear throughout the video), as well as end cards. In both of these locations, you can add links, but not direct affiliate links. What you can do is link to the website associated with your business. Then, on your landing page, you can set up a funnel to direct users to the offer you're promoting.

Affiliate Marketing On Youtube: Is It For You?

Affiliate Marketing On Youtube: Is It For You?

YouTube is a huge platform suitable for promoting any type of product. However, you may still be wondering whether it’s actually the best platform for your affiliate marketing business. 

There are a few questions you should be asking yourself before you start using YouTube.

Are you looking to create income immediately? 

As with many platforms, you won’t make a huge income using YouTube straight away. It takes time to build up your audience and reputation. So, if you’re expecting a large paycheck next week then you need to find another source of income. 

If, on the other hand, you can be patient and spend the necessary time building up your channel, you can build a passive income source that will allow you to regularly make money online. 

It’s also worth noting that you can start making money with YouTube sooner with affiliate marketing than the usual YouTube creator who is tied to the channel’s pre-defined monetization route. YouTube monetization requires a minimum number of subscribers. But with affiliate links, you can start using them with your videos from day one. 

Are you comfortable being in front of the camera?

You can easily create videos without being in them, but as far YouTube affiliate marketing goes, showing your face does increase credibility, especially when promoting offers or reviewing products. If you don’t feel confident with your camera presence, you can try doing some animations or anything creative that will make you stand out, even if you’re not showing your face.

Is there a specific niche you are interested in? 

Most successful YouTube affiliate marketing channels have a specific format that caters to a particular niche. In affiliate marketing, it is important that you establish yourself in one niche to build your reputation as a trustworthy resource before slipping in an affiliate link.

When it comes to making YouTube vidoes and growing your YouTube channel, you need to have enthusiasm - and a lot of it! Can you get other people excited about the product you are promoting, the affiliate program that you believe in, or even your fancy unboxing videos?

If you’re passionate enough, you could easily pass on your enthusiasm to your audience.

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How To Improve Your YouTube Affiliate Marketing

One of the great things about affiliate marketing on YouTube is that it’s easy to get started. You don’t need to be a technical guru to be able to get content out. Just start filming, get your content online and start adding an affiliate link or two in your video descriptions. It takes time to build your YouTube channel into something successful so the sooner you start, the better.

You can incorporate your YouTube affiliate marketing efforts into your other marketing strategies to boost traffic, awareness and engagement, as well So, if you normally post on social media, start posting links to your YouTube videos and shorts. If you have an email list, let your audience know about newly posted or upcoming videos. You can even add videos to your blog posts or website. 

The most effective affiliate marketers are experts in one particular platform. So work your way into becoming a YouTube affiliate marketer expert, but make sure you also have a basic understanding of other social media platforms. To improve your expertise, ensure you read and understand all of YouTube’s guidelines, and stay up to date with changes to the platform. 

Furthermore, regularly check what other YouTube channels or creators are doing, what affiliate program is popular, what type of YouTube videos are popping, and try to always stay on top of new trends and top ranking videos.

Studying the competition is a surefire way to learn how to make money on YouTube.

Pros And Cons Of YouTube Affiliate Marketing

Pros And Cons Of YouTube Affiliate Marketing

Gaining access to a large audience, the freedom to be creative, and the opportunity to earn extra income from monetizing your channel are just a few of the pros of doing affiliate marketing on YouTube. Not to mention the high growth and free traffic YouTube has to offer.

But what are some of the downsides to affiliate marketing on YouTube?

There are three clear cons to promoting products or services with YouTube:

  • It takes time to build an audience (this is true for every platform)
  • Not every YouTube video will earn you a commission
  • Creating video content takes time and effort

Does this mean it’s not worth using? Absolutely not! 

What it does mean is you should go into this understanding it’s not a quick way to earn money - building a YouTube affiliate marketing channel takes time and you need to be patient. It requires more energy to create a youtube video compared to a social media post, but the payoff is so much bigger when your YouTube channel takes off.

If you enjoy making videos, then YouTube is definitely the best place for you to unleash your creativity, and use it to build a passive income by joining an affiliate program and adding high-converting YouTube affiliate links in your video description. 

Once you are regularly producing videos, and including affiliate links in your video description, you will find that your income will start flowing and growing! Every time you post a video, it has the possibility of continuing to rack up views and make you passive income through YouTube affiliate links - or just pure video views, without any more work from you.

Building traffic to your channel and YouTube account will be slow, but with great quality YouTube videos, a catchy video title, well-written video descriptions and a strategically placed affiliate link, you should start seeing an increase in viewers over time.

YouTube Vs Other Platforms

YouTube is among the most popular social platforms that have seen significant growth since over the years, according to a study by the Pew Research Center. In the same study, they found that 81% of American adults say they are a YouTube user. In comparison, only 69% used Facebook, and every other social media channel was 40% or under.

What does this mean?

YouTube is still growing

Many of the other social platforms are either declining or staying the same. As YouTube is also one of the most visited websites, it’s an incredible resource for affiliate marketers. Other platforms shouldn’t be abandoned but YouTube is currently a strong choice for focusing your affiliate marketing efforts on. 

If you are serious about becoming a successful content creator & YouTube affiliate marketer, then the platform's huge reach is a necessary tool in your arsenal - especially if you want YouTube affiliate marketing to be one of your main income sources.

How to Make Money With YouTube Affiliate Marketing

Making money with YouTube affiliate marketing is simple, in theory… You just need to create affiliate videos, join an affiliate program, add an affiliate link to your video description, and consider monetizing your channel when you have enough viewers. 

Getting your affiliate links seen and used, however, is the hard part. As is building up your viewers. Every time you post on YouTube, you should have a clear image of your target audience in mind. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Am I solving a problem for my viewer?
  • Is this video relevant to my niche?
  • Is this video entertaining?
  • Can the viewer understand the topic from the thumbnail and title?
  • Does the video description contain relevant keywords?

Don’t make the mistake of trying to produce quantity over quality. The most successful YouTube channels focus on one specific niche. The more specific the better. This way you can guarantee your videos fit your target audience, and the more passionate you are about the topics you’re covering, the more value you will offer to your audience.

You can play around with different video ideas, including tutorial videos, a product review video, round up videos, unboxing videos, and more. And remember, you don't need the best video equipment to create a YouTube video, but do make sure you're producing quality videos with whatever gear you are working with.

Also, you need to pick the best products - promoting just anything will lead to negative reviews and a loss of trust. Remember, your goal is to provide value to your audience. Your ultimate goal is to create a stable income flow, but you will never achieve that without offering something of use. Whether that’s just entertainment or you actually help solve problems, you need to be providing something of value to your viewers. 

Following these simple rules will make your content valuable and shareable. The more you get your YouTube affiliate marketing videos out there, the more clicks your affiliate links will get - but don't forget to add them in your video description!

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A List of All the Affiliate Marketing Video Types

A List of All the Affiliate Marketing Video Types

If you’re ready to get started making money using YouTube, it’s important to know your options. 

You could make any type of content but there are video formulas that are proven to work for affiliate marketing on YouTube. Below is a list of the main 6 types of videos that you should think about producing for your channel. You can create a mix but ideally, you should pick one type of video that is going to be your main content. This allows you to build your brand  and reputation as a good resource for that type of video in your niche.

Product Reviews

For most content creators and YouTube affiliate marketers, review videos are their bread and butter. These videos are simple to make and have the highest value. As long as you give an honest review, your video will be useful for anyone considering buying the product. Try to be as in-depth as possible. This means you need to have used the product yourself and include some of your own experiences. 

How-To Videos

YouTube is full of how-to videos. Even for the smallest item in your home, you can probably find a setup or tutorial video. You create how-to videos and show your audience how to use or set up a specific product or service.

You also might want to think a little outside of the box. If you are promoting weight loss supplements, for example, you could create how-to videos on exercises, diets, meal plans, just to name a few, then recommend the supplements during the video or in the description. 

As long as you stay within your niche, you can get very creative with your topics and get traffic to the product you're promoting through affiliate links. 

Unboxing videos

Similar to product review videos, an unboxing video is also easy to create. The difference between a product review and an unboxing video is that you have not tried the product yourself yet, and you are filming your initial reaction. 

Reaction videos perform very well on YouTube, with some videos having views in the millions. This style of video does depend more on your personality than a straight-up product review, but if you know you can get enthusiastic about products in your niche then it’s a great place to start. 


Staying on top of current YouTube trends is another great way of being relevant as an affiliate marketer on YouTube. This means you need to regularly watch YouTube videos and shorts to see what is happening. For example, POV videos (point of view) are very popular right now. This is a type of YouTube short that includes a text line POV: followed by a particular scenario. They are quick to recreate and allow you to gain momentum.


If more technical videos like how-tos and product reviews aren’t your thing, then take a look at some vlog accounts. Vlogging (video + blogging) is probably the most fun format to dive in because it gives you the most scope to be creative. 

The best way to get started

The best way to get started is to find and follow other YouTubers in your niche to get video ideas. You don’t need to copy them exactly but you can adapt another channel’s format to suit you, that way you know the content is already proven to work. You’ll find a lot of them have an affiliate link or two in the video description. 

Bigger players and successful affiliate marketers on YouTube can promote their links just by mentioning them. To begin with, you need to give your audience a reason to buy the product during your video. Then, offer your affiliate links. Remember, the key is to solve problems. Show your audience how a product or service can help them.

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Planning Your First YouTube Affiliate Marketing Video

By this point, you hopefully have an idea of the content you want to start making. Becoming a content creator is a great way to get paid online. Although you can shoot a video with no prep and get it live, to give your YouTube channel the best chance of performing well you should plan out your videos first.

Start with Research

Research starts with checking out other channels and seeing what already works. It also includes making sure you have all the info you need before talking on camera. The third important part of YouTube research is SEO. Search Engine Optimization allows people to find your videos when they search for specific keywords. 

Consider investing in a YouTube-specific keyword tool such as VidIQ. With a keyword tool, you can find out what people search for every month on YouTube. Use the keywords to plan your content topics, as well as to write optimized titles and descriptions. Make sure to optimize your content for both your audience and the popular search engine Google.

Choose the Right Audio

How is your YouTube video going to sound? Try out your camera audio and see if it’s ok. If not, you might want to consider spending a little extra on a good microphone. It doesn’t need to be crazy expensive but having good-quality audio is important for any video. If you’re shooting outside and you don’t have a microphone that is good enough, consider adding the speech in voiceover after. Recording inside close to the microphone without background noise will result in better quality. 

Have Good Video Scripts

This is not essential for every video but if you are planning a longer piece of content, consider creating a script. You don’t have to stick to it word for word but it helps to have a planned-out story flow. It stops you from going too far off-topic and reminds you what you want to say. 

Dive Into Some Editing

When you watch fellow YouTube content creators’ channels, check out their editing style. Is the piece just one constant flow? Does it have lots of fast cuts and quick changes? The way you edit your videos is a part of your style, so make sure you think about that during filming. 

Help yourself in the editing stage later by creating a video that can be easily edited. You could do everything in one shot (which is super hard, by the way), shoot things from different angles, or create short sections to keep the video fast-paced.

How To Get Traffic For Your YouTube Affiliate Marketing Video

How To Get Traffic For Your Affiliate Marketing YouTube Video

Creating the most amazing video of all time is useless if no one can find it. You need to know how to get traffic to your channel. 


Google is a great way to get people onto your channel. For this, you will need to work with a keyword tool such as Ahrefs. With this, you can optimize your titles and descriptions and appear in search results. You might want to consider answering key questions within your niche so that your video is likely to be useful and therefore rank better on Google. Use Reddit or other forums to find common questions and issues your audience has. 

YouTube Search

YouTube is one of the biggest search engines in the world. The same tactics apply for YouTube search as Google. However, you might want to consider using a YouTube specific keyword tool, or you can often find a Youtube option within the major keyword tools. 

Do the research. Plan your videos based on current popular searches. Include the keywords in your titles and video descriptions. And don’t forget all those important tags! Add as many as you can that are relevant to your video. 


Whenever you release a new video, your subscribers are notified. This makes it more likely they will watch your new content. All you need is for viewers to click that subscribe button (and the notification bell, so they will be notified instantly when you post something).

How do you gain subscribers? 

Just ask!

In your videos, make a point to ask your viewers to subscribe. They only have to hit the subscribe button once for you to gain a regular viewer. Give them a reason to stay subscribed by offering useful content on a regular basis.

10 YouTube Affiliate Marketing Tips

Now that you have read all the above information, you are ready to become a YouTube content creator and make money with YouTube! You should now understand how to start promoting products and services through YouTube. To make your channel successful, there are a few extra things you can do both during content creation and after you have posted your first videos.  

Let’s look at how you can get the most out of your YouTube channel with these 9 tips.

1. Create Valuable Content

What do we mean by valuable content? 

Well, the truth is, when you start out on YouTube, no one cares about you personally. They don’t want to watch an intro video where you tell your life story. What they do want, however, is to get solutions to their problems, and be entertained. If you can do any of those things, your videos are much more likely to be successful. 

Later down the line, if your channel becomes popular, then your audience might want to connect with you personally but especially in the beginning, you need to focus on providing value.

2. Use Exciting Thumbnails

Creating the most useful video in the world is pointless if it has a boring thumbnail. Before you launch your first video, take the time to research similar channels. What kind of thumbnails does your competition use? Find the channels with the most views and subscribers and you can guarantee they all have very eye-catching and clickable thumbnails.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a designer or not, there are plenty of free tools out there, such as Canva, that you can use to create a simple but dramatic thumbnail. 

3. Make Use Of The Chapter Feature

Never heard of YouTube Chapters? In the video description, you can add timestamps with a heading to create chapters within your videos. These are a great way to break up your content if someone is only interested in one part, and entice viewers to keep watching with hooky titles. 

4. Create YouTube Shorts

YouTube shorts are 60 second clips or compilations, which can be posted to YouTube. They appear in a different place than your usual videos and are designed for mobile. The YouTube shorts report is a great way to get ideas and jump on current trends. You can also take the best scenes from your longer videos and repost them as shorts. It’s just another avenue for getting people onto your channel. 

5. Build Playlists

Playlists are a great way to get people to watch your videos. If you can create a genuinely useful playlist, then people are likely to watch for longer as the next video is automatically played. The ideal playlist is no longer than 7 videos and is a mixture of medium and short-length videos, nothing over 30 minutes to keep people interested. 

6. Think About SEO For YouTube Search

We have already talked about researching highly searched topics to create videos. You also need to think about findability when writing your YouTube titles and descriptions for everything you post. Whether that's video content, shorts, or playlists, you always need to be thinking about SEO. 

Try to pick at least one popular keyword and use that in your titles. Aim to use 5 keywords in your descriptions. Then, make sure you also add plenty of relevant tags to help your audience find you. 

7. Repurpose Your Content Elsewhere

Just because you have started using YouTube, doesn’t mean you should stop any of your other channels. If you already have a blog, you can add your videos to your blog posts. If you regularly post on social media, add links to your new videos! Plus, you can also turn blog posts you have already created into YouTube videos and vice versa. 

8. Be Open With Affiliate Links 

People don’t want to feel like they are being conned. If you are recommending something that also makes you money, the best practice is to be open about it. Add a disclaimer somewhere in your video or the description that alerts people to the fact you are using affiliate links.

Only promote products you actually think will help your audience. If a product is bad and they do use your affiliate links, they are not going to trust you the next time you recommend something. Remember trust is key. 

9. Be Consistent

Finally, probably the most important tip in this list: be consistent. If you can only post a video once per week, then start there. Don’t create a bunch in one week and launch them all, then have nothing for three months. Remember to stick to a realistic schedule.

10. Analyze YouTube Data

To succeed on YouTube, you should be looking at analytics and act according to the data and numbers provided there. Learning how to use YouTube Analytics to grow your channel faster is key in this business.

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Don't Forget About YouTube Ads

To cover everything extensively when it comes to YouTube Ads, we need to write a full article... Thankfully, we already did!

Check out these articles if you want deepen your knowledge of YouTube Ads:

And, we even have an Affiliate Marketing Academy episode centered just around YouTube ads. Make sure to give it a watch!

Start Your YouTube Affiliate Marketing Strategy Now!

The best advice we can offer you when it comes to YouTube affiliate marketing is to just get started!

Create that first video. 

You don’t need the perfect video on day one, but you do need to start producing content if you want to make money with YouTube. From there, you can build up a channel, enhance your brand awareness and find an audience. But you can’t do any of that without content!

Using the planning strategy above, along with our tips, you have the capability to start right now. 

You can never know if your 1st or 100th video could blow up your channel. All you can do is regularly post valuable videos, engage with your audience, and watch your passive income climb. 

We hope this article has given you the push you needed in your affiliate marketing journey.

Good luck and happy promoting!

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Francis Wolff, Digistore24 CEO


Francis Wolff

Digistore24 CEO

Francis is the CEO of Digistore24 USA, as well as an International businessman and an online marketing expert. As an entrepreneur with extensive experience in direct response marketing, licensing, e-commerce, tech startups, and product launches, Francis’ main goal at Digistore24 is to continuously improve the product by growing a network of super affiliates and connecting them to a wide variety of offer owners and brands.