Making Money with YouTube Affiliate Marketing 2021

YouTube Affiliate Marketing

Video content is becoming more and more prevalent on nearly every online channel. For those in affiliate marketing, YouTube is one of the most promising routes to profits.

Of course, out of all the video platforms out there, the King of video remains YouTube.com – with over one billion hours watched a day by over 2 billion viewers from around the world, it’s a unique platform that offers tons of traffic.

What exactly is Youtube affiliate marketing?

So, we’re aware of the insane amount of hours people spend watching videos.

But how does this translate into profits for those in front of the camera? 

Before we get into what affiliate marketing on YouTube is, I’ll tell you what it’s not: the YouTube Partnership Program. YouTubers with at least 1000 subscribers and at least 4000 valid public watch hours in the last 12 months views will often have ads popup while you’re watching their content. Of course, they are making money off of this. 

However, as you can assume, it’ll take you a while to reach this level of popularity.

And most likely, you’re not there yet. But don’t worry, that’s where affiliate marketing comes in; even the small guys can make loads of money with this business model. 

YouTube is an extremely useful and profitable channel for affiliate marketers. Famous makeup guru vlogger James Charles makes an estimated $20 million per year and about $80k per video. And that’s with 25.5 million subscribers – for now. 

But to take a more realistic, down-to-earth example: Lawrence Systems. This channel covers computer, IT business, open source and other topics and was created in 2014 and has 187k subscribers. The channel makes about $2.5k per month. Less than James Charles, but definitely a more attainable goal. 🙂 

Even though embarking on the YouTuber lifestyle and making videos may seem a bit daunting at first, it really is a breeze once you get the hang of it. 

Your YouTube channel can either be a supplement to your affiliate marketing blog, or, if you don’t have one yet, it can be your main selling platform. 

This article will give you the know-how on how to be a successful YouTube affiliate marketer.

Make money with YouTube affiliate marketing

What you need to be a YouTube affiliate marketer:

  1. A Google account – you’ll easily set up your YouTube account and this is necessary for setting up a channel
  2. A YouTube channel – in your YouTube account you’ll click on “settings” and then “create custom channel” 
  3. A niche or vertical that your channel and offers will focus on. Make sure you pick a lucrative vertical that will stay relevant.
  4. An offer that you will promote (if you haven’t already, register for an affiliate program where you can then choose an offer… check out the best ones for 2021 here).
  5. Quality videos that you will be posting regularly. Obviously, it’s easy to say your videos should be “good” – but how do you make that happen? Soon we’ll let you know what the best tips and tricks are for professional content creation with some insider advice from our very own YouTube star at Voluum 😉
  6. Traffic that will be viewing your videos, clicking your links, and making purchases to earn you commissions. Without traffic, you won’t be making money. Another section will help you with some best practices to encourage traffic to your channel. 

Making quality YouTube videos for Beginners

In order for viewers and followers to stick around (and eventually buy your recommendations), they have to like what they see and hear. As an amateur YouTuber, there’s a bit of learning curve ahead of you. 

However, we’ve brought you this exclusive section from our very own in-house video-making master, Aga. 

She has provided you some insight here on how to be a successful vlogger, director, actor extraordinaire.

Aga our YouTube affiliate marketing professional

Here is Aga’s guide to easily producing quality, professional video content:

Hey readers! 👋 I’m Aga from Codewise. If you’ve ever visited our YouTube channel I’m sureee you’ve seen-heard-enjoyed one of my videos 😉

VL Affiliate marketing YouTube channel
source

But I’ve actually made videos in lots of other sectors too, so I figured I’d help you out and share my knowledge that I’ve gathered over the past years. 💡

Types of YouTube affiliate marketing videos to promote

How to, Best of, Reviews, Unboxing, Gear list videos. 📺 These are all popular YouTube video formulas and allow you to plug certain offers in a more natural and honest way.

Youtube is already filled with similar formats & great examples – watch how others do it and get inspired! 🤩

Once you decide what format suits your needs, you can get started. MOST YouTubers show their face on the camera and build a relationship with viewers that way. The way you talk and look on camera will be very important for this! 

📌 And remember, not every video needs to be an “ad”. 

Ensure you have the equipment to film your video. For example, if you want to film yourself reviewing a product or talking about the benefits of a new diet (that you follow thanks to this awesome book you are promoting 😉 you need a:

  • Camera 📹
  • Lighting 🔦
  • Editing software 🖱

If you’re still missing some stuff, don’t worry – I’ll be offering you some suggestions in a minute! 

Before you invest in anything look through what you already own! 

Maybe your smartphone will be enough to prepare your first videos? Or you already have a camera at home that has a video option you never used? You don’t need the newest and most expensive video gear to start! 📱

I’ve seen a lot of videos with poorer video quality, but people still watched them because they were interested in the content. 

A first big consideration: will you need a camera to film yourself or will you be mainly filming your screen? This obviously depends on the industry and style.

📌 I can suggest OBS screen recording for a first tool because it’s free.

But for those who will need a camera, before you buy anything, take what you have for a spin and try recording yourself with it. If you are using your phone, don’t use the selfie camera (use the front-facing one)! 

Ensure that you film in a well lit area ☀️ near a window for example. Lightning can actually make your videos look so much better. But we will talk about that more later. 

But maybe you don’t have anything you can record with, it’s time to get a camera. 📸

It’s hard to advise on what kind of equipment you’ll need, but always recording in the highest resolution your camera allows you. 

how to make good YouTube videos

A steady image

A lot of people, especially vloggers, don’t really care about the stability of the video when they record – moving around with your camera can be quite entertaining. 🏃‍♀️

But for certain videos, you may need a stable picture.

A tripod will allow you to attach the camera to it and record a steady video while on the go. Make sure to securely attach your camera. Video equipment can be expensive and delicate – and you don’t want to see your precious camera fall off the tripod. 😥

Another alternative could be a selfie-stick, depends on your style.

📌 I’ve however recorded quite a lot of videos at home without using a tripod. Instead I looked for places where I could securely place my camera and record. But obviously a steady tripod will definitely allow you to record in more places without risking your camera’s well-being (lol). 🤷🏼‍♀️

Prepare a script or outline for your video

Obviously, you don’t want to sound like a robot reading your lines, however you definitely shouldn’t ramble on. That’s a sure fire way to bore viewers and lose conversions. Try to be natural but concise. ⚖️

Structure is very important, especially when you are new to creating a video content. ‼️

If you are talking about things that you are passionate about, you might be able to make a whole video without a script or outline – but when the video is ready you might find yourself regretting “why I didn’t I say this and that”. 

That’s exactly when a script or an outline will help you. 📝

If you are writing a script ensure that you are reading it out loud – to check if it sounds natural for you. You don’t want to sound fake or have issues with pronunciation.

📌 Practice the script or the content of the video BEFORE you shoot the video. This way you will record it much faster and won’t get frustrated. 

If you have a lot to say, you might want to think about prompter – it can really help you with video creation. I love DIY projects so I recommend you to check on YouTube how to make a prompter at home – I made one myself and saved quite a lot of money! It’s not rocket science 😉

Allocate a small studio space 

This corner of your home, or wherever you’re filming videos, will be your mini studio. Here, you can set up all the technical equipment you will need and keep it there for your videos to ensure consistent quality. 🏠

To find the best spot for filming, take your camera and check out different spots and angles. Sometimes all you need is to tidy up your background and it will work! 🧹

If you don’t have a nice background, what may fix it is adjusting the aperture in your camera. Of course it depends on the lenses you are using, but you might be able to blur your “boring” background.

If you can’t find a well lit spot for filming you will have to invest in lamps. 🕯

Make sure you are well lit on camera 

Nobody likes to watch a dark or over exposed picture – it’s unprofessional and takes away from the video experience. There are plenty of cheap and lightweight lamps that are specially made for vloggers. 🛋

My favorite lamps for filming are led lights. They are lightweight, don’t take a lot of space (especially when you compare to softboxes that can be massive), and most importantly – you can manipulate how strong the light is and its temperature. 

📌 It’s really important to look for lamps where you can adjust their brightness, because you don’t want overexposure in your video! 

Use multiple angles 

To make your videos more entertaining you can use multiple angles. 🎬 What does it mean? For example if you are reviewing a product, you can show what is in front of you with an overhead shot. 

Ideally it requires owning multiple cameras. 📽

But remember, you can always do additional shots after you record a review. Then you can record the product, how you use it etc. This way you can show more to your audience – not just yourself talking to the camera.

You must have clear, good audio! 

This doesn’t necessarily mean having a top-of-the-line microphone, maybe you just need to soundproof your mini-studio. But either way, no one is going to sit through your video if the sound quality is bad. 😕

📌 Even a cheap microphone will make your audio better! I wouldn’t recommend using your camera to record audio. 🎤

If you are always on the go and moving around with your camera, I would recommend something like Rode GO – a lightweight microphone. 

But if you create content at home in front of your camera, you might want to check out tie-clip microphones – they are cheap and for their price, will make your videos sound much better. 👔

Or, if you are sitting in front of your desk you can use stationary microphones like, Blue Yeti, Blue Snowball, or Rode.

YouTube affiliate marketing tutorial with Aga

Try out some useful video editing software

First off, video editing software is a must. ‼️

But you have options. If you are very new to the game and plan on having very simple videos to start, YouTube has a free video editing software you can use. 

Their editing platform is essentially good enough for cutting videos and adding music (but not much more).

Typically, you’re going to have to pay to get access to the good stuff. 💵

📌 The good news is that many of them have free trials! Even Adobe, my main editing software, has a 30 day free trial.

So, try out a couple of different platforms and see which one fits your needs best. 🧐


Ok readers, back to your scheduled programming now 😊

Thanks so much Aga! You’re the best 💜

Getting traffic to your YouTube affiliate links

How to get traffic, views & conversions

As I’ve mentioned, YouTube is the second biggest search engine – there’s heaps of traffic available. 

But to get that traffic, you’re going to need a strategy, as with basically any other platform. Though YouTube is owned by Google, it’s algorithm requires a different approach. 

Below you can find a concise list of strategies to getting YouTube views.

Where to put your Affiliate Links in YouTube

The most important part of affiliate marketing: placing your affiliate link in an easy-to-find, clickable spot. 

First, the video description. Make sure to place it above the cut-off line of the description so that it is especially visible and people can see it without the extra click. Always remind viewers to click on the link because otherwise they won’t know where to look. 

Second, direct viewers to your website or social media where they can then click on your offer. Obviously this strategy requires either a website or an alternative social media channel as well as more steps for people to complete before making a purchase. 

However, if you have multiple affiliate links to different products, you shouldn’t put too many in your video description because it will be overwhelming for viewers. By going to your website or other channel, people can access more of your links.

SEO tips for YouTube affiliate marketing

  • YouTube Search Engine Optimization: Just like any other search engine, you can optimize your content for YouTube queries according to keywords. Where to get your keywords though?
    • Use the suggested terms generated by both the YouTube and Google search engines – these will reveal more specific aspects of your niche that people are interested in.
    • The free Google Keyword Planner tool can also be a useful & a bit more advanced/varied than just search suggestions.
  • Your characters for optimization in YouTube are limited: video title, video description, and tags. Since you don’t have a lot of text for SEO, try to focus on one keyword to maximize your chance of appearing in search results. 
    • While your title can be up to 100 characters long, only 70 will appear in the search results (the rest is cut off) so be careful of the length and how you arrange it. 
    • Your video description can be up to 5000 characters, but again, most of it gets cut off in the default YouTube view. Only 100-150 characters appear as a snippet in the search results. Once a viewer has clicked on your video, only the first three lines will be visible – they must click “show more” to see the entire description. Therefore, make sure you have your most important information (and affiliate link!) in those first few lines. 
    • You can choose related tags; the total number of tags isn’t technically limited, but altogether you can have up to 400 characters. Use tags effectively by focusing on your given keyword, and include general keywords as well as more specific, long tail keywords.
  • Rank in Google search results. Given Google owns YouTube, they often display their videos at the top of certain search results. This obviously presents another platform to drive traffic from. 
    • Make sure to check if the keyword you’re aiming for with your video displays YouTube videos as well in Google’s search results – if not, you may want to rethink your phrasing.
Affiliate marketing on YouTube

Where users will find you

  • Home page featured videos available to browse when users visit the YouTube homepage. However, unless a user has shown a lot of interest in your niche, your content probably won’t be featured here. 
    • Usually only videos with a very significant amount of views end up here. A newbie content creator like you will have to wait a while to build up that many views and followers. 🙂
  • Related videos appear alongside what a user is watching at the moment. On desktop this is usually in a column to the right and on mobile the recommendations are below. 
    • It’s not as hard to appear here, as the more a viewer delves into a niche, the more likely your video might eventually appear in that list.
  • Have an eye-catching thumbnail and title so that you stand out among the search results but also show the user you’ll be answering their query. 
    • Your thumbnail image matters – don’t just choose a screenshot from your video and definitely don’t go with the default thumbnail YouTube generates. It’s best to include some catchy short text and attractive graphic that conveys what your video is about.
    • Use your title to draw your viewer in – however, avoid clickbait-y titles. This can cause viewers to dislike your video and leave your video very quickly, increasing bounce rates.

Alternatives ways to get traffic 

  • Encourage engagement with your content. The more people engage with your videos and channel, the higher up YouTube’s algorithm will place you.
    • First rule of thumb: remind viewers during your video and/or at the end to comment, like and subscribe to your channel. You’ve heard it a thousand times, now it’s your turn to say it!
    • Interact with commenters. Not only do you stimulate activity by answering questions and comments, but you also build a connection and trust with your followers.
    • Collaborate with other YouTubers. If it’s a possibility, try to get featured on another (preferably more prominent) channel, or bring a guest onto your videos. This way you can tap into another set of followers.
    • Always have a CTA! Or in other words, a Call to Action. If you don’t direct your viewers with a clear message and obvious button, they won’t know or think of what to do after your video. Send them where you want them to go with a visible, obvious CTA.
  • Build up a social media presence. Videos are shareable, and if you’re really lucky, maybe you can even go viral 😉 But really, having some social media channels alongside YouTube is a helpful way to find traffic from other sources.
  • Have a website. A blog or website provides another platform to get traffic – and is much more conducive to appearing in search engine results. Also, since you are limited in placing affiliate links on YouTube, you can direct viewers to your website.
  • Most importantly, keep track of what’s going on & what’s working best. In the affiliate marketing business, tracking your campaigns, landers, offers and conversions is essential. You will only be able to grow if you know how to learn. Voluum Tracker enables this growth – not just on YouTube but on all your platforms.
Making videos for YouTube

YouTube Affiliate Marketing Pros and Cons

Still undecided about YouTube as the platform for your affiliate marketing? 

I’ve gathered some pros and cons below; most of these however inherently compare YouTube affiliate marketing strategies to the more traditional blogging format. 

As I’ve mentioned, the two formats complement each other well, but – especially at the start – it’s best to focus your main affiliate efforts on one. 

Pros 

  • It’s very easy to get started with Youtube. You might need to make some investments in filming equipment, but otherwise, Youtube is a free channel with the technology all set up already. 
  • There even is a whole YouTube Creators Academy with free courses hosted in part by various famous YouTubers. They cover a lot with professional, easy to follow videos.
  • If you prefer video creation, vlogging can be much more creative than blogging! You have a lot more formatting, animations and effects to play around with, especially as you get more and more experience. Plus, more creative approaches tend to do better in the algorithm. You can basically choose any vertical too (except adult and gambling).
  • Youtube has lots and lots of FREE traffic. Their platform is famous for keeping people staring at videos for hours. What’s more, there’s not as much competition on this platform as there is among blogs and websites.
  • You have the opportunity to build up a very loyal following through subscribers. They can even set up notifications for when you post a new video. The more dedicated and engaged your following, the more clicks, conversions and commissions you’ll be making 😉 $$$

Cons 

  • Depending on how much previous video creation experience you have, there can be a learning curve in the vlogging process. As I’ve pointed out, there are plenty of technicalities to pay attention to and if you’re a total newbie, making engaging videos can take a while. (But anything worthwhile requires some effort so don’t let this con deter you 😉 )
  • Since this isn’t your platform, your channel can get banned – even completely wiped from YouTube. You have to be careful, as long as you stick to safer topics this shouldn’t be a problem. But if it does happen, it can pose an enormous disadvantage if you’ve already built up a following.
  • Your offer linking is restricted on YouTube; only a certain number of characters can fit in the description and if you have a slew of affiliate links, it can get very crowded. You can also display links during the video, but this is limited too.

Affiliate marketing: YouTube vlogging vs. blogging

As I said – if you’re truly a successful affiliate marketer, a vlog can suit your blog as a perfect complement. YouTube is a great platform for promoting your offers and can be very conducive to affiliate marketing. 

If you have a strong blog already, monetizing a YouTube channel is certainly worth a shot.

However, if you’re a beginner, you’re better off focusing on one as your primary and foremost affiliate marketing channel.

So how do the two compare, side-by-side? Well, first off, YouTube can be a lot more creative. It’s algorithm definitely favors more unique, out-of-the-box approaches that will get views – as opposed to the repetitive, SEO and template format articles that a search engine like Google prefers.

Of course, more creativity can mean more work too for YouTube videos. Content creation can be labor intensive and once a channel is built around you, your face, and your brand, it’s very hard to outsource that work. 

In comparison, the cookie-cutter texts of SEO optimized blog articles can usually easily be done by others. This also makes a YouTube channel harder to sell in the long run.

To stay relevant, you need regular, updated content, preferably on a weekly basis at least, on YouTube – even if your channel has a substantial following. Once you fall out of a schedule, your videos can lose all popularity and no longer appear as suggested viewing. 

Strong blogs on the other hand can eventually become passive income sources with some minimal updating and new content every once in a while.

Along the same lines, it’s generally easier to get traffic on YouTube mainly because there’s less competition. Sustaining that traffic is harder compared to a blog. 

Overall though, despite more viewers, YouTube tends to be less conversion friendly – remember, there are a lot fewer aspects of the user experience that you can control and manipulate on YouTube than on your own website.

Start your YouTube Affiliate Marketing channel today

YouTube can be an incredibly lucrative channel for affiliate marketers. It’s perfectly suitable for beginners and a great complement for advanced affiliates with strong blogs.

As long as your vertical is appropriate for Youtube, then I wouldn’t waste any time getting a jump on this creative, less competitive and relatively simple platform. 

But of course, most importantly, as with any and all affiliate marketing endeavors, it’s essential to know where your numbers are coming from and how they’re doing. A tracker like Voluum’s can do all this and more: track, optimize, automate.  

Step up your affiliate game today!

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