Youtube for Affiliate Marketing

Youtube affiliate marketing

If you’re into marketing, you probably know that the best way to make money online these days is to invest in video content. Yet, it doesn’t mean you have to run right this second and search for the best media production team in your hometown. 

Affiliate marketing is different, remember? It’s smart. So instead of producing your own video content, for the most part, you’ll be reaping the benefits of videos someone else’s created. 

What’s more, one of the best ways to reach the right audience these days is to run your ads on social networks. Well, what if I told you you can access the largest one of all? 

Welcome to the amazing world of YouTube affiliate marketing – a land where everything is possible like on Instagram and rules are less strict than on Google! You’ll like it here!

And, yes, YoutTube is a one big social network. 

Why Youtube? 

Long story short – it’s big and it’s very hard to avoid. In 2019, YouTube’s advertising revenue reached $15 billion and the numbers keep on growing. Here’s where it all comes from. 

YouTube has more than 2 billion users worldwide. That mainly accounts for the users who have active YouTube accounts. Now think of your grandparents, parents, or uncles and aunts who could care less. And give them a call already! Every now and then, they’re googling the easiest ways to knit an afghan, and they’re bound to stumble across all the video tutorials, workshops, and ads. 

I, for one, am not a fan of video searches. It’s convenient bordering on annoying. And yet I’d still happily click on that “3-ingredient smoothie recipe that will change your life” while struggling with my breakfast choices. 

The bottom line is – there aren’t that many people who have been online and haven’t interacted with this video goldmine at least once. Basically, the only online thing that’s bigger these days is Google. And the two are the different sides of the same coin! 

So, you know, create a Google account, run a couple of ads on Facebook, master YouTube affiliate marketing – and you’re set for life. 

Engaged audience

The size matters. What matters even more, is the variety of potential leads, customers, and users you can get via one platform. The latest stats from 2020 suggests that 73% of adults in the U.S. use YouTube, making it the most popular online platform in the States.

But it’s not just about how many people you can reach and an “adult” is a vague word. YouTube audience is diverse. True, most of the users will be between 25-35 years old. Yet still, more than 60% of the U.S. population aged 50+ is exposed to YouTube’s content. 

YouTube Statistics of the US population 2020

As a marketer, you should already see a pool of opportunities here. As an affiliate, you probably need a bit more tangible facts. 

Youtube affiliate marketing conversion rate 

So let’s talk money! Or, to be more specific, how much money you can make if you choose to include YouTube traffic to your affiliate business inventory. 

Conversion rates are important. But, unfortunately, they are also tricky. One great offer can skew the line in one way, as much as one horrible one can in another. Naturally, you’ll want your offers to be the former. 

But just for you to have some general understanding of the trend – experienced affiliates agree that the average conversion rate for YouTube affiliate deals is about 1%. That means that for every 100 views you could get 1 conversion (be it a purchase, a sign-up, or even just a click). 

If it doesn’t seem like a lot just yet, think about all the viral videos that start on YouTube. One successful placement and your ad will be exposed to thousands of users. Which, in return, will bring you thousands of dollars. Sounds like quite a bargain to me! 

And don’t forget about optimization. If you invest in the proper AI software that will automate some of your advertising efforts you’re bound to exceed that vicious 1%. We have Voluum Automizer, which basically does the hardest job for you and lets you know everything there is to know about your campaign along the way. 

The best way to ensure that either your offer or its placement will bring your conversions above the average 1% is to invest into your ad creation. But first, you need to know what your options are.  

Types of Youtube Ads for Affiliate Marketers

There are 5 types of ads you can run on YouTube, each with its own benefits and shortcomings. Generally, they fall into two broad categories: video ads and non-video ads. Let’s have a closer look at both. 

Video YouTube Ads

What separates YouTube from other social networks where you can place your affiliate offers, is that the platform is so video-centered. While browsing YouTube people expect to find video content. Which implies one very obvious, yet potentially problematic thing: advertisers are also expected to create videos. 

If you feel like you’ve got what it takes to make a killer video ad, always wanted to sit in a director’s chair and run around with a camera, or simply have enough budget to hire a professional media team – YouTube is your playground! 

Non-Skippable Video

Non-skippable YouTube video ad example

It’s the most “elite” kind of YouTube advertising, these ads appear pre- or mid-roll without an option for a user to skip them. These ads can go on for up to 15 seconds (20 for India, Malaysia, Mexico, Singapore, and EMEA region). These ads are run on a CPM model (so you, the advertiser, have to pay for each 1000 views regardless of the number of clicks). Non-Skippable Video campaigns take a lot of effort to create and may be a huge waste of budget if done poorly, but can be a huge asset if approached with care.  

Skippable Instream Video (aka True View) 

TrueView (Skippable) YouTube Video Ads

Everyone is familiar with the 5-second snippets of the ad the user has to endure before finally clicking the “skip this ad” button. The ad has to be at least 12 seconds long, but there is no limit as to how long it can go on for (although 2-3 minutes is considered to be optimal). The advertisers’ goal here is to make the first 5 seconds as appealing as possible to encourage the user to keep watching. May not be the easiest task! On the bright side, you only pay if the user completed one of the three conditions: watched the first 30 seconds of your ad; watched the ad from the beginning till the end (if it’s under 30 seconds); or clicked on your ad. 


Discovery video YouTube ad example

The beauty of YouTube is that it can function equally effectively as both a social platform and a search engine. Discover ads pay respect to the latter and operate generally like Google’s SERP ads. They are native ads that appear in the users’ feed next to organic search results featuring a thumbnail and 3 lines of text description. As a type of TrueView ads, you only pay for your discovery advertisements when a user chooses to watch it. So practically no strings attached!  

Non-Video YouTube Ads

YouTube wants everyone to feel included, which is why the platform also has a perfect solution for those affiliates who don’t yet have a budget or a nook for filmmaking. You may as well stick to the good-old static ads you’re familiar and comfortable with.  


Display YouTube ad example

These ads will not have much to do with the user experience with the piece of content it appear next to. Although it might still be a good idea to make sure the content of your ad matches the content of the video at least partially (it’s all about that coherence and clicks, you know). You can use trending keywords and flashy creatives to bring more attention to your offer.  Just like in most cases, display ads often fall victim to banner blindness, which makes them cheaper (it is not uncommon to pay around 3 cents per view to keep your ad running). 


Overlay YouTube Ads example

Overlay ads are the most common types of YouTube banner advertising. They appear right on top of the video that is being streamed with an option for the user to close it. The catch is that these offers have to come from monetized YouTube channels, so if you feel like running overlay ads make sure you have a channel to tie them to first. 

It’s always up to you to decide which option to go for in order to get most conversions. Just choose those you feel confident about and let your creative juices flow! 

Okay then, now that you have a general idea of what kind of ads you might want to run as a part of your YouTube affiliate marketing agenda, it’s time to see how to get it done.

Youtube for affiliate marketing: how to start 

YouTube is a part of Google. Which means that its affiliate marketing campaign setup is basically the same as the one we’ve covered for Google Ads. You can read about it in all the detail here, but for now, here’s a quick summary of what the entire process looks like: 

  • Step 0. If you still don’t have it – get yourself a brand new Google Ads account.
  • Step 1. Log in to your Google Ads account and choose the type of a campaign you want to run:  go for Video or Discovery, or go extra crazy and run Display ads not only for YouTube but for the entire Google Display network to see).
  • Step 2. Select your bid strategy: here’s where you decide if it’s bids, conversions, or impressions you’re after. 
  • Step 3. Define your budget, but, honestly, you should have done that already. So just type in the number! 
  • Step 4. Choose where you want your campaigns to appear (i.e. a traffic source): all of YouTube, search results only, or related websites. 
  • Step 5. Determine your ideal target audience: depending on the campaign you choose to run it may be really niche and local, or can appeal to the whole wide world.
  • Step 6. Invest in a tracker. Every successful affiliate will agree that a quality ad tracker like Voluum will help you not only track every aspect of your performance, but also optimize it for higher profits. If you’re serious about affiliate marketing, waste no time and get it now. 
  • Step 7. Once you gather the data – use it. Test different angles and see which seems to be the best offer-traffic source combo. The results may surprise you!
  • Step 8. Optimize. You have to stay open to an idea of a change. People upload 500 hours of video every minute on YouTube (Hootsuite), so things change quite rapidly. You need to be ready to adapt. 

And just like that you should be perfectly ready to start your very own Youtube affiliate marketing campaign! 

Try Youtube for Affiliate Marketing Yourself

When working with traffic giants like Youtube, Facebook, Instagram, etc. you always need to evaluate whether your efforts are worth the hustle. More often than not all your hardwork will pay off tenfold, but it might take some time and a couple of red campaigns first. Don’t let that discourage you! After all, we both know you’ve got what it takes, so don’t give up and keep trying! 

Invest in Voluum and get insights to all your campaigns data for the best performance!

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