YouTube Affiliate Marketing Guide [From Someone Who Does it]

YouTube Affiliate Marketing Guide

Last updated on January 11, 2021

In this post I am going to cover everything on how to make money using YouTube as an affiliate marketer.

Anyone can do it and begin earning commissions almost immediately.

Making money on YouTube is not complicated despite what you may have heard. If you are willing to do some research and put in a little bit of effort, you can do it.

YouTube Affiliate Marketing

Like all things it requires:

  • Effort
  • Logic
  • A clear plan of action

First though, let’ s clear something up.

The Big Misconception

Most people think that to make money on YouTube you need a massive channel like Logan Paul or PewDiePie and that Adsense is the only way to make money.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

While a big channel is a good thing, it is extremely hard to make any decent money through Adsense and following this route is tiresome, hard work and puts you at the mercy of Youtube.

Very few succeed and you need to be as much an actor than anything else.

If you want to go that route, feel free but this post is not going to be talking about Adsense at all. 

So with that being said, let’s crack on with this definitive guide to YouTube affiliate marketing by looking at how to choose your niche.

Choose Your Niche Wisely

There are a ton of possible niches for you to choose but some may be more doable than others.

The niche you choose needs to tick a lot of boxes.

  1. It is something you have an interest in
  2. You have some level of expertise
  3. There are a wide number of products you could promote
  4. You are able to get paid
  5. You have the ability to make videos for this niche

Let’s expand on the above one by one as if you get this wrong, then you’ll end up wasting a lot of time


Never choose a niche just because you think there is money to be made.

So many people jump into niches with dollar signs in their eyes. But trust me, you will get bored.

And when that happens, the game is over.

You do not need to be crazy passionate about something, but you do need some interest.


This can scare some people from even starting. While it should not, I do believe it is important that you have some knowledge about your subject matter.

You do not need to be the best in the world. There’ll always be people who know more than you.

They are not your target audience. Simple. You are targeting folk who have slightly (or much) less knowledge than you.

That said, you cannot be totally clueless about the niche you choose.

I know nothing about woodworking. Despite there being lots of stuff to promote, I would not last 5 minutes in this niche as people would see right through me.


It goes without saying that to be an affiliate, you’ll need to have a lot of products to promote.

If there are only one or two products in your niche, you won’t have much scope to work with.

This is why folks turn to Amazon.

Amazon Associates is probably the most popular affiliate marketing program.  They sell almost everything.

The downside is the payouts are poor. Anything from 1-10% for most people.

Amazon also has strict Terms of Service so make sure you read the rules.

Digital Offers

If you would like to promote digital products, then you have a lot of options. is one of the most well known platforms for finding products to promote.

While they approve almost everyone, some of the products can disappear from the network so you’ll have to keep an eye on your campaigns

Add to that, they offer a 365 day refund policy.

So you may find you make sales, only to see the buyer refund. While unavoidable, it can be frustrating.


If you would like to go into the health market, a good network to consider is Market Health. Like Clickbank, they approve almost anyone.

Plenty of other networks out there too.

Make Money Online Niche

This is the niche that has the most offer to promote by far. Many new offers come out on a daily basis.

You can find these on

The downside of these products is that 90% (I am being generous) are of terrible quality.

Softwares are often buggy and trainings based on theory as opposed to stuff that actually works.

You can make money reviewing these products but most of them have a shelf life of a week.

Before that, no one is searching on YouTube as know one knows these products exist.

After a week, no one cares.

Focusing on evergreen offers will see you do much better.

Here is an example of a review video that makes me several hundred dollars per month:

Common Networks

Here are some common networks or resources that you can use to find offers to promote:

Max Bounty CPA network (requires approval) –

Aff Paying (Lists CPA networks) –

Clicksure (many offers) –

Avangate (many offers)-

Rakuten (many offers)-

Pay per call –

You can of course do a simple Google search…

Look, there are even a bunch of Ice-cream affiliate programs.

Come to think of it, I wouldn’t mind entering that niche 🙂

Note: You do not need to join all of these networks, you just need one or two

Getting Paid:

This varies from network to network and from country to country.

Some networks prefer PayPal, others bank transfer or cheque.

Others offer Payoneer.

I live in Japan, and so cheques are out of the question. So I use Payoneer when Paypal isn’t an option.

You sign up, provide ID, then get sent a prepaid card that you can use to withdraw cash from any ATM.

Learn more here:

Now let’s move on.


Are you able to actually make good enough videos for the niche you are considering?

To understand this you need to look at your competition and what’s already out there.

Want to get into the survival niche? Fine, but most top videos are filmed outside in the wilderness or someone’s backyard.

The cooking niche? Got a decent looking kitchen with all your expensive herbs and spices looking sexy?

Or perhaps the woodworking niche? Do you have a large garage and a set of tools/equipment?

Look at these videos in the woodworking niche. Notice they are all outside in a spacious area.

These are important things because if you only have a small space or even worse, are terrified of being on camera, then you need to choose your niche wisely.

Now of course, do not let this put you off.

You can of course begin to make videos in these niches. Everyone starts off somewhere.

But at some point you will need to level up to compete if you want to make decent affiliate commissions.

Set up Your YouTube Channel

Ok, so you have your niche and you have joined a few networks that have some products that you can promote.

You now need to set up your YouTube channel.

This is all about building the foundations for your forthcoming videos.

If you have a Gmail account you get a YouTube channel with it, but if you want, you can create a new Gmail account and then use that to set up your channel.

You need to think of your YouTube channel as a blog or a Facebook Fan Page.

By that I mean you need to make sure it is aesthetically pleasing as well as ensuring it is set up for seo AND conversions.

So, follow these steps:

  • Verify you own the account. You can use a phone number or SMS.
  • Create an eye pleasing channel art. The optimal image size is 2560 x 1440 pixels.
  • Add an icon or avatar image. Your logo would be good here or a nice photo of you.
  • Add links to your art. You can add many but only the first 5 will show.
  • Fill out your ‘About’ section fully 
  • Add your country
  • Add a business email address
  • Upload a watermark
  • Add pertinent information to your upload defaults (such as an affiliate disclaimer)
  • Add an associated website and verify ownership of it.

You can connect Google Ads and Analytics too if you wish.

Affiliate Disclosure in your channel

It is very important that you include an affiliate disclosure in your video descriptions.

To make your life easier, copy the below disclaimer and go to your YouTube channel settings and add it to your upload defaults.

This will mean you only have to do it once, and not on a per video basis.

Affiliate Disclaimer: While we receive affiliate compensation for reviews / promotions on this page, we always offer honest opinion, relevant experiences and genuine views related to the product or service itself. Our goal is to help you make the best purchasing decisions, however, the views and opinions expressed are ours only. As always you should do your own due diligence to verify any claims, results and statistics before making any kind of purchase. Clicking links or purchasing products recommended on this page may generate income for this website from affiliate commissions and you should assume we are compensated for any purchases you make.

Ok, so now you have your channel set up (you can improve on it later if you want), you need to think of some videos to make.

It’s time for keyword research.

Do Your Keyword Research

This involves getting into the mind of your prospective viewer.

What exactly are the phrases that they are typing in?

You can of course, guess, or you can use tools at your disposal to uncover terms to rank for.

One of the best tools for coming up with Keywords is Tube Buddy.

This tool has a whole host of features and is explained in this video:

Other tools that you can use to come up with ideas are:

Or you can use Google and youtube’s autocomplete function.

Simply begin typing a word/phrase and other ideas will automatically populate like this:

For products related to affiliate promotions some common phrases people type in are:

  • Product name review
  • Does Product name work?
  • Where can I buy/get Product name?
  • Product name Vs Rival name
  • Product name unboxing
  • OR you can target a whole ton of phrases related to the problems the product purports to solve. 

Avoid the use of the word scam if you can.

Choosing a Product to Promote: Criteria

By now, you should have been accepted into a network or two and have an idea of what people are searching for on YouTube.

The issue now is how to choose a product to review/promote via video.

And while there is no fool proof method, here are some things you should keep in mind.

The first port of call should be the product’s JV page or affiliate tools page.

This is simply a webpage that is there to provide you, the potential affiliate, with all the information you need.

Some do a great job with this, others can be sparse (which is a warning sign in itself).

On ClickBank you can see if the offer has an affiliate tools page like so:

You should be able to ascertain enough information about the product to make a decision as to whether you are to move forward or not.

If the affiliate page spends more time talking about commissions and earnings then move on.

If the affiliate page leaves you with too many unanswered questions, then move on.

Another important aspect is getting a review copy or at least access to a portion of the product.

There is no way to do an ethical review of something you have not seen.

Of course, 90% of reviews on Youtube are like that, but we are going to do things differently. 

Simply connect with the vendor and politely ask them for a review copy. If you cannot find out how to connect with them, this again is a bad sign.

Unable to snag a review? Do not promote it. Move on.

If you are new, then send the person a message explaining that you are new, but are serious and would like a review copy or partial copy so that you an give a real ethical overview. 

This is only really doable for digital products.

If it is a physical product, or a supplement style health offer, then buy it.

This will also help your conversions as you can show that you have it on camera, which adds to your trust factor.

If you aren’t prepared to purchase it then why are you thinking of making a video to get others to do so?

Who made it?

To me at least, the name of the person behind it is very important. 

There are a lot of names in the IM arena that I do not trust (this comes from experience).

And as such, I will not touch their products.

Also, if this is a person’s first product, then often they over deliver in value as they want to impress. 

If you are new and do not know anyone, then this is not something you can apply but something to think about later.

Perhaps the vendor has a track record of good quality stuff? Or do they have a reputation as a creator of gimmicks?

Will the Product Convert?

Good marketing can make a poor offer convert. 

Conversely, a great product will not convert if the marketing sucks.

A good criteria for seeing if an offer is already converting is to do the similar web test as this video shows:


For brand new products this is not possible but for bigger offers, this is a great litmus test.

Look at the sales page as well. When you are new, it may be hard to judge but ask yourself if you would buy it or does the page put you off?

  • Good copywriting is vital for conversions.
  • Does the copy tell a story?
  • Is it gripping?
  • Does it reach out and push pain points?

Also, are there leaks on the page? – By this I mean does the sales page have an opt-in form for example. This could be a sign that the vendor is list building on your behalf.

I have also seen sales pages where it can be hard to find the buy button!

Not a great thing if you are sending traffic to the page via your affiliate link.

Ok…So now we need to look at the videos themselves.

The Actual Videos

Like many things in this articles, this topic could be a post in itself and while I do not want to get caught up in the technicalities of this, we should touch on a few types of YouTube affiliate marketing videos you can make.

As for tools or software, again it depends.

YouTube Affiliate Marketing


Here are some options although this list is not exhaustive:

For a Mic the Blue yeti is a great choice.

Want a hands free mic? Then here is one you can try.

More importantly is the type of video you should create to promote an affiliate product.

If you are on a budget, then check out this article here.

First we will look at product reviews.

Reviews -The do’s and don’ts of how to present a useful, balanced and trustworthy review

One of the biggest problems for prospective customers is knowing who to trust.

There are enough affiliates out there happy to promote something to make a few dollars, regardless of what it is they are talking about.

Some folk will go to outsourcing websites like Fiverr and hire spokesperson.

Others will tell you it is great because they want the vendor to promote their own products in return. I call them the circle jerk crew.

So, what to do?

To stand out and make an honest review:

    • Speak naturally. Do not ‘try’ to sell
    • SHOW the product. Share your screen.
    • Do not hide anything
    • Mention the prices and dates of the launch
    • Cover any upsells if there are any
    • Talk about the PROs and CONs (there are always cons)
    • Mention who could benefit (Is it for beginners, aged folk..etc)
    • Provide a bonus for anyone who buys via your link if it’s a digital offer (the bonus should cover a weakness of the product)

Now let’s move on to another type of video.

A Vs B Videos

One interesting type of video are A Vs B. 

You find two rival offers and compare them in your video and end up promoting one of them as per this picture.

If you can do this honestly, you’ll get some extra subscribers to your Youtube channel.

And there is nothing bad about this tactic. 

So long as the offer you are advocating really is great then all good.

If you do this but promote an offer only because it has higher payouts, then over time, people will know what you are up to.

Unboxing Videos

These are very popular videos to make and if you become very successful, you may even get given products to unbox.

For now though, you can do real unboxing videos of a wide variety of physical products.

Just remember to link to the offer with your link in the description, which brings us nicely to the next part of the puzzle.

Linking to your offer

Of course, the main goal of this process is to make affiliate commissions.

So, you need to link to your offer.

On YouTube, there are a few places and methods you can employ.

The first step is to create your affiliate link. Each network will provide you with a unique link to promote a product.

This link will usually be something long or ugly such as: which is a link to a product promoting E-commerce training (called E-com Vantage).

 You have several options but you need to make this link easier to read.

If you have WordPress, use a free plugin called Pretty Links Lite.

That ugly link now becomes:

Non WordPress users can use something like:

Note: Amazon demands that you use THEIR service and you should not mask your Amazon links. They do provide a link shortener of their own.

Where to place these links?

The obvious place is in your YouTube video description.

You must include it in the first or second line. 

If you add it to line 4-5 or further down, it will not be visible to people.

YouTube Affiliate Marketing


The link is also viewable and clickable when watching the video.

NOTE: You must use the whole URL including the http:// or https:// part.

So will not be enough.

It must be

You can also embed them in your videos too and tell viewers to go to the link in the description or to manually type it out. 

See this image as an example.

Bigger Channel?

Once you have 1000 subscribers and 4000 hours view time over a year, you will be eligible for monetization.

Get to this stage and you can add your links to End Card and Youtube End Screens and have your links clickable.

If you do not meet these criteria, you will be unable to do this.

End Screens

At the end of your videos, you can add what is called an end screen for up to 19 seconds.

As part of the upload process, you can add suggested videos, a subscribe image and even links to external websites should you meet the monetization criteria.

Here’s an example of an end screen template which you could use to model:

YouTube Affiliate Marketing – Keeping Safe

Like all big platforms, accounts can easily get shut down. 

It can happen to anyone, big or small.

While there is no foolproof way to keep 100% safe, these steps should ensure you, as an affiliate marketer, keep as safe as possible

  • Do not make EVERY video an affiliate one. Do value based teachings in addition, and do not link out of YouTube on these.
  • Make your FIRST several videos non affiliate
  • Never use a raw tracking link. Use Pretty Links and link to your own website if possible.
  • Link to other videos in YouTube cards and 
  • Do not use misleading tags/meta data.
  • Do not make videos on affiliate offers that go against the terms of Service
  • Use common sense

So, let’s move on to one of the above points.

Linking to Your Own Website/Presell Page

You will always get much better conversions if you link to a page on your website as opposed to the sales page directly.


Well for one, you will stand out.

But it also gives you a chance to do one of 3 main things:

  • Build a list
  • Expand on your review 
  • Pixel your audience

Build a list

It may be an old method, but building a list is as important now as it has always been.

If you direct people from a video in which you hoped to make an affiliate sale to a squeeze page, you can build a list and that gives you the chance to follow up via email.

A simple flow would be:

  1. Video
  2. Landing page
  3. Thank you page
  4. Email follow up

For example, for a review video of a membership plugin you could offer a free guide of the pros and cons of the top 5 plugins.

Then on the thank you page you can link to the affiliate offer of choice or wait until the emails you send to promote.

This video leads to a squeeze page that then promotes a course.

There are many tools used to make landing pages and more extravagant funnels such as Clickfunnels.

What else can we do?

Expand on your review

Sending people to a page on your website allows you to expand on your review. 

And of course, some folk prefer to read rather than watch a video.

For example this video: leads to this page:

I was able to add a buy button, a bonus, a table of contents and expand on the video.

Everything on your website is yours. 

So if the viewer gets distracted, it will be by your stuff, not another person’s video.

I also have a pixel on that website too which we will come to now.

Pixel your audience

One of the main reasons you want to direct as much traffic as possible to a website you own is to take advantage of pixels

What exactly is a tracking pixel?

A tracking pixel is a 1×1 image that is placed into the code of a webpage (and other places). 

It is not visible to users but behind the scenes, it does a ton of work.

Advertising networks such as Facebook, Google ads, Twitter and so on provide each user with a unique pixel.

The pixel can tell  you which content people have viewed.

If you have these tracking pixels correctly installed on your site, you will be able to find out if people are coming from Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or another form of paid traffic.

Each network has specific instructions on how to install the code on your website.

And each website is slightly different.

In this video, I show you how to get your codes for Facebook, Twitter and Google, and install them on a WordPress site using FREE plugins.

To ensure you have pixels correctly installed you can use free Chrome extensions as shown in this image:

From left to right we have the Google Tag Assistant, The Facebook Pixel helper and the Twitter Pixel helper.

All show that the pixels have been installed correctly.

Now, I can go into Google Ads, Facebook or Twitter and build an audience of people who have visited my page.

From there, I can run advertisements to these people to remind them of the affiliate offer that I was selling on those pages.

This is a bit more advanced and there is a lot of free training on this on YouTube, but it will help you with affiliate sales as not everyone buys something the first time they visit your page.

So now you have all that set up, it’s vital your videos get seen by folk searching for the keywords you are targeting.

Rank your videos on YouTube

This could be a huge article on its own and is an integral part of the Video Marketing Insider program.

But unless you are able to rank your videos on the top few spots on Youtube, then you will struggle to get much action.

YouTube wants its viewers to get the best experience possible.

If you can deliver that then your videos will rank.

One key way Youtube determines this is Click Through Rate.

If your video gets more clicks for the keywords it is targeting than other videos then this sends positive signal to Youtube.

The easiest way to do this is by using amazing thumbnails.

Thumbnails are the first thing that a prospective viewer sees.

Next is the title. You need to have your keyword in your title but also use intrigue to get the click.

Emoticons help but use sparingly or you look cheap.

The above image has a Thumbnail with bright colours, an intrigue in the title (Never before seen) and emoticons.

Read our definitive guide to YouTube thumbnails here:

Ranking on YouTube is key, but if possible, you also want to rank on Google.

Rank your videos on Google

Google is the Daddy and being able to rank your videos on it is going to get you a bunch of traffic.

Certain keywords are super hard to get onto Google’s first page but if you can, you’ll get more traffic than on YouTube for the most part.

Unlike Youtube, for Google, backlinks and embeds still hold a lot of sway as do YouTube Ads.

Get a mix of the three, and over time you’ll have a great chance.

It just does not happen overnight unless you are targeting product launches that have minimal competition or low competition keywords in general.

Look to get backlinks from relevant websites to the video in question.

And get your video embedded on as many properties as you can. Your own blog or website is a great place to start.

Web 2.0s are a great place too

Tumblr, WordPress (the free version), Weebly, Blogger and so on are all good places to embed your video on.

There are many more than that of course, and you can do this manually, have a virtual assistant do it or use software.

Video Marketing Insider members have access to a software called Embedinate that simplifies the process.

Google Properties

Google has a bunch of its own properties that you can embed your videos on too such as Google sites, Google My Maps and many more.

YouTube Ads

If you are a bit more advanced, and not wanting to try your hand at ranking videos, you can pay Google to show your videos to a laser targeted audience.

There are two main types of ads:

  1. Discovery
  2. In-stream

Here are examples of each.

Discovery Ads:

You can get your YouTube affiliate marketing video in front of an audience looking for what your product does by running a discovery ad.

They appear like this:

There are intricacies to setting these up but one thing you can do is target a set of keywords.

So, when a user of s specific demographic types in a keyword, such as ‘learn Japanese’ in the above example, your ad can appear at the top above the videos that are ranking organically.

If you have an eye-catching thumbnail and good copy, you can get the click, which means a view and potentially the viewer clicking through to your website.

In Stream Ads:

These are ads that are like mini commercials.

Most of them are annoying but done right they are super effective.

Like this one. 

A person types ‘learn to play the guitar’ and click on a top ranking video.

Before the video is a congruent ad on the same topic.


The viewer is taken here after clicking and the ad has done its job.

We cover how to take out these ads plus provide supporting software here.

YouTube Affiliate Marketing Summary

Anyone can be successful with YouTube affiliate marketing but like all things, it requires thought, planning, action, testing and tweaking.



It does not happen overnight.

There are many other techniques that can get you in trouble or even banned.

There’s no need to do anything black hat, use proxies, upload hundreds of videos at a time. 

Offer a particular audience value and learn how to research niches, identify keywords, make videos, rank them and list build.

You can do it.

PS…If you liked this post on YouTube affiliate marketing, then please share it.

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Comments on YouTube Affiliate Marketing Guide [From Someone Who Does it]

  1. Richard Rose says:

    Great and thorough article Adam!

    1. Adam Payne says:

      Thank you Richard.

  2. Nick E says:

    Good solid useful and reliable information as always, Adam. Thank You

    1. Adam Payne says:

      Cheers Nick

  3. Randy Berg says:

    Video marketing is a mystery to most online ( and offline ) marketers and business owners.
    This article is a huge help to almost everyone.
    thanks, Adam.
    highly appreciated.

    1. Adam Payne says:

      I’m glad it can be of use Randy.

  4. Adam thanks for the terrific useful information. Great stuff and will put to use.

    1. Adam Payne says:

      Thanks Bill. Hope it helps.

  5. Kathy Golden says:

    Thanks so much for such detailed and easy to follow information. I got lots of answers from this.

    1. Adam Payne says:

      Glad you liked the post Kathy 🙂

  6. lot of great information that will be very useful.
    Thanks, Adam

    1. Adam Payne says:

      Much appreciated Colin.

  7. Dennis Mellein says:

    Amazing and Wonderful!

    Thanks so much, Adam.

    1. Adam Payne says:

      Cheers Dennis.

  8. Pat Parton says:

    Adam, excellent information. Thank you.

    1. Adam Payne says:

      Thank you Pat.

  9. Grant says:

    Super content Adam #trust

    1. Adam Payne says:

      Thank you sir!

  10. Logan Badger says:

    I’ve read this before Adam, but it’s worth a read again. Plus, it’s an extensive read and packed with knowledgeable info. Thanks again!

    1. Adam Payne says:

      Appreciate that Logan 🙂 Thank you.

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