9 Tips To Maximize Your YouTube Affiliate Marketing Earnings in 2023

By Jamie I.F. Updated August 21, 2023

Yes, you can make money from affiliate marketing on YouTube, and affiliate links are allowed on the platform. 

Creators are skyrocketing their income with affiliate links in their YouTube videos – for example, Ali Abdaal made $185,565 in 2020 (and even more in 2022 and 2023!).

And with YouTube display ad RPMs generally lower than blogging, YouTubers have turned to other monetization methods to make a living.

These include video sponsors, where they’ll read an ad during the video, as well as adding affiliate links to products in the description of the video, in the pinned comment, and other locations.

It doesn’t matter what kind of content you create. Inspirational, fitness or even niche interest videos are all perfect for YouTube affiliate marketing.

Video-based content also makes it particularly easy to promote a specific product. If you’ve engaged your audience during the video, it’ll be much easier to convince them to make a purchase using your link.

In this article, I’ll cover how affiliate marketing works on YouTube work, and how to become a YouTube affiliate marketer.

So, if you’re ready to earn more money from your YouTube content, then keep reading!

What Is YouTube Affiliate Marketing And How Does it Work?

As a YouTube affiliate marketer, you are paid to promote someone else’s product

There are literally thousands of companies looking to drive sales via YouTube. From clothing to online guitar lessons, there’s no limit to what you can refer your audience towards.

The concept of affiliate marketing for YouTube is simple:

All you have to do is recommend a product or service into your videos and direct your followers to a relevant link in the video description, pinned comment, or anywhere else. 

youtube swim u affiliate link placement

For every sale you refer, you’ll receive a commission. This means, on top of your YouTube ad earnings, you’ll also make passive income from someone else’s product.

You can include an affiliate link for one or several products in the video descriptions of your videos.

How does affiliate marketing on youtube work?

In order to find a product to promote, you can join an affiliate network, such as Amazon Associates, Impact, or Shareasale, or the YouTube Shopping affiliate program

Platforms like Imapct, Shareasale, CJ and Rakuten are home to thousands of brands that you can apply to be an affiliate for. Once you’re in, pick the product and create the link, and then you’re ready to promote your affiliate links on your YouTube videos.

Whenever someone clicks on the link to buy the product, you’ll earn a commission from it.

Your earnings will depend on the commission rate the brand offers. This can range from anywhere from 1% of the total sell price, up to 70%, depending on the type of product. 

For example, Amazon offer lower rates at around 3%, but the products convert into sales so well that they can still out-earn many higher commission affiliate programs.

However, YouTube descriptions are limited, so a good rule of thumb is to keep to a maximum of around 5 affiliate links per video.

YouTube Affiliate Marketing Video Ideas

You can get really creative with your YouTube affiliate marketing strategy. Some of the best video ideas include the following:

  1. Product review videos
  2. ‘Best of’ videos
  3. ‘How to’ videos
  4. Unboxing videos

1. Product review videos

Product review videos are the easiest way to promote affiliate products on YouTube. 

With this, you’re still creating on-brand product review content while also heavily promoting an affiliate product. 

The entire point behind clicking the video is for the viewer to see if they should buy it, so it ties perfectly into making affiliate sales.

Here’s an example of a product review on a gaming mouse by Diamond Lobby:

If people are unsure about a product, they’ll check out articles and YouTube reviews. If they feel you gave them great information and helped them, then they’ll be happy to return the favor and click the affiliate link in your description.

Even better, they may subscribe to you if they enjoyed your content, so you’ll have even more chances to sell to them in the future.

2. ‘Best of’ videos

In a ‘best of’ video, you can review several products that fall into the same category.

On top of highlighting a ‘best overall’ option, you could also promote other affiliate products and explain why they’re worth considering for different segments of your audience.

For example, if you run a cooking channel and do a video on the ‘Best of Air Fryers’, you can add affiliate links to each pick in the dscripiton, with more heavy promotion of the ‘best overall’ in the pinned comment as well.  

Here’s an example of a “Best of” YouTube video for the best laptops for students.

Each has an affiliate link in the description:

Affiliate links in youtube description for best of video

Then, if other segments of your audience prefer one of the other options, such as the ‘best air fryer for large families’, they can find this link in the description and click this also.

As long as you make it clear which is the bst for them, and make it easy to find that particular affiliate link, you’ll be on your way to making affiliate commissions.

3. ‘How to’ videos

Viewers watch ‘how to’ videos to get an answer to a specific problem. 

These kinds of YouTube videos are perfect for affiliate marketing, as using certain products are often the solution to the problem.

‘How to’ videos are also another great way to widen your audience and establish trust in your viewership, and generally have the potential to get far more views than standard product reviews.

For example, here’s a video on how to clean grout:

This video has affiliate links to the products used in the description:

Affiliate link in how to video description

Many ‘how to’ Google searches now show YouTube videos ahead of websites, so you can gain views even from outside of YouTube.

The best part of ‘how to’ videos is if you make them right, your viewers won’t even realize they’re being sold to. It’s a great user experience.

4. Unboxing videos

U nboxing videos are a convenient way to promote a product to your audience, especially if your videos covert the technology, lifestyle, or fashion niches.

The trick with these types of videos is to unbox the product in real-time and make observations of the product as you go. 

Here’s an example unboxing video, of a Dell XPS 15 laptop:

The creator has included affiliate links both to this laptop, and alternative gear that he recommends:

Unboxing youtube video description with affiliate link

Viewers want to vicariously live through you and experience the product though the video, and they’re also looking for your opinions on the product as you have it in your hands for the first time.

Plus, an unboxing video allows your audience to inspect the physicalities and special features of a product. This will, hopefully, convince them to buy the product via your affiliate link.

YouTube Affiliate Marketing Tips To Make More Money

Driving affiliate sales via YouTube can be difficult. 

It’s not just a matter of including an affiliate link in your description, mentioning the product in your video, then hoping for the best. You’ve still got to sell the product to your audience.

Luckily, there are several methods you can implement maximize clicks and conversions. 

Here’s 9 tips:

1. Create content that drives sales

You can’t just think about the money – you need to create genuinely valuable YouTube videos to build engagement and a following. Nobody wants to watch a soulless channel that exists purely to flog products.

However, it’s possible to create helpful, engaging videos about your niche that also drive sales. This includes product reviews, VS comparisons, alternatives, and ‘how to’ guides that include product recommendations.

For example, here’s a video comparing two gaming mouses, an example of a “VS” product review video, that has the affiliate links in the description:

By testing these comprehensively and giving you a confident answer on which is best for you, you’re then encouraged to click the affiliate link in the description to purchase the winning product.

You should also tell users that it’s an affiliated link. This is a requirement to disclose as part of FTC rules, but it can also help you earn more if viewers want to use your link to support your channel.

2. Create thumbnails that get clicks (and titles!)

Although you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, most YouTube watchers judge a video by its thumbnail

If your thumbnail isn’t intriguing enough, you won’t get clicks and views, and therefore won’t make any affiliate sales.

Plus, high CTR (click-through rate), watch time and retention are the largest factors within the YouTube algorithm that cause videos to be pushed to wider and wider audiences – eventually going viral.

So, when competing for viewers with other ‘product review’ and ‘how to’ videos, you’ve got to make your video artwork stand out.

DiamondLobby do this excellently with their reviews of gaming equipment and mouses. They create intrigue in the thumbnails and the titles, not giving too much away and encouraging you to click:

Creating youtube thumbnails and titles that get clicks

One thumbnail idea is to use a professional image of the main product you’re promoting that you’ve taken yourself. This way, you’re letting people know before even clicking that you’ve really tested the product, and have an honest opinion to share about it.

Tools like Fotor or Canva can quickly create YouTube thumbnails that convey the hard work you’ve put into making the video. Or, you can hire professional designers on freelance platforms like Fiverr or Upwork.

3. Add chapters

Regardless of how concise you feel your video is, it’s vital to include chapters. 

This allows viewers to skip to the part that’s most relevant to them, without being forced to view the rest.

For example, here are the chapters from the Dell unboxing video mentioned earlier in this article:

Chapters in youtube videos for affiliate marketing

For anything I particularly want to skip to, I can do so with these chapters.

In the bio section, you could include the different sections of your 30-minute video as well as the relevant chapter headings. This way, viewers can comfortably skip to the product review chapter. 

By making it easier for your viewers, more of them will stick around, and get to the main selling part of your affiliate content.

4. Optimise videos with keywords

YouTube is a search engine, just like Google. To get YouTube to prioritize your videos over others, you need to implement search engine optimization (SEO) tactics, like keyword optimization.

Getting this right will get you a passive stream of extra views for as long as you rank for these search terms. 

This involves using certain words to boost your content’s relevancy to popular search queries. To determine YouTube keywords, you’ll need to find out how users search for your content – and your competitors’ content.

First, you’ll need to determine what your main keyword phrase is. This keyword phrase is normally 1-4 words and perfectly summarizes what your YouTube video is about.

For example, ‘running shoes’. From here, you can determine more long-tail keywords by entering this main phrase into the YouTube search bar. This reveals other keywords such as ‘running shoes lace styles’, ‘best running shoes 2023’, and so on. 

Additionally, you should check what words your competition is using, and also use a keyword research tool, like TubeBuddy.

Once you’ve determined your keywords, you need to implement them into your video description and title.

5. Use shorts

Recently, YouTube allowed affiliate marketing within YouTube Shorts. YouTubers can now include a link to the products they are promoting in these mini, TikTok-like videos.

Being only 60 seconds in maximum length, YouTube Shorts are concise clips detailing a minor component of your niche. And, if you can quickly give your hook and sell the product, you can now include affiliate links in the description.

With 30 billion Shorts daily views, it’s definitely worth tapping into this feature to drive affiliate marketing sales. 

Shorts can increase your reach massively, and target those who don’t have time to watch your longer videos.

6. Create video playlists

Creating video playlists groups similar videos together, such as a set of videos you have around a specific product or niche. 

If these include informational videos that lead to your product review, or how to use the product for different uses, then grouping these together can drive more traffic to your affiliate links via your product reviews.

When one video ends, video playlists automatically lead viewers to your next relevant video. Some viewers will keep watching these videos within your playlist, including nay that contain reviews or recommendations with your affiliate link in them.

To create video playlists, split your videos into separate groups. The videos in each group should be relevant to one another – it should make sense for one video to follow after the one before. Next, save each video to a specific playlist and make it public.

7. Embed your videos within your blogs

You can increase your reach further by embedding your YouTube videos within your existing blog content where the video would fit.

Written product reviews and other blogs are great – but adding the video gives a deeper insight into the product, or the topic you’re trying to explain.

If you’re serious about becoming the leader in your niche, you probably already have a blog connected to your YouTube content. If not, you should get a WordPress site set up ASAP!

Having these two channels running parallel is a surefire way to boost your audience, as well as your affiliate marketing sales.

8. Share on different platforms

While not technically a YouTube affiliate marketing strategy – sharing your videos and affiliate links on other platforms is essential for maximizing your reach, and thus your earnings.

This includes social media platforms like Twitter, Reddit, TikTok, Quora, Pinterest, Facebook – basically any other website that could boost your viewership. Again, the greater the viewership, the greater your chances at success with affiliate marketing.

By expanding your reach, you’re also introducing different audiences to your YouTube content. 

9. Be transparent with affiliate links

It’s legally required to disclose your affiliate links – so be very careful here and don’t forget to disclose this. 

During the video, you must be transparent about your relationship with the product you promote, and in the description, clearly state that this is an affiliate link when including this.

For a more detailed guide on how to do this based on both the FTC’s guidelines, and Amazon’s terms of service, we’ve written about affiliate disclosures in this article.

The transparency can also get more of your viewers to click the link.

How To Become A YouTube Affiliate Marketer

Getting into YouTube affiliate marketing is easy. If you’d like to sell a specific brand’s products, all you have to do is Google “{brand} affiliate program”.

Or, you can view our database of over 10,000 affiliate programs we’ve built for you!

Alternatively, you can search for products or specific niches within an affiliate network like Shareasale or Impact.

Before agreeing to an affiliate marketing program, read over YouTube’s content guidelines. These will highlight what you can and cannot promote on your channel. You should also refer to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) guidelines for more information.

Once you’ve signed up for the program, you can easily copy and paste affiliate links to your video descriptions.

How To Add Amazon Affiliate Links To YouTube

To add Amazon affiliate links to YouTube, follow these steps:

  • Sign up for Amazon Associates and log into your account.
  • Search for the product you’d like to promote.
  • Click on a product.
  • Go to the top left-hand corner of the page. Under ‘Get Link’ click on ‘Text’.
  • Tick the ‘short link’ option. Copy the short link.
  • Edit the relevant YouTube video to include the link in the description.
  • Add text around the link to describe to the viewer what the link is.

Pros And Cons Of YouTube Affiliate Marketing On YouTube


  • It’s the second-most popular search engine – After Google, YouTube is the most popular place users search for information. With over 122 million users per day, you have a much bigger reach than you do with blogging and social media.
  • Easy to set up a channel – If you haven’t yet started a YouTube channel, it’s simple and free to set one up. YouTube is probably the easiest way to get into affiliate marketing, as it’s less complex than setting up a website and publishing written affiliate content on a blog, for example.
  • Free courses available – If you’re unsure about how to set up your YouTube channel, you can take some free courses at the YouTube Creators Academy. Here, you’ll be able to enjoy lessons hosted by famous YouTubers. This will get you closer to being able to set up a successful YouTube channel and affiliate program.


  • Upfront equipment investment – Although it’s easy to set up a YouTube channel, you still need to make your content look good. You need top-quality content and a high number of followers in order to make any money from affiliate marketing. To attain this, you’ll need to invest in good-quality recording equipment to successfully build a following.
  • Takes a while – Even with expensive equipment, it can be difficult to get your channel off the ground. It could take years before you’ve built up a steady enough following to make a decent amount of cash from an affiliate program.
  • Limited affiliate links – YouTube descriptions are only so big. With limited characters, you can only fit in so many affiliate links. This means that YouTube could be described as being more restrictive than your own website. Especially when it comes to setting up several affiliate programs at once.
  • YouTube guidelines – YouTube is also restrictive in the sense that it has strict content guidelines. If you fail to abide by these guides, your content could be wiped from the platform. This would mean you’d have to start your affiliate program all over again.

Affiliate Marketing On YouTube Vs Blogging

While YouTube affiliate marketing is a great way to make extra money, we still think that it’s best to have a blog you can build an audience on too.

At Lasso, we built tools designed to help bloggers maximize their affiliate earnings, such as beautiful affiliate displays that convert into sales, and link management tools that save you time and automatically alert you if a product goes out of stock.

Blog articles also convert better than YouTube videos, as affiliate links in the description of the video are mostly hidden, whereas they’re fully on show on a blog page.

So, if you’re running an affiliate website, consider Lasso if you’re serious about scaling your affiliate income.

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