Seven reasons why YouTube is an essential part of affiliate marketing

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Statistics show that YouTube may be the most undervalued tool when it comes to affiliate marketing.

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Though people often tend to focus on Facebook with it’s 19.98 billion views per month and Instagram with its 500 million daily users as the main platforms within their social media strategy, the statistics show that YouTube may be the most undervalued tool when it comes to affiliate marketing.

Publishers are finding that YouTube users are much more accustomed to affiliate marketing links being intertwined with video content posted. The element of being ‘sold to,’ which some consumers can find offputting, is removed or lessened on the platform as many YouTube users already use the site seeking advice or doing research.

Are affiliate links allowed on YouTube?

A common question asked online is, ‘Are affiliate links allowed on YouTube?’ The answer is a resounding yes. However, using the platform to create content doesn’t guarantee that YouTube viewers will automatically flock to your channel and start purchasing from your affiliate links. Building an organic following of dedicated subscribers is key to succeeding at affiliate marketing on YouTube.

How to use your affiliate links on YouTube

  • Annotations (also known as overlays) - This is one of the most professional ways to insert your own affiliate links into your video content. These appear as a clickable link within the video itself and are added to the video after it has been uploaded to the YouTube Creator Studio.
  • Within the description of your video - In addition to adding annotations, your links should also be available in the detailed video description below the video itself. This way video viewers and potential buyers can quickly find the link without having to watch the whole video again.
  • By commenting on other popular content with your links - This has become a prominent strategy with some affiliate marketers, though should be used with discretion. Finding other creators’ content and reading viewers’ comments and questions, you may find some that are suitable to reply to with your own affiliate links. These comments can be as simple as ‘I agree with xxx, these are great suggestions. I also recommend this product xxx it’s worked well for me.’ It’s best to only do this if you believe you are adding value to the conversation. There are certain bots and tools available that skim YouTube to post these comments automatically on videos it deems related to a keyword or topic; however, as always, we would recommend avoiding using automated tools in this way, as the AI is not always accurate and YouTube could see it as spam content, penalizing your account.

1.  You don’t have to become a YouTube affiliate

Using YouTube as an affiliate marketer is simple, as you don’t have to register with YouTube to begin creating video content and inserting your affiliate links within it. Just upload your video to the creator studio and begin optimizing your content.

2. The world’s second largest search engine

Believe it or not, the second largest search engine in the world after Google is YouTube. It’s also the second most visited website in the world. YouTube has over 1.9 billion monthly active logged-in users who are ready and waiting to consume content. What’s more, in the US, YouTube on mobile alone reaches more people than any TV network.

The fact that people are using YouTube as a search engine suggests they are actively seeking answers to a myriad of questions. This is a perfect space for affiliate marketing to thrive. While trying to rank on page one of Google is sometimes a difficult SEO battle, ranking within YouTube can be far easier. Some simple optimization techniques can help increase your organic views.

3. Easy optimization

Though over 500 hours of video content are uploaded to Youtube every minute, the opportunity to cut through the clutter is still available to anyone willing to put in a little extra effort.

Optimizing YouTube videos is currently quite simple. Beyond simply tagging up the metadata of your videos correctly, there are a few main ways to optimise your video content on YouTube.

  • Do your keyword research
    • Just as when creating SEO-focused content for your own website or blog, a similar keyword strategy can be used for YouTube. Figure out what videos other creators have uploaded around your targeted topic or product. Watch the main videos that appear and ask yourself if they have missed anything that you can cover further in your content or is there something that you could explain better.
    • Ensure you use your main keyword in the title of your video. Then use it and other related keywords in the tags of your video, throughout the script used in the actual video content and within the first sentence of your video description.
  • Write a detailed description of your video
    • Treat the video description like a mini-blog. 250-500 words is an ideal length. This is less for the benefit of the viewers and more for both YouTube and Google to understand (and rank) the video content. Using your keywords repeatedly, though not unnaturally, throughout the video description will assist in this.
  • Transcribe
    • Use your keywords repeatedly throughout your video, then transcribe it. Transcribing your videos seems like a needless effort, but as many content creators choose to avoid this extra step, doing so actually makes your videos stand out. This is a great opportunity to help YouTube further grasp your content and increase the recognition of your keywords.
  • Interlink between your content
    • Once the ball is rolling and you have several videos uploaded to your YouTube account, you can connect the videos to each other to increase views on them all. The main way to do this is to create playlists with connected themes.

4. People are looking for recommendations and advice

What works well on YouTube is also what works well for affiliate marketing - advice and recommendations.

The most successful types of video categories on YouTube are tutorials and how to’s, ‘top’ lists, and product reviews. All three of these content types are perfect to insert affiliate links into and prove that users are already looking for advice and purchasing suggestions.

Studies have shown that 68% of YouTube users watched a video to help them make a purchase decision, and of those, 80% said they watched the video at the beginning of the shopping process. So, users are here, they’re looking for answers and they’re happy to spend.

Building your video concept around your affiliate links should be simple when you know users are already seeking advice. 

5. Trusted content

It’s long been proven that people are far more likely to purchase from someone they trust. 

Fortunately, if you have already built up a dedicated following on YouTube, your audience probably already trusts you or feels some kind of a connection to you. Inserting affiliate links into your content and recommending products you believe in to your subscribers is a logical progression and one that hopefully your video viewers will feel comfortable with. If you have built trust with your audience, they are far more likely to purchase what you are suggesting.

If you are just starting your account, it may be best to wait to begin inserting affiliate links within your content until you have built some level of trust with your audience. Though this is certainly not a rule, people are likely to purchase from someone they feel a rapport or understanding with.

6.  You can create from anywhere

One of the many beautiful things about YouTube is that the content doesn’t always have to be polished. Of course, there are visual benefits to beautiful lighting, microphones and a studio setting, but with the right content that others are looking for. A simple smartphone video can still rank alongside network giants with large budgets. 

7. It pays to niche down

It’s a big wide world (web) out there and it is filled with content. Choosing a particular niche that isn’t well explored on YouTube is a great way to help your video, and therefore your affiliate links, stand out from the crowd.

As a publisher, if the product or service you are an affiliate for has already been well covered, experiment with ways to niche down your video around a specific topic, answer very precise questions around it, or touch on other associated but perhaps not directly related content.

Is it hard to make money from YouTube? 

That depends on your strategy. As you can see, creating quality content that connects with your subscribers and following should always be your focus as a publisher. Some people find this easy, and therefore connecting their strategies with affiliate marketing links makes easy revenue for them. If you find creating video content tedious or strenuous, then using YouTube for your affiliate marketing could be considered hard. 

As we’ve explored in this article, YouTube is certainly a widespread platform that allows publishers to access an audience that is active, ready and seeking new products and services.

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