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Affiliate Marketing With YouTube: A Step-by-Step Guide (2023 Update)

September 7, 2023

Yo you’ve used YouTube fo' years an' heard of ballers that make money from the platform, but you be like

"how do they do it?"

Not all o' these gangstas are usin` crowdfunding the make they videos, are they? 

There's got to be mo' to it than those 15-second ads that everyone reflexively skips ova whenever possible!

You know thats right!

(That's why you here)

Here in this post, you'll learn the 5 steps you mus' take to begin to make some dough on Youtube in 2020. 

But first, a lil 'bout me.

My name is Ippei...

Yo from 2014 to now, I go from doin' 9-5 in a cubicle to living in a nice apartment in San Fran by buildin' an' rankin' small websites dat bring customers to small businesses and give me a sliver to deliver (feel me?).

Example? Sure. This tree service site next to me has been bringing in 2000 dollas per month since 2015, imo this here biz model is the bomb of online opportunities. 

To download more info on the lead gen business, click here

Now lets break down how youtube affiliate marketing works.

In today’s post, I’m goin' to show you EXACTLY how to bring in some cash with YouTube as an affiliate.

Ya'll learn how to make money by makin' videos and publishin' on YouTube. 

What Is YouTube Affiliate Marketing?

YouTube Affiliate Marketing is the process of making money by creating videos that lead viewers to buy recommended products through affiliate links placed in either the videos themselves (via annotations) or below in the video descriptions.

In 2020, there's many ways to promote products and services and earn affiliate commissions.

Affiliate Marketing itself is a topic 'bout the size of the Pacific Ocean.

Wikipedia defines affiliate marketing as "a type of performance-based marketing in which a business rewards one or more affiliates for each visitor or customer brought by the affiliate's own marketing efforts" (source). 

Lookin' to learn more about affiliate marketing?

Take the deep dive with my 2020 guide to affiliate marketing

Success Stories: Who is Doing YouTube Affiliate Marketing in 2020?

1. Dusty Porter - Tech Affiliate

Dusty's channel is focused on providing high-quality education on the last software, hardware and other electronics related to making our relationship with technology easier to manage. 

Products Dusty Promotes on his YouTube Channel

  • Merch
  • TubeBuddy Software
  • The Tech He uses
  • Hosting Providers

2. Tatiana James - Course Affiliate

Tatiana's channel is focused on online business as she specializes in ecommerce, running both an online store and selling products via Amazon FBA. 

Products Tatiana Promotes on YouTube

  • Her 2 FBA Courses
  • Her Affiliate Marketing Course
  • Her Jungle Scout Affiliate Marketing Opportunity

5 Step Guide to Becoming a YouTube Affiliate Marketer

how to become an affiliate marketer on youtube

Yo I'll give it to ya straight:

if you follow these 5 steps to a "T",  in time you'll be reapin' a harvest o' affiliate commissions.

The easiest, free way to get goin' as a youtube affiliate is to review products. 

Simple as that.

Most of us already use quite a lot of products that others are interested in hearing honest feedback on, like the pros and cons as well as buying recommendations. 

The bottom line is this

Key Takeaway
If you create a quality Youtube channel that CONSISTENTLY puts out engaging, awesome content that people want to see, you will eventually start getting more and more eyeballs on your videos.

More eyeballs will translate to more sales and commissions earned. It’s truly a numbers game. 

Here's the 5 Steps to Starting yo' Own YouTube Affiliate Program in 2020:

make money with affiliate marketing in 2020

Step 1 – Pick out a niche and an audience

Yo for this step you need to choose somethin` you’re really passionate 'bout an' love goin' on about. Ya' know what I'm sayin'?

When you is passionate, you'll will make way classier videos. 

Those watching yo' videos will see yo' real passion an' likely watch mo' o' yo' YouTube channel

So pick what you obsessed with like:

If you are a book worm, review books.

If you are a health freak livin' the organic, healthy lifestyle, vlog ya'lls journey of tryin' different brands and products, share them pros and cons, then recommend the ones you like.

Once you made a list of a coupl' a niches, it's time to think about who'll be eyein' your YouTube videos (your audience)

How Niche and Audience Blend Together

4 reasons why we go to youtube

When we take the ol' YouTube deep dive, at any given time we’re likely crusin in 1 of these 4 mindsets

Why Your People are on YouTube

  • To Enjoy What They Like
  • To Learn More
  • To Figure Out How to DIY Something
  • To Evaluate Which Item to Put Their Cash Down On

Understanding the different whys is a game changer. 

You can scope in your message to appeal to that mindset like salmon appeals to grizzlies.

One note o' caution: yo' targeting will likely be da difference between success an' failure wif YouTube Affiliate Marketing so brace yo'self G!

Now let's take a cruise through the hood o' each mindset

#1 Enjoy What I Like Mindset

This one is by far the most common reason people spend time on YouTube. 

Outside of playing music from my playlist, the next most common thing I do is checkout content I enjoy. 

I digest a lot of motivational stuff – the likes of Tony Robbins, Les Brown and ET The Hip Hop Preacher (Eric Thomas Ph.D.) fuel my tank daily.

youtube affiliate marketing number 1 mindset example what i like mindset

I also dig soccer so I’m always watchin' game highlights from my favorite team FC Barcelona as well as some other big players. #ronaldo

#2 Learn More Mindset

Yo Another massive reason people use Youtube is to learn mo' 'bout specific topics.

No matter what you need to research, Youtube is prob'ly a great place to find some great informational content on your interest. 

It’s literally like an encyclopedia with videos instead of text. #youtubedia


#3 How To Do It Mindset

The people coming to Youtube with this mindset are looking for video instruction on how to fix, build or create something. 

Lots of DIY people use it in this manner. 

For example, how to fix a leaking pipe.

But that's a pretty boring example.

Let's spice things up a bit

So let’s say you’re a guy, back in high school. 

Somehow you get the hottest and most popular girl in school to go to the prom with you.

youtube affiliate marketing number 1 mindset example what i like mindset

Photo Credit: Dreamworks Video

Calm down bro, this is just a hypothetical situation okay?!

You got your suit and on prom night you realize you never tied a tie before.

You eye the tie and cold sweat begins to form, wetting the pits of your shirt. 

Attempting to get the job done, you weave the strip around your neck

This effort is pointless and you feel like a toddler trying to tie their shoes. 

Frustrated, you jump on YouTube and search “how to tie a tie”. 

And what do you know.

The number one video in the search engine has a whopping 62M views. Yikes!

youtube affiliate marketing

Not only that but the 2nd, 3rd and 4th videos have 37M, 22M and 26M views.

Looks like there were a lot of guys in your hypothetical situation. 

You were not alone, G.

youtube affiliate marketing how to tie tie videos with millions of views each

#4 What To Buy Mindset

The mindset of what to buy is the final mode people are in when they use the Youtube.

People in this mindset are already certain they want to buy something. 

Now they’re doing some due diligence so that they make the best purchase. 

This comes in the form of watching a variety of videos. 

Product Due Diligence

  • Product Review Videos (pros & cons of a specific item)
  • Comparison Videos (how item "A" relates to item "B")
  • Top 10 Videos (of all available products, here's the best 10)
  • Unboxing Videos (see how a product actually is b4 ordering)

Here's an example:

Let’s say you’ve been letting yourself go more than you’d like to admit and now it’s time to get back in the gym.

You need a new pair of earphones to workout. 

You want the new wireless earphones that won’t get tangled up on you in the gym.

But now pretty much every electronics company on the planet now has at least one of these. 

youtube affiliate marketing product review example videos

Photo Credit:

Of course every company says there’s is the best thing since sliced bread. 

So now what do you do?

You head on over to YouTube and type in “best wireless headphones 2020”.

Up comes this review/comparison video with 2.26M views

Also the video creator has attention to detail as he puts his Amazon affiliate links below this video so viewers can quickly get the most up-to-date pricing. 

Watching the video you learn the pros and cons of the Top 5 and with that information, you pick the one that best fits your needs. 

Now you can simply click the affiliate link, be over at Amazon in a jiffy and get your earphones. 

And the video creator earns a commission on what you just purchased. 

Here's the video from above in case you want to look at it more closely:

Step 2 – Choose an affiliate program

There are many affiliate programs out there but by far the easiest one to get started with is the Amazon Associate program (but be aware that they've recently halved their affiliate commissions). 

The short is to review any products on Amazon then recommend your favorites. 

When someone watches your video then clicks your affiliate links and buy, you earn a commission. 

At this point, you might be asking, 

"But where can I find affiliate offers?"

Where To Find Affiliate Offers?

Affiliate offers are literally everywhere.

Some companies manage their own affiliate programs while others use 3rd parties known as Affiliate Networks.

OfferVault is a great place to find Affiliate Offers & Affiliate Networks

Affiliate Networks are another topic altogether and cannot be covered sufficiently in today’s post. 

When you’re just getting started I’d suggest using easy affiliate programs like Amazon Associates.

Key Takeaway

The type of affiliate offers you go after will depend on what niche you choose.

Here's some help to get you started on finding the best paying affiliate offer:

youtube affiliate marketing

Step 3 – Setup your Youtube channel

Setting up a Youtube channel is extremely simple. 

Almost everyone has a gmail account already. 

If you don’t then just create a gmail account and use it to log in to Youtube. 

There are a ton of step by step videos showing you how to do that.

For this guide I’ll focus on the things that will really move the needle. 

The stuff that’ll separate your channel and video content from the others and help you get more views. 

Note: what follows are tips to optimize your YouTube Channel, if you are looking for instructions to set up the channel itself, I've written a step by step guide

Part A – Create A Professional Youtube Channel Layout

Pay special attention to the USP (Unique Selling Proposition) used in the Youtube Cover Photo. 

It gives you his website and his USP which is “Marketing | Mindset | Motivation”.

PRO Tip:

As you grow your channel, I advise you to get a website ASAP.

You can begin doing things like building your email list as well as using website analytics to keep optimizing and improving your content.  

Websites and email marketing are entire topics on their own and a bit out of the scope for this guide. 

You can make money from Youtube without either of those but adding them increases your revenue points. 

Earlier we used ‘book reviewing’ as an example niche.

The USP for that niche should be something like “I read them all so you can just read the ones you like”.

You get my drift.

Next, the Profile Picture should be a high quality photo of yourself. Headshots are the best.

Trailer video: This is the main video on your Youtube profile that auto plays when someone visits your channel. 

This video should be relatively short depending on your niche. I advise 2-3 minutes tops. It should be an extension of your USP.

Organize videos by topic: As you create more and more content it is super important to organize your videos by topic. 

This helps people with navigating to their topic of interest. 

They’ll stay on your channel longer. 

The longer people stay, the more likely they’ll take action and earn you revenue. 

Part B – Consistently Create Content

Besides the fact that practice makes permanent and that creating more and more content will make you a better content creator there’s also another very practical reason to get this done.

The Youtube algorithm favors channels that consistently put out content. 

As a professional content creator, you separate yourself from the wannabe’s who don’t publish videos on a regular schedule.

PRO Tip:

Choose a theme or topic to create video content on and then, instead of making one long video you can have sub-themes and make shorter videos around each sub-theme.

This will give you a lot more content that you can publish on a more regular basis. 

Your subscribers will consume more of your content and keep coming back while the search engine algorithm gods also shine on you and give your channel more visibility.

Part C – Write Tantalizing Titles

youtube affiliate marketing

If your title sucks none of the other stuff matters. 

You can have the best, most engaging video content but no one will watch it if your title doesn’t pull them in. 

Your video title has one job only and that’s to get the user to click on your video and view it.

Your video title works in tandem with your thumbnail to accomplish the task of getting the video opened and viewed. 

We’ll discuss thumbnails next. 

There are many ways to write awesome titles. One way is to utilize Incomplete Titles. Here’s an example: “This dangerous vacuum cleaner destroyed my…”

Part D – Attention Grabbing Thumbnails

youtube affiliate marketing

Thumbnails are the still images for the video that you see before playing them. 

The Thumbnail-Title combination can make or break your channels success so you need to get this right.

Your thumbnail is by default a random still shot from your video. 

All professional content creators on Youtube design their own custom thumbnail images and then upload them to the specific video. It helps them to make their channel on YouTube still profitable.  

They do this because a thumbnail image with markups such as arrows, circles and authority logos increase the click through rate on your videos. 

Part E – Professional Descriptions

youtube affiliate marketing

There’s a formula to your video descriptions. You can get creative but this layout works like gangbusters. 

First thing you want to do is place link or links you’d like people to visit “above the fold”.

These links can be your affiliate links, links to your website, social media profiles etc.

Above the fold means what people see before they need to school or tap ‘see more’. 

Your video description is a great place to go after keywords you want to rank for as well.

Part F – Instruct Viewers to S.C.L. (Subscribe, Comment & Like)

youtube affiliate marketing

You’ll be hard pressed to watch and professional YouTube video and not see instructions from the host to Subscribe, Comment & Like.

Check out this 15 second clip where the Youtubers tell the audience to comment in the middle of doing their video.

Click PLAY on the video below.

Video Credit: Collins Key

They do this for good reason. Your subscribers get a notification when you release new content.

The liking and commenting on your video helps you out in the search engine.

Be sure to do this at least once on every video.

Most people do it at the end of the video by during is ok as well depending on your niche.

Part G – Thoughtfully Placed Tags

youtube affiliate marketing

Image Credit:

Before you publish your video you have the opportunity to add tags. This is another way to help people find your videos organically. Most people put 2 or 3 broad categories here with putting much thought into it.

Don’t be one of them. Put a little extra thought and mix in broader keywords with longer tail versions of keywords as well to really boost your results in the search engines.

Example: ‘make money fast’, ‘make money fast with youtube’

Part H – Closed Captions

youtube affiliate marketing

A lot of people leave these out but you should definitely do them. 

You get extra SEO juice and it helps rank you better in the search engines. 

Also, now it’s easier than ever to do. There’s an auto caption feature that you can turn on when you upload a video. 

Though this feature works well I’d advise you to manually go through it, check for errors and make the necessary edits.

Part I – Tips For Producing a Winning Video


– You need to grab the viewer’s attention in the first 3-5 seconds and get them hooked in to the video content.

how to produce a winning video for affiliate marketing

– Start content with a question. Open loops keep people intrigued and their mind needs to keep going until they close the loop. Example: Are you struggling to lose weight?

– Bridge model – talk about the desired situation (where they want to be). Next, talk about where they currently are. Finally, talk about a bridge to get them from their current to desired situation


– Annotations are also known as Text Overlays.

youtube affiliate marketing

– With annotations, you can put text and/or website links over your video.

– Annotations work well to increase engagement and Click Through Rate.

– Be careful not to go overboard with them though as they can have the opposite effect – make viewers close your video.


–  Every successful marketing campaign uses Call To Actions.

It doesn’t matter if the medium is TV, Radio or Social Media so Youtube is no exception. 

A "Call To Action" is simply telling the viewer what to do next. It’s usually the money making step. 

If you are marketing a book, you might use the following as your call to action:

“Click the link below to grab your copy”. 

youtube affiliate marketing

In this Call To Action example, Collin & Devin are prompting viewers to join their Keppers Club for access to exclusive bonuses and specials. 

The key to an effective Call To Action is to make it short and to the point. 

Don’t confuse the viewer with too many instructions. 

A confused mind says no or procrastinates. 

youtube affiliate marketing

Step 4 – Add Your Affiliate Links

youtube affiliate marketing

In the image above the guy is comparing two new cameras then he places his affiliate links in the description below the video.

The most common place to add your affiliate link is in the description and above the fold. 

You can also add your affiliate links in annotations. 

During you video or at the end, refer to the affiliate links so the viewer knows to look for them there.

youtube affiliate marketing

youtube affiliate marketing

Step 5 – Collect You Commissions/Rinse & Repeat

Collect your commissions and continue to optimize.

You can add in more advanced pieces as well like your own website.

When you have your own website you can supercharge your affiliate commissions by building an email list from your Youtube Subscribers.

Lot of people say email marketing is dead but they couldn’t be more wrong.

When people know, like and trust you, they look forward to your content and take action on your recommendations.

Pros and Cons

of YouTube Affiliate Marketing in 2020


  • Inexpensive to Get Started
  • Massive Potential (Over 2 Billion Users as of June 2020)
  • Lower Competition than Facebook
  • More Stable Search Algorithm than Facebook
  • Can Build a Loyal Following via Subscribers


  • Affiliate Companies can shut down your profits instantly #amazonapril2020
  • Too Easy for Competitors to Get into Business
  • Content Creation is Labor Intensive
  • Difficult to Drive Traffic to Specific Videos
  • Google's TOS has Significant Linking Restrictions

YouTube Affiliate Marketing is Okay, but Lead Generation is Better, here's why:

 YouTube Affiliate vs Lead Generation 

YouTube presents a huge opportunity in 2020, as it is a rapidly growing program. 

And while you can make some money being an affiliate on YouTube, local lead generation is better.

Here's  a few reasons why:

1. Control 

Do You Own Your Topline or does your Supplier?

Affiliate: No Control

If you are an affiliate of any product, the producer  can choose not to pay you what they want or choose to stop making that product all together, all without your say.

Lead Generation: Full Control

With lead generation, you own the website (it's your online property), no one can take it away from you. It's just that simple.

2. Entry

How Easy is it to Get into Business?

Affiliate: Too Easy

With YouTube affiliate marketing, anyone can get started simply by making videos, recommending their favorite products and posting their links in the video's description.

Lead Generation: Difficult

With Lead Generation, the barrier of entry is much higher, as you must have the skills to build a website and then move that website to the top of the rankings to start getting calls for local businesses.

3. Need

How Essential are You?

Affiliate: Dime a Dozen

If you are creating video product reviews through which people buy products from amazon or another supplier, at the end of the day, there's a ton of product reviewers out there reviewing similar products

Lead Generation: Vital

With local lead generation, your service is needed by the local business to keep a steady stream of customers heading their way, or else they'd go under. #bankruptcy

What's nice about lead generation is that compared to YouTube Affiliate Marketing is you can make consistent "mailbox money."

Rather than a few dollars here and there, imagine opening your mailbox each month and having checks inside, written out to you. 

$300, $500, $1200, 2000 dollars

That's how my journey with lead gen ramped up

I still remember generating my first lead.

And then getting paid for it. 

A switch turns on inside when you make your first dollar online: you realize it's possible and now you're more motivated than ever to double down on the business model. 

Even if you want to experiment with YouTube Affiliate Marketing, the lead gen business is so passive once its set up, its worth giving it a try imo.

Click here to get started with lead generation.

Follow Me
Ippei Kanehara

$52K per month providing lead generation services to small businesses is for digital hustlers, industry leaders and online business owners.

His #1 online business recommendation in 2023, is to build your own lead generation business.

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  1. I wanted to write you a little word to help say thanks a lot as before for those marvelous tips you have shown on this website. It’s tremendously generous with you to allow freely just what a few individuals could have made available as an e book to get some money on their own, especially since you might have done it if you ever considered necessary. The suggestions also acted like a great way to be certain that the rest have similar zeal similar to my own to know the truth a good deal more when it comes to this problem. I am sure there are a lot more pleasant occasions up front for individuals that read your website.

    1. Hey Art-thank you for your kind words and for taking the time to comment. I’m glad you enjoyed the article. What tips did you find most helpful?

  2. Affiliate marketing is one of the most effective strategies to earn money from your site in the long run. If you're unfamiliar with the term, it basically means selling someone else's goods to other customers in exchange for a percentage of anything you sell.

    1. its difficult to generate traffic for affiliate marketing, that’s the problem, this is why imo local lead gen for small businesses is better and easier

  3. Hey Ippei, hope you're doing well my friend.

    Just wanted to let you know that your affiliate marketing with Youtube guide is spot on. I've been a reader of your blog for nearly two years now, and your content never seems to dissapoint.

    I recently started my first affiliate marketing blog and was wondering whether you'll be kind enough to take a look at it. I mainly focus on search engine optimization, but I'm considering giving YouTube a try as well.

    The only issue I face is that I'm not a native English speaker, otherwise, I would have created my channel years ago. Youtube has been booming lately, and now, (more than ever) is the right time to start putting out content.

    Once again, thanks for the fantastic guide, and I hope we can stay in touch!

    All the best 🙂

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