You can make money on YouTube by doing affiliate marketing, which is including links to products you review and use in your videos that will track a purchase. If someone makes a purchase using your affiliate link, you receive a small commission for the sale. Melea is an expert in affiliate marketing and joins us to give us some tips for how to make money on YouTube with affiliate links.

This is Melea, and she’s going to explain to you guys and to me exactly how that works. That’s coming up. So Melea specializes in this. First of all, tell us who you are, what your background is with all this, and what you do on YouTube also.

Yeah. So I used to run a blog that I learned a ton about affiliate marketing with. And I recently sold that blog and came over to YouTube and started a YouTube channel, and realized that nobody was using affiliate links. And I was like, what is going on? Especially the huge channels weren’t using these, and they weren’t using them the right way. And I thought, oh, I’ve got to tell everyone that they can make a lot of money without sponsored videos. So I’ve just come over and started my own channel about helping people live the ultimate life for less, and been incorporating affiliate links and then showing other people how to do it.

For anyone who isn’t familiar with what affiliate marketing is, what is that first of all? Just real briefly.

Basically, an affiliate link is a way for a company to track your personal link. So if anyone purchases anything on that company’s website, you get a percentage of the sale.

So if I link to something on Amazon using a special link, and you click it and you buy it, then I would get a small percentage of that sale as a thank you for me sending the sale to them, right?

Where Can you Get Affiliate Links?

Yeah. And it’s not just Amazon. It’s almost every single brand or company has some sort of affiliate program, so Wal-Mart, Target, Best Buy. The list goes on and on and on, and they all have affiliate programs. So you can make money when your viewers actually click on your link.

How Do You Find Those Opportunities?

Amazon’s obviously a really big one. It’s an easy one that a lot of people like to use. So I would start with Amazon if you’re new to affiliate links. The other places I would check would be CJ.com, LinkShare.com, ShareASale.com, and ImpactRadius.com. They’re like the affiliate networks or the houses that house all the different brands inside. So you can find the Wal-Marts and the Targets or whatever inside those networks. So once you get approved for their service, you can just start applying to all those different ones.

How Do You Integrate Affiliates Naturally into a YouTube Video?

I think one of the easiest ways to do it is actually when you’re going to do a review video. So if you’re reviewing a specific product, I would link to that product so your viewers can actually go purchase that product as well, especially if it’s something that you love. That’s probably the easiest way to integrate affiliate links. And it’s also a great way to monetize any video that’s not sponsored. So any time you have favorite things or your favorite products or reviews, you can throw in an affiliate link to help people know where to find the product you’re talking about.

Where Do You Put the Affiliate Links?

And you put the affiliate links in the description of the video?

Yep. Affiliate links below in the description. You want to be careful how many links you put in the description because YouTube likes to keep people on YouTube.

Yeah. The concern from an SEO perspective is that YouTube, their goal is to keep people on YouTube for as long as possible, watching as much content as possible, engaging with as many videos as possible, seeing as many ads as possible. And so if your video ends the viewing session for a viewer, like they watch your video, then they click on that link and go to that company’s website and buy the product, that’s great for you, but your video could potentially not perform. If everyone who watches the video took you up on that offer, your video could potentially not perform as well as it otherwise might.

But that’s kind of the balance is you’ve got to balance like I’m developing an audience, but I need to make it sustainable. So sometimes it makes great business sense for you to go ahead and use an affiliate. And other times you’re like, you know what? Maybe not on this video because my main goal for this video is just to get it to rank really high.

I think you have to pick and choose between making money or engaging an audience on each video that you do on YouTube.

What about Legal Disclaimers and Those Types of Things?

Have you had to do that? How does that work?

Yes. Well, it’s a smart idea to put somewhere in your description that you might be using affiliate links, kind of like your FDC disclosure, but it’s kind of like an affiliate link disclosure. I think that’s a smart thing. Even though YouTube hasn’t come out saying you need to do that, basically you should just to be super, super safe.

And it builds trust with your viewers.

Yes. Your viewers know what’s going on. Other disclosures, I think that’s it.

Do You Have to Make Any Settings Changes?

Is there a little checkbox? Do you have to check that one? Like under the Advanced tab, you don’t have to check that one for affiliates?

Nope.

How about in the video itself? Do you need to tell people, hey, guys, I have an affiliate relationship with these people. If you buy it, I get a small kickback. Thank you for supporting me.

You totally could. I think it’s more of a loyalty and a trust thing. You don’t have to. There’s no rule on it. But if you want to, you totally can.

I try to personally just err on the side of being as transparent as possible about my relationship with the brand. So if they gave me a free product, and I’m not getting compensated for it, I’ll just say that. If it’s an affiliate relationship, like they have no idea who I am, that I’m even talking about it, but I do get a small percentage of the sale, thank you. I just try personally just to be– because trust is the main thing, like currency with your viewers that is most important. And anything that could kind of potentially violate that, personally I’m just like, I want to be completely up front with you guys about everything, whatever’s going on, so there’s no questions. And you guys can always feel like you can trust what I’m saying.

I think that’s a good way to go.

How Does Payout Work?

Another thing about affiliate marketing is the payout percentages as well as how these people track your viewers who are clicking on these links.¬†Every time someone clicks on one of your special tracking affiliate links, a little cookie is put onto that person’s computer to track what they purchase. The best part about the cookies is that if you link to a specific product, they don’t have to purchase that product. Anything they purchase on that website, you get commissions for. So they could click over with your affiliate link and that cookie and decide not to purchase that, but purchase a whole bunch of other things, and you get paid commission off it.

What are the Commission Rates?

Every single brand has a different commission rate. So Amazon’s will go up to 10% depending on how many products you sell in a month. But some brands will only do 5%, and some will do 50. Some will do 20. So you’ll have to look in the terms and conditions of that advertiser to see what kind of commission they get and whether you want to work with them or not.

So I’d love for you guys to think about using affiliate marketing as a way of selling other people’s stuff. And if you’re going to talk about it anyway for free, you might as well use the affiliate link, which is usually the situation which I use it. But you can also make maybe a dedicated a channel about product reviews and things also. Or just consider making your own stuff that you’re going to sell as well.

Not every video can be sponsored. Not every video should be sponsored. So it’s a great way to get some passive income when you don’t have sponsored videos.

Thank you for hanging out. And you guys who do affiliate marketing and do affiliate links on your channel, I’d love to hear what experiences and stories you guys have. Any advice, recommendations, leave those in the comments below.

MELEA’S CHANNEL