YouTube Affiliate Marketing: Are Affiliate Links Allowed on YouTube?

Simon is a former UK call-centre worker who has gone on to build several highly successful affiliate marketing businesses in various different niches & become officially recognized as a Super Affiliate by the world's largest affiliate marketing training platform. He has since relocated to Thailand & now teaches affiliate marketing to others through Commission Academy.

Quick Answer: Yes, affiliate links are allowed on YouTube as long as you openly disclose that you are an affiliate either in your video or video description. Many successful YouTubers use affiliate marketing to boost their online earnings.

With affiliate marketing, you can promote other people’s products and earn a commission on sales that you generate.

And, with the popularity of YouTube, it’s a great place to start promoting affiliate links. In this post, we’ll show you how to get started with affiliate marketing on YouTube. 

YouTube has forever transformed how we digest online content. Instead of lengthy blog posts, YouTube offers visually-pleasing videos that are also entertaining and make us want to come back for more. 

YouTube’s number one goal is keeping viewers on its site for as long as possible, so you might be wondering how they feel about affiliate marketing…

Given that affiliate links take viewers away from YouTube, it’s worth looking into this popular topic in more depth.

In this guide, we’ll explore everything there is to know about YouTube affiliate marketing. You’ll learn exactly when and where you should insert affiliate links in order to increase viewership and click-throughs while staying on the good side of the YouTube algorithm.

So, whether you’re just getting started or you’re looking for ways to improve your results, read on for our tips!

What Is Affiliate Marketing? 

Affiliate marketing is 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. Affiliate marketing is often seen as a way to make money online passively. 

But what does that mean?

As an affiliate marketer, you promote products or services on behalf of another company and earn a commission on every sale you generate. While it may sound like a simple concept, there is a lot that goes into becoming a successful affiliate marketer

How to Safely Use Affiliate Links on YouTube 

If you want to use affiliate links on YouTube, be sure to do so in a way that doesn’t spam the viewer. Likewise, always try to follow the best practices of YouTube affiliate marketing.

Here are a few ways to use affiliate links on YouTube without risking being flagged:

  • Use affiliate links with transparency and authenticity.
  • Put your links in the description box relevant to your content. 
  • Always let your visitors know if the links you’re providing are affiliate links. This way, you stay in compliance with the FTC Affiliate Disclosure Policy.
  • You can use affiliate links in YouTube comments, but don’t overdo it.
  • Too many affiliate links in your videos will turn off potential customers.

Additionally, keep in mind that if your YouTube video contains any copyrighted content, then you may get banned from YouTube. 

If you’re the exclusive owner of your content, then linking to affiliate products in your videos shouldn’t be an issue. However, many creators use this as a chance to link to other relevant videos or blog posts instead.

Carefully consider your YouTube niche before you create any videos. If your niche is the same as your website, it’ll be easier to generate content that’s relevant to your target audience.

You should always produce content that is relevant to the products or services you want to advertise. Otherwise, people won’t click on your affiliate links and you might get some negativity in return.

Now that we’re clear on the fact that affiliate links are allowed on YouTube, how can you turn a profit with them? Here are the best ways to promote affiliate links on YouTube. 

5 Best Ways To Promote Your Affiliate Links On YouTube

1. Video Descriptions 

Many YouTubers will tell you how vital video descriptions are. This section allows content creators to summarize the footage, add copyright details, integrate SEO features, and mention any website links. Affiliate links to sponsored content can also be placed here by Youtubers.

Yes, you can follow in the footsteps of those who have achieved success with affiliate marketing; however, simply copying and pasting links into your description box is not going to work. There are certain practices that you must observe to promote affiliate links successfully.

The first step is to research companies with affiliate programs. You can easily find a list of these companies on ShareASale, LinkShare, and CJ.

Once you get approved for the affiliate program, you can start integrating the links into your description box. 

Always use link shorteners to make your links more presentable and less spammy. Services like Bitly offer this functionality for free. When sharing shortened links, remember to include helpful context and calls to action so that people know what they’re clicking on.

By using the right calls to action (CTAs), you can guide individuals to take your desired course of action. Following your links with context in the form of CTAs will give you much better results!


The comment section is a great opportunity to engage with followers and build up a fan base. While you may occasionally receive hate from random people, this section will always be beneficial for content creators. For example, it can be used to promote affiliate links.

The commenting function provides you with the ability to add, delete or edit comments as well as connect with your subscribers. You also have the control to pin any comment at the top of the section. These controls give content creators like promoting affiliate links in a way that’s not too conspicuous. 

For example, you can mention the shortened link within one of the comments and urge your followers to take action by clicking on it.

You should always be clear when posting affiliate links. A link without any context or explanation will not result in clicks. Create a conversation around the link that speaks to what your viewers might need help with. When you’ve built up trust, post the affiliate content and let it do its work!

3. Cards 

Although YouTube has created end cards in order to enable content creators to redirect their viewers, it is not as simple as it initially appears to utilize them for affiliate purposes.

Because there is so much irrelevant and spammy content on the internet, YouTube only allows high-quality external sources or such addresses that follow its community guidelines.

If an affiliate falls short of YouTube’s standards, your video could be deleted and your whole channel could be shut down. Additionally, the process of adding affiliate links to videos through cards is not available to everyone. Only creators who are part of the YouTube Payment Program can use this tactic.

4. Channel Links 

You can add more than ten links under the “About” tab, so take advantage of this opportunity to link to your social media profiles, websites, and other landing pages.

Just remember not to go overboard with the links—only add ones that further your cause. Keep them relevant and make sure they provide some kind of benefit to your subscribers.

To supercharge your efforts, feature channel trailers and configure social media profiles. For top sections on homepages, YouTube sets aside space for content creators to feature trailers. 

These features attract attention; as a result, you can integrate links within video content or the description box for maximum exposure potential. The same process works with social media profiles.

By releasing a teaser for your video on social media platforms such as Facebook or Twitter, you can not only increase anticipation but also include affiliate links in the video description.

5. Community

The community tab is an excellent way for content creators to develop healthy relationships with their followers. YouTubers can share images, life updates, GIFs, and create useful polls with the help of this control. 

Community tabs are followed by comments areas, so content creators have the unique opportunity to foster long-term relationships that are built on solid foundations.

You can use this same strategy to promote affiliate links on YouTube and make some extra money. Just create context, establish a sense of urgency, then mention your desired link. If you’re lucky, your followers will click the links and you’ll get commissions from their purchases.

Currently, YouTube permits the use of affiliate links in the community tab.

Pros and Cons of Using Affiliate Links on YouTube

If you’re a YouTuber with a decent-sized following, you’ve probably thought about using affiliate links in your videos. After all, it’s a great way to monetize your content and make some extra money.

But is it really worth it?

Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of using affiliate links on YouTube.

Pros of Using Affiliate Links on YouTube

There are several benefits to using affiliate links on YouTube. 

  • Firstly, it’s a great way to monetize your content. If you’re not using affiliate links, you’re missing out on a potential revenue stream. 
  • Secondly, affiliate links can help you build credibility with your audience. If you’re recommending products that you use and love, your viewers will be more likely to trust your recommendations. 
  • Thirdly, affiliate links can be used to promote products that you believe in. If you’re passionate about a particular product or cause, using affiliate links is a great way to get the word out. 
  • Lastly, using affiliate links can help you build relationships with brands and businesses. If you’re consistently promoting their products, they may be more likely to work with you in the future. 

Cons of Using Affiliate Links on YouTube 

Of course, there are also some drawbacks to using affiliate links on YouTube. 

  • Firstly, if you overdo it, your viewers may start to see you as nothing more than a shill for various products and brands. 
  • Secondly, using too many affiliate links can make your videos come across as spammy and salesy. This can turn off viewers and cause them to unsubscribe from your channel. 
  • Thirdly, if you’re not careful with the products you promote, you could end up harming your reputation. For example, if you promote a scammy product or one that doesn’t live up to its hype, your viewers will be disappointed—and they’ll remember it the next time they see one of your videos. 
  • Lastly, if you don’t disclose that you’re using affiliate links, you could run into legal trouble. In most countries, it’s required by law to disclose when you’re using affiliate links in order to stay transparent with your audience.

How To Promote Affiliate Links On YouTube? 

1. Product or Service Reviews

If you purchase a product or service that you’re passionate about or find one that is helpful to you, it’s likely that you’ll tell a few people. 

Most people would only tell a friend or family member, however because YouTubers have such large platforms with dedicated audiences, they can get paid simply by talking about products and services they love–if those same products and services appeal to their channel viewers.

You can explain reviews in a few ways. For example, you might want to review the product itself and tell readers about its features and what you like about it. Or, alternatively, you could compare different products that fit the bill and explain why you ultimately decided on the one you chose.

These types of videos are both highly effective and easy to produce. Just share your thoughts on the products, both good and bad.

By being transparent and giving an in-depth review, you help your viewers make a decision. The goal is to answer all of their questions in your YouTube affiliate video so they are ready to buy using your affiliate links before ending the video.

2. Tutorial Videos

Another way to get in front of potential customers on YouTube is by creating tutorial videos, also known as how-to videos. 

These types of videos can be either long or short, but should always provide complete information for the project at hand. If you give viewers partial information, they are likely to click away to another more detailed tutorial for assistance.

When filming tutorial videos, demonstrate each step of the process while also incorporating the products or services you use. 

By promoting these items that appear in your video, you can participate in affiliate sales programs and earn a commission on every sale.

3. Unboxings

While unboxing videos might not be the most effective way to earn money through affiliate links, the reality is that few YouTubers who create unboxing videos only stick to that content.

The best part of this method to up your sales is that you can contact brands and request complimentary items to unbox and review– Always keeping in mind that, naturally, you’ll need a certain number of subscribers

4. Product Lists

Although makeup and skincare YouTubers aren’t as prevalent as they used to be, there’s still a monetizable market for them. If you make vlogs that sometimes include your daily skincare routine, you can put together morning or evening routines where you show and talk about all the products you use.

Product lists are notably successful on an Amazon Influencer page.

Top Affiliate Marketing Networks for YouTube 

  • Rakuten Marketing 

Rakuten Marketing is an affiliate network with a global reach. They offer commissions on physical, digital, and service-based products from big brands like Adidas and Sephora. 

And, they have excellent resources and support if you need help getting started or encounter any problems while promoting their products. The program is popular with YouTube creators as it offers a wide range of products that can be promoted on YouTube videos.

  • ShareASale 

ShareASale is an affiliate program that offers commissions on both physical and digital products. They have a wide range of merchants that you can partner with, so you’re sure to find something that interests you. And, they’re known for providing excellent customer service if you need any help along the way. 

  • CJ Affiliate 

CJ Affiliate is an affiliate network that offers commissions on physical, digital, and even service-based products. They work with big companies like Etsy and GoDaddy, so it’s a great option if you’re looking to partner with established brands. 

They also offer excellent resources and support if you need help getting started or run into any problems along the way. 

  • Amazon Associates 

Amazon Associates is one of the most popular affiliate programs for YouTube creators. If you’re a YouTube creator who is looking to monetize your channel, then Amazon Associates may be a good option for you.

The Amazon Associates program, though not as popular as it used to be, is still one of the best options out there for promoting physical products. Because Amazon is such a reliable and trustworthy brand, it will be easier to convince people to purchase products from the site.

Note that you should read Amazon’s terms of service before adding affiliate links to your YouTube channel. The Terms of Service can be long and complicated, so you don’t want to risk getting booted from the program.

  • ClickBank

ClickBank is one of the most reliable affiliate networks, and it’s worth exploring. With plenty of programs to choose from, you can promote any type of product imaginable.

By promoting various offers, you can make up to 50% profit from each deal. Obviously, the amount of money you make varies by program, but it’s much easier to join a network and have multiple options for what you want to promote than being limited to one thing and creating different accounts on separate platforms.

9 Tips On How to Get Started With YouTube Affiliate Marketing

What better place to do affiliate marketing than on YouTube, the world’s second-largest website? Here are some notable tips on how to get started: 

1. Choose A Niche

The first step to successful affiliate marketing on YouTube is to find a niche. This can be done by looking at the types of videos that are already popular in your niche and seeing if there are any affiliate products that would fit well with those videos. For example, if you’re in the health and fitness niche, you could look for affiliate products that sell workout gear or supplements.

2. Research Your Competition

Once you have selected a niche, it is important to research the competition. There are likely already a number of established YouTube channels in your niche, so you’ll need to make sure your content stands out in order to attract viewers.

Take some time to watch videos from other channels and see what they’re doing right (and wrong).

3. Create Helpful Videos

Once you’ve found a niche, the next step is to create helpful videos that will promote the affiliate products you’ve chosen. This can be done by creating how-to videos, product reviews, or even just general information videos about the topic. 

It’s important to make sure that your videos are high quality and provide value to your viewers, as this will help to ensure that they watch them all the way through and are more likely to take action on your affiliate links.

4. Optimize Your Videos for SEO

In order to get your videos seen by as many people as possible, it’s important to optimize them for SEO. This can be done by including keywords in your titles and descriptions that people are likely to search for on YouTube. You can also use annotations and end cards to link to your affiliate products, which will help to increase click-through rates.

5. Promote Your Videos

Once you’ve created and optimized your videos, the next step is to promote them through social media and other channels. This can be done by sharing them on your own social media channels, as well as through paid advertising on platforms like Facebook or YouTube.

 By promoting your videos through multiple channels, you’ll be able to reach a wider audience and increase your chances of making sales.

6. Use Affiliate Links

When you are promoting products or services through your videos, you can use affiliate links. These are special links that allow you to earn commission on sales made through your link.  

Make sure to disclose that you are using affiliate links in your video descriptions so that people are aware of it before they click on the link.

7. Monitor Your Results

Once you start promoting your videos, it’s important to monitor your results so that you can see what is working and what is not working. You should keep track of how many views, likes, comments, and shares each of your videos gets. 

You should also track how many sales or leads you generate from each video. This information will help you to adjust your strategy so that you can get the most out of your YouTube channel.

8. Analyze Your Results

After you have been promoting your videos for a while, it’s important to analyze the results in order to see what’s working and what isn’t. 

You can use tools like Google Analytics to track how many people are watching your videos and where they’re coming from. This information can help you adjust your marketing strategy moving forward.

9. Keep At It!

Affiliate marketing on YouTube takes time, effort, and patience but can be very rewarding if done correctly.

So don’t get discouraged if you don’t see results right away – keep producing quality content and promoting your videos regularly, and eventually, you will start seeing the fruits of your labor!

Affiliate Links On YouTube: The Bottom Line 

Yes, affiliate links are allowed on YouTube as long as you disclose that you are an affiliate and provide your viewers with the link to where they can purchase the product. Many successful YouTubers use affiliate marketing to boost their earnings. 

By partnering with brands that align with your niche, you can increase revenue while providing valuable content to your audience. 

So, should you start using affiliate links on YouTube? The answer is yes! 

But be sure to do your research first so that you partner with reputable brands and create quality content that will keep viewers coming back for more.

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