A lot of people getting started with affiliate marketing often ask a question if they're allowed to put affiliate links on their YouTube channel or not. I remember, I wanted this answer too but didn't get the right follower at that time. And YouTube's rather vague policy about marketing hasn't made it any easier for them.
The question remains, are affiliate links allowed on YouTube? It is one of the most common and sought after question amongst affiliate marketers, especially who are trying to reach their audience through YouTube. While there is a long-standing debate around this topic, the answer is,
YES. You are allowed to put affiliate links on YouTube. However, there are a couple of rules and regulations you need to follow before you can post your affiliate links.
In this article, I'm going to tell you about how to properly use your affiliate links on YouTube. But first, let us know a little bit about YouTube affiliate marketing.
What is YouTube Affiliate Marketing?
YouTube affiliate marketing means, you create a video to promote an affiliate product and to include affiliate links in your video or channel description. This is exactly how you create content for your blog or website to promote an affiliate product.
Even so, you must realize that you're not creating an advertisement. You're creating a video, and it must have an intrinsic value.
This video can be a tutorial, a review, or just a promotional sponsorship. But it must add value to the experience of a viewer.
If your promoted content generates sales, you'll get a fixed commission based on the sales. And that's how it works.
Generating affiliate sales through YouTube is easier than any other free promotion. There is a true business proverb, if you are able to become a good youtuber then you can take the affiliate business as your career.
Can You Use Affiliate Links on Your YouTube Videos?
There has been a longstanding debate around this for a long time. Are affiliate links permitted on YouTube?
Are these all within the boundaries of YouTube's terms and conditions?
Since the beginning of YouTube, a lot of people have been doing affiliate marketing on this platform. A lot of YouTubers, Influencers, and affiliate marketers have been earning through putting their affiliate link in the description of their video.
However, till now, YouTube's terms aren't clear about affiliate marketing. It doesn't even identify this term.
On YouTube's terms of services section 4D, it says that, "you cannot use YouTube for certain commercial purposes unless you obtain their advanced written approval - a sale of access to this service."
The list contains - the sale of advertising, sponsorships, or promotions placed on or within the service or content.
To be more precise, you cannot put an external advertisement or promotion inside your video content. If you want to do so, you'll have to get prior written approval from YouTube. In essence, a permit.
But, that does not mean that you cannot make business-related videos that promote your business, product, services, or even yourself. All of that is completely legal. YouTube's terms and services section 4E, specifically says this –
"Prohibited commercial uses do not include uploading an original video to YouTube or maintaining an original channel on YouTube to promote your business or artistic enterprise."
We're not talking about that. We're talking about a money-making enterprise.
When you're putting up an affiliate link on your video content's description, you are directly using YouTube's platform to earn money.
We're discussing a give and take situation, where you promote someone else's products or services, and in return, they pay you money for doing so. Or when you get an affiliate kickback for sharing an affiliate link. However many purchases are made from a video, you're getting a percentage.
The truth is, YouTube hasn't been very clear about this affiliate issue. However, YouTube's Policy Center has some clear guidelines regarding videos, like what is allowed and what is not.
For example, YouTube says that "Content that deliberately tries to mislead users for financial gain may be removed." Which means a video can't be misleading about a product. That is illegal. So, if a video is an upfront about its affiliate partnership, then it is not misleading.
Secondly, the contents must not have the purpose of financial gains only. I have mentioned this earlier, that a video must have an intrinsic value. Which means the video must bring educational or otherwise value to its viewers.
So, all in all, I think it is safe to assume that although YouTube doesn't have an official policy regarding affiliate marketing as of yet, it is allowed to share affiliate links on your YouTube videos.
But it is not as simple as putting up a video and adding an affiliate link under it. There is a process to it which we will discuss in the next part of this article.
How Should You Promote Affiliate Links on YouTube?
YouTube has clearly stated in their Terms and Conditions that you are allowed to have paid product promotion in your video as long as you notify them about it beforehand. They have also stated that a video cannot be deliberately misleading for financial gains only.
So, if you're uploading a promotional video that includes affiliate links, what the process you should follow?
First of all, you have to notify YouTube. To do that, when you upload your video to YouTube, you'll see a monetization tab. In the tab, you'll see a box that says 'this video contains paid product placement.' Check that box.
This is because an affiliate link is a direct connection between an affiliate marketer and a vendor. Plus, you are promoting a product in exchange for money. This falls under that category.
Secondly, disclose in your video and the description as well that - this video contains affiliate links. When you write the actual affiliate links, mention "affiliate" in a bracket so that your viewers know exactly what it is.
In case you don't, viewers might misinterpret your intention, and report your video as spam.
Can You Post Affiliate Links on YouTube Comments?
Yes, you can post affiliate links on YouTube comments. This is a known free traffic source for generating organic traffic, as well as increasing your affiliate earnings.
However, some factors should be taken into account while posting links in comment sections.
First of all, make sure your comment and affiliate link is relevant to the video you're commenting on. This is important because if your comment or link isn't relevant, the owner of the video might just remove it, or YouTube might flag it as spam.
For example, if you post an affiliate link for a shoe on a mobile phone review video, most people won't notice it. It's not relevant to the topic. And it won't help you.
Then, don't comment on affiliate links more than 30 times a day. If you do that, YouTube will flag you as a spammer, and as result, your links will only be visible to you.
After that, try to keep your comments relevant and helpful to other users. Don't randomly spam comments with an affiliate link. It won't increase your affiliate earning, nor will it make a good reputation for yourself.
Can You Put Affiliate Links in Paid YouTube Ads?
Yes, you can put affiliate links in paid YouTube ads. The process is quite simple.
- First of all, you'll create a YouTube video reviewing your affiliate product.
- In the description, you'll attach your affiliate link.
- Then you'll create a paid ad for your video, and drive traffic through it, to the video itself.
- People will be directed to your video as well as your affiliate link, prompting further sales and commissions.
The idea is to create an ad for your affiliate video. Then you drive ad traffic to it from YouTube's network. Then, if people buy from the affiliate offer attached to your video description, you'll earn commissions. It is a rather simple and effective way for beginner affiliates to start marketing on YouTube.
There are certain pros and cons to this venture. Such as you can easily get a lot of traffic to your video that you normally wouldn't get with normal tactics. The potential to make affiliate sales rises dramatically. A single ad campaign could earn you a lot of affiliate customers, as well as publicity.
On the other hand, making a successful ad is tough. Also, you might end up overspending on your ads.
But it is a viable option and very much possible to put affiliate links in paid YouTube ads.
How to Disclose Affiliate Links on YouTube?
Disclosing an affiliate link means you're letting your viewers or followers know that an affiliate link is being used in your content or video. I mentioned previously that YouTube's terms clearly state that a video must not be misleading. In this case, it means you must let your audience know that you're doing a promotional video, and you're being paid for it.
There are a couple of ways you can disclose your affiliate links on YouTube.
First of all, in your video, let your audience know verbally that your content is promotional, and if they make a purchase based on your recommendations, you'll make a commission. Be upfront about it. Don't hide this information.
After that, add an "affiliate" in a bracket beside your affiliate links in your video description. In this way, even if someone doesn't know that you're an affiliate marketer, they'll know through the written statement.
Not disclosing your affiliate link to your audience is unethical and also illegal, according to FTC (Federal Trade Commission). When you're promoting a product or company on YouTube, a proper disclosure is very important to avoid any legal backlash.
I hope that you have got a clear answer about “are affiliate links allowed on YouTube “after reading this article. Not only that, also you got some related useful info about it. For me, YouTube is the best platform to promote affiliate products for free. And also it is one of my favourite free traffic sources for affiliate marketing than any others.
Please note that all the information, which I have written here is from the research and my real experience with YouTube. So if you apply an affiliate link on YouTube, the risk will be yours alone.
I wish this article was of help to you and wish you the best of luck in your upcoming project.