Have you ever wondered why YouTubers mention products in their videos for brands not directly sponsoring their video? Or why almost every YouTube video has a long list of product links in the description?
Affiliate programs are one of the leading ways influencers and online creators make money. Every time a person clicks on one of those product links in the description of a Youtube video and makes a purchase, the YouTuber receives a commission.
The way companies advertise their products and services has changed a great deal over the last decade. While companies are still investing time and money in traditional forms of advertising, many are also branching out and paying online content creators to advertise for them.
Most people are now familiar with the concept of a sponsored video or Instagram post. A brand directly pays influencers to include an advert for a certain product within their content. Affiliate programs are a little more subtle but still achieve a similar outcome as sponsored content.
What is an Affiliate Program?
Rather than companies paying influencers a set fee for mentioning and promoting their products as sponsorships do, affiliate programs reward influencers through commission.
An online content creator or influencer can sign up for an affiliate program. The program will provide the creator with links, banners, and other promotional material to drive traffic to the brand running the affiliate program.
In return for creators promoting a particular brand or product, they receive a commission from the sales that result from their links and banners. The amount a creator receives in commission varies based on the affiliate program.
Who Can Sign Up for an Affiliate Program?
Affiliate programs are open to anyone with a large enough online presence to drive traffic to a brand’s website. Typically, to register as an affiliate for a brand, a person will have to show their online platform and the average views, likes, or clicks they receive on their content.
The precise process of becoming an affiliate will depend on the brand, and some are a lot more selective than others. Larger brands like Amazon run affiliate programs that are relatively easy to sign up to and earn money from. Other small companies might have a more selective process.
Which Industries Use Affiliate Programs to Promote their Products?
Any company or online brand can run an affiliate program to increase traffic to their site and boost sales. A few industries, though, stand out for being the most dominant using affiliate programs as a form of advertising.
Tech companies linking to tech equipment are some of the most common affiliate programs. It’s wise of these companies to launch affiliate programs of particular interest to the influencers using such equipment.
A very common way that YouTubers, for example, make money through affiliate programs is by including links to the camera and lighting equipment that they use to make their videos. Viewers are more likely to purchase a camera if it is the same one that their favorite vlogger uses, and they can see the image quality and functionality of the product in the videos they watch.
Another industry that is increasingly using affiliate programs is the CBD industry. Over the last few years, CBD supplements have become increasingly popular; however, there are still many people who do not know what CBD is or its potential benefits.
It makes sense for CBD companies to run affiliate programs to build confidence in their products and raise awareness about CBD and its positive effects. Most people are more likely to trust influencers they follow and admire more than a TV advert or billboard.
Two of the best affiliate programs for influencers promoting CBD supplements are PureKana affiliate programs and Premium Jane affiliate programs. Both PureKana and Premium Jane deliver high-quality and effective CBD products. Plus, they both provide influencers with a good rate of commission.
What are the Benefits of Affiliate Programs?
In many ways, affiliate programs are better for influencers and content creators than sponsored content.
While a sponsored video or post pays an influencer a guaranteed fee, it is a one-off payment. Many influencers continuously work with particular brands, but they have to keep making content for the brand to generate income.
Affiliate links provide influencers with a passive income over an extended period. This passive income might not instantly pay as much as sponsored content but provides the influencer with a long-term source of income and requires less effort than sponsored content.
Another advantage of affiliate programs is that influencers are generally not told what they can and cannot say about specific products. The brand typically checks sponsored content to ensure that an influencer is promoting their products in the way they want.
Affiliate links give creators the freedom to promote and talk about products as they wish. For viewers, affiliate links are also better as they are more likely to accurately describe a product and how the influencer feels about it.
Influencers and creators can sign up for as many affiliate programs as they wish. This means that an influencer can link multiple products from various brands in the description of their videos, which helps maximize the money they make from affiliate links.
What are the Disadvantages of Affiliate Programs?
The main disadvantage of affiliate links is that they do not guarantee an income for content creators. The amount of money that a creator receives will depend on the number of people who have used their affiliate link and the amount of money they spent.
The rate of commission that creators receive through their affiliate links can vary drastically. Some programs offer a generous 30% of all money generated, whereas others can be as low as 2-3%.
Are Affiliate Programs a Good Way to Make Money?
Affiliate programs can be a good way for influencers and online creators to make a passive income. However, very few creators can rely on affiliate links as their primary source of income.
While affiliate links are a passive form of income, creators will usually have to put in some effort to encourage their viewers or readers to use the links. Adding a long list of links to the bottom of a YouTube video is not likely to yield a great deal of commission if the influencer fails to keep reminding their audience that they are there.
Influencers and creators also have to consider the affiliate programs they sign up for. For instance, a tech-focused YouTuber is more likely to make money from a tech company affiliate program than a person running a beauty YouTube channel.
Ultimately though, when executed well, affiliate programs can be lucrative for online content creators and provide them with a passive income every month. Additionally, affiliate links are often beneficial for the audience, too since they receive product recommendations from people they trust.