9 Best Affiliate Programs for YouTubers in 2021

So you’ve got your own YouTube channel and you want to earn passive income. In that case, you’d better get to know the best YouTube affiliate programs.

The case for YouTube affiliate marketing is pretty clear. By the end of 2021, an estimated 1.86 billion will be using the video streaming platform. Importantly, the days when YouTube was exclusively a young person’s platform are long behind us.

Sure, usage skews slightly toward the Gen Z and Millennial demographics, but 67% of people aged 56+ in the US used it in Q3 2020:

Internet Users Using Youtube

And it also has an even gender split, with 72% of women and 72% of men using YouTube.

What’s more, despite the startling number of tinfoil hat-wearing conspiracy nuts with YouTube channels, people trust YouTubers. Indeed, one study found teenagers are more likely to get their news from YouTube than from established media organizations.

In other words, whoever your audience and whatever product you’re pushing, YouTube affiliate marketing is a viable option. So it makes sense for us to look at the top affiliate programs for YouTubers — which is exactly what we’ll do in this article.

9 Best Affiliate Programs for YouTubers

  1. Amazon Associates 
  2. eBay Partner Network
  3. etsy Affiliate Program
  4. Shopify Affiliate Program
  5. Clickbank
  6. ShopStyle
  7. ShareASale
  8. RewardStyle
  9. MaxBounty

Amazon Associates

Amazon

Okay, so we’ve already established that a high proportion of people across all demographics use YouTube, making it an effective platform for promoting all kinds of products.

Now, if only there was an affiliate marketing program that basically enabled you to promote every kind of product that’s ever been made

Of course, there is: it’s called Amazon Associates.

At any given time, there are about 350 million products for sale on Amazon. As an Amazon affiliate, you can pick and choose those that are most relevant to your audience of YouTube subscribers.

Sadly, as with everything in life, there’s a downside to the Amazon affiliate program — its terms and conditions are pretty dreadful.

For one thing, most product categories have low commissions of 1% – 5% (although if you’re pushing luxury beauty products, which are pretty popular among the YouTube community, you can earn 10% commissions).

And for another thing, the cookie window lasts for just 24 hours. So unless the traffic you refer is extremely qualified, don’t expect to earn money through the Amazon affiliate program.

URL: Amazon Associates affiliate program

Commission rate: 1% – 10%, depending on product category

Cookie duration: 24 hours

eBay

Ebay

First off, please ignore the embarrassing “recently viewed items” in that screenshot — I was buying those Star Trek collectible cards for, um, a friend. You don’t know them; they go to a different school.

Now we’ve cleared that up, let’s take a closer look at eBay. One of the world’s oldest and largest e-commerce marketplaces, it has approximately 1.4 billion product listings at any given time, 80% of which are totally new.

What’s more, it’s home to a bunch of big-name brands — think Adidas, Nespresso, and Philips — alongside all the tiny stores and individual vendors.

Just like Amazon the sheer diversity of products makes eBay a great choice for any affiliate marketer making YouTube videos. And just like Amazon, there are some definite downsides to the eBay Partner Network (to give the official name of its affiliate program). 

Again, the commissions are pretty stingy, with a top tier of just 4%, and the cookie window is just as short as Amazon’s at 24 hours. 

But there’s also a positive to high-profile affiliate programs. The terms may not be the best, but your YouTube subscribers will likely trust them, which removes a potential barrier to purchase.

URL: eBay Partner Network affiliate program

Commission rate: 1% – 4%, depending on product category

Cookie duration: 24 hours

Etsy

Etsy

Etsy is another huge ecommerce marketplace, although as you probably know, it focuses on products made by independent crafters, traders, and artists.

While there are definitely a few vendors using the platform to sell low-quality knock-offs, Etsy has undoubtedly become the market leader in the crafting and vintage space. No other marketplace comes close.

So if that audience aligns with the video content you’re creating, there’s no question that you should definitely sign up for Etsy’s affiliate marketing platform.

As with Amazon and eBay, you can potentially earn a bunch of extra money — or even a job replacement income — through Etsy by creating video content that reviews specific Etsy products and linking directly to them.

Every time someone makes a purchase via your affiliate link, you’ll earn a cut of 4%. Sure, we’re not talking huge money here, but at least the cookie window is a lot longer than Amazon and eBay.

URL: Etsy affiliate program

Commission rate: 4%

Cookie duration: 30 days

Shopify

Shopify

Okay, enough marketplaces — let’s look at one of the best affiliate programs for YouTubers looking for big-money payouts.

Shopify is a huge deal in the e-commerce world; you don’t need to run your own online shop to have heard of it. Shopify’s e-commerce platform powers more than 1.7 million online retail businesses in 175 countries, who use it to sell over $200 billion worth of products.

Now here’s where things get good. Shopify’s affiliate program pays a one-time commission equal to 200% of its Advanced, Shopify, or Basic subscription fee, worth up to $598. And that climbs to a juicy $2,000 for enterprise sales.

Of course, you’ll need to be creating videos of a seriously high quality if you’re going to earn huge money like that. Long-form videos, software reviews, and product comparisons are all likely to work well here, but you’ll definitely need to know your stuff.

URL: Shopify affiliate program

Commission rate: Up to $2,000

Cookie duration: 30 days

ClickBank

Clickbank

ClickBank isn’t actually an affiliate program at all; it’s an affiliate network (plot spoiler: so are the final four entries on our YouTube affiliate program list).

Launched back in 1998, ClickBank is a real veteran of the online marketing game. It was started by a bunch of friends in a garage, but has grown into a business driving billions of dollars of sales a year.

Initially, ClickBank specialized in digital products. While that’s still a big focus, it now also features some physical goods in its marketplace of 4,000+ products.

Whether physical or digital, there’s evidently plenty of scope to monetize those products through  affiliate marketing, because ClickBank has paid out more than $4 billion in commissions to date.

Need some help integrating ClickBank into your YouTube marketing plans? Check out our guide on how to make money with ClickBank and our ClickBank review.

URL: ClickBank affiliate program

Commission rate: Up to 90%

Cookie duration: Varies

ShopStyle

Shopstyle

ShopStyle is a massive fashion and lifestyle shopping platform that has made influencers a key part of its business model, which makes it one of the best affiliate programs for YouTubers.

Known as ShopStyle Collective, its affiliate program helps more than 20,000 influencers monetize their YouTube channels, Instagram profiles, and blogs.

In reality, it’s actually more like two separate affiliate programs — one called Standard, and another called Advanced. Here’s how they vary:

  • Standard: Aimed at affiliate marketing beginners, this program pays wannabe influencers for every click they drive
  • Advanced: Geared toward experienced content creators with established audiences, Advanced pays affiliates a percentage of every order they drive

There’s almost certainly more money to be made through the Advanced affiliate program, but you’ll need to have built a decent audience on your YouTube channel to qualify.

URL: ShopStyle Collective affiliate program

Commission rate: Varies

Cookie duration: Varies

ShareASale

Shareasale

ShareASale is another of the big affiliate networks. Like ClickBank, it’s something of an “OG”, having been founded back in the early noughties.

While ShareASale doesn’t have quite as many big-name brands as some of its rivals, in total it represents more than 16,000 different affiliate programs, some of which pay out as much as $350 per sale.

It focuses on the retail niche, so if you’re creating videos aimed squarely at B2C audiences, this network could be a good fit.

As with any affiliate marketing network, ShareASale’s commissions vary from one program to another. But with its affiliates earning $1 billion last year, there’s plenty of scope to earn passive income here.

URL: ShareASale affiliate network

Commission rate: Varies

Cookie duration: Varies

RewardStyle

Rewardstyle

RewardStyle, or LTK to give its new name, is an online business that aims to bring brands, creators, and shoppers together via a single platform.

It drives more than $2.9 billion in sales every year and has partnerships with 5,000 merchants in the fashion space.

So if the whole fashion and lifestyle niche is a good fit for your YouTube channel, you could do a lot worse than sign up with LTK.

Interestingly, LTK’s proprietary technology allows creators to generate mobile-first content that’s immediately shoppable.

That makes it a strong option for monetizing your Tiktok, Instagram and Snapchat profiles as well as your YouTube channel (after all, you don’t want to be over reliant on a single platform).

URL: LTK affiliate network

Commission rate: Varies

Cookie duration: Varies

MaxBounty

Maxbounty

Last but not least, here’s another affiliate network to consider.

MaxBounty offers access to more than 2,000 active affiliate programs for YouTubers to take advantage of across a wide range of verticals — so whatever your specialism, there’s a good chance you’ll find a program to fit. 

As with any network, those programs offer a variety of terms and conditions, so you’ll need to browse relevant categories to find those that provide the best monetization potential.

Talking of monetization, MaxBounty also gives you a dedicated affiliate manager who effectively acts as your personal consultant, helping you pick campaigns and develop digital marketing strategies to drive more traffic and boost your earnings. 

It also works with merchants from across the world, so don’t worry if your YouTube videos are primarily (or 100%) aimed at non-US or non-European audiences.

URL: MaxBounty affiliate network

Commission rate: Varies

Cookie duration: Varies

Conclusion

Time for the million-dollar question: is YouTube affiliate marketing worth the effort?

Frankly, it’s a no brainer. The YouTube video platform is so popular, and is consistently generating more traffic and subscribers, so it definitely offers a ton of affiliate marketing potential.

However… 

That’s not to say you should focus on your YouTube channel at the expense of all other platforms. We’d always recommend combining YouTube marketing with an affiliate marketing blog (and possibly some other social channels) to maximize your earning potential.

That way, you’re not totally reliant on people hitting links in your video descriptions and popups.

Of course, that means you have to build a website. But don’t worry if you’re not sure where to start, because we’re here to help.

Just give us your best email address and we’ll talk you through all the key steps to creating your first affiliate site in our free 2-hour web class.

Save money and time starting your affiliate marketing career, and start earning commission faster. What’s not to like?

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