Video opportunities with affiliate marketing for e-commerce

Today I explore the question, when does it make sense for affiliate managers to promote video as an option?

Fortunately, there are a lot of reasons to do so, along with special opportunities for e-commerce merchants and the affiliates working with them.

What is affiliate marketing?

Speaking in Web terms, affiliate marketing involves 3 or 4 different parties: The merchant/advertiser, the affiliate marketer (an individual or company), the targeted consumer; and an optional affiliate network. Here’s a quick overview of the key players:

  • The merchant seeks to advertise or sell products or services through individual affiliates, or a 3rd party affiliate network program (which partners merchants with affiliates.)
  • The affiliate is a person or company which sends visitors to a website or web-based program in exchange for commissions. (It’s like being a commissioned sales person – online). An affiliate can operate directly with the merchant or can participate in a affiliate network program.

Affiliate marketing has been “traditionally” done with SEO, PPC, and display advertising. However more affiliate marketers today are realizing video can be a persuasive tool for generating more (and better quality) customer leads.

Opportunities and benefits of video in affiliate marketing today

This past year I’ve reported on a growing trend of video in affiliate marketing, including an interview with Affiliate Summit’s Shawn Collins, author of Successful Video Marketing for Merchants and publisher of the Affiliate Tip blog. Here’s a quote from my interview with Shawn on the benefits and opportunities of doing online video in affiliate marketing:

“I think the biggest opportunity is that video expands the real estate for affiliates – it’s a vast media segment that hasn’t been tapped much for monetization so far, so early movers have a lot to gain. Affiliate marketers today need to just jump in and start working with video. Otherwise, they’ll never really understand the dynamics.”

Shawn has done a good number of posts on affiliate video marketing on the affliatetip YouTube Channel. (Just go to the channel page and enter “video” in the search box.) Below is one video from the YouTube channel I particularly recommend that covers taking advantage of user-generated affiliate video:

Here’s an affiliate marketing with video for e-commerce sample: This month I’ve been covering the Facebook Success Summit 2010 by, which has its own e-commerce program of signing up for a month-long webinar on Facebook Marketing. They have an excellent page just for affiliates on featuring their video in the affliate’s own blog posts…

Who else is doing affiliate marketing with video today?

All one needs to do is to conduct a search to see that thousands of marketers are using YouTube itself to promote affiliate programs. Over 10,400 video results currently populate Google Video Search, and a lot of tips from affiliate marketers on doing video.

Tools for doing affiliate video marketing

There are a number of third-party companies providing affiliates with methods to monetize video, AffiliatePLY and Also, affiliate networks are increasingly offering video to affiliates, such as ShareASale and their Make-A-Video tool.

When to promote video in your affiliate marketing for e-commerce merchants

  • When you have a blog and can write about each e-commerce product or service. (Vlogging is the obvious choice, and I recommend checking out Squidoo’s own Video Affiliate Marketing blog for helpful tips, including setting up your own blog around affiliate marketing with video.)
  • When you can produce your own custom video, and/or have the merchant supply you with the video creatives.
  • When you can collaborate with merchants directly on producing unique video content
  • When you can tap user-generated videos online to write about and optimize web pages and blog posts for.
  • When you can utilize the video destination sites like YouTube, Metacafe, Vimeo, Blip.TV, and even the entertainment channels like – to get your videos about the merchant’s e-commerce products or solutions to be indexed in Google Video Search, and ultimately in Google’s own universal search results.
  • When you have a budget for Overlay ads on YouTube, or PPC advertising that can take people directly to your own landing pages featuring embedded videos.

YouTube Promoted Videos – The special Video Commerce Opportunity

YouTube’s Promoted Videos program can be a highly effective way for any marketer to leverage video as an off-site awareness and conversion mechanism. Mark Robertson, publisher of, attests that he’s “seen tremendous success with YouTube’s Promoted Videos program with businesses “that can directly measure ROI for traffic to their website – whether this be for an e-commerce retailer, affiliate marketer, or service-based online business.”

Follow the legal guidelines for affiliate marketing with online video

Whether you’re a merchant or affiliate, I encourage everyone in affiliate marketing and involved with online video (or looking to get involved), to read my post, “Mark Yourself as a Consumer Watchdog with Online Video,” which covers how some affiliates are using videos to promote marketing scams, and getting in serious trouble with the state and federal law (not to mention some powerful celebrities!)