Affiliate Marketing

How Influencers Use Affiliate Marketing Programs to Make Money

  • Influencers frequently share links to their Instagram Stories or below their YouTube videos.
  • Those links are often affiliate links that let creators earn a commission on sales. 
  • We spoke with creators about how much money they earn using affiliate marketing. 
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Those “swipe-ups” and stickers on Instagram Stories or links below a YouTube video aren’t all for the convenience of the viewer they’re how many influencers make money. 

When someone makes a purchase on a website after clicking through a trackable link or using a specific code, the influencer who posted it can earn a commission from that sale in what’s called affiliate marketing. 

Influencers often use affiliate marketing as a way to earn income outside of sponsored posts or ad revenue on videos. It’s also a way that emerging “nano” and “micro” influencers (with between 1,000 and 100,000 followers) start making money and working with sponsors as content creators.

How lucrative affiliate marketing is for an influencer depends on several factors such as their following size, engagement, and which industry they are in. It also depends on the commission rates brands and platforms put in place.

For instance, some finance influencers can make a decent portion of their income from affiliate links alone. They might work with

investing apps
like Robinhood or Acorns. 

Read more details about how much money finance apps and companies pay influencers through affiliate marketing

One personal-finance influencer, Tori Dunlap, told Insider she made more than $200,000 in eight months.

But finance isn’t the only well-paid category.

Skincare influencer Vi Lai said recently she was earning more than $5,000 each month from affiliate links, and a few other influencers say they earn a few hundred dollars here and there. 

From brands like Amazon to affiliate marketing platforms like LTK or MagicLinks, there’s a handful of ways for influencers to earn a commission from promoting products on social media.

Here are 9 top platforms influencers use to make money from affiliate links

Some influencers have even started texting their followers with links to their favorite products as a way to drive sales. And platforms like Instagram are also tapping into this space with their own native affiliate marketing programs. 

Read more about Instagram’s affiliate beta test and how much influencers are earning

Insider has talked with many influencers and industry experts about affiliate marketing. Here’s a rundown of what they told us they have earned.

How much money do influencers make using affiliate marketing?

We spoke with a handful of influencers about how they incorporate affiliate links into their content. Several detailed their monthly earnings. They ranged from about $50 per month to more than $25,000 per month.

Here’s how much money 8 creators make from affiliates:

  • Tori Dunlap, a personal-finance influencer on TikTok with 1.7 million followers
  • Ryan Scribner, a personal-finance YouTuber with 737,000 YouTube subscribers
  • Vi Lai, a skincare influencer with 849,000 followers on TikTok and 180,000 on Instagram
  • Charlie Chang, a YouTube creator with 457,000 subscribers who posts personal finance and real estate content
  • Charli Prangley, a part-time YouTube creator with about 200,000 subscribers
  • Erika Kullberg, an attorney and YouTube creator with 200,000 subscribers
  • Kayla Compton, a lifestyle ‘nano’ influencer with 4,600 YouTube subscribers and 2,700 Instagram followers

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