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.
All those links on Instagram Stories or 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 (though some of these programs are at the whims of the market, such as crypto investing company Coinbase).
One personal-finance influencer, Tori Dunlap, told Insider she made more than $200,000 in eight months in 2021.
But finance isn’t the only content category paying off for creators.
Lifestyle blogger Kara Harms, who runs the site Whimsy Soul, told Insider that in 2021 her earnings from affiliate links exceeded $40,000. And still, other influencers say they earn a few hundred dollars here and there.
Some influencers even text their followers with links to their favorite products as a way to drive sales. Social media platforms themselves have tried to dabble in affiliate marketing as well, such as Instagram’s short-lived native affiliate program that had some creators earning hundreds of dollars until it ended in August 2022.
In 2021, Instagram also made it easier for influencers to add affiliate links to their stories after the platform lifted its requirement that users either be verified or have at least 10,000 followers to use the feature.
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 10 creators make from affiliates:
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