Surviving the YouTube Adpocalypse

It’s been a few months since the infamous YouTube “Adpocalypse” began heating up. Since then, a boycott of YouTube by major brands has forced YouTube to re-adjust their monetization rules, which now has certain creators feeling the burn.

The Hazardous Effects of Brand Fallout

In addition to outright demonetization, what’s most notable about the “Adpocalypse” is that videos are now losing ad revenue in less obvious ways. In April, YouTube introduced new safeguards which allowed marketers to opt out of running ads against certain videos by category. Brands can now decide to remove ads from videos that feature “tragedy and conflict”, “sensitive social issues”, “sexually suggestive content”, and more.

While these tools are intended to protect advertisers, the reality is diminished ads, and some degree of confusion for creators, who claim they aren’t being notified by YouTube about how their videos fit into the above classifications.

With YouTube Partnership monetization becoming increasingly more of a black box for content producers, the question of “Is it worth the risk?” begins to arise. Today, many are beginning to agree that the old methods of content monetization aren’t worth the effort. For new people who are interested in starting a channel to provide additional income, it’s become even less viable as the recent changes to YouTube’s monetization rules require all channels to have at least 10,000 views before they’re offered the chance to start running ads on their content.

So what’s the best way to start – and continue, earning consistent income from your content now?

With an over-saturated content space, where everyone is trying to “go viral” and advertising fees are declining, it’s becoming clear that it’s not enough to simply produce videos and pray that you get enough views to start monetizing content. To be successful on YouTube now, it pays (literally) to start being a professional marketer. Many content producers are beginning to realize that the most reliable way to earn a living is to not produce content first, and then hope to monetize it – but to share good monetized content up-front.

Become an Affiliate Marketer

YouTube affiliate marketing is one of the best things you can invest your time in. YouTube’s audience is only going to grow in the coming years, and because of the lower competition found in niche circles, you won’t find it as hard to start getting viewers.

If you’re already a serious content creator on YouTube, there’s a good chance you have at least one affiliate offer somewhere in one of your videos. YouTube is so massively popular among creators and consumers that it just doesn’t make any sense not to. However, it’s probably worth making a distinction here between casual marketers and professional marketers.

In the first category are content creators who happen to place the occasional affiliate link in their videos. For them, affiliate marketing is one more way for them to make money, but not the only way, as these folks often make enough money from ad views, multi-channel-network agreements, and even attempts to diversify into more conventional gigs like music or acting (Looking at you Jake Paul).

In the second category are channels that exist solely to earn affiliate commissions. For such content creators, all content development revolves around its ability to earn affiliate commissions. This is by far one of the easiest and most reliable ways to start monetizing your videos, and an absolute must if you aren’t collecting income from other areas!

What’s great about this approach, and what makes it so accessible for new YouTubers, is that they don’t need to be famous off-the-bat to start earning money. There doesn’t need to be a viral “hit” as long as you understand your niche and provide solid content for it. By figuring out a niche where your videos could be valuable, you can effectively produce content that acts as a double-edged sword to simultaneously entertain and engage your audience, while still advertising a good deal to them.

This means that while a new or existing channel might not have enough views to run YouTube ads in it’s content, it can still make a ton of money (if it ranks well) because:

  • Your audience is super targeted, as most affiliate niches rank for a keyword with strong commercial intent.
  • Your offers convert well and usually pay a strong referral fee.

On the other hand, a “reaction video” – may be shared heavily but won’t earn as much money because neither the traffic nor the offers are accurately targeted. Many large channels are simply relying on increasing their upload rate or resorting to “clickbait” titles in order to drive more views and make up lost revenue for demonetized videos, when in actuality it’s becoming safer to distance yourself from that model entirely.

What do you need to do to become a successful affiliate marketer on YouTube?

  • Pick a niche that you think you can make content about. It could be vacuum cleaners, fondue machines, or anything else you can produce regular videos about. As long as you’re smart about marketing your content to your niche audience of Vacuum Cleaner or Fondue enthusiasts, and you produce regular professional content, people will click on your videos, and people will click your links. The only caveat is that you must have your content game on lock if you want to succeed at YouTube marketing. Stay away from any tools that claim to turn articles into videos “automatically” and avoid spammy content at all costs.
  • Get accepted into a good affiliate program which supports your niche. One of the most accessible affiliate programs we recommend is Amazon’s Associate Program. Unfortunately, you can’t register for the Amazon Associates using just your YouTube channel, so you’ll need to have your own website that needs to be informative and relevant to the products that you plan to promote. Unless you have a good website set up, you shouldn’t apply for their affiliate program, because it’s likely your application will be rejected. By having a proper website, you can also drive traffic to your videos or product reviews directly from Google. SEO is king here!
  • Make it as easy as possible for your audience to make purchases through your links. Amazon has 12 international storefronts around the world, which means that when you share a link to a product from one storefront, you’re sending some of your international audience to the wrong store. Your French viewers won’t want to purchase a product from if they have to pay for international shipping!

Genius Link was created to help solve this problem, and to help our users succeed at becoming the best online marketers they can be. By using a Link in your YouTube videos, you guarantee that your viewers are always sent to their local storefront, which means improved conversions, and happier customers! Add your Amazon or iTunes affiliate parameters once and we’ll automatically affiliate each click on your links with the correct ID, allowing you to start earning commissions from around the world. Some of our clients have even reported international conversions boosted by up to 200%!  

Ultimately, it all comes down to smarter marketing tactics. To succeed on YouTube in the post-“Adpocalypse”, you’ll want to start thinking of ways to produce content that you can monetize more reliably. Becoming an affiliate marketer is the easiest way to make that happen – so figure out your niche, produce awesome targeted content, and optimize your links with Genius Link to make your clicks as valuable as possible. You may be surprised by how easy it is to survive in this scary new “brand-friendly” wasteland if you’re smart about it!


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