How To Make Money Doing Product Reviews On Youtube Graphic © WealthPowerBoost. Background photo – Shutterstock (under license)
Why Product Reviews?
Product reviews are, to put it simply, one of the avenues where the online gold is – especially on Youtube but also for bloggers! Let’s look at why (6 reasons).
1. Better Ad Revenue: First, the product review category is one of the absolute best Youtube niches in terms of “money earned per visitor”. Advertisers are super-hungry to appear on those videos because they are watched by people who are in the process of making purchase decisions. They are in “shopping mode“. Advertisers will generally pay more and bid more competitively to reach people who are in shopping mode. Product review video ad revenue is typically much higher than other video categories.
2. Buyer Traffic: Everyone knows that Google is the #1 search engine; but getting ranked in Google is highly complex – and can take a long time. However most don’t know that Youtube is the world’s #2 search engine with BILLIONS of searches per month – and that it’s typically much easier to rank in Youtube search results than Google search results! If you do product reviews, people are already looking for what you have to offer. You have likely done this yourself: Shoppers will be on Amazon etc or even in the big box store and see something they think they want to buy. They will then literally go straight to Youtube and type “________ review” before they finalize their purchase decision. You want to be the result that comes up. This is money! And can you see why advertisers pay top dollar to appear on those videos? Youtube videos also often appear high in the Google top 10 – so if your review picks up traction it can get a double shot of search traffic.
3. Multiple Revenue Streams Baby! Not only can you get video ad revenue but you can drop your Amazon affiliate links in the Youtube “info box” for a 3% commission. (To max out the clicks, put the link in the first line of text so it is most visible!) And when the channel grows, you will likely get product MFRs sending you stuff to review, video sponsors and so on.
4. Diversified Income Is Better Protected. Top Youtubers often state that these additional streams of revenue can “double up” and even overtake the video ad revenue after a while! This is also pretty cool because it gives you a form of “income insurance”. One of the greatest downsides of Youtube is the small-but-ever-present risk of getting “demonetized” – losing your video ad revenue. However for a product review channel, even getting demonetized in terms of ads is not the end of the road – because while you would lose the ad revenue, your affiliate and sponsorship income stays intact. 🙂 If you have a non-product-related channel and the channel loses its advertising, then it can be a big wipeout unless you are able to use the channel to drive traffic and monetize the results some other way.
5. Companies are very actively seeking out influencers as part of their advertising budget – and “influencer marketing” is really a thing now, especially with big corporate brands. An influencer with a sizeable audience who helps people make purchase decisions, is on a golden ticket. Note how top Youtube product reviewer Marques Brownlee, with 15M followers, is now actively sought out by famous tech CEOs, who all want to be seen with him. That’s no accident, it’s deliberate marketing strategy.
6. Finally – being an affiliate rocks in and of itself as a business model. The number of affiliate programs now available to you is astonishing. You don’t have to deal with product returns, customers, inventory, shipping and handling… you just need to be able to reach an audience, help them make good purchase decisions and “follow the rules” when it comes to honest marketing practices. More on that later.
Getting Started As A Product Reviewer
Your first task is to choose your niche, so that you can create a themed Youtube channel i.e. one that is focused around one category or interest. Ideally your niche should be one with a lot of high ticket (over $50) products available and high consumer demand. Product categories where fans generally have higher disposable income and make a large number of purchases over time are ideal.
It’s advisable to choose a topic that you are fanatical about and have some real knowledge of. If you need ideas, don’t panic – you have so many options. This gold mine runs deep! 🙂 The possibilities are in fact more endless than you can even imagine… To get some amazing niche / product category ideas check out https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_hobbies – a massive list that is targeted towards specialized interests.
When naming your channel, make sure if possible that the channel name “does what it says on the tin” in other words it’s super obvious what your channel is about. For example if you call it “The mysteries of goldfish” then it would not be entirely obvious that you review fishtanks, however if you call it “Aquarium equipment reviews” or “The Aquarium Specialist” then you will get clicks from people who are seeking that. People want to already know before they click that what they are about to click is going to deliver what they are looking for (and seems cool). Do some initial research to make sure your chosen brand name is not already in use. There are a few vital steps here and I have covered it in detail here: How To Choose A Superb Domain Name For Your Blog / Social Media Brand (Amazing Branding Tutorial!)
Monetization: For new product reviewers, the typical starting point in terms of affiliate income is to sign up for Amazon Associates affiliate program – so that you can start earning commissions from your product promotions. More on that later.
Which Are The Best Products To Review
In general, use the data. The more it has sold and the better the reviews = winning products.
For example, go to Amazon and look for the low hanging fruit. You want products with
a) 4.5 to 5 stars on the reviews (= well loved product)
b) lots of reviews (= often purchased product)
c) still available / in stock
d) over $50 ideally but if something is $25 and has megatons (thousands) of reviews, go for it – because it’s something loads of people buy.
e) A product you know a lot about. Ideally, something you have used loads and can really comment on in depth.
To begin with, you could start by simply reviewing products you already own and have used a lot. Otherwise… you will have to buy the darn thing. If you are really dastardly, buy it, open it carefully, review it, return it! 🙂 Please note, I didn’t recommend that. But in truth companies love free publicity so I doubt they will be too pissed if it happens once or twice. However I highly doubt you could keep returning stuff over and over without Amazon getting upset – so you would likely need to buy and then resell on eBay, later. You can get most of the money back when you flip it as “open box” or “used once” item.
It’s kind of important to actually test the product where possible – because in this space you are competing against reviewers who do that. And which would you prefer? The reviews of someone who never actually used the product or someone who bought and tested it?
How To Craft An Ideal Product Review
For the name of your video, try: “________(product name)_______ review” or “________(product name)_______ honest review”.
Target length – 5 minutes for products under $100. More expensive “big decision” products typically warrant longer, more detailed reviews.
Don’t fluff around in the intro. Get straight to the point. What you love. What you hate. Is it good value? Look at the reviews already on amazon to see criteria others have noticed – this can give you ideas for things to talk about.
For highly technical products you could do longer reviews and call it “(in depth review)” but I would suggest to make these occasional.
If you are camera shy, don’t worry about it. Just point the camera at the product, not at you. Focus on being helpful, amicable, honest and generally enthusiastic about life.
Give the viewer additional purchase options. This is gold. All they know is that they just bought a goldfish and need a fishtank. 😉 Thinking is hard, and most people typically want someone they trust to just tell them which one they should get! So at the end of the video, always mention a cheaper product you recommend “if you don’t want to spend this much, you could check out this one which is $____.” And a more expensive product you recommend “if you are looking for something a bit more upscale, check out ____ which got a ton of 5 star reviews and costs _____”. Put all 3 of those links in the about box (you will want to sign up for an “Amazon Associates” affiliate account so you will get commission from there as well as ad revenue from the actual video!)
This is a massively popular format. i.e. “top 5 headphones under $100 in 2022”. Link to Amazon for all 5 products in the about box. “Top 3” or “Top 5” work by far the best with comparison-style reviews; Top 5 videos get consistently higher clicks than other videos on the same channel and you can observe this everywhere. “Top 10” can work but is often “too much information”. People want bite-sized because they already have too many choices and too little time. Make it easy for them.
The Cheapie vs. The Deluxe Model
Comparing products at wildly different price points can be gold – if you have access to the products. The bigger the price difference, the better! Really cheap vs. really expensive. i.e. $30 Behringer microphone vs. $2000 Neumann microphone. Just the headline grabs attention + looks like it will be a fun watch, and the “David Versus Goliath” theme always sparks emotional involvement. These kinds of reviews can be fascinating: The possibility to get most of the performance for a fraction of the price? Will the expensive product absolutely destroy the cheapie product, as expected? Or maybe… just maybe… the heroic little guy will punch so far above his weight that he topples the giant. You see how exciting that is?
Destruct Testing / Limit Testing
People really enjoy seeing products pushed beyond the limits of what they are supposed to be able to handle – so these can get viral traffic, but bear in mind that these are often going to be bored viewers seeking entertainment, rather than actual shoppers. You also might risk your credibility as a serious reviewer: I’ve seen some really stupid examples of these, people putting an iPhone in a blender for example. But there’s no doubt that destruct testing is highly popular. It can be extremely dangerous, however, so if you are keen on this, please don’t do anything stupid – and take correct safety precautions for whatever you do.
If there is a way to evaluate the products scientifically, then definitely go for it. I watched a video where someone literally tested various drill bits by timing how long they took to go through a thick steel plate. Now that’s a useful type of limit test that will appeal to both shoppers and to those who want to see if the manufacturers were being honest about those “double the power of other brands” claims. I also saw a tool tester measuring the clamping force of various jaw clamps with a pressure gauge; attaching a long steel tube so that they could wind up the clamp until it shattered. Of course then, we get to see the slow-mo of the moment it broke. Fun but also useful to know.
Go The Distance
Be aware of the fact that – just like with blogging – the first six months to a year is going to be a grind – and that you simply have to keep at it. The ones who win in this game are the ones that keep their head down and stay productive. You can’t expect to have a successful channel with 3 videos. Assume that you will need 50+ videos before you start getting traction.
Bear in mind that you don’t need fancy video equipment in the beginning. Phone cameras are fairly decent these days. Start with what you’ve got and scale up your production budget as your revenue grows. Make it pay first!
Once you have built up a significant audience, you are in a position to contact the product manufacturer’s marketing department and request products for review; you can offer to return the product to them after evaluation if you are making a big ask. And when you get really big, they will be the ones calling you 😉 But to begin with, you have to be patient and make the commitment to growing your fan base.
Low Commitment Gets The Click
The irony here is that while you have to be committed, you hook your audience with a video that is “low commitment” on the click, but which then exceeds their expectations. People will click it more readily if it seems like it will not take too much time and will give them easy, fast answers. And then the reaction you want is “Wow that was actually really cool, what else do they have?”
You can also mix in some tutorial content related to your chosen niche, in the same format. For example “3 Easy GENIUS Hacks To Make Your _________ Better”. Now there’s a golden headline! Note the low number of hacks = low commitment, and also odd numbers work better than even, for some weird reason but it’s statistically proven!
Promote your product reviews on all your other social media. Also, create an ad-enabled WordPress blog and embed the videos, together with a written transcript of the video. You could also post the video on other video upload sites if they will allow affiliate links.
Amazon Affiliate Program And Other Alternatives
Amazon’s affiliate program (Amazon Associates) is great in some ways, not so great in others. Being an Amazon Associate does have one undeniable advantage: Everyone and their dog shops on Amazon, so people are very familiar with it and usually have no problem clicking and shopping there. It’s super convenient and so you get a high number of sales. The down side is that their commission rate is certainly on the low side. It’s around 3% now and they have cut it at least twice, despite no doubt making record profits. They suck for doing this, monopolies suck and they only get away with this kind of thing is by being the biggest game in town.
Another thing – I’ve been an Amazon Associate since I think 2013 and I have never had a late payment. Super reliable, no threats of being banned, minimal hassles of any kind. It’s an ideal platform for beginner affiliates. Get good at earning comms on there and then you will be ready to go after juicier catches…
The great news is that there are TONS of affiliate programs, some of which pay a lot better in terms of %. Most of the big box stores – Target, Walmart, Macys – and countless other retailers, have a program.
Some affiliate programs have quite specific and even stringent requirements. They might for example want you to already have a certain size audience or getting a good volume of blog traffic. Definitely sign up for several and don’t sweat it if a few turn you down because there are loads more! Another reason why being an affiliate for a number of companies is great is that you can add links to more than one retailer, so that your audience can compare prices. I’m in the process of researching a huge list of these and will make a post on that very soon – but in the meantime check out my List Of Best Ad Networks And Affiliate Programs For Blogs.
Not legal advice – but it’s a requirement that you notify people visibly about the fact that you are earning commissions. For the full details on this, pls see the FTC guidelines – Dot Com Disclosures.