Do Affiliate Marketing Programs Work for TikTok? A Guide to Making Money on TikTok

Natalia Tsvetkova Natalia Tsvetkova
Reading time:  9  min.

As one of the most popular social platforms, TikTok is of great interest for many influencers and marketers. However, TikTok affiliate marketing can be pretty different from doing promotions on other social networks due to the platform’s target audience and unique features. This post explains what TikTok affiliate marketing is and how to make money by promoting products on the platform.

How to make money on TikTok with affiliate marketing

What You Need to Know About TikTok

Tik Tok is gathering momentum and more and more digital entrepreneurs are looking for ways to use it to their advantage, and affiliate marketers are no exception. 

So, what is TikTok, and what makes it a good fit for business?

TikTok is a video-based platform that originated in China in 2016. The platform allows users to create short videos ranging from fun videos and memes to knowledge-sharing content. The app is on the rise and has over one billion monthly active users as of September 2021, which makes it the fifth largest social network in the world.

Here are some other facts about TikTok marketers need to know:

  1. The total number of TikTok downloads is over 4 billion as of December 2023.
  2. The app has won the hearts and minds of teens all over the world with over 40% of its users aged between 16 and 24. 
  3. The number of adult Tiktok users is also rapidly increasing. From October 2017 to March 2019, the number of adults users soared from 2.6M to 14.3M.
  4. On average, TikTok users spend over 52 minutes per day on the app and over 50% of its users visit the app more than twice per day.

The specific audience makeup of TikTok greatly determines which niches are popular on the platform. According to Statista, the following niches are currently on a roll on the platform:

  • Entertainment 
  • Dancing
  • Pranks
  • Fitness/Sports
  • Home reno/DIY
  • Beauty/Skincare
  • Fashion
  • Cooking/Baking
  • Life hacks/ Advice
  • Pets
  • Outdoors
Most popular niches on Tik Tok according to Statista
Source: Statista

However, almost any brand in any niche can use TikTok for business. The key is to use the platform to build relationships with your audience, not hard-sell. For this, you need to create content that will resonate with your followers and provide some extra value.

Here are some types of content that are likely to strike a chord with TikTok users and garner a lot of attention:

Type of contentExample from TikTok
Educational content.
TikTok is now investing a lot of effort
into promoting the #LearnOnTikTok program
to overcome the effects of the Covid19-pandemic and facilitate learning.
Videos dedicated to a special occasion
Life hacks or quick tips
Behind the scenes content
Decor ideas
Beauty and fashion tutorials
Social media challenges, etc.

How Does Affiliate Marketing Work?

Affiliate marketing is a popular marketing model based on the revenue sharing principle. Essentially, this model includes three players: a brand, an affiliate partner, and a customer. A brand, also known as an advertiser, promotes their product or service with the help of an affiliate partner, also called a publisher, who shares a link to the offer on their webpage, social media page, and so on. Each time a website visitor clicks the link and makes a purchase, the affiliate partner is rewarded with a commission.

Affiliate marketing is a win-win scenario for both the brand and affiliate, as it provides the former with a wider reach and advertising opportunities, while the latter can earn solid income by telling their audience about a relevant product.

The travel niche is a perfect industry for affiliate marketing, as online sales account for 66% of global revenue in the travel and tourism market. So, the industry presents great earning opportunities for affiliate partners.

What Is TikTok Affiliate Marketing?

New apps like TikTok open up new frontiers and marketing opportunities, while stealing audiences from Facebook, YouTube, and other networks. In fact, TikTok influencers make great affiliate marketers for younger audiences in their twenties. Furthermore, users are not afraid to spend money on the platform, as TikTok generated over $914.4M in user spending and is the second top-grossing app worldwide. Better yet, the affiliate market on TikTok is not saturated, so you still can get your share. Affiliate marketing on TikTok is not only possible, it can potentially be very lucrative.

Essentially, to do affiliate marketing on TikTok, you need to upload videos to attract your target audience and monetize it via affiliate links in videos or on external platforms. You can drive free organic traffic by sharing an affiliate link in your profile, sending visitors to another social platform, promoting links or coupons in your videos, or adding a link to your video description. If organic reach is not enough, there are some advertising options as well.

The Pros and Cons of Affiliate Marketing on TikTok

So, how is affiliate marketing on TikTok different and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

Fast growing audience from around the world with huge earning potential.TikTok features a mostly young audience in their twenties, so it may not be a good fit for every affiliate campaign.
Hashtags allow you to easily reach your audience and increase engagement.You cannot add clickable links to videos, and not all accounts can share a link in their bios.
TikTok also allows you to accumulate user-generated content.Advertising on TikTok is rather costly.
As TikTok is relatively new, the affiliate market is not yet saturated on the platform. 

How to Get Started With Affiliate Marketing on TikTok

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to start affiliate marketing on TikTok:

  1. Upgrade to a business account. Business accounts have access to the platform’s advertising and analytics features and can share clickable links. To switch to a business account, tap “Profile” at the bottom of the screen, go to “Settings and Privacy”, click “Manage Account”, and tap “Switch to Business Account”.
  2. Add a link to your profile bio. With a business account, you can add one clickable link directly to your profile. To do that, go to your profile, click “Edit Profile” and add your link under the “Website” field. You can add “Link in Bio” or the #LinkInBio hashtag to your videos and descriptions to make sure visitors do not miss it.
  3. Send traffic to your profile on other networks. Now, if you want to promote several links, you can either regularly change the link in your bio for each campaign or send traffic to other social networks, where you can share all your affiliate links. In the “Profile” section, tap “Edit Profile” and connect your Instagram and/or YouTube accounts.
  4. Send traffic to a landing page or blog. You can also share affiliate links to another webpage and invite your TikTok followers to check it out. Tools like Linktree will help you create a page on which you can share all your links.
  5. Promote discount codes. Apart from links, you can share discount codes in your videos or description section. If the brand you promote offers discount codes, make sure to check allowed traffic sources, as not all advertisers accept social traffic.

How to Leverage off of Organic Traffic

How can you use organic content to do travel affiliate marketing on TikTok? TikTok can be a powerful tool for driving traffic to affiliate content on your website or social media.

We’ve already mentioned that not all TikTok accounts have the option of placing affiliate links in TikTok bio and you can’t embed clickable affiliate links in TikTok videos.

Fortunately, there are several ways to get around this problem:

  1. Add YouTube and Instagram links to your profile and nudge your followers to follow you on other social media that allow placing affiliate links.
  2. Another way is to use promo codes in your videos.
  3. Switch to the Business account to add an URL to your bio.
  4. You can also add a non-clickable URL to your content description.

Another way is to use promo codes in your videos. For example, in Travelpayouts, the partner program of the flight aggregator WayAway has a WayAway Plus Promo Code partner tool. By using this tool, you can create a custom promo code at a 10% discount on purchasing the WayAway Plus Membership Plan. With this plan, travelers save money by getting cash back up to 10% for booking hotels, excursions, car rentals, and other travel services. For every sale of the WayAway Plus membership plan, you’ll earn $10.

Need more actionable tips on how to use affiliate links on TikTok and other social media platforms? Watch this video.

It’s also important to keep in mind that organic reach is one of the most vital factors determining the success of your affiliate campaigns on TikTok. This is because it allows you to build long-lasting relationships with your audience and boost brand awareness and engagement.  

Here are some hands-on tips to increase your organic reach on TikTok.

  1. Post consistently and frequently as the app’s algorithm favors it. Fortunately, you can do it hassle-free thanks to the platform’s advanced editing features.
  2. Create top-notch compelling content that may be useful or entertaining for your audience.
  3. Interact with content relevant to your niche. Linking and commenting on videos related to your niche can help you reach out to more people and attract more attention to your content.
  4. Invite your audience from other social media to follow you on TikTok.
  5. Create useful lead magnets to capture email addresses and boost your subscriber list.
  6. Find out what’s trending on TikTok and tap into the trends.
  7. Use relevant hashtags to help people discover your content.
  8. Start your own trend or challenge and invite people to join in.
  9. Team up with other creators.

How to Use Paid Advertising on TikTok

To yield even better affiliate results and reach out to more people, you can leverage TikTok advertising. TikTok provides lots of advertising options to help brands hit their marketing goals. 

TopView Ads

This ad format is best-suited to garner the undivided attention of users. The ads are full-screen videos up to 60 seconds long, with auto-play and sound. eBay used this ad type to reach out to young people in the UK and promote their #StrongerAsOne campaign. According to TikTok, the campaign resulted in over 17 million impressions. 

A TikTok TopView Ad
Source: TikTok

Brand Takeover Ads

These are full-screen video ads presented to your audience as soon as they open the app. There are multiple creative options in this ad type which supports both 3-second JPG and 3-5 second videos. Too Faced launched their TikTok ad campaign to grab the attention of the Generation Z women in the UK. The campaign resulted in 7.8 million impressions and 1.3 million clicks to the product page. 

TikTok Brand Takeover Ad example
Source: TikTok

In-Feed Ads

This ad type provides a seamless advertising experience allowing marketers to embed their video content into users’ For You feed. The video can be up to 60 seconds long, and it allows users to comment, share, and like it. So, this ad type is a perfect tool to boost engagement. For example, MadBox used this ad type to promote the Idle Ants game and witnessed a 36% increase in the conversion rate and over 10K app downloads within the first week. 

TikTok In-Feed Ad Example
Source: TikTok

Branded Hashtag Challenge

These ads help marketers get more exposure, increase brand awareness, and aggregate tons of user-generated content. Branded Hashtag Challenges are highly effective as they encourage people to unleash their creativity and skyrocket engagement levels.

To launch a Branded hashtag Challenge campaign, you need to invite your audience to create content under your branded hashtag. Converse used this ad format inspiring users to turn their Converse sneakers into “creative canvas” and managed to drive over 24 million views and 1.8 million clicks to the challenge page. 

TikTok Branded hashtag challenge example
Source: TikTok

Branded Effects

Branded Effects is the go-to ad type for entertaining your audience and boosting brand awareness and engagement. It allows creating and sharing custom-made stickers, filters, and special effects. Here’s an example of how Mucinex, a cold and flu medicine, managed to generate over 5.8 billion video views and accumulate over 500+ user-generated videos with their #BeatTheZombieFunk campaign featuring the brand’s mascot.

TikTok branded effects example
Source: TikTok

How to Make Money From Affiliate Marketing on TikTok

Now that you know how to reach an audience on TikTok and grab their attention, it’s time to think through your strategy on the platform. Here are a few tips on how to run successful affiliate marketing campaigns on TikTok:

  1. Post consistently. As TikTok is popular for short-form videos up to one minute long, it is only reasonable that marketers try to upload content regularly. Be consistent to catch up with your competition.
  2. Add two to three hashtags per video. Hashtags improve your reach and allow users to find your content more easily.
  3. Choose affiliate products carefully. The overall demographics on TikTok are young, so it is more efficient to promote products that are relevant for Millennials and Generation Z. However, every audience is different, so it is always better to regularly check the analytics for your channel.
  4. Consider running ads. Sometimes, it can be pretty hard to gain a lot of impressions, especially if you are just starting out. However, if you want to boost your campaigns quickly, running ads can be useful.
  5. Test different strategies. Some marketers successfully leverage organic traffic, while others get the best results with paid advertising. Test different strategies when running affiliate marketing on TikTok to determine what works best for you and your target audience.

Learn more about affiliate marketing on TikTok and other social media platforms at Travelpayouts Academy.

Is TikTok Affiliate Marketing Worth It?

TikTok is a relatively new social network, yet it has a lot of earning potential for influencers and marketers alike. To run efficient affiliate marketing campaigns on TikTok, you need to remember that the platform’s audience is rather young and not all products will be relevant to them. In addition, TikTok does not allow you to add clickable links under videos, so most marketers use the platform to attract an audience and send that traffic to other platforms with links. With that said, TikTok does offer diverse advertising opportunities that you can take advantage of.

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