How to do affiliate marketing on Instagram

Affiliate Marketing on Instagram: A Complete Guide

In this blog, we will cover everything you need to create a wildly profitable Instagram affiliate marketing business. How to do affiliate marketing on Instagram, Exact steps to get set up fast, Crafting high-quality, trust-building content, Growing your account the right way, Tracking progress and optimising over time, Must-have tools to amplify efforts and Tips from top earners.

Table of Contents

Affiliate marketing on Instagram has exploded in popularity over the past few years. Influencers of all sizes have leveraged Instagram’s highly engaged user base and visual nature to drive affiliate sales and earn life-changing income.

Instagram offers immense potential reach with over 2.4 billion monthly active users and over 500 million user stories daily (Source: Demandsage).

instagram monthly active users
Source: Demandsage

The platform gives regular people like you and me access to build a massive audience and promote products we love to earn commissions.

In fact, a study by Mediakix found that posts by influencers with under 1,00,000 followers generated higher engagement than those with larger followings. This means you don’t need millions of followers to find success. By implementing the right strategies, you can earn a lucrative income through affiliate marketing on Instagram right from your phone.

In this blog, we’ll break down everything you need to know to crush affiliate marketing on Instagram.

Understanding Affiliate Marketing on Instagram

Affiliate marketing is a business model where marketers promote other companies’ products through links and earn commissions when site visitors purchase through those links.

understanding affiliate marketing on Instagram
Overview of How Affiliate Marketing Works on Instagram

On Instagram specifically, affiliate marketing typically works like this:

1. You join an affiliate program for a brand that offers products relevant to your audience. Popular programs include Amazon Associates, Rakuten, Awin, Impact Radius, and more.

2. After getting approved, you receive unique affiliate links to promote those brands’ products. These links will track any traffic, clicks, and eventual purchases driven by your promotion efforts back to your account.

3. You then creatively embed these affiliate links in your Instagram bio, posts, stories, reels, videos, and anywhere else you can add clickable links.

4. Whenever one of your followers clicks your affiliate link and completes a purchase, you earn a commission off that sale ranging anywhere from 1-20% or more. Commissions vary widely depending on the brand.

5. Over time, these commissions add up, allowing Instagram affiliate marketing to become a sizable passive income stream.

Unlike traditional advertising models, affiliate links allow you to earn ongoing income from any follower that clicks your link initially, whether they buy immediately or months down the line. It’s an exceptionally powerful model.

Benefits of Affiliate Marketing on Instagram!

Here are some of the major benefits of using Instagram specifically for affiliate marketing:

Higher Engagement Rates

Instagram posts inherently inspire interaction through visual media. This means higher comment rates, link clicks, and overall engagement compared to other platforms. More eyes on your posts and links drive more potential affiliate sales.

Access to Massive Audience

Instagram now has over 2.4 billion monthly active users, as mentioned above. That’s an enormous potential customer base you can access completely free just by creating content. Compare that to pricey advertising channels that limit your reach and targeting options. No other platform offers the same organic reach potential.

Visually-Focused Platform

Instagram’s focus on photos and short videos makes it easy to showcase products you recommend in beautiful, attention-grabbing ways. Creative visuals inspire people to engage more and click your links. Show, don’t tell.

Trust & Relationships

When using affiliate links, it’s essential to build trust and rapport with followers by providing value first before promoting. Instagram makes it easy to directly engage with your audience and form genuine connections that drive conversions over time.

Younger Demographic

Over 90% of Instagram users are under the age of 35. This means incredible access to the valuable millennial and Gen Z demographic. You can build loyalty early and earn commissions from their purchases for years to come.

To summarise,

Instagram presents a remarkable platform for affiliate marketers to tap into unprecedented scale while forging meaningful relationships with followers. This drives higher conversions and lifetime value from each user.

Now that we’ve covered the immense potential, let’s look at how to actually get started.

How to Start Affiliate Marketing on Instagram?

Getting into Instagram affiliate marketing may seem overwhelming initially. By breaking down the exact steps to take, you can get up and running in no time. Here are the best practices for Instagram affiliate marketing.

Step 1: Find your Audience

The first step is to find the audience. I know this is the most difficult part. So, to make it simple, you can choose a niche that you’re already knowledgeable and passionate about.

Here are the methods for getting started:

  1. Create a Business or Creator profile on Instagram.
  2. Optimize your profile with keywords and hashtags.
  3. Start creating engaging content around your niche.
  4. Create a community by collaborating with people in your niche.
  5. Be consistent and selective of what you post, and try sticking to your niche.

Some examples include health/fitness, beauty, pets, food, nutrition, parenting, home goods, tech gadgets, fashion, travel, photography, and more.

Step 2: Find Relevant Affiliate Programs

Search for affiliate programs with attractive commission structures that offer products relevant to your niche. 

Amazon Associates and Rakuten are great places to start for beginners, given their unmatched range of products. EarnKaro, ShareASale, RewardStyle, Awin, Impact, and Pepperjam also provide access to top brands in popular categories.

You can choose the affiliate program according to

1. Pay per click: In this, you will get paid when someone clicks the link.

2. Cost per acquisition: In this method, you will get paid after a successful sale.

Submit applications and get approved before moving forward. Make sure to read through the program rules and requirements thoroughly.

Instagram keeps bringing new features for creators. Here are some ways where you can place your affiliate links in different sections.

1. You can add up to 5 links on your Instagram bio. So, play your game strategically.

Here is an example:

Sorav Jain instagram profile
Sorav Jain instagram links

2. If you have multiple affiliate links, then you can use tools like LinkTree and Taplink that will help you add multiple links.

Linktree example for affiliate marketing on instagram
Taplink example for affiliate marketing on instagram

3. Use the Link Button feature on Instagram to place your affiliate links on stories.

Add link to instagram story

4. Use Instagram story highlights to preserve your story beyond 24 hours.

story highlights on instagram for affiliate marketing

5. Ask your users to copy and paste links.

Step 5: Grow Your Following

Leverage hashtags, engage with your audience, host contests, collaborate with others, and post daily to expand your reach.

Set realistic yet aggressive growth goals week over week. Tools like Hashtag Expert help you find popular hashtags to tap into.

Step 6: Track Metrics & Optimise

Review performance analytics weekly and monthly to determine what content resonates best and drives the most clicks and conversions within your affiliate links using tracking software.

Double down on what works and adjust your strategy based on data

Setting Up your Instagram Affiliate Marketing Strategy- At a Glance!
  • Choose Your Niche & Audience
  • Find Relevant Affiliate Programs
  • Craft An Instagram Profile That Builds Authority
  • Provide Value & Build Trust Over Time
  • Analyse Performance Data

Crafting Your Instagram Content for Affiliate Marketing

Creating genuinely valuable content focused on helping your audience is key to long-term success with affiliate marketing. Follow these best practices:

1. Showcase Products Visually

Compelling imagery captures attention quickly. Shoot product photos and videos in flattering, natural lighting against clean backdrops. Style items attractively on their own or as used in real life.

2. Share Authentic Stories

Document your honest experiences and recommendations around featured products. This builds a personal connection and trust that drives conversions.

3. Give Sneak Peeks

Offer fans exclusive sneak peeks at new products you’re reviewing or haven’t announced publicly yet. Early access makes them feel special and incentivises clicks.

an influencer showing sneak peeks of shooting affiliate product
Showing Sneak Peek

4. Create Tutorials & Guides

Post-step-by-step tutorials showcasing how you styled an outfit or meal using certain products. Compile themed guides and roundups of your top picks.

Teach new skills related to your niche, like makeup techniques or workout moves, using affiliated products. You need to know that educational content always positions you as an authority.

5. Feature User-Generated Content

Ask followers to tag you in photos using products you’ve promoted. Repost the most genuine, enthusiastic posts. User images build credibility through third-party validation.

6. Give Followers Discount Codes

Negotiate exclusive promo codes and special offers with affiliate brands. Sharing these discounts only with your audience incentivises clicking your links and builds loyalty.

Influencer adding discount codes on their story
Influencer Using Affiliate Code on IG Story

7. Spotlight Sales & Deals

Let followers know when popular items you’ve promoted previously go on sale. Create a sense of urgency to take advantage of deals which will convert higher.

8. Ask Questions

Pose questions in captions to spark engagement. “Have you tried this product yet?” Polls and question stickers in stories generate comments you can @reply to for more connection.

9. Be Transparent About the Process

Share behind-the-scenes details on your affiliate marketing efforts – the wins and lessons learned. This vulnerability and honesty foster trust.

10. Respond To All Comments

Reply to every comment, question and DM you receive. This highly personal engagement makes followers more inclined to purchase products you recommend after seeing how much you care.

reply to all the comments on instagram

Only add affiliate links to products organically mentioned in post captions. Hyperlinked text blends better than lengthy URLs. Encourage saving posts for reference with CTAs like “Links in bio!“.

Add links in Bio CTA

That covers content creation. Let’s explore growing your audience next.

Growing and Engaging Your Instagram Audience

Creating stellar content is only half the battle. You also need a sizable audience to promote, too. Use these proven organic growth tactics:

1. Leverage Instagram Stories & Reels

  • Post Stories and Reels aligned to your niche consistently.
  • Use interactive stickers, polls and questions to spark high engagement.
  • Ask followers to tag you in related Stories.
  • Cross-post top-performing Reels to feed.

2. Host Giveaways & Contests

  • Run exciting giveaways and contests with niche brands. Require followers to tag friends and amplify reach.
  • Use third-party apps like Gleam to collect entries and pick random winners.
host giveaways and contests

3. Use a Keyword Strategy to Tap Into Communities

  • Research popular performing keywords in your industry.
  • Engage with the top posts daily.
  • Slowly gain followers from niche communities organically finding your content.

4. Follow & Engage With Your Audience

Take time daily to like posts, reply to comments, and tag back stories from your followers. This highly personal engagement incentivises them to remain loyal and engaged.

5. Collaborate With Micro-Influencers

Partner with relevant micro-influencers in your niche for cross-promotions, shoutouts and collaborative content. Aligning with others expands your collective reach.

6. Interact With Notable Accounts

Engage with more popular accounts through likes, comments and DMs. Some will follow back or even promote you to their audience. Landing a few bigger co-signs accelerates growth.

Leveraging these tactics consistently over months and years will compound growth. Now, let’s examine tracking performance.

Organic growth strategies- On The Go!

  • Collaborate with other micro-influencers in your niche for shoutouts.
  • Host giveaways for free products or gift cards with engagement requirements
  • Go live regularly to build rapport and answer questions in real time.
  • Repurpose top-performing posts as ads to reach new profiles.
  • Leave thoughtful comments on others’ similar content pages.
  • Respond promptly to all DMs, comments and questions.
  • Cross-promote your new Instagram content on other platforms.
  • Create behind-the-scenes content showing your process and personality.
  • Repost engaging user-generated content with credit.

Tracking and Optimising Your Affiliate Marketing Efforts

To continually improve results, it’s critical to monitor performance data and trends. Review these metrics regularly:

1. Calculate the engagement rate on each post by dividing Likes + Comments by your number of followers. Aim for 4-8% or better. A higher Engagement Rate drives more link clicks.

2. Affiliate networks provide stats on total link clicks and click-through rates. Monitor which posts and links perform best. This indicates interest.

3. Conversion rate measures the percentage of visitors that take a desired action – in this case, making a purchase. Improving conversion rate grows overall sales.

4. See exactly which products visitors purchase most after clicking your links. Double down on promoting bestsellers.

5. Track total affiliate commission earnings over time. Set realistic goals to scale monthly income.

6. Calculate weekly and monthly follower growth rates. Growing pages see 5-15% gains per month.

7. While some unfollows are normal, mass unfollows indicate issues with your content. Use tools like HypeAuditor to monitor your unfollows.

8. Ask followers directly what they want to see more of through polls and questions. Incorporate suggestions into your strategy.

9. Reviewing performance often rather than sporadically means you can pivot faster if certain areas start plateauing. Testing small tweaks to find the optimal mix is key.

Now, let’s explore must-have tools to amplify efforts.

Instagram Affiliate Marketing Tools

Running a successful affiliate business takes more than an iPhone and a basic Instagram app. Here are game-changing tools to integrate:

1. Content Schedulers

Apps like Buffer and Preview allow you to automatically plan and schedule Instagram posts weeks in advance. This saves hours while staying consistent.

Bitly, Shorby, and more shorten links to clean up captions. They provide click metrics on all your links to optimise your promotion strategy.

3. Audience Analysis Tools

Iconosquare provides valuable demographic data on your followers, such as age, gender, and location, to better understand their interests and purchase intent signals.

4. UGC Tools

Crowdfire identifies user-generated content about your products for reposting. This serves as authentic social proof.

5. Engagement Pods

Joining engagement pods (groups that agree to Like/comment on each other’s new posts) helps ensure your posts get initial momentum with the algorithm.

6. Affiliate Platforms Provide Reporting

Your chosen affiliate programs should provide analytics on conversions driven by your links. Monitor closely to find winning products.

7. Email Marketing Integrations

Sync your Instagram followers into an email list for promotions. Include affiliate links in newsletters and announcements.

Implementing the right tools for automation, analytics and audience building streamlines scaling your earnings.

Pay close attention to:

  • Click-through-rates on different types of posts
  • Conversions from specific affiliate links and campaigns
  • Follower growth rates and engagement changes
  • Traffic sources leading to sales
  • Optimal posting times and formats

Analyse performance monthly to refine your approach. Drop underperforming programs/products while doubling down on top-converting ones. Try shifting content strategies, keywords, hashtags or targeting based on insights.

Don’t be afraid to experiment. Small tweaks can make a big difference over time. The key is continuous testing and optimisation to gradually increase sales and earnings.


With the right strategy and persistence, affiliate marketing on Instagram offers huge potential for income generation this year. Focus on providing value first, building genuine connections, and promoting quality programs/products to gradually increase sales over time. 

Analyse metrics to continuously refine your approach. Most importantly, remain authentic in your niche and let your following grow organically. If you implement these strategies consistently, affiliate marketing success on Instagram is within reach.

Learn from the best- Digital Scholar!

Want to start a successful career as an affiliate marketer and looking for the best affiliate programs for Instagram? Look no further than Digital Scholar

As a leading agency-style digital marketing training institute in India, we can help you gain the skills needed to thrive in this booming industry.

Our in-depth Digital Marketing Certification course covers everything you need to know to get started. 

As far as affiliate marketing is concerned, you’ll learn how to set up campaigns properly, select lucrative affiliate programs, generate high-converting content across platforms like Instagram, YouTube, and blogs, and use analytics to optimise and scale your efforts and a lot more. 

We also provide invaluable insights on strategy, branding, traffic generation, and more from their experienced team of industry professionals.

Sign up for the Instagram affiliate marketing course now and kick-start your successful career!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. How many followers do you need to become an affiliate on Instagram?

A. Instagram does not have a specific follower count requirement to become an affiliate. Instead, success in affiliate marketing on Instagram often depends on your engagement rate, content quality, and how well you can influence your audience.

Q. Is Instagram affiliate marketing worth it?

A. Instagram affiliate marketing can be worth it if you have a dedicated and engaged following. Promoting products or services allows you to earn commissions, but success varies based on your niche, audience size, and engagement.

Q. Can I do affiliate marketing on Instagram?

A. Yes, you can do affiliate marketing on Instagram. You can earn commissions on sales made through your affiliate links by promoting affiliate products in your posts, stories, or Instagram Reels.

Q. Which social media is best for affiliate marketing?

A. The best social media platform for affiliate marketing depends on your target audience and niche. Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook are popular due to their large user bases and content versatility, but platforms like Pinterest and Twitter can also be effective for certain niches.

Q. How do I start affiliate marketing?

A. To start affiliate marketing, choose a niche, find a reputable affiliate program or network that fits your niche, create quality content to promote your chosen products or services, and use your affiliate links to track sales.

Q. Is affiliate marketing free?

A. Affiliate marketing can be started for free, as it typically does not require any upfront investment to join most affiliate programs. However, investing in creating high-quality content and possibly in advertising can enhance your affiliate marketing efforts.

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Written By
Digital Scholar

Digital Scholar is a premier agency-styled digital marketing institute in India. Which offers an online digital marketing course and a free digital marketing course worldwide to elevate their digital skills and become industry experts. Digital Scholar is headed by Sorav Jain and co-founder Rishi Jain, who are pioneers in the field of digital marketing. Digital Scholar’s blogs touch upon numerous aspects of digital marketing and help you get intensive ideas of different domains of digital marketing.

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