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Affiliate Marketing on Instagram in 2021

Updated: Feb 23, 2021

Does Affiliate Marketing Work on Instagram?

Instagram keeps gaining popularity. With over 1 billion users worldwide, it has become the most popular social media platform. According to Statista, 34% of users are aged between 25 and 34 years old. This makes it a perfect marketplace for Brands. In fact, a lot of companies switched from other marketing channels to only run campaigns and ads on Insta. Affiliate Marketing is the perfect way to monetize your Instagram account.

In short, here are the ways to make money on Instagram with affiliate programs we review below:

  • Shorten your link and add it to the bio of your profile.

  • Type in the short link in a post.

  • Add a shortened affiliate link to a story.

  • Use a coupon code

  • Use the linktree tool

Let's get into details..

Instagram provides a great opportunity for users with minimal to no marketing background to collaborate with brands and monetize their Instagram accounts.

According to Medium, a social media star Jason Stone (@Millionaire_Mentor) has managed to generate $7 million in retail sales through Instagram affiliate marketing! That being said, you definitely have a good chance of transforming your Insta hobby into career with affiliate marketing.

To be an Instagram Influencer, You Need to Influence

This is essential. There is not a required number of followers you should reach, but you need to have influence. Regular engagement with your audience is what a Brand is looking for.

Engagement Rate (ER) on Instagram is a popular social media benchmark. ER is your likes and comments divided by the follower count.

Engagement Rate = (Likes + Comments) /followers x 100

In fact, brands prefer calculating the ER on each post.

Tip: Respond to every comment, even if it’s just a kiss emoji. By doing that, you will double your engagement rate per post.

Where do I start?

If you think that you have some influence on people, you can start monetizing Instagram account.

Here is what you should start with:

  • Analyze your audience. What types of products or services are they interested in?

  • Ask a question in a story or post and you’ll be surprised how many people respond.

  • Create your master list and narrow down products and services worth posting about.

  • Research brands and companies in your preferred niche

  • Be sure to try products or services you’d like to recommend

  • Contact the Brand to see how you can work as an affiliate or influencer

  • Compare affiliate program terms

Tip A: Once you’ve picked Brand-winners you want to work with, create your posting strategy. Posting frequently usually has better results than a one-time post.

Tip B: Make sure you have your contact info in the bio. Brands might be searching for Influencers like yourself, and if they find you and want to reach out, it would be a pity if they had no way to contact you. (Add a screenshot of a link in the bio.)

How to get your affiliate link?

Now you need a tracking link that has your unique affiliate code. This code will help connect each sale with your account. Ask a brand to either join the affiliate platform or provide you a tracking link.

Brands have a few options on how and where to host affiliate programs. A program may be hosted in-house, or on a 3rd party affiliate network. Frankly speaking, an affiliate network is a better option for a publisher when you promote a few Brands. It is a lot easier to log in to one dashboard and see stats for all promoted brands in one place. Also, affiliate networks provide tons of material on how to get started and useful tips on optimization.

Here is a list of reliable affiliate networks:

  1. ShareASale

  2. CJ

  3. Pepperjam

  4. Awin

  5. Rakuten

All of them are free to join for publishers.

Note: There is always a threshold for the payment to be made. It is usually $50 or $100. So if you had one sale and your commission is $20, you’ll have to wait until you get more conversions to finally receive your payment.

Tip: Explore these affiliate networks and see what brands they work with.

How to use affiliate links on Instagram

Instagram doesn’t allow you to add links in a post capture, nor in the comments. However, there are other ways to make it work.

Here are the ways to add affiliate links:

#1. Shorten your link and add it to the bio of your profile. Use any URL shortening tool or any URL browser extension.

Tip: If the tools allows you to track stats, that’d be helpful. You can use this data to cross check your metrics with the merchants’ affiliate dashboard.

#2. You can type the short link in a post. Although it is not clickable, it’s easy for a user who is interested in a product to type it in search or simply copy/paste.

#3. Add a shortened affiliate link to a story.

#4. Use a coupon code. Although this is not a link, this option is quite popular among influencers. Request a custom code from a Brand. All sales attributed to this code should be credited to your account.

#5. Use the linktree tool if you’re promoting products from Amazon.

Will I make money with affiliate marketing on Instagram?

Instagram Affiliate Marketing is one of the most effective ways of collaborating with a Brand. If you think about it, it is a win-win situation. For Brands (Merchants), it is a fast-track way to reach more potential customers. We expect affiliate marketing to only grow bigger in the coming years.

***In fact, 90% of shoppers have been influenced to make a purchase by user-generated content.

We wrote another post about additional ways to make money with Instagram to earn passive income.

Can I partner with brands without joining the affiliate program?

Yes, you can! There are other ways to cooperate. is a tool by Later that allows content creators to add a link in their bio or tag products in Instagram posts to turn your feed into a clickable, optimized landing page.

With this tool, you’ll also get your performance stats: clicks, page views, and sales from each post. You can view it in Later tool, or even in Google Analytics. (add pics)

Here is, in short, what can help you with:

  • Share more than one link in your Instagram bio!

  • Link individual Instagram posts to specific articles, websites, videos & more

  • Add multiple links to one Instagram post 

  • Ensure your followers can find what they’re looking for while scrolling through your feed

The tool tells you how much traffic and sales your post generated and measures your ROI. You can then present this data to a Brand you work with and get paid based on driven traffic and the sales you generated for them.


If you’re reading this post, it means you’re looking for the best way to monetize your Instagram page and make passive income. An alternative to influencer marketing is an affiliate marketer on Instagram. In fact, if you’re just getting started, brands would be more excited to start working with you on an affiliate basis, since they only pay when a sale is done. Once you prove that you have relevant traffic and bring in several sales, you can explore more options with a Brand. Great communication and long-term relations with a merchant is the key to successful monetization of your Instagram account.

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