90 percent of affiliate ads on YouTube and Pinterest aren’t disclosed

90 percent of affiliate links on Pinterest and YouTube are not disclosed, according to a Princeton University study; researchers found 3.4k affiliate links across 500k YouTube videos and 18.2k on 2.1M Pinterest pins; the report suggests disclosure is necessary because activity on affiliate links is higher on average.

The Princeton research analyzed over 500,000 YouTube videos and 2.1 million unique pins on Pinterest. Of those, 0.67 percent ( 3,472 videos on YouTube), and 0.85 percent (18,237 pins) contained affiliate links.

Who were the top companies getting referrals? Amazon and AliExpress. Within each platform, Amazon’s Amazon Associate Program had the largest presence (YouTube = 7,308, Pinterest = 7,368), closely followed by AliExpress’ Affiliate Program2 (YouTube = 2,167, Pinterest = 785).



In the US, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requires that content makers identify when they’re being paid to post something, but despite that, influencers continue to skirt-around disclosures. The FTC has previously sent out letters to influencers reminding them of the requirement to communicate paid relationships with brands to their followers.