Disclosure: This page contains affiliate links. If you click through and purchase an item, I may earn a commission. See my terms of service for details.
Amazon launched in 1994 as an online bookstore, and much has changed since then. It generates billions in sales annually, and it ships millions of different products around the world. It competes in various industries including online and offline retail, consumer electronics, entertainment, gaming, home services, publishing, web services, product fulfillment, and more. Where Amazon doesn’t have a presence, rest assured its developing plans to enter those markets, for example, pharmaceuticals and healthcare.
- Founded by Jeff Bezos in 1994
- Headquarters: Seattle, Washington, USA
- Amazon employs 200,000+ people in the United States and 500,000+ worldwide
- Its biggest sales events include Prime Day and Cyber Monday
- More than half of the units sold on Amazon worldwide are from third-party sellers
- Prime members exceed 100 million globally
- Sites like Amazon and alternatives: Alibaba, AliExpress, eBay, JD.com, Shopify, and Walmart
Amazon Affiliate Program
Amazon has an affiliate program that goes by the name of Amazon Associates. It’s one of the first programs many new bloggers and affiliates learn about. Anyone can apply to join the program, but Amazon has a strict application review process. The program is self-hosted and uses proprietary affiliate tracking software. Let’s review the benefits, drawbacks, commission rate, cookie length, and details of the program.
Amazon is a well-established company that is trusted by millions of customers globally. It has millions of products to promote. It’s an online department store with over 20 product categories including books, computers, luggage, pet supplies, and more. That makes promoting and directing traffic to it easy, and shoppers don’t hesitate to buy. Affiliates in any niche can easily find goods to market.
Affiliates can earn variable and fixed commissions. Publishers can earn up to 10 percent on sales. The Amazon bounty program pays fixed advertising fees (bounties) when visitors try or sign-up for services and programs. For example, you will earn a $5 bonus for every Amazon Fresh trial sign-up and a $3 bonus for every Amazon Music trial sign-up.
Associates can advertise in different ways including:
- Create links (deep linking) for products, pages, and search results. You can also create short links, for example, http://amzn.to/2p0xP91.
- Display banners on your site that come in many shapes and sizes.
- Use native shopping ads to promote relevant and dynamic product recommendations.
- Use mobile popover ads to earn up to 30 percent more.
Associates can promote discounted items. Promo codes enable customers to get discounts on eligible products at checkout. Merchants must create promo codes for publishers to use.
Amazon gives you many monetization tools including:
- SiteStripe allows you to create links directly from Amazon.com without having to visit Amazon Associates.
- Publisher Studio enables you to add links to products on Amazon.com from your site’s content editor.
- The Product Advertising API (PA API) provides programmatic access for advanced users to Amazon’s product selection.
- OneLink creates a seamless redirect for your international visitors by directing them to the most suitable and relevant Amazon store.
- The Amazon Associates Link Builder WordPress plugin makes adding products to your WordPress site efficient.
Affiliates can create tracking IDs to monitor performance. For example, you could create a link with an ID for your website and one for your promotional activities on Facebook. If you have multiple sites, you could build links/IDs for each to compare their stats and results.
Reporting and analytics are above average. You can monitor clicks, conversions, and commissions on a user-friendly dashboard. Also, you can select time periods, download reports, and view your payment history.
Amazon’s payout threshold is low. If you elect to receive payments via direct deposit or gift card, the payment threshold is 10 USD. Payments issued by check have a threshold of 100 USD.
The program is available in 13 countries and ten languages, which truly makes it a global affiliate program.
Amazon pays a low commission rate of zero to 10 percent. For all that Amazon is, its program falls short of rewarding affiliates generously. Although you might convert a high-ticket/expensive item and receive an excellent payout, low commission rates will work against you.
The cookie length is insufficient. Associates are credited with qualifying purchases that occur within 24 hours–a 24-hour cookie–through standard links. The cookie/referral period extends for a product that is added to a shopping cart and purchased no later than 89 days after the initial click. Regarding cookies and qualifying purchases, Amazon states,
(a) a customer clicks through a Special Link on your Site to an Amazon Site; and
(b) during a single session, which is measured as beginning when a customer clicks through that Special Link and ending upon the first to occur of the following: (x) 24 hours elapse from that click, (y) the customer places an order for a Product, other than a digital item sold under the name “Amazon Music,” “Amazon Shorts”, “eDocs”, “Amazon Prime Video”, “Amazon Software Downloads”, “Game Downloads”, “Kindle Books”, “Kindle Newspapers”, “Kindle Blogs”, “Kindle Newsfeeds”, or “Kindle Magazines” (a “Digital Product”), or (z) the customer clicks through a Special Link to an Amazon Site that is not your Special Link (a “Session”), any of the following happens:
- the customer purchases a Product via our 1-Click feature, or
- the customer purchases a Product by adding a Product to his or her shopping cart and completing the order for that Product no later than 89 days after their initial click-through of the Special Link, or
- with respect to Digital Products, the customer purchases such a Product by streaming or downloading it from an Amazon Site; and
(c) the Product is shipped to, streamed or downloaded by, and paid for by the customer.
The affiliate landing page needs work. An affiliate landing page is supposed to be informative, but Amazon misses the mark. It does a subpar job of disclosing critical program details such as the cookie length and payout options. Instead, it provides many links to “learn more.” The point of a landing page is to learn more about a program, not to point users in every which way or have them hunt for details. Lastly, Amazon could simplify and improve the page by adding an FAQ.
There isn’t a dedicated affiliate manager. Instead, random customer service representatives are responsible for addressing publisher inquiries. When a merchant has the staff to support publishers, it quickens processes and shows commitment.
Can you make $1,000 a month as an Amazon affiliate? While Amazon is a top ecommerce company, it’s unlikely that you will make that amount or a significant income. Low commission rates and a 24-hour cookie will constrain your earnings and conversions.
Some publishers report making six-figures with Amazon Associates, but those claims are either outdated or untrue. At a 10 percent commission rate, you would need to sell $100,000 to earn $10,000. Selling that much while flirting with 24-hour referral periods leads to the improbable. Moreover, anyone who could covert that much would probably make more money selling products through Amazon FBA or using online store software like Shopify. Secondly, generating that much for Amazon only to take home breadcrumbs is a win-lose scenario (you end up the LOSER).
Where should Amazon Associates rank in your marketing activities? It should be a low priority. Although you can earn money and promote millions of different goods, you must be practical and maintain low expectations. I’ve made $491.44 since 2014 (no, that’s not a typo) and don’t expect monthly payouts. I recommend joining Amazon Associates, but there are much better programs available.
Related Affiliate Programs
- Shopify Affiliate Program
- AliExpress Affiliate Program
- eBay Partner Network
- Fiverr Affiliate Program
- Walmart Affiliate Program