October 27, 2023
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Amazon launched in 1994 as an online bookstore, and much has changed. It generates billions in sales annually and ships millions of products worldwide. 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, it is developing plans to enter those markets, such as pharmaceuticals and healthcare.
- Founded by Jeff Bezos in 1994
- Headquarters: Seattle, Washington, USA
- Stock ticker: AMZN
- Amazon employs 1m+ people worldwide
- Its most significant 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 150 million globally
Amazon Affiliate Program Review
The Amazon affiliate program, also known as Amazon Associates, is a way to earn money by referring customers to Amazon. Bloggers, YouTubers, marketers, and influencers use affiliate links to advertise products listed on Amazon. When customers click those links and buy products, affiliates can earn commissions (or referral fees).
Amazon Associates launched in 1996. Undoubtedly, it’s one of the largest affiliate programs by the number of active members. The program has generated millions for Amazon, making it a lucrative performance marketing strategy.
Amazon Associates is among the first programs many new bloggers and affiliate marketers encounter. The program is self-hosted and uses in-house affiliate tracking software.
Amazon Associates is free to join. You must have an active and established website, mobile app, YouTube channel, or social media profile to participate in the program. Amazon accepts Facebook (excluding personal pages), Instagram, X, and Twitch accounts. Organic followers should total at least 500.
Amazon’s list of unsuitable sites includes those that:
- Promote or contain sexually explicit or obscene materials, such as pornography,
- Promote violence or include violent materials,
- Promote or contain false, deceptive, libelous, or defamatory materials,
- Promote or include materials or activity that is hateful, harassing, harmful, invasive of another’s privacy, abusive, or discriminatory,
- Promote or engage in illegal activities,
- Target children; knowingly collect, use, or disclose personal information from children under 13 years of age or another applicable age threshold; or violate child protection laws,
- Include any Amazon trademark or its affiliates, or a variant or misspelling of an Amazon brand or its affiliates in any domain name, subdomain name, in any “tag” or Associates ID, or any username, group name, or another identifier on any social networking site; or
- Violate any intellectual property rights.
How to Sign Up or Apply
- Visit the Amazon Associates page.
- Check the FAQs to ensure eligibility.
- Click on Sign Up.
- Enter your account information, such as your name, address, etc.
- Enter your website(s), mobile app(s), and YouTube channel(s). Only enter digital properties where you plan to advertise Amazon.
- Describe your digital property and complete the traffic and monetization questionnaire.
- Verify your account with your phone number.
- Enter your payout details (bank account info) and complete the tax information interview.
After you sign up, the Associates’ team will check your application once you’ve driven qualified sales (they require at least three within the first 180 days). In their review, they’ll check all the sites you’ve provided (websites, mobile apps, social network pages, and Alexa skills) to ensure they meet their customer experience bar. All sites must have robust original content (even when advertising is removed) and at least ten posts. They must be publicly available (for example, they should not be a closed group or behind a paywall).
Amazon Associates Menu and Tools
Create and get links, banners, native shopping ads, and other marketing resources.
Unlock additional earnings by building connections directly with brands selling products you want to promote.
The Idea Hub allows you to browse content ideas such as inspirational promotions, events, deals, and products throughout Amazon in one place. The suggestions cover various content types, for example, Best Deals and Deals of the Day. When you see opportunities and ideas that interest you, click on the Get Link button to copy the link to use on your website.
Special offers and programs from Amazon will appear in this section.
The most efficient way to link to any page on Amazon is to use your Associates SiteStripe. This toolbar will appear at the top of every Amazon page if you are logged in using the same Amazon account you use for Associates. To build a link to a page with the SiteStripe, go to the page you want on Amazon and click the ‘Get Link: Text’ button on the SiteStripe.
Link Checker lets you test your links to ensure they are correctly tagged to your Associate ID or one of your Tracking IDs.
Product Advertising API
The Product Advertising API (PA API) provides programmatic access for users to search and get detailed product information. Users can get detailed information about products, such as product titles, descriptions, image URLs, prices, similar products, prime eligibility, offers, and many other details that can be used to monetize their websites by giving recommendations and promoting the products.
OneLink is a script-based solution that allows you to monetize your international traffic from the United Kingdom, Canada, Italy, France, Spain, Germany, and Japan. When visitors on your web pages click your Amazon links, OneLink will redirect them to their local or nearest Amazon marketplace, where they have an account, can see pricing in their local currency, and have reasonable, if not free, shipping costs.
How to Create an Amazon Affiliate Link
Creating a standard Amazon affiliate link takes seconds.
- Log in to your Amazon Associates account.
- Search and create links for any product on the Home tab using keywords or product identification numbers (ASIN/ISBN). You can also browse for products or do an advanced search. Click the Go button for search results.
- Amazon provides a few link types: text and image, text only, image only, native shopping ads, and short links. Copy the link you want. For instance, many YouTubers use short links.
Tracking IDs allow associates to track the performance of their links from their different web and digital properties. For example, you might create tw43tr-20 to monitor your commissions from Twitter and tu56be-20 from YouTube. There is a limit of 100 tracking IDs per associate account.
Policies and Disclosures
Amazon Associates, like most affiliate programs, has rules to follow. Adherence to their guidelines will allow you to remain in the program.
Disclosures and transparency are the cornerstones of affiliate marketing. To meet Amazon’s requirements, include a declaration with your links and identify yourself as an Amazon Associate where applicable. As per their operating agreement, they recommend stating, “As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.”
To comply with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regulations, your disclosures must be:
- A clear disclosure could be as simple as “(paid link),” “#ad,” or “#CommissionsEarned.”
- It should be placed near any affiliate link or product review in a location that customers will notice quickly. They shouldn’t have to hunt for it.
On a website, the standard practice is to add a disclosure to the top of the page (review mine for an example). The common practice on YouTube is adding a statement at the bottom of the video description. What’s important is that you conduct your affiliate marketing activities in good faith.
Pros of the Program
Affiliates can earn variable and fixed commissions. Associates can earn up to 10% 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 reward for every Amazon Music trial conversion.
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 provides many monetization options, including standard links, OneLink, native shopping ads, banners, and the Product Advertising API (PA API).
Deep linking is available, and it’s how an affiliate creates a link to a specific page on the merchant’s site. Instead of using a standard homepage affiliate link, you can link to a product, page, or article related to your content to increase relevance and conversion rates. Many e-commerce merchants allow deep linking due to the number of products and sellers available.
Reporting and analytics are above average. You can monitor clicks, conversions, and commissions on a user-friendly dashboard. Also, you can select 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 20 countries and multiple languages, making it a global affiliate program.
Amazon has a program specifically for influencers and social media marketers.
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 Amazon easy, and shoppers don’t hesitate to buy. Affiliates in any niche can easily find goods to market.
Cons of the Program
An affiliate program page outlines the program and how it works, but Amazon misses the mark. It does a subpar job of disclosing critical program details such as the cookie duration 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 multiple directions or have them hunt for details.
Amazon pays a meager 2% to 5% commission rate for most product categories. Therefore, 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 duration is insufficient. Affiliates are credited with qualifying purchases within 24 hours–a 24-hour cookie. There’s a 90-day cookie/referral period for a product added to a shopping cart and purchased within that time. 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 product (as determined in our sole discretion; for example, an Amazon software download or items sold under the name “Amazon Music,” “Amazon Shorts”, “eDocs”, “Amazon Prime Video”, “Game Downloads”, “Amazon Coin”, “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
iii. Concerning 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, downloaded, and paid for by the customer.
There isn’t a team of dedicated affiliate managers. Instead, random customer service representatives are responsible for addressing affiliate inquiries, which is inefficient in managing such a massive program.
How Much Money Can You Make?
Can you make four figures a month as an Amazon affiliate? While Amazon is a top e-commerce 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. For example, at a 3% commission rate, you would need to sell $100,000 to earn $3,000.
Some affiliates report making six figures with Amazon Associates, but many claims are outdated or untrue. Converting that much while flirting with 24-hour referral periods and small commission rates leads to the highly improbable. Also, anyone with the skills to generate hundreds of thousands to millions through Amazon could probably make more money doing something else.
Where should Amazon Associates rank in your marketing activities? It should be a low priority. Although you can earn money and promote millions of goods, you must be practical and maintain low expectations. I’ve made $503.11 since 2014 (no, that’s not a typo) and don’t expect monthly payouts.
Is Joining Amazon Associates Worth It?
Amazon Associates isn’t a program I recommend, or that excites me. Alternatively, hundreds of e-commerce merchants and apps provide cookie durations of 30 to 60 days, which is more advantageous. Also, more appealing commission rates are available from numerous companies. Finally, Amazon Associates is continually being diluted with changes and policies that make it less lucrative than it once was.