Amazon Associates Affiliate Program
Amazon Associates is one of the most popular affiliate programs around. Affiliate programs generally pay you when a user of your website commits some type of action. This might be a certain fee for a lead when a user signs up for the affiliated site or a percentage of commission on sales. Let’s take a look at one of the most popular affiliate programs on the web Amazon Associates.
What is Amazon Associates Affiliate Program?
Like we mentioned above, Amazon Associates is Amazon’s affiliate marketing program. This program pays a percentage of sales that your referrals make on Amazon. The amount you are paid by Amazon varies by the category of the products that are purchased.
The value in Amazon’s affiliate program is that Amazon is a trusted brand. That means it can be easier to convert your users into buyers. Plus Amazon will pay you a commission on other products that your user ads to their cart after clicking your affiliate link.
The Amazon Associates program is designed for websites and blogs. If you’re a social media influencer then you might want to take a look at the Amazon Influencer Program.
Who Can Join Amazon Associates?
If you’re a blogger, publisher, or content creator then you can probably join the Amazon Associates affiliate program. The requirements to join are not that stringent. You really just need an existing website, that you own, with recent content (within 60 days) that is acceptable to Amazon. Most content will be approved assuming you’re not doing something illegal or immoral.
However, if you don’t make 3 sales within 180 days then you may be kicked out of the program. So I personally wouldn’t sign up until I had some existing traffic.
When you sign up you will need to provide some personal information, including your tax ID and website information. Once you are accepted into the affiliate program, you need to disclose to your users that you are affiliated with Amazon. The disclaimer that Amazon recommends is “As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.” You need to include that text somewhere visible on your site.
How Much Does the Amazon Associates program Pay?
We mentioned above that the amount of commission that Amazon Associates pays out is based on category classification. Recently, Amazon slashed the payout rates for several categories under its affiliate program. These are the rates that are being paid out as of today (September 15, 2020).
Amazon Associates also pays for “bounties” which are specific goals that amazon sets up. These include things like signups for Amazon Prime Video trials, baby/wedding registries, Audible subscriptions, and more. I’m not going to show you the full table, but you can find out more information about Amazon Associates bounties here.
What are the Benefits of Being an Amazon Associate?
There are a lot of upsides to the Amazon Associates affiliate program. The biggest thing to me is that the Amazon brand is so strong. When you send someone to Amazon they don’t question whether or not they should trust the vendor. Everyone knows who Amazon is and almost everyone has an Amazon account.
The Prime subscriber rate in the US was about 112 million users in December of 2019. Those are the users that pay Amazon a yearly fee to use the service and get free prime shipping. That doesn’t even include the millions of users that don’t have the prime service. The market for Amazon is huge.
Not only does Amazon have a lot of users, but they have just about any product you can think of. There is a massive selection of products that you can use to monetize your content. In fact, writing product reviews for Amazon products is a very popular affiliate marketing technique.
If you have a blog about physical products, then you should at least consider the Amazon Affiliates program as one of your revenue streams.
What are the Downsides to Amazon Associates?
We briefly mentioned above that Amazon recently decided to change its payout structure. They sent out an email to their associates that the terms and conditions of the Affiliate Program were changing. The email didn’t even call out the rate changes. If you weren’t paying attention you might have thought it was some legal wording change or something.
You’re at the mercy of what Amazon feels like paying out. If they decide to drop commissions in the future, there is nothing you can do about it. They could decide to scrap the entire program, but I doubt that because sites would start driving traffic to their competitor’s affiliate programs.
Another thing that is not great about Amazon Associates is that the cookie only lasts 24 hours. That means you can get commission after someone clicks on your link for only 24 hours. With some other affiliate programs, you may see a 30-day cookie or similar.
If your user doesn’t purchase immediately, it’s highly likely they will click on someone else’s affiliate link and therefore remove your cookie. That is the downside of the Amazon Associates program being so popular.
One last thing. You may find better rates with other affiliate programs. This is especially true since Amazon has decided to cut its payout rates. You might be able to go directly with a competitor and increase your revenue because this competitor might payout 10% while Amazon pays out 5% on the same category.
How Easy it Amazon Associates to Use?
Once you are approved, it’s super easy to use the Amazon Associates program. They have a really helpful toolbar that you see at the top of your Amazon pages when you’re signed into an affiliate account. This allows you to quickly generate affiliate links to whatever page you are viewing.
On top of that Amazon also offers API access for you developers out there, and custom ad units that can be used as display ads. Plus there are some really great tools out there to manage Amazon Associates links such as AmaLinks Pro. AmaLinks pro allows you to create cool product boxes that you see on many review sites.
What Else Should I Know About Amazon’s Affiliate Program?
You want to really make sure you read the operating policies and understand what you can and cannot do. For example, you don’t want to hardcode a price into your post. This can be grounds for dismissal from Amazon Associates. That is because the prices can change frequently and Amazon doesn’t want its users to be confused when they see an incorrect price on your site. Tools like AmaLinks Pro do display prices. That is because they are updated automatically to be fresh.
Another thing that you want to avoid is using your own affiliate links or having your family and friends use them, to buy products. It might seem like you can make a quick commission this way but if Amazon finds out they will ban you from the program.
The Bottom Line on Amazon Associates Affiliate Program
Amazon is one of the most recognized brands in the world. For them to give you a chance to make money using that brand is great. They have probably millions of products and millions of satisfied customers. You can piggyback off their success and drive revenue for your web properties.
I would be wary of putting all of my eggs into a single basket though. By that I mean you might not want to rely on Amazon to be your sole source of income for your website.
Amazon has shown several times that it’s not afraid to slash it’s commission rates. So you will want to be prepared should that occur to your site. You can help offset this by using one of the many display ad networks out there like Google AdSense, or by offering other affiliate links.
With all of that being said, I still highly reccomend the Amazon Associates program if you’re looking to get into affiliate marketing or trying to monetize your website or blog.