Amazon Affiliate Program: Everything You Need To Know
The Amazon Affiliate Program, or Amazon Associates, is a partnership program that allows users to monetize their websites and social media by linking them to Amazon ads.
It's a commission based program that awards the affiliates a certain percentage of sales made when a user or follower purchases something through an ad they saw on the affiliate’s website or social media page.
Three Types of Affiliate Marketing
There are three different types of affiliate or partnership marketing that determine how each affiliate is paid. Each one depends on relatively high traffic to the website or social account in order to see a profitable return.
As the name suggests, this option is one in which the affiliate is paid each time a visitor clicks through a link and lands on Amazon’s page through the affiliates website.
This option is a little more complicated, and requires each visitor to click through on the affiliate’s link and go on to complete a questionnaire or sign up for a mailing list in order to become a lead.
This is the type of affiliate marketing used by the Amazon Affiliate Program. In this case the affiliate is paid after a visitor clicks through on the linked ad and makes a purchase, even if the visitor purchases a different item from the one advertised.
How Does Amazon’s Affiliate Program Work?
Amazon’s Affiliate program is easy to use and offers affiliates the ability to build their own links to ads that flow seamlessly with their own site. When a visitor clicks on one of the ads, the affiliate website will receive a commission from any purchase the visitor makes through that link within the next 24 hours.
In addition to the 24 hour rule, the affiliate could even score commission if the visitor clicked through the link, added something to their cart, but didn’t complete the purchase right away. So long as the item was placed in the cart using the same link within 24 hours.
Who Can Become An Amazon Affiliate?
While Amazon’s Affiliate Program is free and relatively open to join, there are a few restrictions. Publishers, bloggers and other content creation websites will undergo a review by Amazon to make sure that Amazon is comfortable partnering with your site. Similarly, social media accounts that want to partner with Amazon also have to prove a substantial following and a review of their content to ensure it complies with Amazon’s standards. For example, if a website or social media page features explicit content that Amazon otherwise wouldn’t include in their own marketplace, it’s not likely this site or social account will be approved.
For a more in depth look, check out The Amazon Associates Program Operating Agreement.
How Much Do Amazon Affiliates Make?
The percentage of commission an affiliate receives depends on the category of product that is purchased.
For example, luxury beauty products and Amazon coins offer the highest commission rate at 10% of each purchase.Home improvement, home, furniture, lawn and garden and pet products also offer one of the highest rates at 8%. Physical video games and video game consoles offer one of the lowest commission rates at 1% while gift cards, alcohol, kindle subscriptions, food delivery, and items in the Amazon Appstore offer no commission at all.
For a more in depth look at rates across the board, Amazon provides a chart that lays out all of the possible commission rates for each category of product.
Luckily, Amazon doesn’t limit the categories that each affiliate can collect commission from. For example, if your affiliate website is a sports blog and advertises sporting equipment, but your visitors purchase cookware, you would still receive the commission form the purchase.
Amazon’s Affiliate Program pays out after 60 days, with affiliates being offered a variety of options to accommodate how they would like to be compensated. Affiliates can choose to receive a check, Amazon gift cards or go the traditional route of direct deposit. Depending on which option the affiliate chooses, Amazon has an earnings cap that must be reached before the payment is processed. Direct deposit and gift cards are paid out after the affiliate has made at least $10 on commission, while a check requires a minimum of $100 with a $15 processing fee.
Of course, this all depends on the number of visitors an affiliate website has and that affiliates conversion rate. The number of people who click through a link and make a purchase that returns a commission is known as the affiliate’s conversion rate. The average Amazon affiliate has a conversion rate of 0.5% to 1%. This means that if you have a website that gets 10,000 visitors a month, it’s safe to expect at least 50 to 100 visitors to complete a transaction using your link.
Pros and Cons of the Amazon Affiliate Program
While Amazon’s Affiliate program may be an excellent and profitable tool for some, others might find that it doesn’t quite match their model. Here are some pros and cons to consider.
- Where other online ads may seem a bit sketchy and suspicious, Amazon is a trustworthy brand and visitors are more likely to click on links they trust.
- As one of the world’s largest marketplaces, it’s very likely that Amazon offers products that will match easily with the theme of your site.
- Amazon’s affiliate program is very easy to sign up for and free.
- As with any other pay-per-sale program, the Amazon Affiliate program works best for those who have an established following and regular visitors.
- While Amazon has a wide variety of products, it’s commission rates can vary, so the items that match your website best might not offer the best returns.
- Amazon’s rules for the affiliate program can vary and are often updated, requiring each affiliate to stay up to date and comply or lose their partnership.
How to Make Money Using the Amazon Affiliate Program
Making money with the Amazon Affiliate Program can be relatively easy, but it’s not done without a bit of work. Those who make the most out of their Amazon Partnership make use of some simple and intuitive tricks that can keep their users happy while also directing them to the products they want.
Content Content Content
Your goal might be to see a return from your partnership with Amazon, but a site that only offers its users ads will scare those users away. There’s a reason people come to your site and that’s because you provide the content they want to see and more quality content is always better. The more pages a visitor can browse the more ads they will be exposed to.
Blogging and review websites usually see the best returns from the Amazon affiliate program and these websites produce consistent and original content. An easy way to steer your audience toward the affiliate links is to review the products your advertising. Not only does this draw attention to the ads but your audience is more likely to follow through and make the purchase if you’ve demonstrated the quality of the product.
Original content not only engages your audience, but also increases the likelihood that search engines will offer your site to those who are browsing. This is why it’s important to include original photography as well as unique copy that can’t be found anywhere else.
Match Your Website to the Ads
The best way to ensure that visitors to your website will click through the links is to keep them relevant. While Amazon’s Affiliate Program will payout no matter what category of product is purchased, you still rely on visitors clicking your links in order to make the commission.
Of course this is quite straightforward. If you run a beauty product review website, it hardly makes sense to advertise hockey equipment. But there are also other tricks you can use to ensure that your site shows up in searches when visitors are already looking for the products advertised on your site.
For example, if you are writing a review for a specific product in a post, try to include the name of that product as listed on Amazon in that page's URL. For example, if your beauty website is reviewing “Sunday Riley U.F.O. Ultra-Clarifying Face Oil” Include this in the URL and visitors who are browsing for this product will be directed to your page.
Narrow Your Focus
The most successful affiliate sites are the ones that know their audience and have narrowed their focus and theme enough to provide something very few others have to offer.
If you’re creating a new website with the intention of making the Amazon Affiliate program the site's main source of income, consider a niche category that has relatively low competition.
As we said, content is important, so when choosing your niche be sure it’s something you can provide a lot of quality content on. You may want to choose a category that has a high commission rate, but if it’s a product you don’t understand then it will be difficult to build the following necessary to see a return. For example, if you choose luxury beauty products, but where your expertise really lies is in video games, your audience may be able to find better information elsewhere. A higher commission rate means nothing to a website that doesn’t have the traffic to make it work.
Use Geolocation Services
Amazon’s Affiliate program offers you the option to use link localizers. This means that if a visitor from another country comes to your website they will be directed to their own domestic Amazon Marketplace. Canadian visitors, for example, will be directed to Amazon.ca instead of Amazon.com. This will ensure that visitors are more likely to purchase the products they click on as Amazon offers different products in their international marketplaces with certain restrictions on shipping that might affect whether or not a sale is made.