Affiliate marketing is one of the offshoots of digital marketing. It is an advertising model where a brand/seller/company/manufacturer pays third-party bloggers, content creators, and publishers to generate traffic and leads for their products and services.
The rise of e-commerce has also catalyzed the growth of affiliate marketing. Today, global affiliate marketing has an estimated market cap of $12 billion, with Amazon affiliates having the highest market share of affiliate networks at around 44%.
These figures strongly indicate that there is a lot of earning potential being an Amazon affiliate.
Are you interested in becoming an Amazon affiliate and don’t know where to start?
You’ve landed at the right place.
What is the Amazon Affiliate program, how does it work, how to be part of it, how much money you can make as an affiliate, and all the other relevant queries will be answered here.
Amazon Affiliates (also called Amazon Associates) are those who join the affiliate marketing program of the e-commerce giant. The program is also called Amazon Associates.
Amazon Affiliates can be publishers, bloggers, or content creators that promote products available on Amazon marketplaces through their platforms. They earn a commission on every purchase made through the referral links they share.
The job of Amazon affiliates is not that complicated. All they need to do is:
Creating an Amazon Associates account doesn’t cost you anything. Amazon doesn’t charge its affiliates any fee, no matter how much they make through the referral business. So, even if you’re not making much through your affiliate gig, you don’t have to stress over any Amazon-related overhead.
Nonetheless, there is a fee you may have to pay in a rare instance. It’s called account maintenance fee and you have to pay it if you haven’t earned any commission in the last three years. The standard account maintenance fee is $10, which Amazon will deduct from your unpaid accrued commission income. If that accrued amount is below $10, then Amazon will deduct all of it.
After the fee deduction, Amazon will close your Affiliate account based on ‘dormancy’.
Becoming an Amazon Affiliate is as easy as it gets. All you need to do is sign up through the identity you want to use for affiliate marketing. However, while becoming an Amazon Affiliate is easy, you undergo an evaluation process to keep your Affiliate status.
A dedicated Amazon team oversees the Associates program. It also evaluates the 180-day probationary period.
So, take care of these things while you’re on probation.
You also need to be mindful of these rules while becoming an Amazon Affiliate.
Before anything else, you must have a website, mobile app, or YouTube channel to become an Amazon Affiliate. You need to provide information about the platform you will use for affiliate marketing.
Note: Go through the pointers of the Associates Program Operating Agreement before checking its box.
With that, you will become a provisional Amazon Affiliate, and your review period of 180 days will start. If you succeed in making at least three sales through referral links in that time, you will become a permanent Amazon Associate. If you want to receive commission income through checks and direct bank transfers, provide the relevant information by clicking the Now button.
After finishing the Amazon Associates registration process, you get to the below page. This is Amazon Associates Central homepage. It will show you the statistics of your affiliate activity. Let’s break down this page for better understanding.
From the top search bar, you can create quick referral links. Enter the ASIN of the given product and click the Go button, and Associates Central will return you a referral link that you can use on your website/app. If you don’t have the product ASIN, you can first search for the listing by clicking the Browse for Product tab.
This interactive chart gives you a glimpse of your affiliate activity and income. You can see the number of clicks, fees (commission through the successful referrals of Amazon listings), and bounties (commission through the successful referrals of Amazon services like Prime or Music Unlimited) you’ve earned in the last 30 days.
It is a crucial widget on Associates Central because here, you can also see the conversion rate of your referral links. In the Full report, you can see the conversion for individual referral links as well. A referral link with low conversion indicates that the corresponding product is not in line with customers’ expectations, even if your content persuades visitors to click that link.
By continuously reviewing the conversion metrics, you can identify the poorly performing listings and remove them from your affiliate promotions.
Amazon affiliates work on commission. It means they make a percentage per sale, ranging from 1% to 20%. This percentage is different for different product categories, and Amazon fixes those rates. With commission in the equation, how much an Affiliate makes depends on how many referrals they generate.
The income of an Amazon Affiliate also depends on the products they promote. Therefore, a product with a higher affiliate commission will bring more fortune to corresponding affiliates.
Therefore, you can see Amazon Affiliates making $100 to up to $10,000, depending on their reach and the products they promote.
E.g. BuzzFeed, a popular online news and entertainment platform, can make thousands of dollars in affiliate earnings through its content. On the other hand, an individual blogger with a limited following may only make below $100.
Amazon has assigned different commissions to different products based on their categories. However, the platform hasn't provided any reason or rationale behind how it has carried out this categorization. Therefore, you can't tell for sure why certain product classes are huddled together.
For instance, we don’t know why hardcopy books, automotive products, and kitchen items are grouped for the same amount of commission.
If you still haven’t decided on the niche you want to target as an Amazon Affiliate, go through this commission breakdown. It will undoubtedly make things easier for you.
Amazon has set a fixed commission income rate of 4.00% for all the other categories not mentioned here.
Also, some products and services are not part of the Associates program. So, even if you promote them, you won’t be entitled to any commission. These products and services are:
Amazon pays its Affiliates their commission income every month but around 60 days after the end of each month. Amazon offers commission payments through three methods.
It is important to mention that Amazon has set a threshold to make commission payments. You should at least have a USD 10 due amount to receive a bank transfer or gift certificate. Similarly, Amazon will only write you a check once your due amount reaches USD 100.
It can be challenging to pick a product category for your affiliate marketing gig on Amazon where there are gazillions of categories and subcategories. Moreover, choosing a particular category based on its affiliate marketing potential is crucial if you already don’t have a niche-specific website, social media account, or YouTube channel.
So here, we will share with you the criteria you can use to select the products you want to target through your affiliate marketing platform.
As mentioned earlier, there are products with 1% commission as well as ones with 4%, 10%, and even 20% commissions. So, try to pick product categories where the commission is higher so you can earn more on every referral sale.
Don’t go after extremely inexpensive products just because they’re likely to sell more. Affiliate marketing works differently than direct promotion of listings (PPC advertising). It has been observed that cheaper products usually don’t cause a drastic improvement in the referral volume for an affiliate marketer.
So, you can't guarantee if a cheaper product can sell like a hotcake through affiliate marketing. On the other hand, they affect what affiliate marketers make because lower product prices translate into very nominal referral income even if there’s a higher commission.
As an affiliate marketer, you should really stick to a niche and product type that intrigues you. Developing authentic content gets easier when you know about a product inside out. For instance, if you are a tech buff with loads of interest and expertise in video game consoles, your affiliate marketing should target the relevant products even if the commission is low.
Finally, factor in what is in demand on Amazon since some products are sold more on Amazon than the others. For instance, electronics, apparel, and home & kitchen items contribute more to the collective sales on Amazon marketplaces. It means there are more potential customers for products from those categories on Amazon.
Even if you have a substantial following and a platform full of content, you still can’t guarantee good income from your affiliate marketing gig. Besides online following and engagement, there are some other things you should be mindful of to make the most of your participation in the Amazon Associates program.
Your referral only works if you possess good authority on the subject. This is true in every field, including Amazon affiliate marketing. You better be a specialist in that niche if you ask people to buy a particular product.
So, stick to a single niche if you want your website to be part of the Affiliate program.
For instance, you can build a website and generate content around “home improvement”. You can then branch out into different sub-niches of home improvement (cleaning and building supplies, kitchen and bathroom fixtures, etc). Similarly, you can have a website exclusive to baby products.
Products recommended by such niche-specific websites witness more conversion than a generic website that covers everything under the sun and promotes all sorts of products.
Affiliate marketers have found a way to promote more products with less content through listicles. At the onset, it looks like a great idea. However, it may not be the best strategy if you really want to generate good income through affiliate marketing. There are many reasons why listicles are not the best way to proceed with your Amazon-based affiliate marketing.
To begin with, listicles never provide a detailed insight into a product. It just gives a very superficial roundup of discussed products, which is usually not enough to convince a visitor to click the link and buy the product. Also, too many options in a listicle can spoil the potential buyers for choices, which can lead to no conversions.
On the other hand, detailed product reviews and posts comparing two similar products offer better potential for affiliate conversion. For starters, review and comparison posts are not as salesy as listicles. A well-researched review of a product that highlights both the upsides and downsides of a product has more convincing power than a promotional overview.
Similarly, a comparison post can make people understand how the two products are similar and different and why they should choose one over the other.
Also, people who end up on a review and comparison post of specific products have higher buying intent than those searching for "top 10" or "10 of the best" products.
Many affiliate marketers believe they can improve their referral earnings by churning loads of content. There is no doubt more content can increase the chances of better earnings. However, if more content doesn’t boast the required quality, it won’t translate into good referral income.
For example, 15 poorly-researched and written salesy posts every month are less likely to generate more affiliate commission than five well-researched posts with good readability and no hard-sell.
Therefore, don’t fixate on the quantity of the content on your affiliate platform just for its sake. Instead, only produce that many content pieces where you can maintain quality. You can carry a good balance of quantity and quality if you’re working with an entire team of researchers and writers.
It is vital for affiliate marketers that their websites have top rankings for the topics they cover. We all know that most visitors usually don’t bother to go past the second page of Google search for any query. Therefore, if you are targeting a specific product on your referral website, try to rank on the first page for its relevant keyword searches.
It is only possible if you write your reviews, comparison posts, and other content pieces while complying with SEO requirements. This includes extensive keyword research, well-thought-out keyword placement, link-building, and meta detail integration.
Affiliate websites don’t just need to rely on content to drive sales. They can also create storefront widgets to refer to Amazon listings. Nearly every web development platform lets you build storefront widgets on your website. While doing affiliate marketing, you need to embed Amazon links in those widgets instead of your own checkout page.
Storefront widgets are primarily great for these reasons.
Amazon Affiliate Program is one of the best affiliate marketing programs out there for these reasons.
Despite offering the biggest affiliate platform, Amazon doesn’t charge its Associates a single buck to join the program. The program is free for everyone, irrespective of their referral earning potential. Moreover, joining the Amazon Associates program is not hard at all.
As outlined earlier, you can become an Amazon affiliate in five steps within a couple of minutes if you have all the required information in your hand.
So, if you’re in the business of creating affiliate websites and maintaining blogs, you can become an Amazon Associate without any hassle or spending any money.
Suppose a potential buyer ends up on your product review or comparison post via Google search. They read the content piece and click on the product link (referral) you put there. There is a strong chance they will purchase the product if the link directs them to Amazon.
Amazon is a reliable household name when it comes to shopping online. Therefore, a referred customer is more likely to buy from Amazon than from any lesser-known shopping website.
Many e-commerce platforms offer affiliate programs. However, they are nowhere near Amazon when it comes to product variety. For affiliate marketers, a wide product assortment is good news. With so many niches and categories, they can easily find the one they already have the website for. Also, more product categories mean you can join the Amazon Associates program with more than one of your niche-specific websites.
The Amazon referral cookie is valid for 24 hours. It means an Associate can get the referral commission if the visitor purchases within 24 hours after clicking the link. This is enough time for a buyer who has decided to buy a particular thing. Also, a referral link remains valid for 90 days if a visitor has added the given product to their shopping cart after clicking the same link.
With all its unmatched benefits, you should be aware of some downsides of the Amazon Associate program.
Many big platforms and high Domain Authority (DA) websites are part of the Amazon Associates program. So, it can be challenging for many new Associates to compete and earn good commission income when these players with a huge following and sizable online footprint are already there.
After the revision of commission payout percentages by Amazon, many product categories don’t offer great referral returns. For instance, you only get a 1% commission on grocery, healthcare, TV, and computer products. In addition, if you run paid campaigns to promote your website on Google and social media platforms, such a small commission may not help you run your affiliate website in profit.
Amazon has set a relatively high payment threshold for cash payouts. You need to earn at least $100 in referral commissions to receive that money through a check. Also, Amazon only offers cash payouts through checks and direct bank transfers. Then, you also have to provide your tax information before receiving those payments.
Surprisingly, Amazon doesn’t offer any digital payout option (e.g. PayPal) to its Associates despite being a digital platform itself.
Before penning the concluding remarks, it's essential to answer some FAQs related to the Amazon Associates program.
Yes, you can post affiliate links on Instagram through image captions and stories. In addition, you can create short links (a feature given in Associates Central) when posting them on Instagram.
There is no mandatory follower count you need to fulfill to become an Amazon Affiliate. Amazon suggests you have at least 500 followers if you want to enroll in its Associates Program. However, this number doesn’t imply the same thing for every platform.
For instance, a blog with 100 active and engaged members offers better affiliate marketing prospects than a stale Facebook or Instagram profile with 500 followers and no considerable activity.
You don’t need a website to become an Amazon Affiliate. You can also carry out Amazon affiliate marketing through your social media pages, mobile applications, and YouTube channel.
No, Amazon Affiliate Program doesn’t pay for clicks. It certainly counts the clicks and tells you a conversion rate on Associates Central. However, you only get paid a commission fee for the purchase made via your referred links.
Becoming an Amazon Affiliate is a great way to create another income stream, primarily if you already host a website or blog. However, if you’re looking at a program as your main source of income, you may need to look elsewhere.
For full-time work, it is better to sell on Amazon than promote others’ products on the platform.
Selling on Amazon is not that difficult either. If you have the proper knowledge and tools at your disposal, you can easily become an Amazon seller.
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