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If you spend any amount of time involved in online business groups or reading sites like We Are the Curious, one name will keep popping up: Amazon Associates. You must have heard of the Amazon Affiliate Program by now, as well as numerous stories of regular people earning tons of money with Amazon affiliate marketing.
The good news is, you can join this affiliate program and secure a passive income for yourself as well. However, Amazon Affiliate Program is not all roses and sunshine. The reality is, affiliate marketers have a love/hate relationship with Amazon. On the one hand, Amazon offers some of the best conversions in the business – on the other hand, the commissions they provide are low (and seem to keep getting lower).
With that said, here’s our Amazon affiliate review to help you decide if this is the affiliate program for you!
What Is an Affiliate Marketing Program?
Before we dig any deeper and start with our Amazon Affiliate review, let’s cover the basics first.
Affiliate marketing is a very simple and straightforward process. As an affiliate, you’ll help sell another brand’s product. Usually, the affiliate searches for a product and promotes it on their website blog (and sometimes email and social media as well). In return, they earn a commission for every sale they make. The sales are tracked via affiliate links from one website to another.
Affiliate marketing is an excellent choice for all those who are looking to find a source of passive income. This method of making money is relatively quick and inexpensive, and there isn’t the hassle of actually having to sell a product of your own.
However, an affiliate has to get their readers to actually invest in a product. The most common affiliate marketing structure is pay per sale. Many affiliate programs, including Amazon’s, pay their affiliates a percentage of the sale price after a consumer purchases the product through the affiliate’s link.
An Overview of Amazon Associates
Amazon is a company that doesn’t need an introduction, so we won’t focus too much on the company in our Amazon Affiliate review. However, we are going to tell you a bit more about the company’s affiliate program.
When you have so many products to sell, it is an excellent idea to find a way to get promoted by people who work online. This is exactly what Jeff Bezos thought, and so the Amazon Affiliate Program was born. Even though the program doesn’t have the best commissions (we’ll get to this later), it’s the biggest program out there, and it’s really well-known among affiliate marketers.
The best part about the Amazon affiliate marketing program is that anyone can join it, regardless of their location. The only requirement for joining the program is to have a website with some content. In addition, joining the Amazon Associate program is completely free!
How Does Amazon Affiliate Program Work?
Amazon Associates is a pay per sale affiliate program that pays its affiliates a commission for every sale they refer. This means you will get paid only when your referral buys a product (not just clicks on your link).
However, one great thing about Amazon is the cookies. Your website visitor doesn’t have to purchase the exact product you promoted. The most important thing is that they visit Amazon through your affiliate link, and you will be awarded for every purchase they make within the cookie period of 24 hours. Any products purchased through your referrals after 24 hours of visiting Amazon for the first time using your link won’t earn you any commission.
You might find that the 24-hour limit for purchase decreases your revenue opportunities since people don’t usually make a purchase on their first visit. However, the good news is that cookie duration on Amazon can increase to 90 days. If the referral doesn’t purchase a product within 24 hours but adds it to the cart, the cookie duration will increase to 90 days.
The best part about Amazon Affiliate Program is that there is no limit to how much you can earn. Amazon doesn’t mind if you make a million dollars in commissions every month, because you are earning the company even more money with your marketing efforts!
How to Get Started with Amazon Affiliate Program
There are numerous ways for affiliates to advertise products. However, blogging is one of the most common and effective methods. Bloggers have the ability to rank organically in search engine queries, which allows them to have a pretty high conversion. In general, bloggers will select a certain product or service and write a comprehensive review that promotes the brand and drives traffic to the seller’s site.
So, to get started, you need to launch a website and begin publishing quality content. The first step would be securing a domain and finding a proper website hosting service. We recommend Bluehost for their excellent services and affordable prices.
Then, you need to focus on building your website. If you don’t know how to build a website from scratch, don’t worry, we got you covered! We reviewed the most popular page builders that will do most of the work for you.
Now comes the most important part: writing quality content. To do this, it’s not enough to have good writing skills. You need to make sure to optimise your content as well, so that it can show up on Google Search results. The best way to do this is with keyword research.
Once you research your keywords, you can base your content around them and ensure that you get tons of monthly visits.
We talk more about the importance of keyword research in our review of the best keyword research tools in 2021. However, if you are already aware of the importance of keywords, we’ll just cut to the chase and recommend you go with the best and most professional keyword research tool: SEMrush.
In order to increase your chances of earning well, you also need to pay attention to the kind of articles you are creating. In general, the most popular articles for Amazon affiliates are informational articles (that target the broad questions of your audience) and buying guides (that review several products and instruct the reader how to choose the best product for their needs). “How-to” guides are also a popular option, along with “Best of” articles and product comparison articles.
Other Ways to Advertise Products
In addition to blogging, you can also use social media to earn a commission from Amazon. Keep in mind that you can’t market Amazon products using paid social. But if you have a loyal following on any of the major social media platforms, you can create organic content and invite your followers to click on your affiliate links – or you can use social media posts and ads to promote your blog content that contains affiliate links.
Email campaigns can also be useful. Similar to social media, you can’t use Amazon affiliate links in your email content; otherwise, Amazon will suspend your account. However, you can send out email campaigns that promote your blog content. Besides SEO, an email campaign is the most effective way to generate affiliate sales from your site.
How to Become an Amazon Affiliate
In this part of our Amazon Affiliate review, we guide you step by step and teach you how to become an affiliate.
Becoming an Amazon affiliate is quite an easy and straightforward process. You just need to have a website, blog, popular social media account, or even a mobile app with regular users.
The signup process is short and consists of five steps.
The first step is to register an Amazon account and insert relevant data, such as the platforms you would use to market Amazon products. If you plan to use multiple websites or profiles for marketing Amazon products, you need to list all of them.
In the next step, you need to choose your store ID and write down several reasons why you would be a good affiliate for Amazon. Also, you should give more details about your audience and the type of products you plan to promote.
You also need to mention your traffic sources and any other monetization methods that you’re using. Don’t take this step lightly because it is crucial and can decide the fate of your application.
The next step requires your mobile phone number in order to verify your identity. Once you enter your number, Amazon will send you an authentication code. Your affiliate account will be created as soon as you enter the code.
When it comes to payments, Amazon can pay you by credit card, cheque, or Amazon gift card. If you live outside the US, you can use a service like Payoneer to receive payments in a US bank account.
Once you get accepted into the Amazon Affiliate Program, your first goal is to drive at least three sales in the first 180 days of becoming an affiliate. If you fail to do so, your account will be suspended. That is why we recommend joining the program only if your site has quality content and you get a few hundred visitors per day.
In case your account gets suspended, you can reapply, but you’ll need to show that your traffic has improved and that you’ll be able to make the sales this time.
Amazon Affiliate Review: Pros of Joining the Program
Truth be told, there are a few complaints regarding the Amazon Affiliate Program. However, there are many more positive sides of doing business with Amazon. In this part of our Amazon Affiliate Review, we bring you all the benefits you can reap if you decide to become an Amazon affiliate.
There are quite a few affiliate programs you can sign up for, but what makes Amazon Affiliate stand out is that the program is run by a trusted brand. Amazon is a business titan that sells millions of products, and you have the opportunity to use this to your advantage. Since Amazon is a trusted brand, you will never have to worry about getting paid.
In addition, doing business with Amazon can benefit you as well. Everything you promote on your website is certified, safe, and guaranteed. This leads the visitors to trust you because everyone knows what Amazon is.
Plenty of Products to Promote
One of the best things about Amazon is its incredible range of products to promote. Whatever your site is about, it is very likely that you will find a product on Amazon that is related to your content and that you can sell on your site. Amazon’s affiliate program is an excellent starting point for monetizing every blog post you write.
Excellent Sales Funnel
As we already mentioned, Amazon’s cookies are quite short; they last only one day. But what makes Amazon’s commissions very competitive is that the duration of the cookies can be increased to 90 days if the customer adds an item to the cart. Also, you will get a commission on everything your visitor buys within 24 hours of using your cookie. Here’s how that works.
Let’s say that your visitor is reading a review of popular headphones and uses one of your affiliate links to check out the product. Amazon’s excellent sales funnel will try to lead the customer into buying something. First, each product has captivating photos that can easily induce people to buy. Then, Amazon also displays other related products and accessories the customer might be tempted to buy. Ultimately, no matter what the customer decides to buy within those 24 hours, you will be rewarded!
Free to Sign Up
In case we haven’t made this clear in our Amazon Affiliate review so far, joining the program is completely free. However, there are some procedures you will have to adhere to and rules to follow.
Amazon offers a very low payout; you can get your money as soon as you collect more than $10. It is important to point out that these lower amounts are usually paid with a direct deposit or a gift card. If you want to transfer more than $100, you will probably receive a check.
Amazon Affiliate Review: Cons of Joining the Program
Now let’s focus on the features that make Amazon slightly less than great. While there’s a lot of good with Amazon’s affiliate marketing program, we can’t overlook the following flaws.
One of the biggest downsides of Amazon Affiliate is the low commissions. Amazon offers you a commission of up to 10% for luxury products, but it is much lower for the majority of products. There are also some digital products that can help you make a higher commission. We will discuss the exact numbers a bit later on in this Amazon Affiliate review.
No International Payouts
Let’s say you promote products for Amazon.it. You have a visitor on your website, they click your affiliate link, but then they switch to Amazon.co.uk instead to make a purchase. If this happens, you will not receive a commission.
Doesn’t Work with PayPal
Amazon can send you money in a number of ways. However, PayPal is not one of them. People all over the world love using PayPal due to its safety, but Amazon doesn’t allow this practice.
Not the Best Choice for Specific Niches
If you would like to focus on a very specific niche (e.g., best boxes for moving homes) or a very competitive niche (e.g., furniture), then Amazon might not be the best choice for you. Even though Amazon is excellent in many niches, it is worth checking out other programs that pay more or have longer cookies.
Confusing Terms of Service
One thing many affiliates complain about is Amazon’s Terms of Service. Instead of making the terms as clear as possible, Amazon simply provides an unclear operating agreement and expects the users to comply. And, if users break any terms, Amazon is very quick to ban them. So, it is recommended to do a thorough review of Amazon’s Terms of Service.
Amazon’s Unclear Policies Impact Customer Support
Amazon’s Customer Support is excellent. The team is very responsive and tries to resolve customer’s issues as fast as possible. However, the support can sometimes be practically useless due to Amazon’s unclear policies.
Since the policies are very complex, Amazon support agents sometimes give wrong or contradictory information. If you ask about a compliance issue three different times, it is quite possible that you will get at least two different answers.
Amazon Affiliate Commission Rate
Here is how Amazon’s commission rates look currently:
|Product Category||Fixed Commission Income Rates|
|Luxury Beauty, Luxury Stores Beauty, Amazon Coins||10.00%|
|Digital Music, Physical Music, Handmade, Digital Videos||5.00%|
|Physical Books, Kitchen, Automotive||4.50%|
|Amazon Fire Tablet Devices, Amazon Kindle Devices, Amazon Fashion Women’s, Men’s & Kids Private Label, Luxury Stores Fashion, Apparel, Amazon Cloud Cam Devices, Fire TV Edition Smart TVs, Amazon Fire TV Devices, Amazon Echo Devices, Ring Devices, Watches, Jewelry, Luggage, Shoes, and Handbags & Accessories||4.00%|
|Toys, Furniture, Home, Home Improvement, Lawn & Garden, Pets Products, Headphones, Beauty, Musical Instruments, Business & Industrial Supplies, Outdoors, Tools, Sports, Baby Products||3.00%|
|PC, PC Components, DVD & Blu-Ray||2.50%|
|Televisions, Digital Video Games||2.00%|
|Amazon Fresh, Physical Video Games & Video Game Consoles, Grocery, Health & Personal Care||1.00%|
|Gift Cards; Wireless Service Plans; Alcoholic Beverages; Digital Kindle Products purchased as a subscription; Food prepared and delivered from a restaurant; Amazon Appstore, Prime Now, or Amazon Pay Places||0.00%|
|All Other Categories||4.00%|
It is important to keep in mind that Amazon’s commission rate can change on a yearly basis, or even a few times a year. For the most up-to-date information, make sure to visit Amazon.
As you can see, the commission rate varies from category to category. The category with the highest commission is luxury beauty products and Amazon Coins. On the other hand, video games, groceries, and health and personal care items will earn you only 1% of the total amount.
You may be tempted to go for luxury items, but we recommend focusing on topics you enjoy and understand. This way, you’ll be able to build a passion project site monetised from multiple relevant products or services.
In addition to selling products, you can also earn commissions from the Amazon bounty program. Bounties are payments that Amazon makes if someone subscribes to an Amazon service after using your link. These bounties range from $3 when someone joins a trial to a healthy $15 if someone starts an Amazon business.
Bounties can make an excellent addition to your website. Someone might visit your blog to find a new lawnmower but end up with an Audible subscription. And you can get paid for both!
Is Amazon Associates a Good Program for Your Website?
Amazon Affiliate Program is quite rewarding, but it is not suitable for everyone. In this part of our Amazon Affiliate review, we explore who this program favors best and who won’t benefit from it at all.
Physical Product Niches
Regardless of the size of your site or the number of visitors you get, Amazon can work very well with all those in the physical product niches. Your products can be practically anything, from picture frames to razor blades or even outdoor decoration. Amazon has an enormous range of products to promote, and there’s a good chance you can find something for your site.
Amazon pays competitive commissions in many niches. However, some other programs might offer more for certain niches, so make sure to check them out as well.
Info Product Niches
Amazon is great for many niches, but info products is not one of them. Amazon does offer movies, documentaries, and books. However, the choices are quite slim. If your website is in the info product niche, you will be better off with Clickbank or running an ad network like Adsense or Ezoic.
If you put a big emphasis on social media, Amazon may not be the best choice for you. In general, you are allowed to place Amazon links on your social media profiles, but there are several restrictions.
To post Amazon links on social media:
- Own the social media profile;
- Include the exact URL of the social media channel in the Associates Dashboard;
- Identify on your profile that you are an Amazon affiliate and will make an income from any sales made by affiliate links
- Be verified on Twitter (have a blue checkmark) if you’re using it to promote links.
You should never:
- Ask your audience to buy products through your link;
- Disguise links and not tell your audience that the link will lead them to Amazon.
If you have social media accounts with a big following, you can then apply to the Amazon Influencer program and get some privileges that are usually not allowed for a typical social media user.
Amazon Affiliate Review Wrap-up
Congratulations! You’ve reached the end of our Amazon Affiliate review. All in all, Amazon Affiliate Program is an excellent way to create a passive income source, even though Amazon can sometimes be a bit tough to deal with. Despite their unclear Terms of Service and low commission rates, Amazon is a trusted company with millions of products, and your payout is guaranteed.
Signing up for Amazon Affiliate Program is free, and there are practically no requirements. However, before you sign up for the program, we recommend having a website with at least some content and, ideally, a few hundred visitors on a daily basis. This way, you will be able to make the minimum number of sales for the first 180 days after joining the program and secure your spot as an Amazon Affiliate.
With that being said, it is important to mention that Amazon is not the only company that offers affiliate marketing programs. Check out the eight best affiliate programs for bloggers and choose the one that will benefit you the most!