Amazon launched in 1994 as an online bookstore, but much has changed since then. Amazon generates billions in sales annually, and they ship millions of different products around the world. They compete in various industries including online and offline retail, print-on-demand, entertainment, gaming, home services, publishing, consumer electronics, web services, apps, fulfillment, delivery, and more. Where Amazon doesn’t have a presence, rest assured they’re developing plans to enter those markets, for example, pharma and healthcare.
- Founded by Jeff Bezos in 1994
- Headquarters: Seattle, Washington, USA
- Amazon’s biggest sales events include Prime Day and Cyber Monday
- Prime members exceed 100 million globally
- More than half of the units sold on Amazon worldwide are from third-party sellers
- Amazon employs more than 200,000 people in the United States and over 575,000 worldwide
Amazon Affiliate Program
Amazon’s affiliate program, Amazon Associates, is one of the first programs many new bloggers and affiliates entertain. Let’s review the pros and cons of the program.
Amazon is a top brand and trusted by millions of customers globally. Affiliate marketing is easier when you can direct traffic to a trustworthy merchant, and shoppers don’t hesitate to purchase items on Amazon.
There are millions of products to promote. Amazon is an online department store with over 20 product categories including books, computers, luggage, pet supplies, and more. Affiliates in any niche can easily find goods to promote.
It’s easy to become an affiliate, and the program is available in multiple markets. An Amazon account in good standing is all you need to join Amazon Associates. Additionally, the program is available in 13 countries and ten languages.
Affiliates can earn flat rate and fixed commissions. 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 free trial sign-up and a $3 bonus for every Amazon Music free trial sign-up.
Affiliates can advertise in different ways including:
- Create links for products, pages, and search results. You can also create short links, for example, http://amzn.to/2p0xP91
- Display banners on your site, which are available in many shapes and sizes.
- Use native shopping ads to promote highly relevant and dynamic product recommendations.
- Use mobile popover ads to earn up to 30 percent more.
Affiliates can promote discounted items. Promo codes enable customers to get discounts on eligible products at checkout. Merchants can create promo codes for publishers to use.
Amazon gives you many monetization tools including:
- SiteStripe allows you to create links directly from the Amazon.com site without having to visit Amazon Associates.
- Publisher Studio enables you to add links to products on Amazon.com from your site’s content editor.
- The Product Advertising API (PA API) provides programmatic access for advanced users to Amazon’s product selection and discovery functionality.
- OneLink creates a seamless redirect for your international visitors by directing them to the most suitable and relevant Amazon store.
- The Amazon Associates Link Builder WordPress plugin makes adding products to your WordPress site more efficient.
- Tracking IDs enable you to monitor traffic and sales attribution.
Reporting is excellent. You can monitor clicks, conversions, and commissions on a user-friendly dashboard. Also, you can customize dates, download reports, and view your payment history.
The payment threshold is low. If you elect to receive payments via direct deposit or gift card, the pay threshold is 10 USD. Payments issued by check have a threshold of 100 USD.
Amazon Associate’s commission rate is low and unappealing. Amazon pays 0 to 10 percent on sales. For all that Amazon is, its program falls short of rewarding affiliates handsomely. Although you might convert a high-ticket item and receive an excellent commission, you’re likely to generate a few dollars (or possibly hundreds) monthly.
The conversion period is insufficient. You are credited with purchases that occur within 24 hours–a 24-hour cookie–through standard links. The cookie/referral period extends for a product that is added to a shopping cart and purchased no later than 89 days after the initial click. Regarding 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 item sold under the name “Amazon Music,” “Amazon Shorts”, “eDocs”, “Amazon Prime Video”, “Amazon Software Downloads”, “Game Downloads”, “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
- with respect to 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 or downloaded by, and paid for by the customer.
Affiliates can’t use PayPal to receive payments. PayPal is a standard option on most affiliate networks and with most affiliate programs, but Amazon doesn’t offer.
Some affiliate marketers report making six-figures from Amazon Associates, but these claims are either outdated or untrue. You would need to sell $100,000 to $1,000,000 to generate $10,000 in commissions. Selling that much while flirting with 24-hour referral periods leads to the improbable. On the other hand, you can make money with Amazon, but you must be practical. For example, I’ve made $491.44 since 2014 (no, not a typo). I use Amazon’s affiliate program sparingly because there are hundreds of programs with better terms. Amazon Associates isn’t a program that should be high on your list.