Amazon is the worldʼs biggest retail eCommerce platform literally selling everything under the sun. Just to give you a sense of its size, 49% of all eCommerce sales in the US happens on Amazon. Forget itʼs overall traffic and registered users,
just the number of Amazon Prime members is about to cross 100 million.
People trust Amazon and prefer buying from it which is why the conversion rate among Amazon Prime members is almost 74% (a
Because Amazon also runs the worldʼs biggest and most popular affiliate marketing program, Amazon Associates.
The program has hundreds of thousands of registered affiliates (mostly bloggers and content creators) whoʼre making millions of dollars by promoting relevant products to their audiences.
Thanks to Amazonʼs amazingly high conversion rates, any traffic you refer to Amazon is much more likely to convert to a customer as compared to any other affiliate program.
Here is quick overview of Amazon Associates to help you decide whether itʼs the right affiliate platform for you or not
Table of Contents
- Amazon Associates – an overview of the program
- Amazon Associates commission structure
- Amazon cookie duration and terms
- The Amazon Associate sign up process
- Pros and cons of Amazon Associates
- The Case of Amazon Associates terms & conditions
- The right way to benefit from Amazon Associates
- Wrapping up the Amazon affiliate
- Other Affiliate Networks
- Different approaches to affiliate marketing
Amazon Associates – an overview of the program
What makes Amazon Associates truly amazing is the seemingly unlimited number of products you can promote with it. Just look at the product categories on Amazon to get a sense of their variety
These are just the parent categories. Each parent category has dozens of subcategories. And every sub-category has hundreds of thousands of products.
Overall Amazon has more than 300 million products listed.
For example, here are the subcategories for Baby Products:
No matter what niche youʼre in, and what the interests of your audience, you can find relevant and high quality products to promote to them on Amazon.
Your only job is to promote products the right way and drive traffic to Amazon.
From there onwards, Amazon will take care of everything
Amazon Associates commission structure
So how much can you earn as an Amazon Associate?
The answer largely depends on your product selection since Amazon has different commission rates for different product categories.
Hereʼs the commission rate chart
The highest paying category is Luxury Beauty and Amazon Cost at 10% commission for every sale. Not a great rate, I know. And the rest of the categories offer even lower rates.
Which means you can only earn big bucks if your site gets a lot of traffic. Otherwise youʼll struggle to make anything substantial from it.
Promoting digital products like Books is especially a waste of time since theyʼre so cheap and offer penny commissions.
The only good money is to be made by promoting physical products like electronics, tech products, PC accessories, cameras or any other physical products with higher prices.
Amazon Associates offers a 24 hour cookie duration which means youʼll be credited for any purchases (adds to cart) your referred visitors make within 24 hours.
Plus, youʼll also be credited for any additional products (other than those you promoted) that your referrals buy within the 24 hour window.
This is pretty useful since a lot of the Amazon buyers purchase multiple products once they land on the site thanks to its amazing user experience and product recommendations.
The Amazon Associate sign up process
Becoming an Amazon Associate isnʼt very complex.
You obviously need to have an Amazon account to apply. But after that they only ask you about your website, the product categories you wish to promote, and your traffic sources
They also ask you to describe your site and why you feel Amazon Associates is a good fit for you.
Standard stuff. Once you apply, it takes a few hours for you to get their initial acceptance email
Donʼt apply to Amazon Associates if you have a completely new blog with very few visitors.
You may get the initial approval but Amazon requires all new affiliates to make at least 1 sale in the first 180 days.
If youʼre completely new and donʼt have enough visitors this will be a challenge.
If you fail to drive any sales, your account will be canceled. You can apply again, of course (and you will be approved again). But
youʼll need to go through the whole approval process every time.
So the right approach is to first set up a well-designed site, choose your niche, publish some great content and drive traffic via search engines.
Once you have some traffic flowing in, apply for the Amazon Associates program so that you can start driving sales immediately.
Pros and cons of Amazon Associates
- Huge product variety to promote
- Amazing visitor to buyer conversion rate
- Very easy to sign up and start
- You earn commissions for the products you promote and any other purchases the buyer makes within 24 hours
- Huge acceptance of Amazon among buyers
- Itʼs easy to convince people to buy from Amazon since they feel secure
- Amazon holiday sales can supercharge your earnings because of increases buyer interest
- Can be used in combination with other monetization methods like Adsense
- Buyer reviews on Amazon give you lots of insights about product performance so itʼs easy to write reviews
- Amazonʼs Terms & Conditions are quite confusing and often open to interpretation.
- Thereʼs always a chance you can get banned or removed from their program because of a T&C violation you never intended to do
- Very low commission rates
- Cookie duration is only 24 hours which is much shorter than many other similar platforms
- You need a lot of traffic to make a respectable amount of money
- Minimum payment threshold is $100 which is high for newbies
Amazon doesnʼt allow promoting affiliate links directly in email which is a huge disadvantage. You can, however, promote links to your product reviews or content that has affiliate links. But no direct affiliate links in email.
Over the past few years, Amazon has been cutting off commissions for different product categories. Several categories have been exempted from the affiliate program as well.
So you never know when Amazon might decide to do the same with your product category and make a dent to your earnings
The Case of Amazon Associates terms & conditions
Before you jump to any conclusion about Amazon Associates, you need to know about one of itʼs most controversial aspects – its terms & conditions.
Every day, Amazon suspends hundreds of Associate accounts because of T&C violations. If you search Google, youʼll find detailed accounts of suspended associates who never violated any terms of agreement.
Why does this happen?
Because Amazon updates its T&C quite frequently and itʼs easy to miss or overlook new regulations.
Secondly, many of the regulations can be interpreted differently. So something that Amazon interprets as a violation may not seem to be a violation to a common user.
This is why wey recommend that you read the full service agreement and Terms & Conditions of Amazon Associates before signing
Read about all their recommended practices, potential violations, grey areas, and red flags.
Learn about the risks associated with their program by searching Google for terms like “my amazon associate account
banned” “amazon associate shut my account” etc.
Youʼll find dozens of first hand accounts of why people got their sites banned. Plus, closely study the commission structure and payment terms before agreeing to their program.
They have also written in detail about all the things that can get you banned from the program.
Look, Amazon Associates is a great monetization method but it is known to ban users quite frequently, so donʼt take any chances.
The right way to benefit from Amazon Associates
So how do you take advantage of Amazonʼs unlimited product inventory and make a living for yourself without putting everything on the line?
Hereʼs the answer to that:
1. Donʼt Put All Your Eggs In One Basket
Donʼt rely solely on Amazon Associates as a monetization strategy. we’ve seen numerous newbies start the so-called “Amazon Affiliate Sites” that are designed around Amazon products.
This has two major disadvantages
- It immediately limits their siteʼs growth because it is created with such a narrow vision that thereʼs no potential for any growth other than through Amazon products.
- By relying solely on Amazon, youʼre one T&C change or violation away from disaster. The moment Amazon decides to shut the door on you (for any reason) youʼll have nowhere to go.
This is why, like every smart person, you need to diversify your income sources.
Use Amazon associates in combination with other monetization methods so that youʼre never solely dependent on one source.
2. Target Problems, Not Products
People donʼt buy products, they buy solutions to their problems. Or as someone once said, they buy better versions of themselves.
This is why smart marketers always pitch the benefits of their products before describing features and specifications. Buyers only care about a product if theyʼre convinced it can solve a problem.
Use this mindset when promoting Amazon products (or any affiliate products). Donʼt jump right into product features and comparisons.
Instead show them how to solve a problem using the products youʼre promoting, share examples of how your product makes lives easier, happier, and more enjoyable.
People read product reviews because they want first hand recommendations based on experiences.
Anyone can copy/paste product features. But thatʼs the easiest way to become another failed affiliate marketer.
So make sure you put your buyers first and promote products in a way that gives them value
3. Think Long-Term, Think Authority
Do you want to make money for a year or two, or plan to create something that keeps earning you money for years and years?
Itʼs tempting to become an Amazon Associate and create a site that only publishes a handful of product reviews, gets backlinks to them with PBNs, rank for high intent commercial keywords, and make lots of money.
But such sites donʼt last for long.
Even as an Amazon Affiliate, the right approach is to think long-term and create an authority site that people in your niche consider the best source of information for all their problems.
Create useful content that addresses the needs of your audience and contextually link to relevant Amazon products that can help your readers.
Thereʼs nothing wrong with publishing product reviews, comparison etc.
In fact, they should be an integral part of your strategy. But that should never be the only content type that you publish.
Such a site will also earn you a much heavier price tag if you sell it on Flippa or any other platform as compared to a site thatʼs created with a narrow vision, with limited traffic sources, and even fewer monetization sources.
Wrapping up the Amazon affiliate
Amazon Associates is undoubtedly the worldʼs biggest and most successful affiliate program. It gives you a lot of benefits that no other network can offer.
But to benefit from it in the long run, you must consider it as just another monetization method instead of a business model on its own.
Diversify your income sources in combination with Amazon Associates so that you can use it without any stress and maximize your income potential.
At the same time, donʼt forget to thoroughly read its policies and T&C so that you always know what youʼre getting into
Other Affiliate Networks
Amazon isnʼt the only affiliate network. A lot of websites have affiliate programs and for the ones that donʼt, you can even contact them and try and work out some sort of arrangement.
Note that your traffic will have to be significant for them to create something like this specifically for you.
Some of the biggest sites in the world run on an affiliate model.
Here are a few of them.
- Nerd Wallet – A 9-figure company. They make the bulk of their income from affiliate programs with credit cards and financial services.
- This Is Why Iʼm Broke – A wide variety of products from Amazon. They mainly just list cool gadgets and toys that most people donʼt really need but will buy anyway.
- The Wirecutter – Recently sold for $30 million dollars to The New York Times. They produce the highest quality reviews of tech products. Their model was so successful that theyʼve branched out into areas outside of tech like home/kitchen.
Different approaches to affiliate marketing
There are 2 ways you can approach affiliate marketing:
#1. Build an entire site modeled around it
#2. Build a large content site and strategically insert your affiliate links in the most effective placements.
Neither is better than the other. If you can execute properly, theyʼll both work. However, weI always, always suggest #2.
Because you have more potential to scale and make your entire site more diverse and dynamic.
For example, with #1, youʼre 99% of the time going to have to create a REVIEW site of some kind. That means a site full of nothing but product reviews and an entire site littered with affiliate links.
To do this successfully and also build a brand that people know, love, and trust, is extremely difficult. Your entire site is built around earning commissions off of recommendations. People notice that. Your reviews better be top-notch, genuine, and trustworthy if theyʼre going to follow you as a brand and not just a random Google search visitor.
The reason we prefer option #2 isnʼt that #1 doesnʼt work. Itʼs because #2 can be just as profitable without needing to limit your entire brand to be just another review site.
You can make just as much money with affiliate links while only optimizing a few pages. Instead of doing affiliate marketing site-wide,
youʼre doing it on a page level.
First, find good affiliate products in your niche
You can do this in a few different ways:
1. Go to Amazon and see what products people are selling that you can promote on your site.
2. Go to Clickbank and see if they have any good products you can promote.
3. Go to Google and search “your niche affiliate program”.
Most affiliate programs are easy to get accepted to, especially since youʼre simply promoting on your website and not doing things like arbitraging cheap paid traffic.
Next, optimize your pages
There are 2 ways to go about doing this. The first way is to go into your analytics and identify your most popular
Which ones are getting the most traffic? Is there anything you can promote within those articles?
Add in your affiliate links, and test out how it performs. Are people buying? Is it converting?
The second way is to create content around those products specifically. This can be in the form of reviews, top 10 lists, gift guides, etc.
For example, if youʼre in the parenting niche, some content ideas that I might decide to create are:
- The 10 Highest Quality Baby Beds For Under $500.
- The Best In-Home Changing Station Of 2022
- 50 Creative Gift Ideas For New Parents.
See how they perform. Even if they donʼt rank on Google right away, you can drive traffic to it by linking to it from your other pages, and your sidebar.
If youʼve built an email list, you can even do things like adding it into your email sequence so that every new subscriber gets an email that promotes that page.
If itʼs a high converting page, the more people you get to visit it, the better.
A much better option
As you can see, #2 is a much better option. With option #1, youʼre limiting your site and brand to be just a review site. With option #2, you can write all the product reviews you want, but you would be diversifying your content so that you include informational posts as well.
It all depends on your vision with the site, and the industry youʼre in.
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