How the Amazon Associates Affiliate Marketing Program Works

What is Amazon Associates?

Amazon.com is one of the leading online stores for all kinds of products, including books, magazine, music, movies and a plethora of other tangible home and office products. It’s amazing just how many different products are on amazon when you start researching products for your affiliate program.

Amazon Associates is Amazon’s affiliate program that let’s you earn commission on the sale of products from their catalog of goods. It’s a great program for several reasons.

First, because Amazon has been around for so long, most people who buy products online are already familiar with amazon and have a certain level of trust in the quality of products and the ability to make returns. Most people also have an Amazon account as well, so there is a low barrier to entry when it comes time to make a purchase.

Second, Amazon Associates allows you to setup multiple tracking ID’s. You might have multiple tracking ID’s for different niches or markets, or in some cases you might setup different ID’s for various marketing channels, such as social media, email or web marketing. This is very helpful when it comes time to measure results and track performance back to a specific strategy for driving affiliate traffic.

Third, Amazon Associates has a 90 day cookie, which means that if you send someone to Amazon through an affiliate link, you can potentially earn commission on anything they buy for 90 days. For example, you might send them there with a link to a $10 book and they end up buying a $200 Kindle. You just increased your earnings from $.40 to $8.00. Not bad, huh? This is especially nice around the holidays as more people shop online for gifts.

How do I setup Amazon Associates?

Visit Amazon Associates to sign up for an account and get started right away!

How do I display Amazon Associates links?

One of the features I love most about this program is the variety of display options available. This is great because you can create a much more customized presentation of your links that looks good and speaks more effectively to your market vs. just text links or static images.

Some of the links, banners and widget options include:

  • Product Links
    These are text and/or image based links that link to a specific product. you can customize the text in your link and choose how the price is displayed if at all. These are probably the most popular types on links you’ll use in your marketing campaigns, because the are so targeted.
  • Banners
    These are pre-defined graphic images created by Amazon that help you promote some of Amazon’s most popular content. For example, you might want a banner in the header of your website that invites people to check out the latest electronics items on sale for 50% off or more. There are banners in nearly every category across multiple different promotional types. I love banners!
  • Site Stripe
    This is very cool – the site stripe is a toolbar that shows up in your browser window as you navigate through Amazon. If you find a product you want to promote with an affiliate link, you just use the buttons in the Site Stripe to quickly create affiliate links to those products. It really helps speed up the link building process and makes it way more fun. Plus, you can easily share affiliate links on Twitter using the Site Strip as well.
  • Search Widget
    This bit of code allows you to put an Amazon search box on your website. You can target specific product categories and change the color and dimensions to match your site.
  • Carousel Widget
    This allows you to display a visually appealing and interactive, rotating list of products from a category of your choice. You could also select specific product to include in the carousel if you wish.
  • Deals Widget
    As implied, this widget features products from any given category that are on sale. Of course, lower cost products mean lower commissions so use with caution. On the upside, this widget is great as a means to get users into Amazon and begin tracking with the 90 day cookie. They might order something at half price day and something else at full price next month.
  • MP3 Clips Widget
    This is a great little widget for the music lover. It allows users to preview music and buy on the spot. Songs are on the less expensive side but tend to pay a higher commission rate.
  • aStore Widget
    This is a unique widget that allows you to create an entire mini-version of Amazon right within your website. You can have multiple pages of content across different categories that you either hand pick or let Amazon choose for you based on a number of variables. This is a great solution if you want to have a dedicated “Products” page within your site.

This is only a sample of the different options you have for displaying Amazon links and I’m sure you’ll have fun exploring the many other options available.

How do I get paid?

You earn commissions from Amazon Associates when people purchase products on Amazon.com through your affiliate links.

Your referral rates are based on the the volume of purchases people make through your links in a given month. For example, if you sell 1-6 products, you earn 4% on those sales, 7-30 products you make 6%, 31-110 gets you 6.5% and so on. The max percentage payout is 8.5% if you sell 3,131 products in a given month. I hope you achieve that!!!

You get paid once your earnings reach a minimum threshold, such as $10 for direct deposit or gift certificate or $100 if you want them to write you a physical check. If you earn less than the minimum in a given month, those earnings are added to your rolling balance. Once the balance reaching the minimum, you get paid.

Anything special I should know about Amazon Associates?

Affiliate Marketing Field Guide

Affiliate Marketing Field Guide

Most people agree that Amazon Associates is a great affiliate program for all the reasons I’ve mentioned here. Others however find it tough to justify marketing a product if the commission is only 4-6%. For comparison sake, most products on other programs, such as LinkShare, Commission Junction or ShareASale payout at a much higher, usually starting at 6% on the low end.

What this means is that you have to be realistic about the volume of traffic you can send to Amazon and the conversion rate of that traffic to determine a reasonable earnings potential. Compare that same traffic and conversation rate to other programs that offer a higher referral rate, but also keep in mind the nice 90 day cookie and brand recognition that comes with Amazon.

Definitely test out Amazon Associates to see if it’s right for you.

Please leave a comment below or on Twitter @steinarknutsen.

Thanks,
Steinar