Amazon, the online superstore, has a lot in common with the Amazon rainforest.
It’s complex, diverse, a bit mysterious—and sometimes you’ve got to bushwhack your way through.
Of course, we all know a thing or two about Amazon. Where else can you buy drones, pet supplies and brand name clothing, as well as earn a paycheck?
I’m betting that you’ve purchased many different items from this website already. Personally, I’ve purchased everything from electronics to make-up to joke gifts for friends on Amazon. Some people even buy their groceries here!
For affiliates, the Amazon Associates program creates a unique opportunity, mainly due to the incredible variety of products for sale. The success of the business itself can only mean good things for those who partner with Amazon… or can it?
Surprisingly enough, many affiliate marketers who are part of the Amazon Associates program have a love-hate relationship with the company.
The goal of this Amazon Associates review is to understand the good and the bad of Amazon’s affiliate marketing program. No time for monkeying around. Let’s start by discussing a major gripe of Amazon Associates.
Then, we’ll get to bushwhacking through the brush to reach true affiliate success.
The 2017 Commission Changes for Amazon Associates
One of the reasons for the love-hate relationship with the Amazon Associates program is the changes that have been made in recent years. The most recent update to the program happened at the beginning of March 2017, and had to do with commission rates.
Before, commission percentages were calculated by the total number of sales that an affiliate marketer referred during a given month. So the more products you sold, the better the commission.
Now, however, Amazon Associates earn higher or lower commission rates by category, not by the number of sales. This means that big affiliate marketers who were selling over 3,131 products per month (an 8.5% commission) might now be making less than half, depending on the commission given to the category their chosen product falls into.
This is what the commission rates for categories now look like:
For example, if that same affiliate marketer who sells 3,131 products per month promotes video games and video game consoles, his commissions are now down to 2%. Yikes!
That being said, there’s now the possibility of earning up to 10% commission on certain categories, namely digital video games, luxury beauty and Amazon coins. Any marketers in these categories may actually have seen a benefit to their business.
Most affiliate marketers are seeing a hit on their earnings, but there are plenty of ways to overcome this, as we’ll discuss later in the post. First, we’re going to explore the other ups and downs of working with Amazon Associates.
Why We Love and Hate Amazon Associates
It’s time to get down to the specifics.
Why is there this love-hate relationship with Amazon Associates that so many marketers seem to be talking about?
A Variety of Products to Promote. Affiliates can choose between 1.6 million products currently for sale on the site, with more being added to every category daily. How can you beat that?
Simple to Use. Amazon’s control panel makes it extremely easy to promote affiliate products and keep track of earnings.
Free to Sign Up. Starting as an Amazon Associate is completely free, and takes a matter of minutes.
Many Options for Links and Display Ads. Customization is key with Amazon. You’ll be able to choose how ads are displayed, whether you want contextual links, banner ads or even interactive widgets.
A Trusted Website Means Better Conversion. Linking your readers to an unknown online store will have less chance of a sale than with Amazon. Since this website is so well known, people generally don’t worry about security when making online purchases with Amazon. Many of your readers will already have Amazon accounts, or even Amazon Prime accounts, and be all set up to make their purchase quickly upon reaching the product page.
Safe for All Parties. While your readers are safe as customers on Amazon, you as an Amazon Associate are also protected. You can be sure that your earnings will be paid.
Low Minimum Payout. As soon as your commissions go over $10, you can request payment by direct deposit or Amazon gift card. This is a much lower payout threshold than other affiliate sites. However, if you want to receive payments by check, the threshold is $100.
24-hour Cookies. When a reader clicks on a link from your site to Amazon, you’ll only get a commission if they purchase the item within 24 hours. This is a significantly shorter cookie tracking time than most affiliate sites offer. That being said, if the customer adds the item to his cart, you have 90 days for them to make a purchase.
Low Commissions by Industry Standards. This, of course, will depend on the category you’re in. However, if you find that your main product is in a low-commission category, it may be better to find another affiliate program.
International Payouts Made Difficult. If you promote products on Amazon.com, but purchases are made from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.es, etc., you won’t get commissions.
PayPal Payouts Aren’t Supported. As of now, payments can be made by direct deposit, check, or as an Amazon gift card.
How to Make the Most of Amazon Associates
What are some ways that you can have success with this affiliate program? Check out these top tips for making more cash with Amazon Associates.
Create Quality Reviews Based On Real-life Testing
We already know that there are plenty of affiliate marketers using the Amazon Associates program. So, get a step ahead of your competition!
If you or someone on your content team is able to test out the products in real life, this gives you the ability to write more in-depth product reviews. You’ll be able to extract the details and give your readers exactly what they’re looking for.
You can also use the product to improve your posts by including media such as video reviews.
Cash In on International Readers
As we mentioned above, each individual Amazon site has a different Amazon Associates program to sign up for.
To take advantage of this, start by checking out where your readership is coming from. This is easily done with Google Analytics. Which countries are your readers coming from, and is there an Amazon Associate program there?
Then, sign up for each of those individual programs where your readers are located!
Once you’ve done that, check into plugins with WordPress that automatically change your Amazon links to fit the respective Amazon website of your visitors. For examples, EasyAzon is one plugin option you can start with.
Make Your Site the Only Stop Necessary for Readers
People do more online research now than ever. Use that to your advantage.
If you provide the best, most detailed information for your readers, they won’t be looking anywhere else for advice. They’ll be coming directly to you! That means you’re getting better conversion and not losing your affiliate link cookies to other Amazon Associates.
Listen to Your Audience
This is true for any affiliate program, but especially when working as an Amazon Associate. Your audience will tell you what they want to hear or know more about. Make sure to review and recommend the products that they want to see or buy.
When you give the people what they want, they’re more likely to make purchases based on your affiliate links.
Learn How to Survive Amazon’s Newest Changes
Amazon’s changes to their affiliate program don’t mean that they’re no longer useful as an affiliate site. In fact, the Amazon Associates program is still a viable option for many affiliate marketers.
To make up for a lower commission rate, many affiliates have made changes to their website to accomplish two goals:
- Increase traffic
- Improve conversion
While average commissions led some affiliates to become lazy in these areas, Amazon’s latest change has reminded some that improvement is always possible. This has enabled them to achieve the same amount of earnings as they had before the change.
Success in a blog is almost always reliant on the amount of traffic that you receive. Since Google is probably your biggest referrer, making sure you rank well is a good way to start.
However, don’t forget that Google brings readers to individual posts, not your website in general. So make sure that each of your posts is optimized for the right keywords.
Also, check your click-through rate (CTR) from Google. How can you make that Google listing more appealing to readers? Including metadata and an attractive title will draw more readers in.
Testing different methods of improving conversion can take time, but it will be worthwhile in the end. Start by making sure that all of your posts are mobile friendly. Also, add useful information to your posts and give your readers the content they’re looking for.
Another thing to do would be to include social proof when recommending products. You can find this in honest Amazon reviews. Quote what real people have said after purchasing this product.
These small changes can make a huge difference in increasing conversion.
We all know that Amazon isn’t going anywhere. So while the Amazon Associates program does have its faults, affiliates who use this site can be assured of reliable payouts and a variety of products to promote. The confidence that people have in this site also means that affiliates will see higher conversions.
Taking advantage of the right tools and methods with Amazon Associates can bring success to all affiliate sites, both big and small!
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