Amazon Associates Affiliate Program Review 2023
Amazon has been and will always be the old bread and butter for many affiliate sites. These sites are popular as essentially they behave as a funnel to attract users to what they are searching for, learning about and driving them back to Amazon to buy a product. The formula is quite simple. Better part are Amazon affiliate sites end up in brokerages like Flippa, Empire Flippers and MicroAcquire.
Related: What Is Affiliate Marketing A Free Virtual Event
Amazon is popular, easy to use, viable for a huge portion of niche sites. Why not allocate a piece of your blog traffic?
Amazon will have a fixed standard commission income rate for specific product categories. Select the categories you feel that your traffic or potential customers may resonate with the most.
These standard rates change yearly or even more than once a year so you should always check HERE for the most up to date rates from Amazon itself.
The beauty about Amazon is that they offer such a huge range of products, there is a wide range in affiliate commissions to choose from. Imagine getting 10% if you are promoting Luxury beauty items. Not bad eh? Better yet look at Amazon Games, they pay a whopping 20% !
Another option for your affiliate commissions is the Amazon bounty program. Bounties are payments that Amazon makes to you if someone subscribes to an Amazon service after using your link.
They can range from $3 when someone joins a trial to a healthy $15 if someone starts an Amazon business.
Bounties are cool since Amazon offers so much, the right user from your traffic might end up buying an Amazon game and a candle set. You get paid for both.
Related: Affiliate Link Cloaking
But does Amazon pay less than other affiliate programs?
Let’s take a look at some comparable affiliate programs and see what commissions everyone is offering. I checked 3 niches and found some cool affiliate programs in each. You can see the affiliate payout and cookie duration.
Note: Exact percentages here may change over time as Amazon, and other affiliates, change their rates. I’ll do my best to keep these updated as things change.
|Network||Amazon||Wayfair||Designer Living||Best Buy|
|Cookie Duration||1 day||7 days||30 days||1 day|
Amazon used to have furniture at 8%, which made it more competitive. But as you can see designer living is way better. Websites that sell nothing but furniture may be able to give you better payouts.
Furniture is always a bigger purchase – meaning your not going to make up in bulk sales from trust in Amazon like you could with a $10 item. Unless, you are a dropshipping ecommerce site offering lower priced furniture items OR a furniture comparison website. Either way, always remember, this is not an impulse buy niche.
At the end of the day, Amazon is competitive in the tool niche, though not the best. This includes drills, hammers and so on. You can see that Ace Hardware kills everyone on cookie duration. However, Amazon will always grab the huge conversion rate. I would lean more towards modifications and test the results for yourself.
Amazon Commission Rate Isn’t Great At
Amazon’s greatest weakness is their cookie duration. 24 hours isn’t a long cookie, but there is an exception.
If someone adds a product to their cart, Amazon gives you a 90 day cookie on that product. That means their potential 24 hour cookie can be extended by a whopping 89 days. Some tools like Amalinks Pro or AAWP allow you to add a product to a visitor’s cart when the visitor clicks your link.
This gives you immediate access to the 90 day cookie and may be worth testing on your site.
Related: Affiliate Marketing On Pinterest Without A Website
AMAZON COMMISSION RATE IS AWESOME AT…
Amazon’s greatest strength has 2 parts:
- You get commission on any products bought within your cookie
- Amazon is a master at converting
Part 1 of Amazon’s greatest strength means that someone can use your link to buy a lawnmower and then buy some bath bombs. You get commission for both items at their different commission rates.
Considering how many people shop for a little bit of everything at once at Amazon, this is NOT an insignificant point.
Part 2 means that Amazon does a great job (almost certainly better than anyone else) at making sure that everyone buys more stuff. Amazon is always split testing their platform. They are always recommending new products and products that they think your visitors will like.
The odds of someone buying a product you recommend and then being upsold is high. Since you get commissions on all of it, that’s a huge plus for affiliates.
I read a lot that Amazon gives low commission rates. Perhaps in some categories that’s true. But I think that for 75% of affiliates, Amazon is more than competitive.
Even if their cookie duration is low, the frequent upsells make Amazon and super high conversion percentages makes it a high-paying affiliate program.
EASE OF USE
Amazon has a super easy-to-use affiliate program. You can get any of the links you need by searching for the product on Amazon and using SiteStripe to get your link. I show you how to get links using SiteStripe again in the tutorial, but here’s how you do it.
When you log into your Amazon account and go to Amazon’s home page, you’ll see a bar at the top of your screen:
This is called SiteStripe. To get affiliate links, search for the item you want to link to. Once you’ve found it, you can click “Text,” “Image,” or “Text+Image” on SiteStripe.
I don’t use the “Text+Image” option since I don’t think it looks great, but it could fit on some sites.
After you find the product you want, click on the type of link you want from SiteStripe. Copy and paste.
If you’re getting an image link, the large option is almost always best. Even at its biggest, the large is pretty small.
WHAT ABOUT AMAZON’S TERMS OF SERVICE?
This is where Amazon loses some points on ease of use. Their terms of service are as clear as mud and about as pleasant to roll around in. Even professional SEOs run in to problems with Amazon’s TOS.
If you’re caught red handed violating a rule that you didn’t know about, Amazon can be a little merciless. They are often unclear about what the problem is. Some people have been able to reverse bans by sifting through the TOS and fixing their site, but this can be tough if you’re a solopreneur.
Remember that even though Amazon can be unclear, they want you to promote their products.
They want you to be a part of their affiliate team. Reinstatement is difficult yet possible.
But as with all problems, prevention is better than a cure. So here are some of the most common violations and things you should never do:
- Download Amazon images (instead, use SiteStripe)
- Use Amazon’s star ratings or star ratings that look similar to Amazon’s
- Mention Amazon reviews
- Mention price
- Use affiliate links for your own purchases
- Use affiliate links in email (instead, send emails with links to your review articles, but never link to Amazon)
- Shorten links outside of Amazon (using the short link in SiteStripe is fine). There is an exception if you make it clear that your links are going to Amazon; I discuss this later in the Questions From You section
- Have explicit content – nothing adult or profane is allowed
- Have thin content – content must add value to reader
Those are the most common violations, but there are quite a few. Read Amazon Associate’s operating policies to be sure.
Amazon’s support can be super nice and easy to talk to, but they’re often pretty unhelpful.
Support for Associates will let you send an email, call someone, or chat during certain hours. I’ve never spoken to a support rep who wasn’t American and never had to deal with a language barrier.
But when the time comes to figure out a compliance issue or ask a question that isn’t super clear cut, there’s often some confusion.
The problem isn’t the support reps; they’re great. I’ve never had an experience where a support rep didn’t go out of his or her way to help me.
The problem is Amazon. They’re so big that their policies are often confusing even for employees. It’s no rare thing to get contradictory answers from different reps. They can’t help much with compliance, can’t do anything at all about API access (I discuss this later).
But they do try their best.
Amazon has a rockstar support team, but their policies seem to be shifting sand that no one can quite hold on to.
PROS AND CONS OF AMAZON ASSOCIATES PROGRAM
Let’s take a moment and look at what Amazon does well… and what they don’t.
There are a lot of positives when it comes to moving affiliate products through Amazon. While there are also plenty of legitimate complaints with the Amazon affiliate marketing program, time to give a nod to the good points.
TONS OF PRODUCTS TO PROMOTE
Amazon might have the widest range of products to promote out of any affiliate program in the world. It’s suitable for a lot of niches with physical products.
Whatever your site is about, there is probably an Amazon product you can sell related to your site.
At worst, that makes Amazon’s affiliate program a great starting point for monetizing every blog post you write.
Amazon’s commissions are competitive for most niches. The cookies are short (1 day), but if a customer adds an item to cart, that cookie rockets to 90 day duration.
There’s also the benefit that you get commission on everything someone buys within 24 hours of using your cookie. Amazon is a master at converting and upsells.
Your customers might go to Amazon from your link to buy a sewing needle and leave with a lawnmower.
VERY EASY TO USE
SiteStripe makes it super easy to add your affiliate links. If you can get API access (I discuss this later, so keep reading) then you won’t have to do anything on the Amazon side at all. Everything can be done inside of WordPress.
Amazon makes it super easy to create a text link that you know actually tracks.
SUPPORT IS SUPER NICE
The support group always goes out of their way to help. They make you feel welcome and like they’re excited to answer your questions.
In talking with other affiliates, many mentioned Amazon as being among the best at actually answering questions when things go wrong and getting you back on track to fix any problems and get your affiliate account reinstated.
THE NOT SO GOOD
Now let’s talk about the things that Amazon isn’t great at. While there’s a lot of good with Amazon’s affiliate marketing program, we can’t overlook the following flaws.
MIGHT NOT BE BEST FOR VERY SPECIFIC NICHES
If you are going into a very specific niche (best boxes for moving homes) or a very competitive niche (furniture), then there might be better options out there.
Amazon does great in some niches, but it’s worth checking other options out for your niche.
It might be that you can find a program that pays more, has longer cookies, and converts better.
TOS CAN BE CONFUSING
Let’s be real: Amazon’s TOS for Associates is nuts. You’d think they could add bullet points or something to help us hit the high points. Instead, we’re given an unclear operating agreement and told to comply.
When we fail, Amazon can be quick with the banhammer.
You’ll need to do your research to get all the ins and outs of Amazon’s TOS.
AMAZON’S UNCLEAR POLICIES MAKES SUPPORT UNHELPFUL
The support is made up of nothing but awesome people. The problem isn’t the support team. The problem is Amazon.
Their policies are so complex and so vast that support agents can give wrong or contradictory information. If you ask about a compliance issue 3 different times, I’ll be amazed if you don’t get at least 2 different answers.
It’s not due to bad training on Amazon’s part, just the fact that they have so many rules.
WHO IS AMAZON ASSOCIATES BEST FOR?
Amazon Associates is pretty handy to have around, but let’s take a look and see who it favors best (and who it doesn’t work well for).
PHYSICAL PRODUCT NICHES
No matter the size of your site, Amazon can be a super helpful tool for physical product niches. This could be anything from razor blades to picture frames to outdoor decoration.
Amazon has an enormous range of products to promote and there’s a good chance you can find something for your site.
A caveat here is that you should still check around for other affiliate programs in your niche. Amazon pays a competitive commission in many niches, but you might can find something even better for your site elsewhere.
INFO PRODUCT NICHES
Amazon isn’t a great option for info product niches. Amazon does have movies, documentaries, and books, but it’s pretty slim pickings here.
You’re best looking at something like Clickbank or running an ad network like Adsense, Ezoic, or Mediavine.
Amazon isn’t a great choice for niches with a big emphasis on social media. You are allowed to place Amazon links on your social media profiles, but there are several restrictions. You must:
- Own the social media profile that you’re using
- Include the exact URL of the social media channel in the Associates Dashboard
- Identify on social media that you are an Amazon affiliate and will make an income from any sales made by affiliate links
- Be a verified account on Twitter f you’re promoting your links that way (you have to have a blue checkmark)
You can not:
- Ask your audience to buy through your link, even if it’s just to support your business
- Cloak links without telling your audience that they’re going to Amazon (I discuss this below)
There may be exceptions if you have a big following. You can apply to the Amazon Influencer program and if you’re accepted, you get to do some other things with social media