Last Updated on July 9, 2020 by James McAllister

By: James McAllister

21 Comments

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Looking to maximize your earnings from Amazon’s Affiliate Program? Grab my Amazon Affiliate Blueprint on my Products page!

The Amazon Affiliate Program (also known as Amazon Associates) is something that every affiliate marketer should have in their arsenal – but it is not without its fault.

Amazon is the world’s largest online retailer, and offers just about any physical good that you’d want to promote. While it’s not the ideal choice in every situation, you would be foolish to ignore the power it can hold for you.

In fact, there are people who build entire companies – pulling in hundreds of thousands of dollars per year – solely around promoting products on Amazon.

In this article, I’d like to talk more about the pros and cons of Amazon’s affiliate program in detail, as well as answer some of the most common questions regarding the program.

This way, you can better idea on how you could benefit from signing up, and how to make more from Amazon’s affiliate program once you choose to do so.

The Benefits Of Amazon’s Affiliate Program

Let’s start out with the positives. There are plenty, and they’re very powerful.

Extremely Wide Selection

If I had to pick one benefit that trumps them all, it’s got to be this one.

Amazon’s commission rate isn’t that great (we’ll talk more about this later.) However, for many items, Amazon may be the only company that allows you to earn money promoting them.

If you were to do a full audit of your website, how many products have you casually mentioned, without any sort of promotional link in place to earn you money? Chances are, that product is available on Amazon, and you can began monetizing that content right now by inserting natural affiliate links.

This makes Amazon a wonderful ‘catch-all’ option when there are no other affiliate programs available for specific products.

In fact, you aren’t required to link directly to product pages either. You’re also able to link to search results pages, to let buyers browse on their own.

Actually, almost any page can be linked to – even specific sections of pages (such as reviews.)

Combined with the other benefits that I’m about to mention, you may want to link to Amazon even if alternatives are available.

You Earn Commissions On Everything Purchased

This one’s pretty neat.

If you refer somebody to Amazon and they go on to purchase, you don’t just earn a commission on the product that you promoted.

You earn a commission on everything. Even if they decide to purchase a $5,000 watch.

I still remember one of my first experiences with Amazon’s affiliate program. I was running a technology blog at the time, and quite honestly, was hardly earning anything.

I began to wonder if Amazon’s affiliate program was even legit, as I really wasn’t earning that many commissions.

Then I checked one day to see that I somebody bought the hardware to build an entire gaming PC, totaling over $2,500!

Needless to say, I was pretty freaking happy – especially since it was one of my first times making money online, period.

Instances like these are rare. People don’t tend to spend thousands of dollars at one time, unless you’re in a very expensive market.

However, it’s not uncommon for people to buy a myriad of other odds-and-ends items along with their purchase.

And you earn money from all of them.

Earn Money Globally With OneLink

One of the drawbacks of many affiliate programs – especially those selling physical goods, is that they may be restricted to customers in one country.

This means that traffic from other countries does not have the ability to earn you commissions – and sending traffic to sales pages that aren’t applicable to them provides a poor user experience as well.

Amazon rolled out a program called OneLink in 2017 that solves this problem.

Using OneLink, Amazon will automatically redirect the customer to the correct version of their website, if a matching offer is available.

Unless you’re targeting a specific country, you’re still likely to receive most of your earnings from the United States. However, this is still a great way to earn additional commissions that you otherwise may not have.

Across my website here as well as for my baby product brand, international marketplaces account for just over 20% of our total commissions.

Customers Trust Amazon

This is another huge one.

Amazon affiliate links are likely to convert better than links pointing to other retailers, simply due to the fact that consumers trust Amazon. In fact, they likely already have an account on Amazon and are completely used to the experience that Amazon provides.

According to NPR, 92% of American consumers that shop online have purchased on Amazon before. 40% buy on Amazon once or more per month, and 44% start their search for online products on Amazon – even bypassing Google entirely!

Is it really that surprising? After all, Amazon…

  • Offers a very generous return and refund policy, reducing risk.
  • Often ships items to people’s houses in two days or less.
  • Protects people’s credit card information (which is still a major concern.)
  • Often has the highest sales volume for a particular item, leading to more reviews for consumers to browse.
  • Is set up for conversions. Amazon runs thousands of split-tests to improve their sales.

If there’s one site people are going to complete their purchase on, it’s Amazon.

The Drawbacks Of Amazon’s Affiliate Program

As mentioned earlier, Amazon’s affiliate program isn’t without its cons as well. It’s important to keep these things in mind, especially when determining alternatives to Amazon’s affiliate program.

Low Commission Rates

Unfortunately, you have to push a decent volume in order to generate meaningful revenue with Amazon’s affiliate program, unless you’re promoting very expensive products.

Amazon’s affiliate program pays out a variable range depending on the product’s category, ranging from 1 to 10%.

Most product categories fall between 3 and 4%. This means that on a $20 product, you’d earn a commission of only 60 to 80 cents.

It’s not that great.

But let’s look at it further. At a commission of 4% (which is standard) you would need to sell $100,000 of product a month, or nearly $3,300 a day in order to generate $4,000 / month in commissions.

I chose this number because it is roughly equivalent to the average household income in the United States.

Generating that many sales – even on a platform as powerful as Amazon’s, is difficult. This is why I typically recommend Amazon’s affiliate program as a supplemental income source, in addition to other affiliate marketing channels you’re pursuing.

Short Cookie Length

Amazon has a shockingly short cookie duration, of only 24 hours.

This means that if the customer leaves Amazon and buys within 24 hours, you still earn a commission on the purchase. However, if they purchase later than 24 hours – even if they purchased the exact product that you promoted, you won’t earn anything from that sale.

This is much shorter than the majority of affiliate programs out there.

It’s particularly a problem if you’re selling expensive products with a longer buying cycle, as people may think long and hard about these purchases before committing to them.

In this instance, it’s very important to target buyers late in the buying cycle, and utilize your content to help sell the reader on the product.

Amazon’s Return Policy

After you earn a commission, it’s not eligible to be paid out until the return period for that product has passed. Typically, this is 30 days.

Amazon buyers are well-known to abuse Amazon’s return policy, and may purchase products with the full intention of returning them later. As an Amazon seller myself, I experience this first-hand on a daily basis.

Amazon has taken steps to combat this, but it’s still a glaring issue – particularly if you’re promoting products that are prone to this, such as event items, clothing, or electronics.

Remember however, that it is the same generous return policy that aided with conversions in the first place. If not for the risk-free nature of buying from Amazon, there would surely be less buyers overall willing to make those purchases.

In this instance, Amazon’s goals and your goals are aligned. They want you to earn commissions (and keep them), because it also means that they’re earning money from it as well.

Amazon’s Affiliate Program: Q&A

Now that you know a little bit more about the pros and cons of Amazon’s affiliate program, I wanted to take some time to answer some of the most common questions about it as well.

What Are The Requirements To Sign Up For Amazon’s Affiliate Program?

You’ll be required to supply an active website, blog, application, or YouTube channel when you apply. It will help your chances of being approved dramatically if this already has original, quality content available.

How Does The Amazon Affiliate Program Work?

Example - Grabbing An Affiliate Link From Amazon's Website

Using their website, you’ll be able to generate links to most pages on Amazon. These will automatically have your affiliate tag added onto them. When a link is clicked, a cookie will be placed in the visitor’s browser, notifying Amazon that you were the one that referred the sale.

What Are Some Similar Alternatives To Amazon’s Affiliate Program?

There are very few programs that offer the same selection as Amazon. However, eBay and Walmart both offer affiliate programs for their stores.

It may be worth looking at who the biggest digital retailers are for your specific industry, other than the mass-market stores mentioned so far.

Are Amazon Affiliate Links Allowed On Social Media (Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, YouTube, etc.)?

Yes, Amazon affiliate links are allowed on social networks. However, you’ll want to ensure you’re compliant with each network’s policy regarding spam and promotional links. Additionally, Amazon may change their guidelines at any time, so it’s worth looking back over them frequently.

In regards to Reddit in particular, most subreddits ban Amazon affiliate links. Rules may differ between individual communities.

Can You Add Amazon Affiliate Links To… (WordPress, Shopify, WooCommerce, etc.)

Amazon affiliate links work the same way as any other links, so there aren’t any restrictions. Similarly to social media, you’ll want to check with the individual platform you’re using to ensure it’s allowed by them.

How Much Money Can I Make With Amazon’s Affiliate Program?

This is dependent on you. Like most strategies to make money online, the majority of people make very little, and a few people make the bulk of the earnings. Prioritize building a long-term, scaleable business rather than churning out cheap promotional content, and your earnings are likely to grow steadily over time.

How Can I Apply?

You can apply for Amazon’s affiliate program by clicking here.

Conclusion

Amazon’s affiliate program is not perfect by any means, but it’s certainly worth signing up for.

The simple fact that nearly every physical product is available on their store, combined with the sheer trust that the Amazon website provides, makes it possible to earn steady commissions from the traffic your website or channel is already receiving.

It won’t make you rich overnight, but as you continue to add more links to your website, over time the commissions can add up to a sizeable amount.

If you’re already utilizing Amazon’s affiliate program, I’d love to hear about your experience. Additionally, if there are any further questions that I can answer from you, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

Finally, if you want to maximize your earnings from Amazon’s affiliate program, I highly recommend investing in my Amazon Affiliate blueprint. It covers everything I know about building significant income with Amazon Associates, and covers several advanced tactics and strategies that drastically increase the amount you earn – even with the same level of traffic.

Wishing you success with it!

– James McAllister

About the author 

James McAllister

James is the owner of JamesMcAllisterOnline.com. He started his first blog at the age of 11, and has since gone on to start several successful businesses. In total, these businesses have sold hundreds of thousands of units and have touched millions of lives. Here on JamesMcAllisterOnline.com, he shares his knowledge that brought him to where he is today. If you want to connect with James, follow him on your favorite social networks!

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  1. Thanks James. I’ve been noodling on joining the Amazon’s affiliate program and this provided some good insight into the positives and negatives of the program. Seems like while the returns can be small, it’s better than nothing.

      (Quote)

    1. Hey Brad,

      It’s definitely not the greatest paying but as you rightly say, it’s better than nothing. Amazon carries plenty of items that other retailers don’t, so it’s good for all those promotions in which you don’t have any other affiliate program to use.

      Over time as you add mroe links and drive more targeted traffic to Amazon landing pages, the small earnings can really add up!

        (Quote)
      James McAllister recently posted…How To Grow Your Business During The Next RecessionMy Profile

  2. In my own case, I was given 180 days to generate sales else my account will be made dormant. For this reason, I did not bother to give it a trial. I felt like I was put under pressure.

      (Quote)

    1. Hi Owenayuk, thanks for reminding me of that. I had forgot that was one of their requirements.

      It can feel like you’re a bit pressured but that’s really not too difficult of a task even if your website receives very little traffic. In this instance its probably a better use of time to focus on marketing first as any affiliate earnings wouldn’t be very notable anyway.

      Still, I hope you give it some consideration in the future as I still believe it to be a wonderful program to have available!

        (Quote)
      James McAllister recently posted…Maximize Productivity With Todoist – Todoist ReviewMy Profile

  3. Hey James,

    Thanks for sharing this interesting and informative post here. I loved reading this and I want to tell you that I have heard a lot about Amazon Affiliate Program but never used it. There was a question in my mind that how Amazon Affiliate program works and you cleared my doubt here.

    Thanks again for your informative post.

      (Quote)

    1. That’s a good question! There isn’t any traffic requirement to be accepted, but it will certainly help in your approval if you have some sort of established website already. According to their page, content should be posted within the last 60 days and you must own the site you’re going to be placing links on.

      You are required to make 3 sales within the first 180 days after approval, which honestly isn’t difficult if you have any meaningful traffic base already.

        (Quote)
      James McAllister recently posted…Q&A: Why Am I Receiving Poor Conversion Rates With Amazon’s Affiliate Program?My Profile

  4. Nicely explain about amazon affiliates.

    So my question is if we do not sell any product in 180 days at amazon affiliate then they block our account. So we can create an account using the same email id?

      (Quote)

  5. I changed into the only who changed into concerned to your different amazon academic webweb page approximately including Amazon photos, after which I determined out that Amazon has a photo hyperlink on their webweb page that after can use it is for use with the Amazon Associates Affiliate Program as soon as you have been accepted. So my query is as follows. Since I want to construct a website BEFORE Amazon opinions it for approval into their program, will Amazon deny me in the event that they see me the use of their snap shots with out the previous approval into the the companion program?

      (Quote)

    1. Hey there, and apologies for missing your comment!

      Unfortunately I couldn’t find an answer to this, seeing as you’d need to go back and add the links later anyway it may be quicker to just leave the photos out for now. Alternatively, you can look into pulling pictures from a different retailer as long as the articles aren’t yet referencing Amazon product pages.

        (Quote)
      James McAllister recently posted…Your Company, Or Your Life?My Profile

    1. Hey Mike, what have you tried so far?

      If it’s the site you’re linking to in your comment, I only took a brief look and there are a few things you should know:

      1. You need a niche or some sort of core category. Google gives extra weight to sites that are relevant to a core topic.
      2. All of your articles (at least the ones linked to from the home page) are targeting extremely competitive keywords. You can rank for these, but you’ll need to build backlinks to the articles if you’re going to target such competitive terms / product categories.
      3. You are copying the bullet points directly from Amazon. Google will never rank these pages as they’re all duplicate content.

      I don’t mean to be harsh but your current strategy is never going to work for you – you need to completely overhaul your website. Please get in touch if you want to talk more about this, I’d love to help.

        (Quote)
      James McAllister recently posted…Plugins And Apps Won’t Save Your WebsiteMy Profile

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