Content creators now have many ways to make money on social media. One way that's been growing in popularity is by integrating affiliate links across different platforms.
Affiliate marketing can be super lucrative; some influencers make up to $25,000 monthly.
There are tons of affiliate programs to choose from, which is great! A popular one is the Amazon Influencer Program. The program allows creators to link their favorite products in their own "Amazon storefront." From these links, their followers can buy the very same products. The creator gets a commission when a purchase is made through their link.
We live by the saying "work smarter, not harder," so let’s look into this program and see if it's really worth the effort.
Amazon Influencer Program: The Pros
Amazon is widely known
As an affiliate marketer, you are convincing your following to buy products you endorse from whatever brand you purchased.
If your followers trust you and easily jump on new opportunities, you will be fine with whatever platform you choose to market through. But if you have a more cautious following, they may feel more comfortable with a more widely known website, like Amazon.
Amazon is a common household name that most people recognize. This plays in your favor. Using a website your followers have more than likely already purchased from minimizes the suspicion or hesitation they may have.
It can create extra revenue
Here is a sneaky little secret for you; Amazon’s program gives influencers a chance to receive commissions on sales for the products they recommend and for anything else in a buyers card.
So if one of your followers clicks on your affiliate link, adds the product to their cart, and then adds five more things to buy, you get commission on all of it because you “generated” the sale.
Now that’s working smarter, not harder.
Influencers can increase their engagement
Engagement is key to monetization. Creators are like community managers who must constantly build and connect with their current and potential followers. Amazon storefronts give your following a glimpse into your life through the products you love. Your community will feel even more connected to you, knowing that they are using items you also use on the daily.
One platform = easier management
The Amazon Influencer Program isn’t the first affiliate program platform to be released. Websites like Awin and ShareASale had similar concepts.
The major difference between previously popular platforms and the Amazon Influencer Program is that all other platforms must be built out by each brand. Time-consuming and complicated.
With the Amazon Program, influencers can create affiliate links, share codes, and even track sales all in one place. A much simpler process.
Amazon Influencer Program: The Cons
Not everything earns commissions
Not all products on Amazon can earn you a commission on sales. Things like gift cards, apps, and some Kindle products are excluded from the program. This can be frustrating to influencers trying to create a steady income.
Low commission on eligible products
If you compare commission rates on Amazon to other affiliate programs, Amazon pays less. There's no way around it.
Most affiliate programs have a commission rate between 5-30%. Amazon commissions range between 1-10%, so way lower than average.
Amazon Games is the only category that comes close to a normal commission rate. Commission for games purchased here comes in at around 20%. Better, but still lower than other brands.
Unless you are a gaming influencer, you aren’t getting much of a commission percentage on your sales.
No PayPal option
Influencers from all over the world are eligible for the Amazon Influencer Program, but receiving the money they earn may prove harder than it needs to be.
PayPal is a popular method for influencers to get their affiliate payouts, but Amazon doesn’t offer it as a payment option.
So even after bringing in earnings through your commission links, you have to set up another payment method. If you are outside of the U.S., you will likely have to pay fees and potentially be charged horrible international exchange rates.
Short cookie window when purchasing
Amazon's program has cookies that last only 24 hours. So even if someone puts a product in their cart that they found through their favorite creator, unless they purchase within those 24 hours, the creator makes no revenue.
Many people leave products in their carts for days, so depending on how quickly your followers click the "purchase" button, you may or may not get paid.
How to Increase Income Through the Amazon Influencer Program
Qualify: To begin your Amazon Influencer journey, you need to submit an application. There’s not that much information out there on the application, but it’s known that you do have to say how many followers you have.
It's also very unclear how many followers you need to gain access to the program, but most sources say it’s between 1,000-10,000.
Some claim the number is lower, but nothing is for sure.
Build: When you are finally in the program, it’s time to build your storefront.
Log in to your account and click "Storefront" from the menu option. From here, you can click "Create Store."
You can build multiple stores for each niche you want to sell in, but if you are a beginner, it's probably best to just build one store at a time.
Once the store is set up, you search and add products to your lists. Boom, you’re ready to start selling.
Earn: This is the best part, right?!
When your storefront is full of products, you want to promote them all to your audience. No one will even know it's there if you don't promote it.
Be creative here. You could have a "launch" post of the entire storefront. You could share individual links you are particularly excited about. You could promote it in your stories. Go with whatever you think your audience will interact with the most.
Note: You earn a commission when the purchased item has shipped, not right after checkout. And you won’t get the money until you are "paid out." Payouts are done monthly if your balance meets the required minimum threshold, which also isn’t totally clear. So you might not get paid for a while….
Biggest critiques of the program
Many people aren't fans of Amazon's Influencer Program or of Amazon itself, for that matter. The biggest two reasons are the very low monthly earnings you will likely receive and the recent reports of Amazon’s questionable business practices.
Even if you are marketing your heart out, you may only receive a few dollars a month from the platform. If you can figure out a way to make it work, great! But many don’t see the draw.
Amazon has also been boycotted by quite a few Gen Z creators as a way to speak out against the mistreatment of workers in Amazon’s warehouses and reported acts of malpractice.
The Washington Post discusses the #peopleoverprime movement that recently took place on TikTok, which was created to raise awareness and hopefully force change out of the mega company.
So you may consider if Amazon is really a brand you want to be promoting.
Should you personally use the Amazon Influencer Program?
No one can answer that for you, but here are some helpful questions to ask yourself before you even apply.
- How big is your brand - Do you even qualify? If you do, what's your audience's buying power? Is it worth it?
- Your understanding of your community - Do you know what your followers would enjoy seeing?
- Do you have the time and knowledge - In theory, Amazon's affiliate program is easy to set up but can be time-consuming. Do you have the time? Can you commit to the creativity it takes to promote?
- Can you finesse the financials - As we mentioned, the payout process can be tricky. Is it worth it for you? What are the tax implications?
- Personal convictions - Do you even want to work with Amazon?
So, is the Amazon Influencer Program worth it? In short, it can be.
It can pay off if you have the time and energy to grow your account and audience. You get all of the benefits of affiliate marketing without having to go through a bunch of different platforms or programs.
However, if you’re starting from scratch or don’t have a large following just yet, it may not bring in as much revenue as you were hoping for. But don’t let that stop you! Give it a try and see how it goes – nothing ventured means nothing gained.