Amazon affiliate income is one way to make extra cash from your blog. But is it worth it? In this post, I’ll look at the pros and cons, how much money bloggers can expect to make, revenue-boosting tips you can start using immediately, and more.
So, if you’ve been wondering how much Associates can earn, you’ve come to the right spot.
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Is The Amazon Associates Program Worth It?
Every business model has pros and cons; Amazon is no exception. So let’s take a look at some of the benefits of using Amazon.
Some of these could apply to any affiliate network or program.
- Earn passive income: You’re only required to recommend different products from your site. You don’t hold any physical products nor pay for any overhead.
- Amazon is well-known: They’re perhaps the most prominent affiliate network on the planet, and people trust to buy from them.
- Substantial product inventory: Piggy-backing off the substantial-ness of Amazon, that extends to its inventory. Because there’s so much to sell, entrepreneurs and retailers can build multiple online storefronts.
- Additional product purchases get included in your commission: If a customer clicks your link, adds the item to their cart, and then adds another high-priced $550 item, you earn the commission on that entire order (as long as it’s within 24 hours).
- Requires patience: Setting up an Amazon affiliate site involves time. It could potentially take a couple of years before you can turn it into a full-time job.
- Slashing its commissions: Their commission rate isn’t as high as others, which is why it’s a good idea, as an affiliate marketer, to use alternatives to Amazon’s affiliate program.
- High competition: Many people are creating affiliate sites, which means your content must be of the highest quality before gaining organic traffic.
- Restrictions & compliance terms: Amazon’s terms of service are strict (e.g., you can’t place an affiliate link in an email), and you risk getting banned from its affiliate account if you violate them.
How Much Amazon Affiliate Income Do Blogs Earn?
One of our sites, Giftlab, earned $1.2M in affiliate income in under five years — and about 90% of it came from Amazon.
So, you can earn quite a bit as an Associate.
I have built two niche sites that have generated over $2.6M million in *just* affiliate revenue since Jan 2018.— Andrew Fiebert (@andyfieb) June 6, 2022
That’s an avg of $51.4k/month for 4+ years. 🤯
I’m going to share what I’ve learned.
My first thread 🧵👇
That said, the money you make depends on you — you get what you put in.
You can build a strict hobby site and earn a few hundred monthly dollars. Or, you can make something that earns tens of thousands of dollars.
It boils down to your site’s web traffic, clicks, and how well your content’s optimized for conversions. There’s also the quality of your content and how consistently you publish. If you show up every week, it compounds over time.
So, for example, if your domain is new with few pageviews, you’ll make fewer commissions (versus a large site generating substantial amounts of traffic).
It’s a numbers game.
The more traffic you send to Amazon, the more money you’ll make. You can also get a better idea of how much you’ll earn based on Amazon’s commission rates.
Amazon Affiliate Commission Rates
Amazon affiliates earn between 1%-20% of qualifying sales; different products carry different rates.
You get paid the fixed commission rate depending on the product category.
So, for example, if you’re promoting PC components, you’ll earn 2.5%; if you’re promoting home improvement items, it’s 3%.
But before you get excited, remember Amazon’s commission rates are low. And, just because you’re linking to a product page or a search page doesn’t mean you’ll earn money hand over fist.
How to Make More Amazon Affiliate Income?
The short answer: it depends.
While there isn’t one answer that rules all, there are things you can try when promoting your Amazon products to move the needle.
Here’s a shortlist you can start using right now.
1. Choosing Your Product Category
Before writing a single product review, you should know what Amazon’s commission rates per category are.
I’m not saying to follow the money because that approach may not be sustainable if money’s your only motivation. You won’t enjoy your creations (because you have zero interest in them).
But finding a happy medium between something profitable and something you’re interested in is usually the way to go.
For example, the luxury beauty category pays 10% compared to a 2% payout for television and digital video games.
But should you create an Amazon affiliate website in the beauty category if you don’t care about the products or its audience?
Go for what:
- Excites you
- You already know
- You’re deeply curious about
Understanding how you’re compensated can give you a better idea of how much affiliate traffic you’ll need to turn a modest profit.
Amazon’s commission rates were higher until they recently slashed them.
Much is life; being an Amazon affiliate ebbs and flows. So it’s best to prepare for the worst and expect the best.
Think winter in the summer.
Sidenote: Lasso co-founder Andrew Fiebert has a simple hack to amplify your Amazon commissions. Read his thread below. 👇🔥
Sell a lot of a particular item you promote on Amazon?— Andrew Fiebert (@andyfieb) June 20, 2022
Let’s 8-15x your payout on top of your Amazon Associates income. It takes less than 10 minutes to do per product and can seriously change your business.
Always check Amazon’s fixed standard commission income rates to stay updated.
2. Run A Google Search
One approach you could take is to run a Google search for “popular amazon categories” and see what comes up.
Why do this?
Knowing what’s already selling gives you a jump start on the kinds of products to promote.
This search resulted in over 300 million pieces of content written about the topic.
Head to the top-ranking posts and start your research.
The above post written by JungleScout tells you the Top 10 Amazon product categories.
For example, Home & Kitchen ranks number one. So if you were creating blogging content (or were an ecommerce site) for that niche, you’d head to that category and look at all the top sellers.
Pro Tip: Aim to find products with lots of reviews. User reviews are a goldmine of information you can use for content creation. It’s also a good signal of what people like the most.
You can also head to Amazon’s Best Sellers and browse popular products.
Knowing this information will help you create content people are interested in. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel 😉
3. Create A Popular Products Page
Piggy-backing off the Amazon Best Sellers idea, you could create an entire page dedicated to Amazon’s popular products (where it makes sense and is relevant for your niche and audience).
Like how you’d showcase a Resource page or a Toolbox page on your website, why not create a page that displays all things popular?
Our Listen Money Matters toolbox page generates ~10% of our affiliate income.
Creating this could potentially boost revenue in weeks, depending on your website’s monthly traffic.
For example, you could create a Popular Products Resource page using our tool, Lasso.
If you have new products in your industry (e.g., tech gadgets), you could create a New Products page where it makes sense.
4. Build Your Email List
Unfortunately, adding Amazon affiliate links to your emails violates their Associates Operating Agreement.
However, you can insert links in your emails to a blog post, product review, or anything else found on your niche site.
You can use your email list to keep your audience informed about new things, trends, site updates, and more.
For example, if you recently wrote a product review, you could blast it to your list with the review link.
If you can get them excited and show what’s in it for them, you’ll likely get more clicks to that page.
Ideally, your audience will:
- Open and read your email
- Click your product review link that takes them to your website
- Read the post on your site with the affiliate link
- Click the affiliate link and take action (e.g., sign up for a newsletter, create an account, etc.)
Final result: you earn a commission. The larger your email list, the wider net you’ll cast.
Building it from day one is a good idea as it’s a direct line of communication with your readers.
Email marketing is a traffic channel that nobody else owns (e.g., Twitter or Facebook is a rented audience); it’s yours.
5. Increase Your Affiliate Link Real Estate
Text-only links are the first start. But what if you could add your Amazon affiliate URLs in other places on your page?
When you’re writing your posts (specifically ‘Best List’ posts, e.g., best glassware), tastefully include your affiliate links in as many places as possible.
That means your H2s and images, along with your CTA button.
If you have more than one place your reader can click your affiliate link, your odds of earning a commission improve.
We’ve found clicks increase when placing them in multiple places – without leaving your website feeling cluttered with affiliate links.
You can do this using Lasso.
Lasso adds a piece of shortcode into your WordPress post automatically.
Adding links to your h2s follows the same format as inserting any text-only link to your WordPress content.
Below is one example of how you could apply this to your site.
You could potentially increase your Amazon affiliate income using this strategy.
6. Conduct Affiliate Keyword Research
When deciding which keywords to target, you have a few options.
While ‘step-by-step’ articles and ‘expanded definition’ type posts work fine (e.g., How to Create an Amazon Associates Account or What Is A Backlink?), the three pieces of content carrying higher conversion rates are:
- Best List posts
- Product reviews
- Product comparisons
These three styles focus exclusively on promoting products for people more inclined to make a purchase.
In other words, they’re in ‘buying mode.’
You’re targeting people already researching specific products because they’re getting ready to make a purchase.
For example, someone looking to buy Bose headphones might conduct a Google search with the term ‘best bose headphones’ or ‘bose headphone reviews.’
Best List Posts include the best (or most popular) products in one category.
These articles have a higher transactional value attached and tend to convert more.
Comparison articles are another as the person has narrowed their search (e.g., between Bose headphones and Beats.)
In that case, they might use the search term ‘bose headphones vs. beats.’ But, as Ahrefs Head of Content, Josh Hardwick says:
Most people approach affiliate keyword research all wrong. They look for low-competition keywords, write a blog post, then shoehorn in as many affiliate links as possible.
Without the proper targeting, this approach can yield high traffic but low conversions.
7. Track Clicks
We wrote a post detailing why you should track clicks here.
But the short answer is: Tracking your clicks tells you which pieces of content resonate the most with your audience.
Click tracking measures how often someone clicks a link on your website, email, or app.
But don’t include Amazon affiliate links in your emails!
You can use a heat map from sites like HotJar or CrazyEgg. These generate thermal images showing the most clicked parts of your website.
Or, if you’re using Lasso to track your clicks, you’ll quickly integrate your Google Analytics tracking ID with Lasso.
Lasso sends Google Analytics your data, which stores every click as an Event.
You can then see which affiliate products perform the best on your site by heading to Behavior > Events and clicking either:
- Top Events (shows you which affiliate products perform the best across your website)
- Pages (shows which affiliate products do well on a specific page)
8. Earn More with International Traffic
Getting commissions through Amazon’s U.S. associates program is excellent, but what about your international visitors?
Affiliates lose money because they didn’t sign up for that country’s affiliate program.
Sign up for as many that make sense for your website.
Tip: A quick way to decide which programs to sign up for is to head to Google Analytics and see where your website gets the most traffic.
Head to audience> Geo > Location to see Sessions By Country.
Then sign up for those international programs.
Amazon creates geo-targeted links using Amazon OneLink as its standalone tool.
Suppose you’re using a tool like Lasso’s Amazon Integration to monetize your website when someone from another country clicks your Amazon link.
In that case, they’re automatically redirected to that person’s local country.
For more details, head to Amazon Associates to learn how to monetize your international traffic.
9. Experiment with the Add-to-Cart Option
This will be something to test in small doses.
It can make for a negative user experience and can feel spammy.
First rule as a content creator: Be mindful of your audience’s desires while interacting with your website.
Before I explain the Add-to-cart option, here is a quick refresher on Amazon’s cookie.
Amazon affiliates have a 24-hour cookie.
What does that mean?
- A cookie is a small file stored in a visitor’s browser whenever they click an affiliate link.
- Clicking the link activates a timer.
- Once the timer starts, your website visitor has a specified amount of time to make a purchase (letting you get credit for the sale and earn a commission)
If the timer runs out and they make a purchase, you earn nothing.
This is why long cookie durations matter with affiliate marketing.
The longer the cookie, the longer your chance of making money.
The cookie also lets the network know who should get credit for the sale and earn the commission.
Back to Amazon’s regular 24-hour cookie…
The loophole is that if a visitor clicks a link and then adds that product to their cart, the cookie duration extends to 90-days.
However, this is worth testing:
- Continually getting asked whether you’d like to add an item to your cart merely from hovering over the affiliate link or using an intrusive popup gets annoying
Note: You don’t get credit for the entire sale within that 90 days, only what they added to their cart within the first 24 hours.
For example, someone clicks your high-priced affiliate link, adds four items to their cart, then leaves Amazon.
Within 90 days, they return to their cart, add five more items, and pay for all nine.
You only get credit for the first four items in their cart in the initial 24-hour period.
It’s Not a Cookie
The 24-hour cookie is a cookie. At the end of 24 hours, it changes to an extended purchasing period.
Consider your customer when choosing which products to test this on.
If they’re buying high-priced items, perhaps the Add-to-Cart option would work as expensive items generally aren’t bought on a whim – they’re carefully considered.
For example, a helpful testing metric would be only using the add-to-cart with items carrying a price threshold greater than $350. Then scale up or down from there.
10. Publish Consistently
Maybe you publish weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly.
Perhaps your monthly post is an epic masterpiece chock full of value. The number isn’t as significant as the consistency.
Create an editorial calendar and publish content regularly.
The more consistently you create quality content, your traffic will likely increase.
It takes time, but it’s worth it.
Each article you publish is like compounding interest in your affiliate marketing business.
Over time, it builds up.
Your audience will reward you for your consistency because you’ve established yourself as a trusted authority.
Rinse and repeat this process.
Earning Affiliate Income As An Amazon Associate FAQs
Here are some common questions people have when starting as an Amazon affiliate.
What happens to the affiliate link if the product no longer exists?
When a product no longer exists, if a person clicks your product link, they’ll either get a message saying the product is no longer deliverable or get an error page.
Amazon suggests checking your links regularly to ensure you don’t lose money.
Tip: You can easily avoid this with Lasso’s “Link Alerts” feature.
Am I allowed to use the Amazon Associate program on social media?
Yes, you can use your affiliate links on your social networks as long as you remain compliant with Amazon’s terms of service. There’s even a function on SiteStripe that lets you share your Amazon link to Facebook and Twitter.
Amazon also has an influencer program that lets you establish your own presence on Amazon. You can find out more about that on Amazon’s site here.
How long will it take for my registration to be approved?
The application process is fast, and most Associates can get their affiliate account and tracking ID from Amazon within 24 hours. After that, you’re free to start promoting your affiliate links.
But you’ll need to drive at least three qualifying sales within 180 days. Otherwise, you could lose access to the program.
Is there a payout minimum for the Amazon Associates Program?
The payout minimum varies depending on how you’re paid.
You must earn at least $10 in 30 days to get paid via direct deposit or Amazon gift card. If you’re getting paid by check, the minimum bumps to $100.
Sidenote: There’s also a $15 check processing fee.
How Long Do You Have to Earn Amazon Commissions after A Visitor Clicks Your Affiliate Link?
You have 24 hours to earn a commission from Amazon once your visitor clicks an affiliate link.
However, you can get credit for any sale when an item is placed in a shopper’s cart within 24 hours and then bought from their cart within 90 days.
Sidenote: You earn a commission on everything added to their basket, not only the product link your visitor clicked.
This has the added benefit of scooping up other commission rates attached to whatever’s in their cart.
Can You Use Your Affiliate Link for Personal Use to Make More Money?
You can’t earn commissions from purchases you make with your affiliate link, nor can you gain from giving it to friends and family.
Amazon explains they’re an advertising program, not a discount program. Its number one goal is referring new customers and growing the business.
They also haven’t disclosed how they know that it’s your link:
According to Amazon:
Due to the proprietary nature of the way we determine if the order was personal, we can’t share the full list of criteria by which we detect these ineligible orders.
Does it cost anything to become an Associate?
It costs nothing to become an Amazon Associate per their operating agreement. Signing up is free and takes only a few minutes.
Amazon collects no money from its publishers either – you pay nothing to sign up, nor will you pay anything once you’re part of the program.
There are no prerequisites. You don’t even need a required minimum number of page views.
Does Amazon’s affiliate program pay per click?
You will not earn money from Amazon by the number of clicks your site gets.
Amazon’s affiliate program is commission-based and pays its Associates a percentage of all qualifying purchases per its standard income rates.
Earning Amazon affiliate income takes time. So when you’re starting, it will feel like a daunting road ahead.
Building organic traffic won’t happen overnight. Neither will growing your audience and establishing trust. So it may take a while before you start earning a full-time income through its affiliate marketing program.
But you can do it.
And affiliate revenue is only one piece of the puzzle.
Once your website starts gaining traction, consider alternatives to Amazon.
You may see higher rates with different networks.
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