What is Amazon Associates? It’s an advertising and affiliate marketing program launched and run by Amazon. The largest online retailer in the world. Associates make money with the affiliate program by linking to specific products and services found on Amazon from their web properties and YouTube videos.
The program pays you a small commission when someone clicks your affiliate link and then purchases something from Amazon. The rate of the commission varies depending on the product category and is subject to change at any time when Amazon chooses.
Amazon Associates Requirements
The requirements to become an Associate is to apply to the program, make a certain amount of sales and then have your account reviewed to make sure you’re following the operating agreement correctly (which is found here).
When you make the decision to apply tot he Amazon Associates program, you’re first able to create a probation account account where you can start promoting products from Amazon with a special link tied to your affiliate account. When someone clicks your Amazon affiliate link your cookie is saved in their web browser for the next 24 hours. Anything they buy during this period of time you get a percentage of the sale.
One you make 3 qualified sales, your account will be reviewed to determine if you can continue as an affiliate for Amazon or not. Amazon Associates is a straight forward affiliate program but they are strict about who they permit to stay in the program and there are quite a few things you can do to get your application rejected or your Amazon account banned even after you’ve been approved.
Lastly, your an Amazon affiliate at their discretion. At any time they can close your account for any reason legally. In practice though, there is always a reason why your account gets banned or your application denied.
Amazon Affiliate Earnings
The amount you earn depends on the traffic you send to Amazon and if that traffic buys products. Traffic should be targeted and ideally from America. So you want to promote Amazon in a way that makes sense for specific blog posts. Don’t just haphazardly promote irrelevant products.
A buying guide as to the best printers for a home office as part of a broader website that is all about on how to setup a home office as an example would do great. You don’t want to start a website only about home office printers, instead add value by making a helpful online resource.
Next it depends on what they buy. Each product category has a different Amazon associates commission rate structure which you can learn more about by watching the above video of yours truly or by reading this.
These are fairly small commissions overall however compared to other programs like SiteGround that can pay up to $150 per sale if you can send more than 20 people a month to sign up. But Amazon has the volume.
Everyone shops online and most Americans have an Amazon account. So it’s much easier to make a sale promoting a product from Amazon than it is promoting a high ticket item like web hosting. For some websites, it’s not uncommon to make thousands of dollars a month given the right niche.
How To Make Sales
To make sales simply requires a website visitor to click on your affiliate link to Amazon and then make a purchase. This why bloggers create specific product buying guides because they are not only helpful for your visitors, they tend to rank well for product oriented search terms.
YouTube is also another great traffic source for Amazon as well. You could create a product oriented YouTube channel where you review specific tech products and then link to Amazon. If your videos get stable rankings and views, it becomes a passive income source.
Within the Amazon Associates program you do have a few specific ways to link to Amazon provided in your Associates dashboard
Amazon affiliate links
When promoting a product simply search for it in your Amazon affiliate dashboard. Then click “get link.” On this page you’ll have three different options. The two best are image only and the Amazon short link. The short link is what you can use in blog posts and YouTube videos to link to Amazon.
Amazon short links
Once you click the “get link” button you’ll be able to create short links, Amazon image links or a combo of the two. The short links are ideal for using to link to from your website and in a YouTube video description.
You’re not allowed to download images from Amazon and use them on your website. You can however use “image only” links on your website. They are ideal to visually demonstrate the product in question and work well within a review paragraph or as part of a product review table.
Amazon image and text
The last and least effective link are the Amazon image and text links. These show both the image and short description of the product. They fit will in the side bar of a blog. But in general you’re better of writing a custom detailed review and the linking to the product via a short link or an image link.
Amazon display ads
Last are Amazon Associates display ads. Unlike other networks where you get paid per impression and click, with Amazon you only get paid when someone clicks your display ad and then purchases a product.
Display ads are very effective and are best place at the bottom of a review blog post as it will show all the products you have previously mentioned.
Tags and your Amazon Associates Tracking ID
You can only have one Amazon associates account. Even if you have multiple websites. The way to manage multiple websites is to setup multiple tracking ID’s so you know where you’re making sales from. You could also setup a tracking ID for just your YouYube channel.
The reason this is helpful is because as your earnings grow, you’ll want to know how much each of your websites as well as YouTube channel is making. Otherwise, it’s going to be all grouped together under one tracking ID.
WordPress Plugins for Amazon
Here at Website Creative Pro, we suggest not using any sort of 3rd party plugin and instead to just rely on the tools Amazon gives you. But if you do want to create more beautiful, custom links that look great and should in theory increase conversion we suggest two options:
Amazon Affiliate WordPress plugin (AAWP)
This is a paid plugin that allows you to display Amazon products with your custom affiliate links in creative and interesting ways with ease. Need to setup on of those fancy product tables or want a “best sellers” list? Take a look at AAWP.
Lasso is the creation of Matt Giovanisci who is the founder of Swim University and a six figure earner in the Associates program. This plugin started of as a personal solution to display Amazon Associate links and products in a beautiful way. Matt has since turned this custom solution into a broad, general use affiliate link plugin for all types of links. Not just Amazon.
Amazon Associates Program Requirements
Want to become an Amazon Associate? Then play by their rules. Once your account makes 3 sales your account will be reviewed or your probation account will be closed and you’ll have to start over again with a new account. What are the most common ways people fail to meet the Amazon Associates Program Requirements?
1 – You did not list all your website where you’re promoting Amazon.
When creating your account you have to tell Amazon every website where you will be promoting Amazon from. No exceptions. This includes a YouTube channel as well. My first account got banned because I had one website listed but was driving sales from my blog and YouTube channel that were not listed. This is not OK and your account will be closed if you do this.
2 – You do not properly disclose you’re an Amazon Associate
You don’t have text on the page where you’re promoting Amazon that says you’re a participant in the Amazon Associates program:
We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.
You must put this in your footer or sidebar. It needs to appear on any page with Amazon affiliate links.
3 – You send affiliate links in your email news letter.
You can’t do this. You can send people to your website that has links to Amazon like a review post, but you’re not allowed to put Amazon links directly in the email itself.
4 – You have 180 days to make sales.
If you don’t make any sales, your account will be closed. If you have a specific product page, wait till it is getting at least 20 visitors a day. Not 20 visitors a day site wide, just 20 days to your specific page where you intend to promote Amazon. This is enough traffic where you should make a few sales.
5 – You have to continue making sales.
If your account stops generating sales it will be closed at Amazons discretion.
6 – Hosting images from Amazon on your own website.
Some content creators think it’s fine to right click and download images from Amazon and then upload it to their website for use in a review post. It’s not. This is a violation of the terms of service. Instead, use product links from Amazon.
7 – Hiding your Amazon short links.
You have to use the Amazon short link when linking to Amazon. You’re not allowed to use any type of url shortener.
8 – Encouraging people to use your links
Using your own links to buy products for yourself or encouraging your friends, family, website visitors or YouTube viewers to use your links is against the terms of service. It’s against the terms of service to say “support the channel” and encourage people to use your links.
9 – Having your links in paid courses or private areas of a website.
Your links can only be on publicly available websites. You can’t put Amazon Associates links in a paid course or a Patreon page.
10 – Using Amazon customer reviews
You’re not allowed to take Amazon customer reviews and use those reviews in your blog posts as a way to market a product.
11– Don’t impersonate Amazon.
Don’t lead people on to think your website is somehow apart of Amazon.
12 – No links in PDF’s or ebooks
Similar to not having links in private areas of a website, you’re also now allowed to put links in any sort of PDF or ebook. Even if the ebook is for free.
13 – No links on websites directed at children under 13 years old.
So if you have a YouTube toy review channel for example, Amazon affiliate links are not allowed.
14 – Don’t mention the star rating.
Similar to not using customer reviews, you’re also not allowed to mention the start rating of a product in any way. No, you can show an image of the star rating. No you can’t say “this product has a 4.5 star rating.”
15 – Don’t list prices from Amazon.
You can say this “camera is expensive” but you can’t say that “on Amazon this camera costs $599.” No direct mention of prices. Now on some website you’ll see the mentioning the price but that is because they are using a plugin like AAWP which uses Amazon’s API to automatically collect and update this information.
16 – You can’t post links on websites you do not own.
Social media accounts are fine if you own the account, but you can promote your link in say the comments on a blog post, Facebook group or the comment section of a YouTube video. Only link to websites, social media accounts and YouTube channels that you own and have listed as places where you will be promoting Amazon.
17 – You can’t use the word Amazon or any sort of abbreviation in your website URL.
So if your website is something AmazonTours.com and it’s about going on a tour of the Amazon rain forest, you’re not allowed to use Amazon links on a site like that because of the potential for confusion.
18 – You can’t provide any reward or incentive for using your links.
A common practice in affiliate marketing is to give away a free bonus if someone uses your link but you can’t do that with Amazon. You can not state, provide or give any type of reward for people using your links.
19 – No adult themed websites allowed. No violent themed website allowed.
Along with website targeted at children, it should come as no surprise that you’re not allowed to promote Amazon Associates on any adult themed or violent website.
Conclusion – Amazon Affiliate Program Review
Amazon associates is an excellent program for generating income passively given the right mix of website topic and traffic. The real key is to simply use the Amazon affiliate program organically in your content as it makes sense and to create excellent content that ranks in search engines and provides tremendous value.
The end result is that you get a consistent flow of traffic to specific pages on your website that elegantly convert visitors in customers.