In this step-by-step guide, we show you everything you need to know about the Amazon affiliate program and Amazon referral links. As a bonus, we show you how to make serious money as an Amazon affiliate!
Are you an affiliate looking to join the Amazon affiliate program? Wondering whether you’ll be able to use those pesky Amazon referral links correctly?
Or perhaps, you’re having doubts about the profitability of being an Amazon associate?
Well, if you responded with “yes” to any of these questions then, you’re in the right place.
All you’ve got to do is allow me to guide you here and now.
Ready? Awesome 🙂
Visit Our Amazon Online Shop
Let’s go for it!
What is Affiliate Marketing? And Where Does Amazon Fit in There?
Affiliate marketing is an advertising model where merchants pay for traffic, leads and sales sent to them by their partners (webmasters like you), and where affiliates earn money by referring paying customers to their merchants.
Affiliate marketing is a legit, widespread model of making money online. 85% of all online businesses host affiliate links on their sites, and that percentage is still on the rise.
This includes behemoth sites like the WireCutter (hosted on a subdomain of the New York Times) and your common mom and pop shop who’re your next door neighbours.
The Amazon affiliate program (officially called Amazon Associates program) is the largest affiliate program in the world, with more than 900 000 affiliates across all niches.
How does the Amazon Affiliate Program Work? Here are 5 Facts You Need to Know!
#1- Commission Structure
The Amazon affiliate program pays out different commissions based on product categories.
You can read about it here.
But below is the image where you can see how much you get for products sold based on the category they belong in.
#2- Cookie Duration is 24 hours
I should have said cookie duration is a shamefully low 24 hours.
That’s right. ONLY 24 hours!
That’s probably the lowest cookie duration in the whole affiliate industry.
However, it must be said that Amazon affiliates are making money off Amazon despite that significant handicap.
Note: once a visitor clicks on your affiliate link, the 24 hour timeframe starts ticking. If they don’t buy immediately, but say 12 hours later they come back via another one of your special links, then the 24 hour time period is reset in your favor.
#3- Last Click Model
The Amazon Associates program uses the last-click-model to attribute sales.
Here’s what this means in practical terms.
By way of an example…
Say, I click on your affiliate link, but don’t buy anything. Later on, I click on your competitor’s affiliate link and proceed to place an order.
You will not get a commission, but they will, because theirs is the link I clicked last.
#4- Abandoned Carts Hold Vast Potential
If a visitor clicks on your affiliate link, and then fills their shopping cart, but doesn’t check out immediately, that cart will be valid for 90 days, and so will your chances of getting those commissions.
So the 24h cookie duration rule doesn’t apply here.
#5- You Can Earn From Everything They Buy
Let’s say you’re a wellness blog and you recommend turmeric supplements for better health.
Your visitor listened to your sage advice, went and bought that orange-golden powder.
But they also went on a mini shopping spree, buying a yoga mat for themselves, video games for their two kids, and an espresso coffee machine for their husband in the process
You earn commissions for all of the items sold.
The Pros and Cons of the Amazon Affiliate Program
Amazon Associates program is a legit and trusted service that can see you making commissions left and right, and wondering how you ever went without it.
However, it’s also not everyone’s cup of tea.
Learn about its pros and cons below.
- It’s super easy to become an Amazon associate. You can register and start promoting your affiliate links in no time flat.
- Everyone’s application is initially accepted. No need to wait for someone to visit your site and give it a manual approval.
- Amazon is an ecommerce giant and authority. Users know the brand and trust it, and “let’s go to Amazon” is nowadays synonymous with “let’s go shopping”.
- With more than 3 billion items for sale, there’s hardly a shortage of products you can push on your blog.
- Affiliates get commissions for everything their referrals buy, not just the stuff they advertise.
- Amazon are masters at upselling, so multiple buys happen even more than you’d expect and hope.
- Very low commissions in some categories. For example, the video game category boasts a meagre 1% commission rate.
- The Amazon Associates Program Operating Agreement is hard to read, difficult to understand, and changes every few months. You have to be vigilant or you can be caught unintentionally breaching the agreement between you and Amazon. And the punishment for breach is getting kicked out of the system.
- Potential for further downgrading of commission structure. I don’t want to scare you, but the way Amazon’s been behaving the last few years, it almost looks like they’re on a mission to drive their affiliates away.
Overall, however, the Amazon affiliate program IS still worth joining.
And that’s what we will cover next.
How to Join the Amazon Affiliate Program (Step by Step Tutorial)
It’s easy to join the Amazon affiliate program, and here are the steps.
First, go to the Amazon Associates homepage.
Click on “sign up”.
Second, Amazon Associates will pull information from your Amazon account about who they should send affiliate payments to.
Confirm it, or change it per your convenience.
Third, enter your website address or mobile app here.
Fourth, select a store ID and give information about your site or mobile app, and what kind of Amazon products you plan to promote.
Next, you’ll pick your blog’s topics from a drop-down menu, things like movies, gaming, apparel, books, supplements… Choose those that best describe your site or mobile app.
Finally, you’ll need to tell Amazon how you drive traffic to your blog, how you generate income from it, how you build links, and how many total unique visitors your site gets on a monthly basis.
Now you’ll get access to the affiliate dashboard and you can also choose to add tax info then and there, or do it later.
Please note that although you can do it later, Amazon won’t pay you until you’ve given them your tax info.
How To Create Amazon Referral Links (Tutorial)
Product Link tool is the easiest way to create Amazon Referral links.
To access it, inside your affiliate dashboards simply click on Product Linking>Product Links.
Next, you can search for products within your niche that you’d like to promote.
You can seach broadly for example “turmeric” or you be very specific by mentioning the brand and exact supplement model.
Click on “get HTML” to get your affiliate links and banners.
Another way is to use Amazon’s SiteStripe tool to get your affiliate code off any product page.
Note: you need to be logged into your Amazon account to do this.
Simply visit any product page and in the upper left corner you’ll see a bar that says “SiteStripe”. Pick the type of link you want to make and go.
Amazon Affiliate Program Payment Methods
There are 3 payment methods available with Amazon Affiliate program.
Direct deposit: If you decide to get paid via direct deposits, you’ll have to give Amazon your banking information. This includes the bank name, account number and other identifying info. $10 is the minimum payout threshold.
Check: if you want to get paid by check, you need to give Amazon your mailing address. For this payment method, the minimum payout amount is $100, which is pretty steep. There’s also a $15 processing fee.
Amazon gift card: if you pick this payment method, Amazon will send gift cards to the email address listed on your account in the amounts you’ve earned. $10 is the minimum gift card amount.
How to Make the Most Money With the Amazon Affiliate Program
Success leaves clues.
These are the tips and hacks all the uber successful Amazon affiliates use.
Copy what works from them and start making money sooner.
#1- Create Lots of Content
Content is the bloodline and foundation of any successful affiliate business.
Create content as much as you can. Focus on your niche and try to answer every single question people ask.
In fact, I advise you to target keywords you know you’ll never rank for.
Because more content on the site increases your site’s overall topical authority. This helps you rank for easier, long tail keywords you’re not even deliberately targeting.
And long tail traffic is the highest converting traffic type, and ideal for Amazon affiliate websites.
Pro tip: SEMrush has the largest keyword database in the world (20 billion+ and rising fast).
Use it to mine long tail keywords with little competition. Yes, they exist in any niche and you just have to find them.
SEMrush is the tool for the job, and you can get a FREE 30 day trial here!
#2- Target Amazon Affiliate Terms
Amazon affiliate terms are simply keywords that people who’re in the buying mood type in Google.
They’re high-buyer-intent keywords that convert handsomely.
How to find them?
Let’s say you’re in the Spirulina niche.
You’d go to Amazon and type “Spirulina” in the search bar.
Amazon will show you all products that have the term “spirulina” in them (with the most relevant ones bubbling to the top first.)
Next, you’ll pick one and head on over to Google and type that supplement’s name in the search bar.
Google is then going to show you keywords related to your main keyword.
Target them all on your blog for maximum comprehensiveness and ease of ranking.
Pro tip: sometimes, it makes no sense to create separate articles for each keyword. Other keywords simply don’t have a large enough search volume to warrant separate articles for them.
In that case, create one article and include those keywords as subtopics within it.
Note: use SEMrush to gauge search volume and difficulty for every key-phrase.
Pro tip: even though targeting a buyer keyword pretty much ensures that the people reading your page will be very interested in what you have to say, you still need to make it easy for them to read.
So, within your reviews, comparison articles and listicles sprinkle in images, quotes, excellent formatting and then… hope for the best 🙂
The advice above simply works!
For example, this page has a rather boring topic of manufacturing industry trends for this year, but it’s still (relatively) fun to read.
I think that their effective formating, plus inclusion of images, and especially gifs, does the trick.
With the Simpsons gifs to look at, even the driest of topics suddenly become palatable.
#3- Promote Your Website
I’ll be brief here. It’s because website promotion as a topic can fill several book volumes, and I know you don’t have time to read novels.
So, the best ways to promote your content are :
I start with social because it’s the easiest and fastest way to get the word about your brand out there.
Join Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Youtube, create individual strategies for each platform, and get cracking.
Pro tip: ideally, you want to target all these platforms at once. But, if you’re a solopreneur, you’ll find that’s simply not possible.
In that case, I recommend you still be active on social media, but pick and focus on one platform only.
As for which one, it highly depends on your niche. For example if you’re a lifestyle blogger, you’d definitely go with Pinterst and Instagram as you can show off the products you bought from Amazon.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
SEO is broadly divided into on-page SEO and off-page SEO.
You need both types to succeed.
There’s no room for it here, but but I have an excellent on-page SEO guide for beginners. You need to check out.
Off-page SEO is building external signals that help your site rank higher.
Social shares are also external signals, but backlinks are key for growth.
Again, link building is a huge topic without end, so my advice is to promote your site with guest posts.
Guest posting is a free strategy that requires effort, grit and persistence, but one that also yields excellent results when done right.
Here’s a guide that can help you.
Another useful strategy is HARO.
HARO (Help a Reporter Out) is a service that connects journalists with bloggers like you, and by using their service you can get featured on some of the strongest websites in the world.
Sites like Forbes, New York Times, LA Times and more, regularly use HARO to source their quotes.
Remember, just one of those power links could transform your site’s traffic forever.
#4- Use a Link Localizer
Link Loclizers are special services that redirect visitors from different countries to their respective Amazon branches.
For example, a visitor from Los Angeles that clicks on your link is going to go to Amazon.com, while a visitor from London UK is going to be redirected to Amazon.co.uk.
Note: you must use a link localizer service or you will not get paid for sales you make from different regions and countries.
They’re premium services that cost money, but the investment is totally worth it.
Amazon Affiliate Program FAQ- All Your Questions Answered!
Amazon Associates is the most popular affiliate program in the world with hundreds of thousands of affiliates on board.
It’s also a perennially hot topic on Quora, with thousands of questions already asked and answered, and more coming in by the day.
I meticulously combed through those questions and got a valuable subset to give answers to in this Amazon referral links guide.
#1- How Do You Qualify For Amazon Affiliate Program? What are the Requirements?
You need to have an active website,YouTube channel, mobile app or social profile.
Active implies it needs to be filled with high quality and useful content.
So please don’t apply to Amazon with a bare bones site that’s just your service page, one 500-word blog post, and about me blurb.
I mean you could as there are no manual checks for the first 180 days, but why bother?
Your goal is to make money, not be a part of some affiliate program
#2- Is There a Limit to How Much you Can Make on Amazon
There are no limits to how much you can make on Amazon. Most bloggers make less than $1000/yr., but some are killing it with way above $100,000/yr.
In blogging, as in most walks of life, sadly the Pareto principle applies. Few affiliates will get almost everything, while the bottom is overcrowded.
#3- How Does the Amazon Affiliate Program Work?
The Amazon affiliates program (aka Amazon Associates program) works the same way as any other affiliate program.
You apply and join their affiliate program. You get your affiliate id and links, and post them on your blog.
People click and proceed to buy. Because they clicked your link, you get credited for that sale and receive commissions.
#4- What are the Percentages I Earn From Stuff People Buy?
The percentage you get depends on the product category.
Luxury items and beauty products get you a whopping 10% commissions. 10% is nothing really, but I say it’s “whopping” because selling video games and consoles gets you a meager 1% commission, and selling television sets hooks you up with a 2% payout, which is not much better.
This all doesn’t matter if you have a high trafficked blog. However, on a blog with very little traffic, it’s very hard to earn decently from Amazon.
#5- Does Amazon Affiliate Pay for Clicks
No, they do not.
The Amazon associate program works on a pay per sale model where you get paid for the sales you make.
#6- How Many Followers Do You Need to Earn Big From Pushing Amazon Links to Them?
It highly depends on the influencer.
The more persuasive and charismatic you are, and the more they trust your advice, the more you’ll sell.
So even being a nano influencer with 1000-10000 followers is often good enough.
But, in general, you’ll need to have 100 000+ followers to really earn good money.
#7- What are Amazon Associates Affiliate Guidelines?
Here’s the official document that I suggest you read if you’re going to become an Amazon affiliate.
And here are some of the basic guidelines.
• You must have an affiliate disclosure clearly visible on your site and on every page that includes links to Amazon.
• You can’t cloak Amazon affiliate links.
• You can’t make deceptive and false claims in your product recommendations.
• You can’t list out prices on your site, because your site is static compared to Amazon products prices which are always in flux.
• You can’t use Amazon affiliate links in email, offline promotions or even eBooks.
These rules seem stringent, and they are! But you need to follow them or you’ll be removed from the platform as soon as your site comes up for an internal review.
The Amazon Referral Links Guide – Now Your Turn
Amazon is an ecommerce giant that takes up more than half of the global market.
They also use the money and influence they now have to stifle competition and expand further.
The point is, they’re still growing, and as an Amazon affiliate you can develop a lucrative business just by promoting Amazon.
So, now that you have this new knowledge, are you going to take action?
Are you going to profit from those Amazon referral links?
Or will you let this opportunity pass you by?
Join our conversation and tell me all about it in the comment section below.
Disclosure of material connection
Some of the links in this article are “affiliate links” as defined by the FTC. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, Astute Copy Blogging will receive an affiliate commission, at no additional cost to you. However, please note that we only recommend the best products and services.
Join The Conversation
Krysten Quiles says
This is super helpful for anyone looking to get into Amazon affiliates.
Renata Feyen says
Wow, you really explained that very well and detailed – Too bad it is not allowed in Belgium unless you are self-employed 🙂
There is a lot of information you put together here.
Kim C says
What a great blog! I really like this, very detailed and the information is sooo amazing! Thanks for sharing! Huge help!
Kathy Kenny Ngo says
I wonder if being in the Philippines, I can still become an Amazon affiliate?
Amber Solis says
Great help. Thank you so much. This will help me take that step to use amazon on my site and feel confident about it.
Laura Schwormstedt says
Thanks for clearing this up as I have wondered a lot about Amazons affiliate program and this has brought a lot of clarity to that! Deffo going to give it a go now