Amazon is exploding in popularity, when you become an Amazon Associate, you can promote any of their products as an affiliate and earn commission income.
But is Amazon’s affiliate program actually legit?
How much do the top earners make?
What can you expect if you’re just starting out as a brand new online marketer?
How does their commission % compare to other affiliate programs out there?
hey guys, I’ve been making full-time income online since 2015, running a digital marketing agency that ranks websites for small businesses. My local lead generation business currently generates $40K per month. Over the years, I’ve used my profits to reinvest back into building my affiliate marketing business, which makes for me around $10K per month on top of the local lead gen biz.
(Now I’m passionate about showing others how to build their own lead generation business)
Now part of that $10K per month affiliate income is generated through an Amazon affiliate site, I’ll show you some real-life examples of one of my indoor grill review site, what kind of work it took to get there, & how much money it is making me now, so you can get a clearer idea on how all of this works.
What is Amazon Associates?
It is your opportunity to promote Amazon.com products on your own sites or anywhere online really and when people follow your link and they buy that product on Amazon, then Amazon will pay you a commission for that sale.
- 70% of Americans that make $150K or more, have Amazon Prime accounts.
- Amazon shipped over $5 billion worth of products in 2017 with Prime Worldwide
- Net Sale for Amazon hit $177.9 Billion in 2017, which is 31% increase from $136 billion in 2016.
Amazon is growing at an insane rate currently with no close second.
Its, in fact, the most visited website on the internet next to Google & Facebook.
Why does this matter to you as an affiliate marketer?
Amazon affiliate links convert really well because Amazon is such a trusted website, as compared to some random store on the internet.
Is it easy to join Amazon Associates?
Yeah its fairly simple.
The only requirement is you have to show them one of your websites that you will use to promote the products.
It really doesn’t even have to be that well built.
A simple WordPress site that you slap together with some product reviews should be enough, & you can always work on the site later. If you get denied for whatever reason, its not a big deal either, you can always re-apply again.
When you’re ready, head over to Amazon.com and go to the bottom of the page for the link to apply for the affiliate program.
Just in case, this is their terms of service. Amazon will deny you if you have sexually explicit, illegal, violence, discrimination content on your site.
Amazon’s recent change in their commission payouts
In March of 2017, Amazon changed their commission payout structure.
It used to be a sliding scale where affiliates could earn more % based on how much volume they sold. Those that produced the highest volume amount could earn up to 8.5% commission, after this change these people definitely took a substantial hit to their monthly income.
They are shifting to a flat % fee based on product category.
As you can see, depending on product category, not all affiliates were affected as bad with this change.
This has caused many affiliates to move away from promoting Amazon products entirely.
I do personally feel that 4% rate for “all other categories” is quite low, even for an affiliate.
If you google “product niche” + “affiliate program” you will pull up many other companies offering affiliate earning opportunities on the internet, with pay outs ranging anywhere from 10% all the way up to 50% sometimes.
Other companies that are working with the volume that Amazon’s working with will be willing to sacrifice much bigger profit margins so that they can get more people to promote & sell their products.
The disadvantage is obviously Amazon has much greater reputation which leads to higher conversion rates.
If you sold a $5 product and made 4% commission, you’re only making a mere $.20 cents per sale.
However if you sold a $500 product at 4% commission, you’re making $20 per sale.
So you must be selective when it comes to niche/product selection for Amazon affiliate.
If you sell bigger price tag items, you can sell much less & still make money.
Also now, obviously the product category plays a major role.
Amazon’s Awesome Sales Funnel & Getting Credit for Other Product Purchases
Another reason why marketers like promoting Amazon products is because they have this amazing sales funnel that recommends other related items to you, which greatly increases the average purchase amount from their customers.
When your referred customer buys other products at Amazon.com, you will still get credit, even though they bought a product completely unrelated from the product you referred.
So for example, if you were promoting an xBox game but the user kept browsing on Amazon and purchased a iPhone case, that cookie (tracking) is still active on their computer for the next 24 hours from clicking your link so you will get credit for the iPhone case and any other product they purchased within that 24 hour window.
This is a huge part of adding aditional affiliate income when promoting Amazon products, because they have virtually every product on their site, customers will usually purchase few different items before checkout.
Is Amazon the Best Affiliate Opportunity
Like I’ve stated above, there’s pros & cons to Amazon affiliate opportunity.
Its unfortunate that their commission % is a lot lower now for many product categories at 4% following their March 2017 update, from their previous scaling % where high volume sellers were able to achieve 8.5% commission.
But at the end of the day, Amazon converts the best because of their reputation and you get a lot of bonus sales because they do offer every product known to man and most people buy more than 1 thing at a time with Amazon.
Some are moving away because they feel their percentage sucks.
While others are feeling like theres more opportunity now because many affiliates are moving away from Amazon.
Ultimately this is a difficult question to answer in a black & white manner.
The best thing you can do is test other affilaite offers out or take a look at what your competition is promoting.
Are they promoting Amazon affiliate links or are they promoting other affiliate programs?
Chances are people that are ranked really good for your product plus “buyer intent keywords” like “Review” or “Best”, have done their testing and research to find the best affiliate program to promote.
So this is all case by case.
What does it take to make good money with Amazon, My Own Case Study
In order to make good money, you need to generate lots of traffic.
Many successful Amazon associates will rank for buyer intent keywords such as.
Best iPhone Case
iPhone Case Reviews
These are words people use “Best” or “Review” when they are ready to buy something but they want some secondary opinions. Instead of trying to convert random traffic to buy products, with this strategy you can target buyers with great willingness to buy today.
How do you rank a site?
You need to be good at SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
This where rubber meets the road.
When you are able to rank a site for these buyer intent keywords, you have the skill to make money online.
My recommendation, there are many free guides out there but quite frankly many of them will lead to nowhere. The best way to learn SEO is to get a mentor.
The reason why people will fail at affiliate marketing is because they were mislead to underestimate just how challenging it is to rank a site on the first page of Google.
A lot of coaches or guides will say that you simply have to provide quality content for example write high-quality blog posts and that’s the most important thing.
This strategy might have worked in 2009, but in 2020 the game has changed completely.
Writing quality content is not enough, you need to build high quality backlinks.
You need a backlink strategy
When other powerful sites link to your site, that is the number factor in rankings.
If other great sites are linking to you, it is a major indicator to Google that you’re site must be good and you will get ranked higher in the search engines.
The problem is most sites that are ranking really well for Amazon product keywords are ran by very high level SEO’s and most of them have sites that’s been aged & made very powerful over the years, so its very difficult for a newcomer even with good SEO skills to outrank these monstrous sites.
One good way to check is to get a Moz toolbar and look at the sites ranked on the first page, if the sites have DA 30 and above, its pretty fricken hard to out rank ’em.
When you find niches with sites on page 1 with DA of like 10 to 20 that’s more of the range you wanna go after if you’re a beginner.
Then you need to either build backlinks with guest posts or better yet utilize PBNs. Which are auction domains that you purchase and make your own blogs to link from.
Even with PBNs building about 4-5 quality backlinks every month, it can take about a year to rank a brand new site these days.
What you’ll make from these review sites obviously largely depends on the product niche, let me give you an example of one of my sites.
I have a site called indoorgrillcooker.com
that’s ranking for indoor grill type of keywords, the sites currently making around $500 per month.
It’s got about 20 PBN links pointing to it, & took about a year to get ranked.
I try to keep the following in mind when building the on-page content
- People love comparison charts
- 3 type of buyers, review the best product/high price, price saver product, most durable product
- write reviews that are helpful & interesting to read, quality writing goes a long way
Making good income with Amazon affiliate requires you to be good at SEO. (Search Engine Optimization)
The #1 Ranking factor is quality backlinks.
Most people are lacking this skill or grossly underestimate how many powerful backlinks are required to actually get to the first page of Google.
You ain’t making much money if you can’t get to the first page.
It’s not 2010 anymore where you could simply write content going after long tail keywords and rank websites with just few backlinks.
In 2020, rankings got a lot tougher thus making money with Amazon affiliate pretty difficult.
Also in 2017, Amazon reduced some of the affiliate commission rates that people could earn which has caused many affiliates to abandon promoting Amazon products altogether.
I still think there’s good money making opportunity in Amazon, because its such a reputable company and most people would prefer to buy from there so their conversion rate is unmatched. However for certain products, there’s definitely better affiliate programs out there, make sure to do some research, especially taking a look at what the competition is promoting.
Affiliate income is great because money comes in automatically without dealing with clients but these days I don’t recommend it to newbies.
The skill level required to produce results imo is too high & takes too long.
You’re simply better off going into local and doing local marketing for clients.
That is where the fast money’s at, I’d do that till you’re making at least $10K per month before even considering going into affiliate marketing like making Amazon product review sites.