Influencer Marketing Strategy

How Does the Amazon Affiliate Program Work for Sellers?

Learn all about how Amazon's affiliate program works for merchants. From who pays for commissions to program benefits, we break it all down below!

amazon affiliates compressed cover

Keeping up with the latest affiliate marketing trends is a must-do for brands.

And this is especially important if your brand has an active Amazon storefront.

Anything you can do to drive traffic and get more eyes on your products is a plus. Amazon’s affiliate marketing programs give sellers opportunities to do both.

This post shares a quick overview of how Amazon’s affiliate programs work, including:

  • Who pays Amazon affiliate fees (and how payouts are handled)
  • The benefits of Amazon Associates and Amazon Influencers for brands
  • Steps sellers can take to empower potential affiliates on Amazon

Important: Amazon actually has multiple affiliate programs! 💡

The fact Amazon’s core program is called “Associates” (not “Affiliates”) causes a lot of confusion.

For this post, we’ll focus primarily on Amazon Associates and Amazon Influencers.

  • Amazon Associates. This is Amazon’s general, all-purpose program. Members receive a commission on any purchase made upon clicking their affiliate link within 24 hours. This program has relatively loose requirements for members. Popular with bloggers and vloggers.
  • Amazon Influencers. This affiliate program is specifically tailored to content creators. Influencers are provided with unique tools and opportunities to promote brands on Amazon. This includes product custom collections and even livestream shopping features.
  • When marketers refer to "Amazon’s affiliate program," they’re typically talking about Amazon Associates.

How Does the Amazon Affiliate Program Work for Brands?

In case you’re new to affiliate programs  at large, let’s start with a quick refresher: 

Affiliate marketing is when an individual promotes your product and earns a commission in exchange for referring the sale. 

Here’s a high-level overview of how Amazon's affiliate programs work from a seller’s perspective:

  1. Sellers list their products on Amazon. No surprises here!

  2. Approved members of the Amazon Associates program can create unique affiliate links. These links are exclusive to your product and the affiliate that generated them. 

  3. The Associate (affiliate) can promote their unique link how they see fit. For example, they might shout out your product in a social post. They could also post Amazon affiliate links in places where they’ll earn traffic and attention long-term. This includes blog posts or YouTube descriptions. These links and promotions are subject to disclosures as outlined by the FTC.

  4. Visitors that engage with the Associate’s link are taken to your product page on Amazon. 

  5. If your product is sold from a click on the Associate’s link, they’ll earn a commission via Amazon. Cookies on affiliate links from Amazon are only active for 24 hours.

The short of it?  Sellers earn off-platform promotion and more potential sales. Affiliates earn a commission. Amazon earns more traffic and revenue as a result. Everyone wins!

The Amazon Associates program gives bloggers, vloggers and other affiliates an easy way to monetize their content. The Amazon Influencer program works similarly but offers more promotional tools and tactics to its members.

How Do Amazon Affiliate Commissions Work for Sellers?

Let’s say that you score a sale from an affiliate on Amazon. Nice!

But are you on the hook for paying them for the sale? 

Nope. As an Amazon seller, you don’t pay commission to affiliates directly.

Here’s a bit more detail on how payouts work:

  • When an affiliate link results in a click, the website visitor is taken to your Amazon page and cookied for 24 hours.

  • If a visitor makes it to your product page but doesn’t make a purchase, Amazon will still reward affiliates with a commission if the visitor returns and makes a purchase within 24 hours.

  • Payouts are based on Amazon’s commission structure. If your product is purchased through an affiliate click, Amazon will pay affiliates a commission based on that same commission structure. 

Amazon’s affiliate programs are largely hands-off if you're a seller. This is great for merchants that have limited time for off-platform marketing. Granted people are posting about your products.

Can Sellers Track Sales from Amazon Affiliates and Influencers?

Yes! Well, sort of.

Amazon Attribution offers brands a detailed way to see where their sales are coming from.  You can analyze non-Amazon touchpoints and understand how they impact engagement on your storefront. 

Below is a snapshot of what activities Attribution can measure and which elements of your Amazon presence they impact. This includes sales, product page traffic and more.

Amazon Attribution Overview

Source: YouTube

Note that attribution to a specific creator may not be 100% accurate even with tools like Amazon Attribution. For example, a buyer might interact with a handful of affiliates before they buy. This is a textbook explanation as to why tracking sales from influencer campaigns can be notoriously tricky.

How Do These Programs Benefit You as a Seller?

The benefits of having affiliates promote your products are straightforward:

  • Increased trust. The fact that 61% of consumers start their online shopping journeys on Amazon speaks for itself.  For up-and-coming brands, being associated with Amazon can instantly boost your credibility. This can be especially beneficial for newer companies with little brand recognition who are starting to sell products online. The more people shouting you out, the better. Bonus points if those satisfied customers leave you positive reviews.

  • Expand your brand’s reach. Consider how the modern customer’s journey involves bouncing between multiple platforms. Search engines, social media, Amazon. The list goes on and on! Affiliates offer a way to cover more ground when marketing your brand on Amazon.

  • Drive more traffic directly from social media. TikTok influencers have been driving sales on Amazon for years via #AmazonMadeMeBuyIt. The #AmazonFinds hashtag has a whopping 47.9 billion views as of this post.

Amazon finds hashtag

Source: TikTok

How Can Sellers Get More Attention from Amazon Affiliates?

The fact that Amazon’s affiliate program is hands-off can be an up and a down for sellers.

Sure, you have more opportunities to get satisfied customers to advertise on your behalf.  On the flip side, you don’t really have much control over what those affiliates do or say. 

This highlights the value of working with Amazon Influencers over solely Associates. Influencers require more stringent requirements for approval and have more skin in the game with the products they promote. 

For example, Amazon Influencers can feature your products in their personal feeds or live streams. This sort of promotion puts your product front and center in front of audiences that are eager to buy.

Amazon Live Example
Source: Amazon

To wrap things up, here are a few actionable ways to get more attention from affiliates as a brand:

  • Optimize your Amazon Storefront and product listings. Affiliates do the legwork of getting people to your Amazon pages. But what happens after those potential customers land? Check out this post for low-hanging ways to optimize your Amazon storefront.

  • Don’t skimp on promotional opportunities. It’s in Amazon’s best interest to help sellers promote their products. Try experimenting with Deals and coupon codes, for starters. This can give you a better sense of which products get the most attention from shoppers and what discount threshold works best for your Amazon storefront.

  • Partner with content creators to build buzz. Again, the amount of influencers promoting Amazon products on TikTok is unprecedented. Amazon hauls and recs are all the rage on Instagram, too.  Combining your affiliate marketing efforts with influencer marketing means getting talented creators to promote your products to your target audience.

How Amazon Sellers Can Partner with More Influencers Faster

No matter what you’re selling, Amazon’s affiliate programs offer big-time benefits to brands.

Increased trust. More visibility. Opportunities to pop off on social media.

Of course, becoming an #AmazonMadeMeBuyIt success story doesn’t happen totally by accident. Partnering with a high volume of influencers is the perfect way to get your Amazon storefront on the radars of relevant customers.

And if you want a streamlined way to do just that, Statusphere can help.

Our micro-influencer marketing platform matches brands with influencers from our vetted creator community using 250+ unique, first-party data points. We eliminate 98% of the work required run influencer campaigns to help brands earn guaranteed content at scale.

Statusphere Platform Dashboard 2
We've already generated 75,000+ pieces of content for 400+ consumer brands.

Want to learn more about how our software works? Get in touch with one of our experts to see how we can scale your Amazon influencer marketing efforts in a fraction of the time.

This article was first published in February 2021. It was last updated March 22, 2023. 

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