Ready to begin using Amazon Associates to monetize your blog?
Follow our guide to Amazon Associates (below) and you'll learn how to generate revenue today.
Most bloggers start affiliate marketing with Amazon Associates. It's easy to get approved and it's easy to start making money.
Learn more about generating targeted website traffic for your blog.
Bloggers Guide to Amazon Associates
In this guide, you'll learn:
- What is Amazon Associates?
- Why I Waited to Use Amazon
- How Much Money Can I Make With Amazon Associates?
- Guide to Amazon Associates: 7 Ways We Generate Affiliate Earnings
- Examples of Some Profitable Amazon List Posts
- Our Most Popular Amazon Items
- Some Unusual Items We've Sold on Amazon
Let's get started!
What is Amazon Associates?
Amazon Associates is Amazon.com's affiliate program. You earn a percentage of all revenue generated through your coded affiliate links. Amazon has six different affiliate programs – one for each of their country or regions where they operate. These areas include: US, Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, France, and Japan. To sell from each of these sites, you'll have to signup for all six programs.
You can link to product categories, brands and specific products. With their built in “Site Stripe” you can link to any page on their site, generating affiliate revenue from any page.
Many bloggers use this program as a way to monetize their blog. There is no cost to get started. You can also use their widgets, banners, or store option.
Why I Waited to Use Amazon Associates
At first, I didn't want to use Amazon.
It seemed way to small to be worth the trouble. I mean, how much money could you make selling a few books at 4-6% commission?
Here are some of the reasons we didn't begin with Amazon from the beginning:
- Low Commissions: The commission rate starts at 4% of generated sales and increases with your sales volume. (See the full charts below). The commission rate quickly increases with volume, but the apparently low percentage is an initial turnoff.
- 24-Hour Cookie: The purchase also has to happen within 24 hours of the click. The affiliate cookie expires after that – which means you get zero commission. Learn more about cookies and ecommerce. Cookies from other affiliate programs last as long as 30-90 days. Some even last for one year – meaning that if the buyer makes a purchase within that 365-day period, you'll earn a commission.
- Country Specific: If you link to Amazon.com (US version) and your reader purchases through Amazon.ca (Canada version) you don't get paid for the sale. While this might seem like a dirty trick, they are actually separate companies operating in separate countries. There are some WordPress plugins to localize the click but I haven't had much success with these.
In spite of these concerns, I started promoting Amazon products just over two years ago.
How Much Money Can I Make With Amazon Associates?
It depends on many factors. Traffic and niche are probably the two biggest determinants.
You'll need to either generate a lot of clicks or have a highly targeted (and responsive) niche. Having both is even better. 🙂
In the guide below, I'll explain specific approaches to generating revenue with Amazon Associates.
Amazon offers a sliding scale of advertising fees (what you earn from sales) dependent on volume.
Number of Products Shipped in a Given Month
- 1-6 products: 4.00%
- 7-30 products: 6.00%
- 31-110 products: 6.50%
- 111-320 products: 7.00%
- 321-630 products: 7.50%
- 631-1570 products: 8.00%
- 1571-3130 products: 8.25%
- 3131+ products: 8.50%
There are some fixed fee products. One category that we sell a lot of is electronics (cameras and accessories). Regardless of the volume, we only earn 4%. Although this is a fixed commission rate, each unit contributes to the total volume, increasing the commission rate for each of the other items.
Another category that we've done well with, is the Amazon Instant Video. They are an impulse purchase and work well for travel related posts. The fixed rate is just 5%. Our House Hunters Episode (titled A Relaxed Life in Cuenca) sells for $1.99, earning us $0.10 (5%) each time it's purchased. While this isn't much money, each unit sold contributes to the overall volume (and commission) levels.
There is also a cap of $25 per unit on personal computers – regardless the final purchase price. That means that you'll get 4% on computers valued up to $625, earning you $25. If the computer costs more, you'll still earn just $25.
Here is the full list of fixed rate fees:
Ready to start earning? Lets do this!
Guide to Amazon Associates: Generating Affiliate Earnings
Here are the 7 ways we generate revenue with our Amazon Associates links.
- Write a Specific Review: Is there a book, tool, or product that you absolutely love? Why not write a review of it? Your readers will expect a product link. If the review fits in your niche, the review will be a helpful piece of content. As with all affiliate marketing, make sure that the product is good. Your reputation depends on it. Example: Coolibar Hats
- Create a Hub Post of Favorite Products: After you publish a set of reviews, you can tie them all together into one larger post. For example, you might write a number of individual reviews about travel books. After you've published 3-10+ you can tie them together into a hub post that links out to all of your individual posts. It's a great way to organize your content and help readers find more related content.
- Write a List Post: This is a favorite of mine. (See some examples below.) This collects sets of books and tools into a useful reference. Often I don't feel motivated enough to write a full review for each individual item, but they are resources I want to share with our audience. So we write a brief review of each item and publish them together. Some of these posts are the most read posts on our sites.
- Reference a Product in a Post: This is handy when you are teaching a skill, and you reference a specific tool or book that you used to accomplish one of the steps. We've had great success with this in our GoPro Timelapse Tutorials. We've sold truckloads of tripods, battery packs and memory cards.
- Link to category and brand pages: This works well with clothing brands (Coolibar clothing, for example) or camera accessory manufacturers (Joby Tripods) where readers can see more of the same quality and type of product. Instead of opening up a specific item, readers will see the full list of products created by that manufacturer.
- Create a Resource Page: This is a powerful approach. We have resource pages on both GringosAbroad and here on BloggerAbroad. Along with the About Page, the resource page is one of the most read. It combines all the tools, services and books we use. Readers are generally in a buying mode when they arrive.
- Sidebar Ads: I've experimented with these, but found that links in posts perform better. That being said, your audience or niche might respond to these. You can choose from many ads and widgets inside of the Amazon Associates dashboard. You can target specific products and categories or even specific keywords.
Use Tracking ID's (Bonus): If you run more than one site, you should create additional tracking ID's. These codes can help you determine where your clicks and revenue is coming from. For example, we generate more sales on GringosAbroad, but more revenue on BloggerAbroad. These are very easy to create, and must be chosen every time you select a link.
Some Profitable Amazon List Posts
We've had good success creating list posts of Amazon products. Here are some of the more profitable list posts:
- 11 Books & Courses We Used to Learn Spanish: This is a 1200 word post that lists eleven books and courses that we actually purchased. The post has 122 comments and has been shared almost 300 times on Facebook and Twitter. It is our single most profitable Amazon post. It ranks in search for a number of valuable keywords, driving solid traffic everyday.
- 17 Best Expat Books to Help You Plan a Successful Relocation: This list is a combination of books that we've read and that are highly ranked on Amazon. The idea is to group the best resources together to make it easier for new expats. This is a 2554 word post and has been shared 120 times over social media. These posts generally do very well on search and social media. As a result, they generate solid revenue.
- 14 Business Books I'm Loving (My Reading List): This post recently published on this blog and has generated solid clicks and earnings. It is almost 2000 words and has been shared almost 100 times. These are all books that I own and have read in the past year.
Why these posts work: The common thread in all of these posts is that we share our personal opinion in each of them. We own (almost) all of these books and they have helped us in some way. Readers highly value their time and don't want to waste it (or their money) buying useless books.
Our Most Popular Amazon Items
Generally speaking, we promote Spanish and business books, camera equipment and travel gear. Some of the most popular items on our sites have been:
- GorillaPod SLR-Zoom Tripod: From the tutorial: How to Make a GoPro Timelapse Video. After explaining how we created our timelapse, readers wanted the same tools so they could do the same.
- Wasabi Power Battery: This is also from the GoPro Timelapse Video Tutorial. Many readers were surprised with how long our batteries lasted and wanted their GoPro to last that long as well. We've sold hundreds of sets through this post alone.
- Madrigal's Magic Key to Spanish: This book is listed as number one in our list of Books and Courses we Used to Learn Spanish. Since then, more than 600 readers have also purchased this book.
- TP-LINK Load Balance Router: From the tutorial: How to Load Balance Two Internet Connections. After we explained how we improved our internet connection in Ecuador, readers from around the world also wanted to do the same. So they bought the gear we used. This tutorial was also a hit on gaming sites and forums, generating many backlinks.
Some Unusual Items We've Sold on Amazon
But with Amazon, you earn commissions on everything purchased by that user for the next 24 hours. That means that a visitor might click on your link about learning Spanish and end up buying one of these quite unrelated items (from our actual earnings report):
- Electronic Indoor Insect Killer Zapper: Who knew you could use a bug zapper inside?
- Winter gloves
- Death Wish Coffee for Keurig: Would love to try this…
- Marvel Iron Man 3 Avengers Figure: This 12″ high bad boy comes with sounds and ground/air attack mode.
- 8-Pack Premium Tent Pegs
- Epson PowerLite Projector
- Squirrel Tea Infuser: Ummm….
- Lots and lots of underwear and socks.
These items don't relate to our niche at all. And yet our readers clicked on one of our links, purchased these items and we earned a commission on them.
Sometimes, the link will generate a sale, but for a competing product – or a much more expensive one.
- Brinno TLC200 Pro HDR Time Lapse Video Camera: I recommended the GoPro, gave a tutorial about how to create a time-lapse, and a reader purchased the competing product. Here's the thing. The camera costs $179.99, and I earned a 4% commission ($7.20) for the sale. But this isn't the product I recommended.
- Panasonica LUMIX DMC-FZ70: Sold for $199.00 and I earned a commission of $7.96 although I recommended a Canon. 🙂
- Beats Studio Wireless Over-Ear Headphone: At $341.95, these are easily the most expensive headphones I've ever seen. This luxury purchase generated a 4% commission of $13.68. I recommended the Audio-Technica ATH-M40x (the best headphones I've ever owned) and the buyer bought a pair 3.5 times more expensive.
So there you have it. The complete guide to Amazon Associates.
Are you planning on promoting with Amazon Associates?
Have you had success with Amazon Associates? What works for you? Please share your tips in the comments below!