I received an email today from a new blogger who signed up for Amazon’s affiliate program and was curious if this was the best option for monetizing their new blog. This is a great question and because Amazon is not usually the best option, I thought I would take the opportunity to share a quick perspective on this.
Please keep in mind this is particularly directed at new bloggers and sites that are not massive-traffic, product review sites etc. This is for the everyday blogger considering new monetization approaches.
Amazon has its pros and cons when it comes to blog monetization. For one pro, they are such a trusted site people are quick to purchase from them. This means your conversions may be higher than with other affiliate programs. On the other hand… they typically pay pennies compared to other affiliate programs so sales volume is really needed to make any real money. On top of the low payout percentages, their payout structure quite frankly, sucks.
A quick overview of Amazon’s payout structure:
First, in order for you to get paid for a sale… a person must click on the link from your site, and place a product into their cart within 24 hours. They then must purchase the item within 30 days. If you refer someone to a product on Amazon, but they add it to their cart the next day, you do not get paid for that referral. If they add a product to their cart within 24 hours, but they do not purchase it until the following month, you do not get paid for that referral. It’s unfortunate, but although your lead resulted in a sale, that doesn’t mean you will actually get credit for that purchase.
Next, consider their % payouts. Amazon’s payouts vary according to product category, but the majority are a measly 4% for the first 7 products you sell. Sell over 7 products and that percentage goes up to 6%. Over 31 products, 6.5%. If you sell over 111 products… 7%. It goes up to 8.5% when you sell over 3,131 products. Even with their potentially higher conversion rates, that is still a significantly low payout rate.
Lastly, when you do get paid for a referral, keep in mind how much you will actually be making; Let’s say a reader clicks your link and buys a $20 supplement- you’ve made a whopping .80 cents. 🙁 Even if you sell 111 of these and your percentage is at 7%… you have still only made $155. Boooooooooo!
Alternative Affiliate Programs
Affiliate A payout: 20% Products sold daily: 1-6 Monthly revenue: $6,000+ (Note: highest priced product)
Affiliate B payout: 24% Products sold daily: 1-5 Monthly revenue: $5,000+ (Med priced product, higher % payout)
Affiliate C payout: 40% Products sold daily: 3-6 Monthly revenue: $4,000+ (Lowest priced product but highest % payout)
Affiliate D payout: 20% Products sold daily: 0-1 Monthly revenue: >$1,000 (These guys used to be one of my best affiliate partners but they became unethical, unreliable and greedy so I no longer actively promote them. In other words, my ability/interest in promoting them is nonexistent and they now only get sales from past blog posts and old links in my forums.)
As you can see, a higher payout rate doesn’t necessarily mean more revenue in the end. Nor does a higher conversion mean more revenue. For this reason, I strongly suggest focusing on finding products that are as specific to your personal followers, rather than numbers. Find products you really feel will resonate with your readers- test them out. While they may only pay you 15%, their product may be $300, and your readers may absolutely love the product and buy it every month on subscription!
Hmm… that’s a far louder paycheck than selling 100 products on Amazon and earning $300 a month.
Here are a few more reasons I opt to focus on alternative affiliate programs over Amazon:
- Other affiliate programs almost always have significantly higher payout rates.
- You often have the opportunity to develop a relationship with other affiliate programs. This means the potential for special promotions for your readers; custom promo codes, exclusive offers, special packages, etc. It also means you may be able to negotiate higher payout rates if you are doing exceedingly well.
- With other affiliate programs, when I refer a reader to “Affiliate Partner X” and recommend their “Product #007” there is no competition on the page to steer them from that product.
- While the conversions may be better with Amazon, one thing to keep in mind is the lower price product options your readers will have once they have been referred there. Just because you refer them to a “Quality Product A” that you honestly love… does not mean they will not click that “Suggested Product B” Amazon conveniently places on the product page. So while you have referred them to a quality product that costs $80 (whopping $3.20 commission for you) they instead buy “Suggested Product B” for $20 (whopping .80 cent commission for you.)
Where to find alternative affiliate programs: