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The Amazon Associates affiliate program is arguably the largest affiliate program in the world. Amazon’s affiliate marketing model is incredibly popular and can easily help you monetize your site.
At AAWP, we believe that the Amazon Associates program is highly rewarding, and if done correctly, you could improve your website’s revenue by a considerable margin. In fact, it’s used by 1.1% of all websites, so it’s a great way to promote different products and maximize your income.
If you’re planning to monetize your site with Amazon Associates, it’s important to know about the commission structure of the program for each category, and how you’re going to get paid with Amazon Associates. Here’s everything you need to know!
Amazon Affiliate Commission Rates by Category
Here’s a brief overview of the commission rates by category that Amazon offers:
|Apparel, jewelry, luggage, premium beauty items, shoes, handbags, accessories, Amazon Kindle accessories||10.0%|
|Physical books or software||5.5%|
|Home improvement goods, furniture, lawn and garden equipment, outdoors, and pet products||9.0%|
|Kitchen supplies, sports goods, business and industrial goods||6.0%|
|Digital books, personal care, health, toys||3.0%|
|Digital products, including videos or gift cards||2.0%|
|Grocery or physical video games||1.0%|
|Cameras, cell phones, electronics, appliances, office products, mobile electronics, baby products||5.0%|
|DVD & Blu-Ray, automotive||3.5%|
|Kindle devices, tools||4.5%|
|Amazon Appstore purchases||0.00%|
As you can tell, the commission fee structure varies quite considerably. Depending upon the kind of product that you’re selling and the niche you’re targeting, your revenue could vary from 1% to 10%, which can represent a significant difference in earnings.
For small businesses, this provides a certain level of flexibility, allowing them to try out different types of products and increase their revenue. The good thing about joining Amazon Associates is that there’s a considerable amount of flexibility in the types of goods that you can sell and the commission that you can make.
As you can tell, the highest paying commissions are for Amazon games, while Appstore purchases or gift cards net you 0%. But, while you might be tempted to choose a niche that offers the highest commission returns, it’s important to gauge general user engagement.
For instance, you might be able to target a wider audience by focusing on apparel, jewelry, or shoes instead of Amazon Games. If you can drive higher sales volumes, your net commissions will always be higher.
How to Identify the Correct Affiliate Category
It can be difficult to identify the correct categories for the products you sell, and therefore accurately calculate your commissions. For instance, if you’re an affiliate marketer offering home and beauty products, you may think that you’re getting a 3% commission rate.
But then, if you take a look, some products may fall under an entirely different category, which Amazon calls “luxury beauty”. This category carries a 10% commission rate, making it a more attractive niche for obvious reasons.
But, how do you figure out whether the product you’re selling can be considered “luxury” or not? If you take a look at the table above, you’ll also see there’s a section called “Other categories”, which carries a 4% commission rate.
How do you accurately identify which is the correct affiliate category for your product, and then use that to estimate your commission?
Certain Product Sections are Gated
Certain products, like those found in the Premium Beauty category, are gated, and not accessible to all sellers. Only authorized sellers can sell them, and all products must be unopened, brand new, and original.
Before being listed, vendors have to apply. The margins and prices are both higher, but that also means that products are held to a higher standard. The upside though is that third-party resellers can’t sell your products.
Here’s an example. If you take a look at the image below, you’ll see that the hand wash falls in the Premium Beauty category, and costs much more:
As you can see, it’s available straight from the store of the same name, and not available from third-party resellers.
This one, which falls under the normal category (3% commission rate), is available from other resellers:
Diversify Your Product Portfolio to Mitigate Risk
It’s important to note that these rates don’t remain constant. They are susceptible to change, and if you rely too much on one category, you may end up suffering serious losses if Amazon decides to change its commission structure.
So, for instance, if you have a list of products that offer a 10% commission and a small selection of products with a 2% commission, you may want to consider expanding your product portfolio to add some more products with a 2% commission rate or another.
Relying too much on one product category is risky. It’s like putting all your eggs in one basket, and that’s not a good business move by any means.
This did happen in 2020 when Amazon slashed commission rates on various categories. Health & Personal Care, for instance, had previously offered a 4.5% commission rate and fell to just 1%. Grocery, which had been set at 5%, also fell to 1%. Certain categories, like Home Improvement or Furniture, fell from 8% to 3%.
Needless to say, the announcement came as an utter shock, especially since it happened right in the middle of the pandemic. Site valuations fell, profit margins were decimated, and many people ended up losing tons of money in the process.
Some completely shuttered their platforms, while many others were left with no choice but to branch out and start applying for other affiliate networks. To better prepare for such drastic changes, it’s always a good idea to hedge your bets and have a diverse product mix.
Special Commissions for Specific Programs
Amazon also offers special commissions for specific programs, which it refers to as Bounties. Apart from earning the base commissions that you make from advertising, Bounty commissions also let you make an additional, fixed amount from your advertising.
A fixed commission income is generated for every referral that you send to a specific Amazon page and when they take a particular action. The income you generate is known as a “Bounty”. Here are the special commissions that you can get.
The Amazon Baby Registry
If a referral from your site creates, and adds at least one item to their Amazon Baby Registry, you can qualify for a bounty rate of $5. But, this is only possible if the Associate is already entitled to three or more commissions on Qualifying Purchases before the referral creates their registry.
The eligible customer is one who hasn’t previously created an Amazon Baby Registry on the site yet.
Amazon Wedding Registry
Similarly, if a referral creates and adds at least one item to their Amazon Wedding Registry, you’ll qualify for a bounty rate of $3. This is again only possible if the Associate already qualified for standard commissions for three or more Qualifying Purchases before the referral creates the registry.
A customer is eligible if they haven’t previously created an Amazon Wedding Registry before.
Amazon Student Free Trial
You might be eligible for a bounty rate of $3 for any referral who creates an Amazon Student account, as long as the customer has not previously created one.
Amazon Prime Free Trial
A bounty rate of $3 is offered for referrals who successfully register for an Amazon Prime Free Trial, as long as this is the first time they’ve made an account.
Kindle Unlimited Free Trial
A bounty rate of $4 is offered for any eligible customer who successfully registers for a Kindle Unlimited Free Trial.
Amazon Music Unlimited Free Trial
A bounty rate of $3 is offered for every successful registration of the Amazon Music Unlimited Free Trial.
Amazon Kids+ Free Trial
Amazon offers a $3 bounty for every successful registration by an eligible customer of the Amazon Kids+ Free Trial.
Frequently Asked Questions About the Amazon Associates Affiliate Program
Here are some frequently asked questions about the Amazon Associates affiliate program.
Once a visitor clicks on an affiliate link, how long do you have to earn a commission?
Amazon gives you 24 hours to earn a commission once a visitor clicks on an affiliate link. But, you’ll also get a commission if a person puts the product in their cart within 24 hours and buys it within 90 days.
Here’s the good part: Amazon will give you a commission for every item in the referral’s cart, not just the product link that they clicked. So, if they followed your affiliate link and added a product to their cart, and then added a few more, you’ll receive a commission for their entire order.
Let’s assume a person adds a home improvement item worth $100 to their cart. You’ll be entitled to a 9% commission for this. But, if they add a luxury handbag worth $500 at a 10% commission, you’d also receive $50 from that sale.
Your total will be boosted to $59.
When does Amazon pay its Associates?
Amazon makes payments monthly, approximately 60 days after the end of the month for which you’re receiving the commission. For instance, if you earn a commission in January, it’ll be paid for at the end of March.
What payment methods does Amazon use to pay its Associates?
Amazon makes commission payments either via direct deposit, through Amazon.com gift certificates, or via check. Payments via PayPal are not possible. It’s important to mention that commissions are only earned after an order has shipped, not when it’s placed.
What’s the minimum payment threshold for Amazon Associates?
Amazon requires that you meet the minimum payment threshold before you’re eligible for a payout. If you choose to get paid via gift card or direct deposit, the minimum threshold is $10. If you want to get paid via check, the minimum threshold is $100.
Maximize Your Amazon Affiliates Commissions with AAWP
AAWP is the most popular and highly rated WordPress plugin for Amazon Affiliates. It automatically generates affiliate links and refreshes product information, discounts, and prices to ensure accuracy. It’s fully design-customizable, so you can present products in different ways on your site to increase the click-through rate.
If you’re looking to maximize your commissions from the Amazon Affiliates program, AAWP is a great way to generate more revenue and to better understand which products to promote!