The Amazon Affiliate Program has been one of the most popular programs for the last few decades. In this article, we’re going to be digging into answering the question of whether or not it’s still worth it today based on my past experiences of running it on a number of different niche websites, as well as taking a look at what the commissions are today.
Is it still worth joining the Amazon Affliate Program?
The quick answer from me is that overall it is worth it to be a part of the Amazon affiliate program. That said, it does depend and you do want to make sure that you don’t rely on it too much.
What are Amazon Affiliate Rates?
Let’s first take a look at what the core Amazon affiliate rates look like today. So what you can tell is that Amazon games are clearly what Amazon is pushing today with 20% fixed income commissions for each of the referrals of purchases around Amazon games. Amazon is also emphasizing things around luxury beauty, luxury stores, Amazon Explore, digital music, physical books, and things like that.
So right at the top of this list, what you can tell is exactly what Amazon is actually prioritizing for their core business. But as you work your way further down the list, you’re going to see a list of some of the things that they aren’t really giving as much of commissions for.
So you can see here, they’re giving things for television and digital video games, Amazon fresh, gift cards. All other categories are just a standard 4%. This is drastically different than years ago when those different categories actually used to be over 5%. In some cases, they were eight to 10% for things like outdoor sporting goods and things like that.
So from a core category standpoint, it really comes down to what you are thinking about pushing related to Amazon related products or services.
If, for example, you’re running a website, specifically talking about Amazon games and the new things that Amazon has developing in terms of their games, then it could be really worth it for you because you’re going to earn 20% of every single sale that you make. On the flip side of things, though, if you’re covering something like televisions or digital video games, you might find it a little bit difficult to justify supporting Amazon’s affiliate programs since they’re only going to give you 2% of each success of sale.
What is Amazon Bounty Programme?
Aside from the core affiliate program, though, Amazon affiliate also includes a variety of different bounty categories for key things that they are pushing on their platform. So you can tell here is for example, when you get people to sign up for their first Amazon video free trial, you earn a flat $2 and 50 cent bounty. Same thing goes in terms of a $3 bounty for Amazon baby registry and things like that. This bounty system is very similar across the board. They cycle through those so in general.
When evaluating whether or not affiliate is actually worth it for you, I wouldn’t count on these respective programs or bounties that are going on because they are subject to change at any point in time. Speaking of changing at any point in time, that’s actually one of the biggest drawbacks to Amazon affiliate program.
How my sites have been impacted by Amazon category changes
If you go on YouTube though, and just look at other people’s reviews of their experience on Amazon affiliate, that is one of the consistent pieces of feedback that you will hear. And you just have to understand that this will always be one of the biggest downsides of being part of their affiliate program.
Because Amazon is such a big website at this point, they don’t need to pay as much for somebody to know about their brand. And so as a result, it’s their discretion as to exactly what percentages they want to pass back to their affiliates. To really show you the impact of what a commission rate can have on your website, though, the best way to show that is by digging into one of my websites.
I’ll show you the stats for 2020, and then show you it compared to 2021 just so you can tell how big of a difference it has been in terms of being in a category where Amazon changed the affiliate commission rates overnight.
Digging into the website
So in this particular example in 2020, this website was making about 5.5K in Amazon affiliate commissions, and yet when we compare it to the next year, this number has pretty much dropped in half to about 3.2K at the time of this recording.
Digging even further into the data, what you can see is that in the year 2020, I gave Amazon about a hundred and nine thousand clicks from this website versus in 2021, I was giving around 82,000 clicks. Yes, my conversion rate has gone down from 5.15% to about 4.3%, but that being said, the order of magnitude difference in the clicks from 2020 to 2021 are not equal to the magnitude of the change in my affiliate commissions.
In other words, my clicks did not drop more or less in half like it has here in terms of almost being more or less cut in half in terms of my commissions. If I were actually doing the math behind it, making around 3,100 versus 5,400 is close to a half drop in terms of Amazon affiliate revenue. And what you can tell is that it doesn’t actually reflect in terms of the click difference that I had on the websites year over year.
Sure again, there was a difference in conversions, but that cut in overall commission was the bigger influencer for this particular site.
On the flip side of things, though, what you can see in the second example is that I’ve got a website here in which in 2020, it made about $205. And then in the year 2021, it’s made about $666.
And the difference here when we start comparing the commissions is I can see here that we have about 4,200 clicks in 2020 versus in 2021, I’ve actually had around 28,000 clicks. So clearly what you can tell here is I sent a lot more clicks on the second site at the same time, though, the thing that’s different about this particular site versus the first example is that the first site really only launched after Amazon had already made their affiliate commission changes whereas the first site was already existing and doing well on Amazon affiliates before the commission change of 2020.
So in this example for this second case, what you can tell us that when the affiliate commission rates are more or less stable, it can be pretty reasonable to expect that you can get a decent amount of affiliate commissions for driving a meaningful enough amount of traffic over to Amazon.
From this example, I hope you learned that you shouldn’t rely on just a single source of revenue for any online project that working on. Nowadays, my websites are much better diversified to include things like info products, as well as other affiliate programs that have higher margins than Amazon, and also display advertising.
Overall though, here’s what I would tell you. If you’re thinking about starting to use Amazon affiliates, whether it’s for your YouTube channel, your websites or things like that. I say, go ahead and do it. If you can’t find another affiliate program that has a better rate for you, there are a lot of great alternatives out there such as impact marketing as well as other websites where you can sign up for different affiliate programs. But essentially you should always expect that Amazon affiliate is going to be one of the lowest affiliate commissions out there for all the different programs out there.
There’s a good side to that though, which is in the case where you are just talking about more or less anything you can rely on there being some sort of product on Amazon that you can direct traffic back towards in that case where you’re looking to monetize your content in some way.
Taking a step back though, and thinking about it in the context of your overall business or side hustle though, I would not rely on Amazon affiliate commissions for your primary revenue stream. If, for example, you’re running that YouTube channel, you’re going to want to actually have different products or courses and things like that to diversify your income streams and on the same side with your websites, you’re going towant to make sure that you’re not purely an Amazon affiliate website.
It’s really volatile in those situations. And if you really want to see it for yourself, you can check out websites like flippa.com or Empire Flippers to see exactly just how volatile having a pure Amazon affiliate website can be.
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