Amazon understands the power of word-of-mouth advertising. Although they didn't invent affiliate marketing, (it was patented in 1989 by William J. Tobin, who used it for his online company, PC Flowers & Gifts), they were one of the first to implement it at scale, and they remain the leader in the space today. (Source)
Recently, they've taken their word-of-mouth advertising tactics a step further by introducing a new influencer marketing program called the Amazon Influencer Program.
There has been a lot of confusion about how the new Amazon Influencer Program differs from the existing Amazon Associates program, so let's explain those differences here.
You will also get...
- A complete A-Z guide for making money with the Amazon influencer program.
- Answers to the biggest questions that new influencers have.
- Quick tips that will reduce the obstacles between you and the earnings you want.
Alright, let's dive into the Amazon Influencer Program vs. the Amazon Associate Program and everything else you need to know.
What Is the Amazon Influencer Program?
The Amazon Influencer Program allows content creators with engaged followings on their social media accounts to recommend and promote various products on Amazon to their audience. The program is an extension of the Amazon Associates Program, but unlike the Associates Program, which involves sending customers directly to products via tracking links, the Influencer Program is intended more for social media influencers. Instead of directly linking to specific products from a website, influencers direct their followers to their personalized Amazon storefronts that include product recommendations, video reviews, and livestreams.
The influencer can then share the store link with their followers via social posts and stories across their various platforms. These influencers can also earn from a new medium called "onsite commissions." Amazon may feature product reviews created by their influencers who will then earn commissions (about half the rate of the commissions for the associate program) if the customer purchases an item after viewing the video.
Amazon Influencer Program vs. Amazon Affiliate Program: The Requirements to Join
It is easier to get approved for the Amazon associates program than it is to get approved for the influencer program.
Amazon Associates Program: An active website, blog, app, or YouTube channel
Amazon Influencer Program Eligibility Requirements: Amazon is unfortunately vague about what they're looking for in applicants. They say they want influencers with a "substantial following on social media." This following can be from platforms like TikTok, YouTube, SnapChat, Instagram, and Twitter. Users seem to believe that the requirement is somewhere over 1,000 followers on a legitimate social platform, and the audience needs to show signs of engagement. A channel with lots of followers but no engagement may not be approved.
Since the Amazon Influencer program is an extension of the associates program, if you're already an Amazon associate, you will still have to apply to be approved for it.
How Much Does the Amazon Influencer Program Pay?
Let's compare the commission rates and structure of the Amazon Influencer Program vs. Amazon Affiliate Program.
Read closely, as it appears the internet has answered this question incorrectly several times.
The commission rate will be the same for traffic that you send to your affiliate links or to your influencer storefront, emphasis on traffic "you" send. There is another type of traffic Amazon Influencers have that pays a different commission rate.
If you send someone directly to a product through an affiliate link (shown below), or they purchase a product after they visited your Amazon Storefront, you will be paid the same fixed rate commission that varies based on the product.
Here are the current rates.
You can view the most up to date fixed commission rates for the Amazon associate program here.
Now, let's talk about the big difference of the Amazon influencer program: onsite commissions.
One benefit of the Amazon Influencer Program is a new source of potential affiliate commissions. Amazon puts the videos from select Amazon influencers on product pages and will pay creators who turn their views into sales of the product.
You've likely seen these if you do any shopping on Amazon. Go to a popular product and scroll down to the section that says "Videos."
It looks like this.
Some of these videos will be from regular customers, while others will be from Amazon influencers who will get paid if someone buys a product immediately after viewing their video.
This is a beautiful thing because it brings a new level of organic traffic potential for affiliate sales.
If your video review appears on a popular product, you will get tons of free organic exposure and potential commissions.
We can see who is an Amazon influencer by looking for the "Earns Commissions" tagline next to their username.
Another giveaway that a review is from an Amazon influencer is a fancy thumbnail graphic. Regular reviewers don't create these.
Here is the link to the most up to date onsite commission rates, but I've added them below as well.
Notice that the commission rates are about 50% lower than the regular Amazon associate commission rates. That's reasonable, since we are getting free exposure and views from Amazon.
Remember, influencers still get the traditional commission rates, just not on the onsite commission sales that come from their videos appearing on product pages.
How Do I Get Approved for Amazon Influencer Onsite Commissions?
For videos to appear in a product review area on a page, the influencer who made them must have at least 3 video reviews published already.
You do NOT need to request approval for onsite commissions; it will be done automatically once you submit your 3rd video.
Here are some tips for getting approved.
#1 Publish 3 videos and then wait for approval. If you have more than 3 videos published, Amazon will review all of them before approving. This increases the amount of time it takes as well as the chance that you'll get denied because of a violation
#2 Follow the video rules perfectly. I explain the rules for publishing more later in this article.
#3 Make sure your videos have quality audio. Although it isn't in the rules, poor audio is going to decrease your chances of approval. Recording your videos with a smartphone should produce good enough audio, but be sure to review it for clarity and volume.
#4 Don't rush it. You will have just 3 chances to get approved for onsite commissions. If you are denied 3 times, you will have to start everything from scratch.
It took me 2 business days to get approved. Once you're approved, you'll see a notification on your Amazon influencer page that looks like the image below.
Got it? Let's move on.
Amazon Influencer Program vs. Amazon Affiliate Program: The Main Differences
The traditional Amazon associate program pays for sales that are made after someone clicks on one of your Amazon affiliate links. The Amazon Influencer Program pays you when people purchase an item from your personalized Amazon storefront (paid at the same commission rate as the Amazon associate program) OR from a video review you've left on a product (paid at a lower "onsite" commission rate).
We can share our storefront more easily than we can share associate links, so the ability to scale our earnings is much higher with the influencer program. The great news is that you can do both!
Think of it as the Amazon associates program but with your own storefront URL (called an Influencer Storefront) that allows you to showcase the products you recommend and content that shows why you like them. You also have the added benefit of having your content (possibly) shared on existing Amazon pages and getting paid when people buy after clicking on them.
For an example, you can check out my Amazon influencer program profile here.
My vanity URL is simply amazon.com/shop/entreresource
We're able to customize our storefronts to make them fit our brand.
Here's what a well made influencer storefront looks like.
We can change the profile picture, background banner, bio, as well as add our socials.
Visitors can follow creators and receive updates when they post new content or go live.
How to Create Videos That Convert
If you just whip together quick videos with little thought or effort, you're likely going to underachieve in influencer marketing.
When I say effort, I'm not referring to fancy editing, catchy scripts, or any expensive effects.
Effort refers to taking the time to see what people want to know about the product you're reviewing, so you can answer it and make them feel as comfortable with their purchase as possible.
You might think that the best way to make a sale is to show people the cool features of a product, but that's just part of it, and frankly, not the biggest part!
Answer shoppers' biggest questions, and you'll get more sales. Period.
Sprinkling in the cool stuff is great, and you should absolutely do it, but be sure you're answering the questions.
But what are their questions? How do we know what to include?
For most products, everything we need is already on the Amazon product page.
Here is where you can get the information that you need about your product.
#1 The Product Description
The seller of the product has likely done a lot of work and research into optimizing their listing. The features and benefits that they highlight are a good place for us to look for inspiration in our video reviews.
#2 The Customer Reviews
We can get a lot of insights by reading the customer reviews for a product. 5 star reviews aren't all we're looking at. In fact, negative reviews actually tend to include some of the most helpful information.
We can take the negative points and address them in our review. We won't lie about them, but if we don't agree with them, we can state our experience.
#3 The Customer Questions
Amazon has questions and answers for products toward the bottom of the page. This is a gold mine for things we can answer in our video reviews. Even better, we can see which questions and reviews were the most helpful. These are the ones that we should prioritize.
#4 The Other Influencer Review Videos
If there are influencer review videos, watch them. This will give us a good idea of what others are doing. We don't want to do the same thing. We want to make a video that outsells theirs.
Then, finally, your own experience with the product. Things that you found that may or may not have been covered on the product page in the description, questions, or other reviews.
The Video Recording Gear You Need
I can't stress this enough, but your smartphone is plenty to be an Amazon influencer. The only things you might want to consider getting are the following.
#1 Tripod. Anything that can stabilize your phone.
#2 Ring light (optional). You can get a super small one for under $30.
#3 Lavalier mic. If you're doing recordings that require you to step far away from the camera, a small microphone can come in very handly. You can get a nice bluetooth one on Amazon for under $100. If you're recording outdoors a lot, you might also consider a wind protector.
For editing software, you can keep that simple as well and use a simple app like CapCut on your mobile device or computer.
How to Upload Content to Your Amazon Influencer Storefront
We have several types of content that we can add to our Amazon Influencer storefronts. We can make posts with video or photos. We can also make idea lists and livestream.
I've created a quick step by step tutorial for the tech side to uploading your video reviews. You can click through it below.
Next, I made one for creating a basic idea post.
How Do You Promote Your Amazon Storefront?
Onsite commissions are great, but it's important to understand what we can and cannot do with our Amazon storefront.
The rules for promotion are the same as the Amazon associate programs.
We still cannot share our links via direct methods like email or text message.
We can, however, post our links to our social platforms as long as they are publicly visible.
Amazon created a suggestions page for promoting your storefront links, but here is a quick summary.
- Add your influencer page link in your bio and reference it in product-specific posts.
- Direct followers to your link for shopping featured products.
- Utilize Instagram Stories to engage followers and showcase your personality.
- Use the Stories highlight feature to pin stories to your profile.
- Place your influencer page link in the "About" section.
- Use Facebook Stories to engage and showcase personality.
- Set up the "Shop Now" button to link to your influencer page.
- Include product-related posts with your vanity URL.
- Add your influencer page link in the "About" section.
- Include links in video descriptions, mentioning your URL and featuring a banner ad.
- Share specific product links mentioned in your videos.
- Place your influencer page link in your Twitter bio.
- Tweet about your page, including the vanity URL or direct followers to the bio link.
Website & Blog:
- Consider your audience when creating content.
- Regularly update with new content, linking to specific products and your vanity URL.
- Use Snapchat Stories to tease your Amazon shop and feature favorite products.
- Mention your Amazon shop in your podcast or other audio content to inform listeners.
It's important to make sure that your storefront vanity URL is easy to remember and type.
What You Need to Know about Amazon Influencer LiveStreams
Livestreams may or may not be something that you want to do in your Amazon influencer journey. It seems to me that the most successful influencers are going live quite a bit.
Visit amazon.com/live to see what other influencers are doing with their live shows for inspiration.
There are several benefits to doing livestreams.
Amazon categorizes influencers into three tiers for livestreams (read more about the livestream tiers here).
The Amazon Influencer Program Livestreams has three tiers: Rising Star, Insider, and A-List.
#1 Rising Star:
- Stream using Amazon Live Creator app.
- Share links, earn commissions, and have followers receive notifications when going live.
- Livestreams appear on Amazon Live site and Influencer Storefront.
- Includes all Rising Star benefits.
- Livestreams appear on product detail pages and top of Amazon Live site.
- Insider Review Guidelines: original content, product discussion, and display; 75% of products physically on hand; personal knowledge; high-quality video and audio; shopping-focused content; viewer interaction; engaging content; unique thumbnails; longer streams; and compliance with Community Policy.
- Includes all Rising Star and Insider benefits.
- Special access to events, priority support, and livestreams eligible for Amazon.com homepage.
- A-List Review Guidelines: original content, product discussion and display, 100% of products physically on hand, personal knowledge, great video production quality, engaging and entertaining content, consistent voice and brand, consistent schedule, at least one-hour streams, sales performance, growth of average concurrent viewers, product selection, use of Amazon Live features, high chat rate, high follower count and growth, marketing streams, and compliance with Community Policy.
You need to apply for tier increases, and if you're not approved, you can reapply after 30 days with.
All statuses can be revoked for violation of policies at any time.
To run a livestream, you can do it directly from your computer as long as you have a mic and webcam, but there is also an Amazon Live app that allows creators to create their livestreams from their smartphones.
Here are some other basic questions regarding the Amazon influencer program.
How Many Products Should I Be Reviewing?
There are two schools of thought on reviewing items.
Method #1 Go Broad and Review a TON of Products. On paper, more reviews should mean more exposure, which means more sales. But does it actually play out that way? It depends who you ask. Many creators go this route.
Method #2 Niche Down, Review Fewer Products but of Higher Quality. This typically involves niching down and become an expert on one specific topic. If you already have an audience, you likely already have a niche that you could target.
Your existing followers will buy from you more if you review the products that you know interest them.
What Are the Rules for Videos with the Amazon Influencer Program?
Here's a brief summary of Amazon's rules for videos on your influencer storefront.
- Do not link to external sites, but you can promote your social media channels.
- Ensure products are accurately tagged, relevant to the video content, and are shown in the review.
- Do not request unsupported actions in the Amazon video player, like leaving comments.
- Avoid including prices, promotions, discounts, or time-sensitive information in videos.
- Do not ask for positive customer reviews.
- Disclose any non-Amazon products that are reviewed and gifted by a brand.
- Get written consent before using Amazon's intellectual property.
- Keep private information out of videos.
- Do not post defamatory or derogatory product reviews.
- Ensure videos are free of excessive grammar issues and misspellings.
- Content must not be directed at children or contain inappropriate material.
- Do not make false medical claims or advice, and avoid any outlandish claims that could be harmful, such as guaranteeing weight loss without following a healthy and balanced diet. For instance, losing more than 2lbs per week with a weight loss product.
- Avoid references to excessive or irresponsible drinking or disparagement of abstinence.
- Do not infringe on intellectual property or proprietary rights.
Amazon provides an influencer education hub that covers how to succeed with the program in a bit more detail. It's worth checking out.
How Can I Get Approved for the Amazon Influencer Program if I don't Have Many Followers?
The answer is that you just need to go out and get those followers and earn some engagement!
You can try to buy them, but I never suggest gray hat tactics like that. Also, if the followers aren't engaging with your content (purchased followers don't) you will still likely be disapproved.
Remember, the easiest way to make money with any affiliate program is to have your own following, so you should do this anyway. .
One tip I will give you though is to start with TikTok to quickly get your first 1,000 subscribers.
It is by far the easiest channel to grow on. You can create a ton of content very quickly, and TikTok doesn't penalize new creators when they're starting out like YouTube and Instagram do.
Early on, there were users who reported getting approved while having far below the 1,000 subscriber mark. You can try to apply at any time, and apply as many times as you want, but your best bet is to get those 1,000 subscribers in a white hat way.
How Does Amazon Decide who Gets a Commission for Onsite Commissions?
Amazon's associate program and the Amazon influencer program work on a last click basis. This means that the person who sent the last click or had the last video view before the item is purchased gets 100% of the credit.
This is a bummer since the buyer may have viewed 5 other review videos before making a purchase, but at scale, this balances out. The best videos will still make the most sales.
If I Leave a Regular Product Review, Can I Receive Onsite Commissions?
There's a difference between leaving a basic customer review and doing an Amazon influencer video or photo post.
If you leave regular reviews on Amazon items, you will not earn commissions on them. You will only earn commissions from the videos you create that you publish to your Amazon influencer's storefront.
Do I Need to Be Approved for the Amazon Associates Program and the Amazon Influencer Program?
If you've been approved for the Amazon associates program, you are not automatically approved for the influencer program. You will need to apply manually.
If you've been approved for the Amazon Influencer program, you are automatically enrolled in the Amazon associate program, so you do not need to enroll in both.
Do My Videos Need to Be Unique and Published Only to Amazon?
Nope! You can use videos that you've already created for other platforms like TikTok or YouTube in your Amazon Influencer storefront. You can also take the videos you've made for Amazon's influencer program and upload them to your other socials.
Just keep in mind, you can't use the copyrighted sounds from other platforms. If your TikTok video has the Office background music playing, you will need a version of it that doesn't have that. Video only, no music or copyrighted media.
How Do I Log In to My Amazon Influencer Storefront?
You can access your Amazon influencer storefront in a couple of ways. First, you can find it inside your Amazon associates dashboard.
As a reminder, that area is found at https://affiliate-program.amazon.com/.
Another way to log-in to your storefront is to just open your storefront URL once you've logged into your connected Amazon.com account.
How Do I View My Amazon Influencer Earnings?
Your Amazon influencer earnings will appear in the Amazon associate program dashboard.
From the Amazon associate's dashboard, click on "Reports" and choose either "Consolidated Summary" or "Earnings Report."
You can also get to this same Earnings Report area by clicking "Reporting" when viewing your own Amazon storefront.
Thankfully, Amazon uses two IDs, so we can see our earnings from the links we generate and traffic we drive to Amazon vs the content that Amazon features onsite.
You do not need to do anything with your Onsite Store ID; it is only for tracking and reporting.
Do I Need a Large Following to Make Real Money as an Amazon Influencer?
No, but it helps.
In influencer marketing, there's certainly a strong correlation between following size and earnings. Having a large following will help you drive more direct sales through your storefront (which are paid out at the higher commission rates), but thanks to Amazon's onsite commissions, you can still make a lot of money without having a huge following.
Also, if you're able to tier up your livestream status, you can reach Amazon's customer base and drive sales that way.
Many people send little to no traffic of their own but still earn a substantial amount of money thanks to onsite commissions from their video reviews.
Do Amazon Influencers Get Free Products?
There is nothing about the Amazon influencer program that expressly suggests that influencers will receive free products for providing reviews.
The Amazon influencer program is NOT the same as the Amazon vine program. The Vine program involves Amazon hand selecting top reviewers to receive free items from Amazon sellers for review.
However, Amazon still has stringent review policies, and creators cannot provide free goods in exchange for a positive review. The Amazon influencer program still needs to abide by the rules.
Amazon influencers might receive products from brands, but they cannot come with any stipulation that they need to leave a positive review (or a review at all).
Since Amazon influencer videos are not allowed to be disparaging, it would suggest that it is against the terms of service for product creators to tempt influencers to review their products on their storefronts because that suggests that the review must be positive. Since it cannot be negative, this is a clear conflict and likely violates the terms and conditions.