Understanding The Amazon Affiliate Program- Complete Beginner’s Guide

Amazon-Affiliate-BasicsWhen I set out to create my first Amazon Affiliate site I was overloaded with information.

You should create a small niche site.

Wait. That’s wrong.

You should create a huge authority site because small sites are dying out.

Wait. Amazon Affiliate sites are too popular now, so you won’t make any money with this.

I read hundreds of guides and journeys, but it took me over 2 months to actually start working on my first site.

I was confused, scared to fail, and I didn’t know what was true and what was just guru BS.

That’s why I put together a complete guide to understanding all the important basics of the Amazon Affiliate program.

You can either read the whole thing, or jump down to the TL;DR section for a quick overview of the most important points.

P.S.- This guide doesn’t include any website creation tips or mistake.

What is the Amazon Affiliate Program?

The Amazon Affiliate (Amazon Associate) program is a way for bloggers to make money by promoting Amazon products.

If a visitor to your site buys something from Amazon within 24 hours of clicking on your affiliate link, you will get a commission.

Let’s say I own a popular camera blog and I link to different cameras on Amazon from time to time.

If I’m a member of the Amazon Associate program I will make money every time someone clicks on one of my links and purchases anything from Amazon. (The link is active for 24 hours.)

That anything part is very important.

You don’t just get commissions for the items that you promote.

You get commissions for every single item they buy. (Which can result in some pretty interesting orders. I’ve had people order adult items using a kid toys link.)

The commissions that you get depend on the items sold and the number of items bought through your link during the current month.

Some items get you 4% commission, while some items can give you up to 10%.

I’ll talk more about the commission system later on, but now lets talk about why you should use Amazon Affiliate to monetize your site!

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Why You Should Join The Amazon Affiliate Program

1. Amazon converts incredibly well.

If you can get someone to click-through to Amazon, Amazon will take care of the rest.

It’s as simple as that.

One of my sites which promotes lower-priced educational materials has a 21% conversion rate.

Here’s a screenshot of my last year’s earnings from that site:


The site’s conversions are very high because:

  • Most products are around $20
  • And the traffic is very buyer-oriented (targeting buyer keywords)

However, my overall conversion rate tends to hover between 7%-14% (it’s at around 3%-4% for my sites that promote $100+ products).

Compare that to the conversion rates of Clickbank or other affiliate programs and you’ll realize why Amazon is a great choice.

2. People trust Amazon

Amazon is a well-known brand with a solid reputation.

People know what to expect when dealing with Amazon:

  • High quality products
  • Fast shipping time
  • Free returns

Compared to a sketchy-looking Clickbank site or a random AdSense ad on your page, Amazon is more trusted.

3. The affiliate program is easy to implement

It’s incredibly easy to start monetizing your site using their program.

Just sign up, create product links, and add them to your site.

4. It’s non-intrusive

You put Amazon Affiliate links directly into your content so your website visitors aren’t distracted by banners.

5. You can promote products in any niche

It doesn’t matter what your niche is, I guarantee that you can find a product on Amazon to promote.

It might not be a physical product, but an app, eBook, or movie, but you can find something that will work with every single website in the world.

6. You can feel confident in the value you provide

When you send your visitors to Amazon you can feel safe knowing that they’ll get a product that truly fits them and is high-quality.

Most ClickBank products are shady, and you can never know for sure what ads AdSense is showing to your visitors. With Amazon you have complete control.

7. The more you sell, the more you make on past (and future) purchases

The Amazon Affiliate commission structure has multiple tiers. The more products you sell, the higher the percent commission is.

You start out at 4% and you can go up to 8.5% which basically doubles your income.  You can learn more about their commission system here.

8. You make more money than with AdSense.

In December of 2015 my BAB site made $275.43 and it had 2,673 unique visitors. That’s $.10 per visitor, or a $100 CPM (earnings per 1,000 users).


According to MonetizePros, the average CPM for display ads is $2.8.

If you get 10,000 visitors to your site would you rather make $1,185 with Amazon Affiliate or $100 with AdSense? (Best case scenario for AdSense)

According to PageFair “there are 198 million active adblock users around the world.”

Why is this important?

Amazon Affiliate links aren’t blocked by adblock while AdSense is.

This means that a large percentage of your visitors won’t even see your AdSense ads so Amazon is once again the way to go.

How The Program Works

The program works like this:

  1. You sign up on their website and enter information about your site/plan of promotion. (If your site targets UK visitors, sign up for the Affiliate program; if you target US visitors, sign up for the Affiliate program; the same goes for other countries.)
  2. You get full access to the dashboard and you can now create Affiliate links and put them on your site!
  3. After your first referred sale, Amazon will review your application and site and approve or deny you from their program. (So even if during the sign-up you “get in,” you can still be kicked out after your first sale.)
  4. You get paid on a net 60 basis. You can cash out the money 2 months after you earned it, so if you make $500 in January you can cash out those $500 in March.

Who Can Sign Up

Anyone can sign up for any of the Amazon Affiliate programs (as long as you’re over 18, using your parent’s account, or using it as an LLC.)

You can sign up for the program if you’re outside the US, and you can sign up for the affiliate program even if you don’t live in France.

Contrary to the popular belief you don’t actually need a website to apply for the program.

You just need to have a method of promotion that complies with their Terms of Service.

Acceptable promotion methods include:

  • Websites (duh)
  • Facebook fan pages
  • Twitter pages
  • YouTube channels
  • And Twitch channels

How Much Can You Make?

There are many different variables that can affect your Amazon Associate income:

  • Website niche
  • Product price
  • Number of purchases per month
  • Site traffic

To understand how they all work together you first need to understand how Amazon Affiliate’s commission system works.

If you want a quick number, here’s how I could summarize it:

You can make anywhere between $0-10,000 per month per site.

That wasn’t very helpful was it?

You get a percent of each purchase made, but that percent changes based on what the actual product is.

Fixed Advertising Fees

Some items will give you the same percentage for each item “sold”, that’s why it’s called fixed, no matter how many items you “sell” during the month.

Amazon Affiliate Fixed Advertising Fee Rates


Volume-Based Fees

Other items will give you a different commission based on how many total products were shipped during the month.

If you move up a group before the month is over, your commission percentage will increase for your past sales as well as your future sales. (This is on a monthly basis).

So let’s say you sell 6 items for a total of $100.

You’ll earn a $4 commission from that.

However if someone clicks on a link and buys another item worth $100, then you’ll have a $6 commission for your previous 6 items and a $6 commission for your new $100 sale.

Amazon Affiliate Volume Based Advertising Fee Rate


Now that might look like peanuts, but imagine selling ten $500 items per month. That’s 10 * .06 * $500 = $300 per month.

Not bad, huh?

Now let’s talk about how different things can affect your income.

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Site Niche And Income

If your website is targeted for specific Amazon products and gets visitors through buying keywords your income will usually be higher than if your site is a general news article site. (For a news article site it might be fairly hard to get people to click through to Amazon, and whether they purchase something within 24 hours of clicking is up to fate.)

The reason for me saying usually is because of the next factor:

Site Traffic

When talking about site traffic it’s important to think about the quantity and the quality of the traffic. (In the sense of Amazon conversions)

The site targeting buying keywords wouldn’t necessarily get many visitors, but the visitors they do get will be highly interested in the content and much more likely to buy than a random person. (High quality, low quantity)

On the other hand the news website might get 1,000,000 visitors per month, but most of those visitors won’t click on the link, and those who do will be less likely to buy something. (Low quality, high quantity)

You can profit using both strategies, but I prefer using the high quality and lower quantity way.

Product Price/Number of Purchases Per Month

Is it better to sell 10 products for a total of $100, or 1 product for a total of $500?

The $500 product would give you $20 in commission and you’ll get $6 you’d get from the 10 products

However, you’ll probably sell less of the more expensive products every month.

I recommend having at least two sites with 2 different goals:

  • a “money-making” site targeting high-priced products that get you $30+ for every sale
  • and a “volume-bumping” site targeting really cheap products with the goal of selling as much as possible and increasing your commission percentage

Of course the above advice is irrelevant if you’re targeting a niche with a fixed advertising rate, but then you’ll have to work twice as hard to achieve the same results.


Here’s a quick summary of all of the important concepts from this post:

  • Why you should join the program:
    • High conversions.
    • Trusted site.
    • Easy to get started.
    • Non-intrusive ads for your visitors.
    • Works for any niche.
    • Provide value to visitors.
  • You get paid on a net 60 basis. Get your money 2 months after you earned it.
  • You don’t need a website to sign up. You can sign up using:
    • Facebook pages
    • Twitter accounts
    • YouTube accounts
    • Twitch accounts
  • Anyone can sign up for the program.
    • You can sign up for Amazon affiliate programs in other countries. If you live in the U.S. you can sign up for the French, German, or any other program.
  • You can get between 4%-8.5% commission on most products.
  • Some products have fixed commissions. A notable example is electronics which always gets you 4%.

Where are you in your Amazon Affiliate site process?

Have you started working on your website yet or are you still in the research phase?

Comment below!

2 replies
  1. Tom clark
    Tom clark says:

    Hi I have only just found your site and it is proving very useful! I have a question… Is it better to wait to sign up to the amazon affiliate so as to get out of the Google sandbox so that you can start going up the serps or do it straight away?
    Thank you for writing and sharing this article.


    • Ilya P.
      Ilya P. says:

      Hey Tom,

      I’ve tried both methods and I have to say that I didn’t find much of a difference.

      I’d apply right away and insert the affiliate links ASAP, but that’s more of a personal preference.

      Cheers! 🙂


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