So much is changing in the world of social media influencers and brand ambassadors. One company that is truly doing their part to innovate within this sphere is Amazon. As it turns out, they weren’t satisfied with their leadership in the cloud computing, television, smart speaker, rocket, or e-commerce industries. Now they want to step into the world of influencer marketing.
Amazon’s Influencer Program, launched in 2017, is turning the brand-influencer game on its head. But how does it work? Read on to find out.
How It Works
Amazon’s new influencer program allows influencers to receive a commission from sales drawn from links on their social media account. Influencers receive a custom vanity URL for their personal storefront, which is housed directly on Amazon.com.
- Commission – At the storefront, they can promote Amazon products that align with their brand identity and earn a commission from product sales. This is an attractive marketing strategy because it allows social media influencers and companies to track sales generated from brand advocacy.
- Affiliate Initiative – The Amazon Influencer Program is an extension of its affiliate initiative, which allowed creators to earn a commission on items purchased by their fans on various social media sites. The custom shop is a groundbreaking feature and is what sets the new program apart from the affiliate program.
The unique influencer storefront is what differentiates the Amazon Influencer Program from the rest. Here, influencers can customize their storefront to their brand—currently with limited decorative freedom—and curate lists of their favorite products or Amazon services.
A popular component of the storefront is its custom URL. Although Twitter and Instagram influencers don’t have a problem with linking products to their posts, the easy-to-remember storefront URL is ideal for YouTubers who can’t link URLs to videos. The URLs are simply: amazon.com/shop/influencername. This means that for influencers with a strong brand identity and public presence, their shops are incredibly easy to find by fans and followers.
What’s more, the storefront has a very simple call-to-action: check out these products. The simplicity of the storefront landing page is ideal for driving sales and generating new customers.
The Influencers: Who Are They?
Entering the program is quite simple. To sign up, you have to own an account on any of the prominent platforms—YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Currently, Amazon approves YouTube and Twitter accounts almost immediately, while it takes up to five days to approve Facebook and Instagram accounts.
Amazon’s vetting process is focused less on influencer popularity and more on whether they can drive traffic. This includes their follower count, their content, the frequency with which they post, and their relevance for Amazon customers.
Big Names, Little Names
Although well-known figures like iJustine and Mark Cuban participate in the Amazon Influencer Program, Amazon is setting its sights on micro and nano-influencers. These are blossoming creators with less than 100k followers. Amazon recognizes that they are vital for influencer marketing.
- Accurate Targeting – While influencers with a modest follower count have an objectively smaller reach than big-gun mega-influencers, they do have access to highly coveted, hyper-targeted audiences. Although nano-influencers seem unworthy of brand attention, with less than 1000 followers each, the impact of their social media presence in their communities is what attracts savvy marketers. Knowing this, Amazon representatives have even been reaching out to these smaller influencers personally, while posting targeted ads on social media to drive membership.
Creating an Account
Once an influencer’s account is verified, they fill out their contact information and name their store. They can also include a profile picture and a bio. From there, they can promote their favorite products, showcase recent purchases, or create lists of product recommendations.
Influencers are encouraged to share links to their storefront on Amazon’s social app, Spark, as well as on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter.
To receive money, influencers enter their payment information—to be paid either through a direct deposit, check, or Amazon gift card—and can access their funds once they’ve made $10 through the platform.
Making Money as an Amazon Influencer
Most enticing of all for social media influencers is the potential to make big bucks through Amazon. Some commissions are low, starting at 1% for video game consoles. However, with sales from Amazon’s private-label fashion line, influencers can earn a whopping 10% commission.
Creators can earn an 8% commission on furniture sales, a 7% commission on non-Amazon clothing, shoes, and jewelry, and a 3% commission on toys and Amazon Fresh purchases. Beauty products and headphones generate a 6% commission.
Although this program seems like no more than a side hustle, lower commission rates can really add up if an influencer is good enough at driving sales. Influencer Samuel Torres told Business Insider that he sees friends making over $100 per day on the site. Youtuber Dan Markham stated at a panel at Web Summit that he managed to make over $12,000 pushing fidget cubes on the site.
Influencers can also earn a few bucks through bounties, which are flat payments they can receive from user sign-ups to Amazon programs and services. All they have to do is promote these services to their target audience on their storefront or social media posts. Influencers can earn $15 for each user that signs up for an Amazon Business account through their promotion. They can also earn $3 for trial sign-ups for Amazon Prime and Twitch Prime.
Amazon Fresh of Audible sign-ups gets influencers $5, while Amazon’s Wedding Registry will earn you $3. A reporting tab on the Amazon storefront tracks what influencers make from sales and bounties and allows them to view payment histories and fee schedules.
Future Developments: Publishing Tool
Currently, the storefronts aren’t much to look at. However, sources say Amazon will be introducing a publishing tool that allows influencers to add their social media content directly to their storefronts. Whether it’s an image or a video, the storefronts will become fully transformed according to an influencer’s brand identity and aesthetic.
- Branding – Brands will be able to do the same for their own storefronts, creating a more engaging experience for their customers. Potentially, these highly personalized storefronts will allow the Amazon Influencer Program to cross over into the content-creation world.
- Customization – Once deployed, the new customizable storefronts may draw influencers from Youtube or Instagram to create content specifically for the Amazon platform. The future storefronts present an exciting opportunity for influencers to more directly monetize their content.
Benefits of the Amazon Influencer Program
The Amazon Influencer Program presents an exciting opportunity for influencers, brands, and Amazon alike. In the past, brands, social media platforms on which they advertise, and the e-commerce sites from which they sell their products, were invariably separate. Amazon’s new program brings them together into a win-win-win situation.
For Amazon, this new feature is, technologically, quite simple to implement compared to its AI-driven sister, Alexa. What’s more: there are already tons of referred sales running through the e-commerce giant daily, so figuring out a way to track them through influencer storefronts on the site is not only brilliant but a no-brainer.
For the influencer, this shift is also desirable. This program provides a simple way to increase revenue by doing very little other than adding one more link to promotional posts. Whether this is a side-hustle or a full-on money-maker, the program is an attractive financial opportunity for social influencers. Making money on the site is incredibly convenient and the potential for a 10% commission doesn’t hurt either.
For brands, especially those that are already using influencers to drive sales, this is an excellent opportunity. Now, you will be able to track your unit sales and determine if your influencer marketing is working. With the Influencer Storefronts, you will be able to gain valuable insights that can inform your marketing strategies moving forward.
Brands are increasingly interested in Amazon’s sales data, and whether it can eventually predict which influencers drive the most sales on the platform. If brands can somehow tie campaigns on various social media sites to direct sales, spending on influencer marketing could potentially skyrocket. Currently, tracking influencer marketing success is quite tricky due to unreliable tracking links and spotty data. The new Amazon Influencer Program could change all of that.
Since its inception, Amazon has been a trailblazer of innovation in cloud services, home assistants, e-commerce, and even television. The inception of the Amazon Influencer program could have a significant impact on how companies run their digital marketing campaigns and how social influencers advocate for brands.
The introduction of highly customizable storefronts to the Amazon platform may introduce an entirely new method of creating and promoting content for influencers. This change could beckon a new age of online content creation that has never been seen before.
Could your favorite Youtubers be making posts and videos for their Amazon storefronts? Will artists be decorating theirs with custom art? Big changes might be on the horizon, so look out! In the meantime, why not make a few bucks with your own influencer account? Have fun!
“Amazon is teaching influencers on other platforms to point back to Amazon, and teaching consumers how to go down the funnel from a social platform to purchase on Amazon”
– Jeff Nicholson, chief media officer at VaynerMedia.
AdExchanger. Amazon Wades Deeper Into Influencer Marketing With Influencer Storefronts. https://adexchanger.com/ad-exchange-news/amazon-wades-deeper-into-influencer-marketing-with-influencer-storefronts/
Business Insider. Amazon is paying influencers big commissions to sell its products, and it’s open to anyone. Here’s how to sign up. https://www.businessinsider.com/amazon-influencer-how-to-make-money-2019-2
Convince and Convert. Will Amazon Dominate Influencer Marketing Too? https://www.convinceandconvert.com/baer-facts/will-amazon-dominate-influencer-marketing-too/
Influencer Marketing Hub. Amazon Influencer Marketing: Everything you Need to Know To Succeed. https://influencermarketinghub.com/amazon-influencer-marketing/
Tubefilter. Here’s How Much Money Creators Can Make Via Amazon’s Influencer Program (Report). https://www.tubefilter.com/2019/01/10/amazon-influencer-program-microinfluencers/