Amazon vs. ClickBank – Which is Best for Affiliate Income
Should you promote Amazon products, ClickBank products or both as an affiliate?
Amazon and ClickBank are the two most common marketplaces for affiliates. We have an in-depth article on each you may want to look at.
But how do they compare?
Who has the best products?
Can I join both from my country?
Which marketplace pays the best commissions?
Are they both good fits for my audience?
Let’s find the answers.
Amazon & ClickBank Size
No one beats Amazon when it comes to size. They have hundreds of millions of products. Almost every household in America has used Amazon to make a purchase. You can’t beat their reach. No matter how obscure your niche Amazon has products for your audience.
ClickBank, on the other hand, is focused on online products. These are Software as a Service (SaaS) offerings, plugins, themes, training courses, membership sites, etc.
ClickBank is certainly a major player. They have over 50,000 products, They do in excess of 40,000 transactions per day. They are a real company. ClickBank also has a strong focus on certain markets; diet, finance, dating, make money online (MMO) and similar.
Using almost any measure Amazon is a much bigger affiliate marketplace.
- 3 billion total products in 11 marketplaces
- 300 million customers
- 247,000 affiliate websites
Ease of Joining the Affiliate Program
Both ClickBank and Amazon are very inclusive. It is very easy to start with either program. Amazon requires a website, YouTube channel or mobile app. ClickBank allows for funnels and email marketers. No website is required.
Amazon initially put new accounts in a type of sandbox. You are not given API access for instance. After 3 sales, they will inspect your site and check for any terms of service issues. If all is in order, you receive final approval and benefits like access to the product advertising API.
Terms of Service
ClickBank TOS is very standard. You can’t lie, cheat or steal – that’s about it. With Amazon, it’s a bit hazier. They are very protective of their brand. You must always be clear that you are an affiliate of Amazon’s. You must not use any content from their marketplace unless it is retrieved via the Amazon Product Advertising API. This is not available to new affiliates. There are many more rules and Amazon can be rigid in their enforcement. We keep an updated document with Amazon rules, disclosures and things that will get you banned in our Amazon Affiliate content area.
ClickBank is very flexible and friendly with almost all countries. There is only one marketplace for all participants. You will have just one dashboard and product searching environment. There are some countries that are not open to new affiliates or buyers. If you are running an ad campaign you will want to exclude those countries.
The following countries were on a ClickBank banned country list a few years ago. Some of these countries may now be eligible The best way to check is in the application form which has a list of approved countries to choose from.
BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA
CONGO, THE DEM REP OF
CENTRAL AFRICAN REP
COTE D IVOIRE
IRAN, ISLAMIC REP OF
KOREA, DEM PEOPLES REP
LIBYAN ARAB JAMAHIRIYA
MOLDOVA, REPUBLIC OF
PAPUA NEW GUINEA
SYRIAN ARAB REPUBLIC
TANZANIA, UN REP OF
Amazon has 14 marketplaces that have Associate accounts available. Each has a separate affiliate program you must apply to. Some countries require local bank accounts and mailing address. Your affiliate link must be aligned with the target marketplace. Your affiliate link from the US Amazon site will not earn any credit in the French site. Amazon does have OneLink which allows you to integrate the US, Canada and UK affiliate credit. In Europe, Amazon has brought together its marketplaces. You can create and manage product offers on one or more of the European websites: Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.fr, Amazon.de, Amazon.it, and Amazon.es. You will need to create unique links per marketplace,
Amazon International Program Details with Links to Associate Programs
|Amazon.com||US||You will need to provide a valid credit card, bank account, phone number, and tax information.|
|Amazon.co.uk||UK||you'll need to provide a bank account in one of the countries supported by Amazon. Currently, Amazon supports U.K. and U.S. bank accounts, as well as bank accounts in all Eurozone countries.|
|Amazon.fr||France||same as UK|
|Amazon.de||Germany||same as UK|
|Amazon.it||Italy||same as UK|
|Amazon.es||Spain||same as UK|
|Amazon.jp||JAPAN||Amazon.co.jp offers an online seller registration process in English and Japanese. The Payments are via bank transfers to a local Japanese bank but also offers Amazon.co.jp gift certificates.|
|Amazon.ca||CANADA||Same as US|
|Amazon.in||INDIA||Amazon.in is only open to sellers with a locally owned business in India.|
|Amazon.com.mx||MEXICO||Amazon Afiliados program is also limited to payments via direct deposit to banks located in Mexico and that support “CLABE” accounts.|
|Amazon.br||BRAZIL||Amazon Associados is limited to making payments to a Brazilian bank by direct deposit and using the “FEBRABAN” system.|
|Amazon.cn||CHINA||The Amazon China affiliate program only does direct payment to a local Chinese bank (and starts at 100 yuan).|
|Amazon.com.au||AUSTRALIA||pays out via direct deposit to Australia based banks as well as sends local currency paper checks internationally|
This is where the rubber meets the road. You are an affiliate to make money and both Amazon and ClickBank can get that done. The commission structure is totally different between the two marketplaces. In the case of Amazon, there is a fee schedule based on the product category that your sale belongs too. In the case of ClickBank, the individual vendors set the commission rates. Let’s take a closer look.
Amazon uses a sliding schedule that ranges from 0% -10%. So selecting your niche becomes a strategic decision if you are going to focus on Amazon products. You must sell 4 times as many 2% products as 8% products to earn the same amount.
The products with 0% commissions may seem to be useless but remember you get paid for any sale in 24 hours. Not just the referring product. Since Amazon converts so well some affiliates drive traffic to Amazon with the low commission products hoping for cross-sells at Amazon.
|Product Category||Commission Rates|
|Luxury Beauty, Amazon Coins||10.00%|
|Furniture, Home, Home Improvement, Lawn & Garden, Pets Products, Pantry||8.00%|
|Headphones, Beauty, Musical Instruments, Business & Industrial Supplies||6.00%|
|Digital Music, Grocery, Physical Music, Handmade, Digital Videos||5.00%|
|Physical Books, Health & Personal Care, Sports, Kitchen, Automotive, Baby Products||4.50%|
|Amazon Fire Tablet Devices, Amazon Kindle Devices, Amazon Fashion Women's, Men's & Kids Private Label, Apparel, Amazon Cloud Cam Devices, Fire TV Edition Smart TVs, Amazon Fire TV Devices, Amazon Echo Devices, Ring Devices, Watches, Jewelry, Luggage, Shoes, and Handbags & Accessories||4.00%|
|Amazon Fresh, Toys||3.00%|
|PC, PC Components, DVD & Blu-Ray||2.50%|
|Televisions, Digital Video Games||2.00%|
|Physical Video Games & Video Game Consoles||1.00%|
|Gift Cards; Wireless Service Plans; Alcoholic Beverages; Digital Kindle Products purchased as a subscription; Food prepared and delivered from a restaurant; Amazon Appstore, Prime Now, Amazon Pay Places, or Prime Wardrobe Purchases||0.00%|
|All Other Categories||4.00%|
ClickBank commissions are much higher. The typical product range is 40% – 60%.
So clearly ClickBank is the better choice, right?
it’s not that simple.
Amazon converts referred traffic to sales at a much higher percentage. Particularly cold SEO traffic coming to a review article. If Amazon converts your traffic 5 x better then an 8% product on Amazon, is the equivalent earner of a 40% product at ClickBank.
If you are not warming the traffic with email auto-responder or other methods, Amazon will usually be the better fit. The exception is if you are targetting one of ClickBanks best-performing niches like; personal finance, health, make money online, etc.
Payout Methods and Schedule
Amazon and ClickBank have similar methods to pay your commissions.
Amazon Associates Commissions
- ~60 days after month-end
- The threshold is $10. Check payouts can be set by user between $100-$1000
- No refund anticipation holdbacks.
- Methods of payment are direct deposit, check. Amazon gift card
- International payments use direct deposit with Payoneer. Europe markets have integrated payments
- Refund holdback 10%
- The threshold is $10. Payouts can be set by affiliate between $100-$1000
- Weekly or biweekly payouts (check s only biweekly)
- Methods of payout are direct deposit, wire transfer, check
- International is via international direct deposit, direct deposit with Payoneer
The timing of payments favors ClickBank with weekly payments an option. They will hold back money for potential returns. ClickBank products have a fairly high return rate as there are many tire-kickers testing products knowing they can return any time in 60 days. In Amazon’s case, the commissions are held for 60 days before being paid. There is no reserve for returns since the payments come after the refund period.
Amazon is the largest online retailer in the world. This is one of the primary reasons to be associated with them. Most of the 14 marketplaces with affiliate programs have more than 100 million products available.
Physical vs. On-line
Most of Amazon’s products are physical products. The product depth is staggeringly deep. Any niche marketer can find products to recommend. Amazon is also no slouch in the online music and book markets. But they do not generally selll software, training courses, SaaS services etc. This is ClickBank country.
Though Amazon has a very generous pro-consumer return policy, it has little impact on an affiliate. Amazon pays commissions in 60+ days so any return would have not been paid out. ClickBank selling downloadable products with a 60 day refund policy has a much higher return rate. Many consumers use these purchases as trials knowing they can be returned.
This is the biggest difference between Amazon and ClickBank. I doubt you lose any subscribers or customers by promoting Amazon products. If you are in a conservative niche though, many ClickBank offers will send viewers running.
Marketplace Trust Factor
Amazon is unique.
Amazon has a huge trust component. With Amazon products, your job is to get the customer to Amazon. Let them do the selling. They are one of the best at creating loyal customers that convert to sales.
With ClickBank, you are dealing with individual sales pages. Some are good, some are awful with autoloading videos barking at you like a carnival pitchman. With ClickBank, you do the selling and hope the vendor page does not hurt the process
For Amazon products, the individual commission rate and payment is low. You are making your money by having many transactions. This means the value per customer is to low to target them individually with ads. But you can convert cold traffic. You can create a niche where there are buying keywords that you can compete for. Allowing you to create content that will get traffic from search. These review and even informational articles will have comparison tables and other links to Amazon products. You keep adding content strategically and your audience from search grows as do your sales.
ClickBank is almost the opposite.
With ClickBank search traffic going to reviews typically does not convert well unless it is very focused. So specific long-tail keywords. But works better with ClickBank is warming the prospect with valuable information and establishing trust.
With Amazon you are riding their trust coattails – with ClickBank you must earn this trust. Then you can ask for the order.
Typically you would purchase traffic. This can be Google Ads, Facebook Ads, other Social Media ads, Solo eMail ads, etc. You send the ad clicks to a squeeze page. On this page, you have something to offer for their email address. A free e-book, research report, plugin or other items that are relevant and valuable. Once you have the email they are put into an auto-responder sequence. This again has more valuable content and then builds to the offer – after you have proved your usefulness.
If your niche is health supplements, weight loss, make money online or dating, it is a no-brainer to look at offers from ClickBank.
Many publishers and bloggers will be on a very selective case by case basis with ClickBank to protect their reputation. If your audience is looking for technical information in a software niche and you send them keto offers from ClickBank … they will leave you.
But if you are in their popular and successful niches you can build an entire site around ClickBank. Create sales funnels, autoresponders and warm your audience. If you can find a product that converts well for you, you don’t need the big traffic numbers of an Amazon affiliate. There are recurring revenue programs at ClickBank where you get monthly income as long as the customer is subscribed. Typical commissions are 50-60%. Upsells and additional offers often create $100+ average revenue per customer.
With ClickBank, you don’t need a massive body of content to drive SEO/Search traffic. Since the commissions are higher you can consider many more advertising options. Paid traffic can be turned on and off. If you can spend $25 to get $50 commissions with paid traffic you can then look to scale that.
Amazon is one of the most successful companies in the world. In the case of Amazon, you would need to look at why NOT being an affiliate.
The main objection is the low commission rates vs. the time to create content and insert the Amazon products. If you have low traffic, you need to just focus on more content for SEO traffic or ad campaigns and funnels for which are not best for Amazon products.
In a way, Amazon has characteristics of advertising. They have so much trust and convert so well that even cold traffic can be monetized. You don’t need to build auto-responders and create a close relationship with your visitors (though that always helps). Just get traffic to Amazon and you can get paid. Even if your visitor does not purchase the linked item you will be paid. Any purchase in 24 hours.
Many niches start out fairly narrow. This is so you can create content around keywords that you can rank for.
No matter how unique your niche Amazon will have products for you to promote.
The choice is a function of knowing your audience. In the case of Amazon, there is little risk of having selected products on your site. In fact, in Amazons’ case, there is almost an advertising component. Getting even cold traffic to Amazon is a good thing. They are conversion monsters.
On the other hand, ClickBank requires more consideration. Select closely on an offer by offer basis.
Take care of your visitors. Know who they are and only present offers that are relevant.