Amazon Commission Rates, Cookie Policy and Payments for Affiliates

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You work hard to create lots of great content. All of your money pages are optimized. The call to action buttons are well placed. There are plenty of information posts to show your authority to Google.

Now is the time to start earning.

So how much will you be paid for sales from Amazon’s affiliate program — Amazon Associates? How long do you have to get your referred customer to purchase from Amazon? How and when will Amazon pay you? Let’s get into the details of the earning side of the Amazon Associate program.

Commission Rates

Amazon pays you a commission on the next purchase that your visitor makes from Amazon. The purchase must be made within 24 hours of their arrival at Amazon via your affiliate link. Your referred customer doesn’t need to purchase the item that brought them to Amazon.

The commissions range from 1% for video games to 10% for luxury beauty. That’s a big swing. You need to sell 10 times as many video games as you would luxury beauty items.

Here is the full commission rate card:

Amazon affiliate commission rate card

If I was creating a new niche site I would only select a niche that paid at least 6%. Do some keyword research to find niches in these higher commission departments. You can check-out our Keyword Tools for Affiliate Marketers post for more info.

These higher commission niches would include:

High Commission Rate Product Categories

6% — Headphones, Musical Instruments, Beauty, Business and Industrial Supplies

7% — Amazon Echo and Fire Devices, Apparel, Jewelry, Luggage, Shoes, Handbags and Watches

8% — Furniture, Home Improvement, Lawn & Garden, Pets Products and Pantry.

10% – Digital Video Games, Luxury Beauty, and Amazon Coins

Bounties

Amazon also has bounties for getting people to sign up for services. If your cookied visitor signs up for a trial or full membership for Prime, Kindle, Wedding Registry, Baby Registry, and other select programs, you will receive a few dollar flat fee for each signup.

Cookie Tracking Policy

Amazon Cookie Details

The devil is in the details as they say. There is a very specific cookie and crediting policy for Amazon affiliates. Amazon gets criticized for having a short cookie duration – 24hrs. But this is offset by paying you for any item purchased in that 24-hour window. Affiliates often get totally unrelated sales.

Let’s get into the details of how Amazon cookies work with affiliates:.

  • If a user goes to Amazon from your link Amazon will give them a cookie with your id. However, if the user clears their cache of cookies and then returns – you get no credit.
  • The next purchase the customer you sent makes at Amazon – you earn a commission. Your customer must purchases in the 24 hours after going to Amazon from your link.
  • The referred customer does NOT need to purchase the item that brought them to Amazon.
  • After they purchase any item the cookie goes away. You get no credit after the first purchase, even if the next purchase is still within the 24-hour window.
  • If the customer goes to Amazon from someone else’s affiliate link after yours you get no credit. The second affiliate cookie replaces yours.
  • When a customer puts something in their Amazon shopping cart you will be credited for that item if the purchase is completed within 90 days. This is not a cookie but something Amazon tracks.
  • Your purchases at Amazon, family and friends purchases – these are excluded from generating commissions. Amazon looks at the computer IP address, past shipping to/from physical addresses and more to determine this.

90-day “Cookie”

There are plugins that will add items from your affiliate store to a local cart and then transfer these items to the customers Amazon cart. We make one of the best of these Amazon store building plugins – Prosociate. This means that all of those items in the cart are going to be commission eligible for 90 days instead of 24.

Wow!

So you should clearly have all of your customer’s items put into the local cart and transferred … right?

Well not so fast. You have created some “friction”. You have added a step before the customer gets to see products at Amazon. This can lead to cart abandonment and lower your Amazon conversion rate.

For many applications, the primary goal is to get the customer shopping at Amazon. Amazon is a conversion machine. Best to get them at bat as soon as possible.

Checking out local carts and Amazon cart confirmations slow down the process. You also do not get credit for extra purchases they may make when they return and check-out the cart with your item. Unless they returned with your link again the earlier 24-hour cookie has expired.

There are applications where the add to cart capability makes a lot of sense. Affiliates are always experimenting trying to find the next first-mover advantage. If you have a website for your trade group or other close-knit community, you can benefit from having the 90 days to finish the sale. The members are committed to buying via your link/cart.

With Prosociate we give you both direct to Amazon or transfer to cart options.

Payment Methods

How are you paid?

So you had a great month, now how and when will Amazon pay you. You have three options for payment:

  1. Amazon gift card
  2. Bank Transfer
  3. Check

You can also use Payoneer who will act as an intermediary getting the bank transfer and then forwarding to you as arranged. This is what affiliates use who do not have a US address for a check/gift card or US bank account for wire transfer.

People often ask about PayPal payments to affiliates. Wouldn’t that make life easier?

There is no PayPal option. After all PayPal is owned by rival eBay.

When are you paid?

The payments come approximately 60 days from the end of the month with your sales activity.  So …

  • Payment for January is made in late March.
  • Payment for February is made in late April.
  • Payment for March is made in late May.

There is a minimum payout threshold of $100 for check and bank transfer though you can make this amount higher if you prefer. If you do not meet the $100 minimum the earnings will roll into the next month. You can request an Amazon gift card payment if the amount is less than $100 but more than $10.

Summary

Amazon’s sliding commission schedule should be leveraged if possible. 6-8% commission items are the earnings sweet spot.