April has been a crazy month, to say the least. To top things off, between the global pandemic and the financial chaos, the Amazon.com affiliate program also made drastic cuts to about one-third of its categories intensifying the financial hardships of many affiliate marketers. I think most will chalk up April 2020 to be a pretty crappy month.
With many of our clients are facing a serious headwind with the commission cuts we wanted to come together with a short actionable list of things that can be done to make sure you aren’t leaving any money on the table and getting the most possible value from your Geniuslink account.
We challenge you to block off one hour today and work through the following six optimizations and see how much additional revenue you can get from your existing traffic and clicks. While mileage may vary, we know that just a little time updating your account and tuning your links can go a long way in adding money into your bank account.
You are not alone in this!
Lots of details on the six things to optimize your Amazon affiliate earnings via Geniuslink below, but if you want your action items in 240 characters or less, then you might find our recent tweet storm just the ticket.
#DoToday 1: Using More Amazon Affiliate Programs
Amazon’s global footprint continues to expand at an ever-increasing pace and every storefront has its own affiliate program now. In the last year, Amazon has launched three new international storefronts and added three new affiliate programs! This brings the total up to 17 storefronts and 17 affiliate programs (though the one for Turkey is currently private).
Keeping with the same structure as before, each Amazon storefront’s affiliate program is independent and requires you to sign up with it.
So, if you’ve been a Geniuslink user for a while you may not have signed up for the new programs that have sprung up over the last few years (Australia? India? Japan?) and added the tracking information into your Geniuslink account. This means that while you may have an audience in those new countries you aren’t currently monetizing on those clicks!
This is the easiest way to start making more affiliate commissions with minimal work. Just signup for the programs that make sense for you and add your new affiliate tracking ID into your Geniuslink dashboard and within a few minutes all of your geni.us links will start using your new affiliate tracking IDs for those clicks.
Where to start?
This part is easy! Just look for the alert at the top of your Geniuslink dashboard. This will tell you the next opportunity for you.
To take this even further, check out your “Destinations” report from the main home screen and you can see the top Amazon stores your traffic is getting sent to.
The general rule of thumb is that if you are getting at least 100 clicks / month, then that Amazon storefront is one you should be monetizing.
If you have less than 100 clicks / month it means you may not get the required three sales in 180 days necessary for your account to stay in good standing, so your time is likely best spent elsewhere at the moment (move to number 2!).
Before you dive in, though, here are a few Amazon affiliate programs to pay attention to:
The Easy Ones
From the get-go we encourage you to sign up for the core seven programs: US, Canada, UK, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain.
The trick here is that if you sign up for the UK program you can use the same application to automatically sign up for the other four programs in Europe meaning your 20 minutes of filling out forms becomes very worth it.
The Next Ones
The Australia and Japan Amazon affiliate programs are typically the next ones you want to tackle (again, assuming you have the traffic to justify the time). Nothing too crazy about them, just repeating the signup process you did before.
If you see significant traffic from China you are welcome to sign up and add your affiliate tracking information for Amazon.cn but it seems that even Amazon has given up trying to compete in China and we see little activity for the affiliate program.
Note, getting set up with the Amazon India affiliate program is a little tricky so we recommend you use Cuelinks so you can get paid out internationally.
The Hard Ones
Unless you see significant traffic or have a connection in Brazil or Mexico, these Amazon affiliate programs are probably safe to ignore due to no easy way to get the commissions you earn out of the country.
Further, the Amazon Turkey affiliate program is currently “invite only.”
The most recent Amazon affiliate programs, UAE, Singapore, and the Netherlands, are supported by Geniuslink for auto-affiliation but don’t yet support translation for these countries. Due to the new rules with Amazon’s Product Advertising API, we are in a review queue that is not currently moving due to the pandemic.
Currently, Amazon is adding a new storefront / affiliate program every six months or so. With this in mind, we encourage you to do this audit at least yearly or after any major changes in your affiliate strategy, the launch of a new digital property, or major milestones in your endeavors.
#DoToday 2: Good Link Health
Amazon’s product catalog is a very dynamic beast. The products for sale on Amazon come and go and the bottom line is that any Amazon affiliate link that isn’t going to a product that is currently in stock and ships (relatively) soon is likely a missed opportunity.
Unfortunately, a common story is how the product you want to recommend is initially easy to find on Amazon, so you build a link, it converts well but then the product goes out of stock, sometimes never to be replenished. Your recommendation continues to work at converting interested readers into buyers, but the link isn’t, so your conversion rate goes to zero. Your hard work building the recommendation is now wasted. It’s a sad story, but one that is totally preventable.
Especially for you seasoned bloggers and content creators, clicking on each of your links to see if it still works would be a massive waste of time and is actually against Amazon’s Operating Agreement.
To solve this problem we built the Amazon Affiliate Link Health report to check for non-performing links and tell you where you should focus your maintenance efforts.
Once you’ve identified your top links that need to be fixed it’s as easy as double-checking the Amazon page (this is still a Beta feature!) to confirm the status, then updating the link to find another link for the same product (often different colors or sizes have different links or there will be a new model or version available that will be in stock).
More details on how to take advantage of the Amazon Link Health report and ensure all of your links are working for you can be found in our Knowledgebase.
We encourage you to check your Amazon link health report every time you log into your Geniuslink account, and if that isn’t very regular, you’ll see an update with each mid-month report that we send out. The sooner you catch a permanently out of stock link and get it fixed the sooner that link can ensure you are maximizing your commissions.
#DoToday 3: Check Localization for Your Top Links
Our (patented) Amazon Affiliate link translation is the best in the industry, but we’ll be the first to admit it’s not always perfect. However, we’ve got an easy way to review your links and a quick fix to ensure your top links are working perfectly for your top countries so you aren’t missing out on easy money.
After you convert an Amazon link into a geni.us link in our dashboard you may notice our Amazon Localization Visualizer tool showing how the link performs around the world. For each Amazon store you’ll notice a color-coded scheme telling you if we were able to find the same product, were able to create a targeted search based link, or programmatically were not confident that the product exists in the foreign storefront.
Green means we found a good match.
Yellow means we went to a targeted search.
Grey means we weren’t confident there was a match.
We also alert you to which storefronts you are set up to earn commissions from, via the tracking IDs you’ve added into your affiliate page.
Your job today is to review and update if needed, your top nine links (found via Links report on the Home page). Here is the easy guide:
1/ To start with you need to know what your top Amazon storefronts are (which you should remember from looking at your Destinations report and completing #DoToday exercise 1).
2/ From your Links report, click on the link, which will take you to the links detail page, then click the “Edit” link in the upper right corner. This pulls up the Visualizer tool and you can see if your top countries are green (Perfect Match) or Yellow (Search) or Grey (No Local Match).
3/ For the countries where you have Grey, and Yellow if you are motivated (more on that in a minute), you’ll want to override our link translation. This can be done with converting the Simple link to an Advanced link and adding the specific destination (which is actually way easier than it sounds).
A much more detailed guide on how to override our link translation can be found in our knowledge base.
As you are digging in there are two important things to note.
1/ Amzn.to link – The dashboard doesn’t currently “unfurl” the short Amazon link into the long-form (though this is done when someone clicks on a link so we can translate it). For best results, we always encourage you to use the long-form version of an Amazon link.
2/ Search links – For the five programs in Europe (UK, Germany, France, Italy, and Spain) the affiliate program pays out a significant lower commission for a search based link instead of a link to the product details page due to their Direct / Indirect Qualifying Purchases commission payment scheme. As a result you may find that if one of the five programs in Europe is a top destination for you that it’s worth your time overriding our link translation even if we are able to translate to a targeted search link.
Cadence – Every time you build a link
While we work hard to make the dashboard as quick to use as possible, it’s often worth the extra few seconds to see how your link translates internationally using the Visualizer tool. Then, if you see there are gaps in our translation and your top countries, you can make the necessary adjustments then and there to ensure your new link will be a high performer from the get-go!
#DoToday 4: Choice Pages
Amazon is huge (38% US ecommerce market share, 100M prime members in the US) but their affiliate program is not the only game in town. Further, being reliant on Amazon’s affiliate program can be very risky, take the recent commission rate as the perfect example.
At the end of the day, it’s important to diversify your affiliate revenue streams.
Using Amazon’s affiliate program shouldn’t be an “either / or” decision. In fact, from what we’ve seen, the only decision you should make is giving your shoppers the opportunity to choose the retailer that is best for them.
Turns out that 78% of shoppers say they like to compare prices from different stores or sources before making purchases so when you force all of your audience to one storefront you are risking missing out on the last click for the shopper to buy the same product at another store.
We built Choice Pages with this in mind. We also built it to help you, the Creator, to diversify their affiliate commissions and not have to worry about the nuances of FTC and Amazon compliance when placing links on social media, in emails, and across the internet.
When you are recommending mid to high priced products we strongly encourage to experiment a bit with Choice Pages to see if you are like Armando Ferreira, from Mondo Bytes, and significantly improve your Amazon conversion rate while also becoming a top affiliate for a premium retailer simply from switching to giving your consumers options with Choice Pages.
Cadence – Now
Take advantage of our new suggestion functionality to quickly build a few Choice Pages today, or even better yet, easily convert a straight Amazon link into one, to see how they perform in comparison to your existing Amazon links. We are guessing that your Amazon conversions will improve and you start generating some additional revenue from other affiliate programs.
#DoToday 5: Making Sure All Your Links Are Working Hard
It’s easy to forget about updating a link here and there when you are migrating over to Geniuslink, especially if you have lots of marketing channels or digital properties that you’ve been using for years. And, unfortunately, we can’t do our magic of boosting your conversions and commissions unless that Amazon link is running through our service.
So how do you find those last few links or bulk convert the ones you know about but are overwhelmed to tackle?
We’ve got a couple tricks to help tackle this.
For YouTubers, our YouTube Link Optimizer tool can find old amzn.to affiliate links across your channel and then update them auto-magically (and include the necessary Amazon disclaimer) so you can start maximizing your international commissions.
Once you’ve got your links converted (hopefully saving yourself a bunch of work and using one of the tools mentioned above) it’s time to run a quick test to confirm you’ve updated all of your links — using a new tracking ID in Geniuslink and watching for clicks with the old tracking ID.
It’s not a well-known fact that the Amazon affiliate program allows you to create up to 100 unique affiliate tracking IDs in your account and then allows you to filter your clicks / commission reporting in the Amazon Associates Central dashboard by those same tracking IDs.
If you jump into your Amazon dashboard and click your email in the upper right corner you should have an option to “Manage Your Tracking IDs.”
Simply create a new one, then jump over to the Affiliate page in your Geniuslink dashboard, click the blue “Add a program” button, select the Amazon affiliate program you are updating, paste in your new tracking ID, and click save.
Within a few minutes, all of your geni.us links will start using this new affiliate tracking ID so within a day or so you should be able to jump into the Amazon Associates Central dashboard and see how many clicks are coming from your old tracking ID. Hopefully, none as this implies you’ve got links to convert still!
Cadence – Once
Getting fully onboarded and having all of your links updated to use Geniuslink should only be a one time project.
#DoToday 6: Best Plan for You
Geniuslink (previously known as GeoRiot) has been around for a while and we’ve offered a number of different pricing plans over the years as our service has evolved and we’ve learned (and relearned) how to build a sustainable bootstrapped SaaS business. Further, we feel strongly about allowing our awesome clients to stay with the plan they started on (forced upgrades suck…).
But this all means that some of you may be on a plan that isn’t ideal for you, especially if you are currently generating one or two thousand clicks per month.
Your last task for today is a fast one. Quickly check the Account page in your Geniuslink dashboard and in the “Account settings & billing” section you should see what plan you are currently on and then take a look at your monthly billing.
Then take a quick look at our pricing page, play with the slider, and see if upgrading your account would save you money.
If you aren’t sure which plan is best for you then let us know. We’ve built out a nifty spreadsheet that can help determine if you are currently on the best plan or not.
Thanks for making it through your six tasks! We applaud you for taking this crappy situation with the cut in Amazon affiliate commissions and parlaying it into a desire to level up your affiliate game. We wish you the best of luck in squeezing even more affiliate revenue out of your links.
Let us know how things go and remember, we are here to help.