Many Amazon Associates have questions around what their Amazon Affiliate Access Keys are, how to use them, and where to find them. In this blog, we will go through all you need to know about your Amazon Affiliate Access Keys and why they might be important to the success of your affiliate site or something you don’t need to worry about at all.
What is an Amazon Affiliate Access Key?
Before getting into what Amazon Affiliate Access Keys are, it’s important to note what they are not as there is often some lingering confusion. Amazon Affiliate Access Keys are not the string of characters that Amazon first gives you after signing up for the program. That is called your “Site ID” and for Amazon.com (and the other programs in the Americas” ends with “-20”.
Similar to your “Site ID” you can create up to 100 “Tracking IDs”. These two will end in “-20” (or “-21” or “-22” if you are accessing one of the Amazon programs in Europe or Asia).
Either the “Site ID” or a “Tracking ID” must be added to your Amazon product link for it to be an affiliate link and earn you a commission from subsequent sales.
But, your Amazon Affiliate Access Keys is none of these things.
After you generate three qualifying sales in your first 180 day period your Associates Account is officially reviewed and (if approved) you are now able to get access to one of the most important tools that Amazon makes available for website owners.
“Amazon Access Keys” is the term sometimes used to refer to the “key” and “secret” necessary to use the Amazon Product Advertising API. “PA API” for short is an API that many different WordPress based plugins require to provide “rich content” on your site for products on Amazon.
For example, the AAWP tool that creates product comparison tables requires your Amazon Affiliate Access Keys.
Who Needs The Amazon Affiliate Access Keys and Why?
Affiliate marketers running websites, or developers building web apps, are typically those who use the PA API and thus need the Amazon Affiliate Access Keys in order to use the tool.
The PA API provides product metadata information including stock levels, pricing, reviews, descriptions, images, and much more. It’s this information that various tools and plugins use to provide you or your site with ways to help sell on Amazon and thus earn commissions.
However not everyone needs the PA API, thus they don’t need Amazon Affiliate Access Keys either. If you are generating your links directly through Amazon or using a tool like Geniuslink or Kit, then you may only need to provide your Site ID or Tracking ID and your links will be automatically affiliated and be ready to earn.
How to get your keys
If you find yourself using a tool that does require your Amazon Affiliate Access Keys, and you’ve already generated the requisite three sales, you can locate existing access keys (forget you already set them up?) or generate a new key and secret from Associates Central dashboard on the “Product Advertising API” page. This is found under the ‘Tools’ drop-down.
From the “Manage Your Credentials” section you can view your existing access keys (but not the secret) or click the “Add Credentials” button, and then download your key and secret using the “Download Credentials” option.
Make sure to save your both values from Amazon Affiliate Access Keys in a safe location because if you lose the access key ID or its matching secret key, you must create a new key pair!
Just to clarify, you do not need these keys to use Geniuslink. If you generate your links from Amazon or use link management services like Geniuslink or product sharing tools like Kit, you are already set to start earning after you’ve provided a Site ID or Tracking ID. But, if a tool or plugin does require your keys you now know where to go!
Let us know if you have any other questions regarding Amazon Affiliate Access Keys in the comments below!