Earning commissions from Amazon has never been more accessible for content creators and influencers. Two great options exist – the Amazon Influencer Program and the Amazon Affiliate Program. But many wonder – what is the difference, and which one is better for me?
In this comprehensive 4,000+ word guide as a social media marketing guru, I will compare both programs in-depth so you can make the best decision for your goals in 2023.
Here‘s what we‘ll cover:
- Key Differences Between Programs
- Requirements to Join
- Unique Benefits of Each
- Monetization Options
- Case Studies & Examples
- Expert Tips to Maximize Success
- FAQs on both programs
So whether you want to become an Amazon Influencer or Affiliate, strap in for the complete guide!
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Overview of Amazon Influencer and Affiliate Programs
In short, here is what each program entails:
Amazon Influencer Program
- Customizable storefront on Amazon for influencers
- Showcase favorite products & links in your niche
- Promote storefront to social media followers
- Earn commissions on resulting product sales
Amazon Affiliate Program
- Also called Amazon Associates
- Website owners/bloggers become affiliates
- Promote Amazon products via unique affiliate links
- Earn fees when link drives a successful purchase
Both allow you to earn income from Amazon through product promotions. But the exact approaches differ.
4 Key Differences Between Programs Compared
While the core concept is similar, several differences exist between the Amazon Influencer Program vs the Affiliate Program:
1. Type of Links Used
As an Amazon Affiliate, you utilize direct links to individual product listings on Amazon to promote them. When your audience makes purchases through these links, you earn commissions.
Comparatively, as an Amazon Influencer, you don‘t directly link to specific products. Instead, Amazon gives you an entire customized storefront webpage highlighting your favorite items.
It‘s on this storefront that you can showcase products, add visual branding elements, publish shoppable photos/videos, and more. You then promote this page to your audience.
So influencers drive visitors to their overall store instead of individual products like affiliates do.
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2. Eligibility Criteria Differs Greatly
One major difference comes down to the eligibility requirements for applicants:
Amazon Affiliates Must Have:
- An existing website, blog, or platform
- Original content published
- Clean associate application history
- Get approved by Amazon based on application
Comparatively, Amazon Influencer Applicants Must Possess:
- Large, highly engaged social media audience
- Public influencer persona & content focus
- History of driving conversions/sales on social
- Active Amazon customer account
As you can see, becoming an Amazon Affiliate has a much lower barrier to entry. Amazon merely wants to verify you have an established presence capable of driving traffic and sales.
The Influencer Program sets stricter standards based on audience size and authority on platforms like Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, Facebook, etc. They vet applicants more thoroughly.
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3. Advertising and Disclosure Rules
When promoting products as an Amazon Affiliate or Influencer, you must follow FTC endorsement guidelines and advertising disclosure laws. This ensures you provide transparent disclosures when earning commissions.
However, the specifics vary slightly between programs:
Amazon Affiliates Must:
- Clearly disclose affiliate links using terms like "Paid Advertisement"
- Place disclosures prominently near links/content
- Follow all FTC social media endorsement guidelines
Amazon Influencers Must:
- Disclose influencer status when sharing storefront
- Use hashtags like #AmazonInfluencer #Ad on social posts
- Follow additional Amazon disclosure policies for Influencers
So while disclosure is essential for both, influencers have more custom Amazon compliance rules to stick to.
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4. Monetizing International Audiences
When it comes to tapping into international ecommerce markets, the Amazon Affiliate Program provides more options compared to the Influencer Program.
Using the Affiliate Program you can register as an associate simultaneously across Amazon‘s 15+ international marketplaces like Canada, Mexico, Japan, Germany, etc.
Tools like Linkstripe allow you to create one affiliate link that detects location and directs visitors to their local Amazon portal when clicked. This enables you to unlock global commissions.
As an Amazon Influencer, you can only create one Storefront per individual marketplace. So if you join the US Influencer Program, only American traffic would lead to sales. International users who find your links can‘t make purchases.
So those running websites or content drawing global visitors have an advantage using the Associates Program to maximize foreign commissions.
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Now that we‘ve compared both programs, let‘s overview the unique benefits and perks each offers…
Exclusive Advantages of Becoming an Amazon Influencer
If you meet the eligibility requirements, becoming an Amazon Influencer unlocks exclusive perks:
👑 Higher Commission Rates
Unlike the regular 10% associate rate, Amazon Influencers can earn 1-15% commissions on products that shoppers buy through their customized Storefronts. The exact percentage depends on monthly sales volumes.
Higher incomes are possible, especially if you have an engaged social audience to promote to. One top fashion influencer on Instagram earns over $15k monthly through the program!
🖼️ Branding and Customization Opportunities
Your dedicated Influencer Storefront enables creativity. You can design the look/feel by:
- Adding profile and header images
- Organizing products by category
- Showcasing content with shoppable photos/videos
- Customizing titles, product descriptions and more
This allows you to align with your personal brand visually. Essentially, it‘s your very own Amazon store as an influencer!
📈 Increased Visibility Across Amazon
Depending on success within the program, Amazon may organically highlight Influencers anywhere relevant products appear – increasing discoverability.
For example, if shoppers view a particular beauty product, Amazon can showcase an influencer‘s review, content, or storefront further down the page.
This can massively grow an influencer‘s exposure and conversions. Affiliates don‘t receive this added visibility.
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Okay, so becoming an Amazon Influencer clearly has some marketing advantages! Now let‘s discuss the unique perks of joining the Amazon Affiliate program instead…
Exclusive Advantages of Becoming an Amazon Affiliate
While less glamorous sounding than becoming an elite "Amazon Influencer", the Amazon Affiliate Program also offers unique benefits:
🚪 Lower Barrier to Entry
As discussed earlier, eligibility requirements are far less stringent for affiliates vs influencers. You need:
- Existing site/blog/channel
- Organic content
- Get approved based on application
Given the lax standards, it‘s much faster and easier for the average person to get approved and start monetizing.
📊 Utilize Links Across More Channels
Approved affiliates gain access to affiliate link building tools they can embed anywhere – websites, YouTube, social media, email newsletters, and more.
Comparatively, Influencer‘s main channel is creating and promoting their Storefront on social media.
So Affiliates have more flexibility pairing links with content across platforms.
🌎 Monetize International Traffic
As covered earlier, being an Amazon Affiliate enables better monetization of international website visitors through solutions like Linkstripe.
It automatically surfaces localized affiliate links and directs foreign users to their country‘s Amazon portal seamlessly when they click.
Thus affiliates unlock global earning potential exceeding what Influencers can achieve. This adds up over time!
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Now that we‘ve outlined the pros and cons of each program, let‘s discuss examples of both models in action…
Real-World Case Studies: Influencer vs Affiliate Models
To see both programs in action, let‘s explore a case study example for each approach:
Case Study #1: Pet Accessories Influencer Storefront
Jen loves pets and has grown an Instagram account sharing cute pet photos with over 300k animal-loving followers.
Given her highly engaged niche audience, Jen joined the Amazon Influencer Program. She created a customized Pet Accessories Storefront showing her favorite products like toys, beds, backpacks and more.
Jen shares her Influencer Storefront link in her Instagram bio. She also links to it within selected Instagram posts, often showcasing relevant products her own pets enjoy.
The shoppable content performs well, increasing her Amazon commissions by 25% compared to standard affiliate links!
Case Study #2: Fitness Blog Running Amazon Affiliate Content
John is a fitness blogger focused on running and training advice for 5k, 10k races and marathons. While not an influencer, he draws ~25k monthly readers.
John joined the Amazon Affiliate program to complement his website‘s existing monetization. He embeds contextual Amazon links within blog posts using tools like Geni.us and Linkconnector.
For example, in his popular "Best Running Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis" post, he links to relevant recommendations visitors can purchase on Amazon.
Despite a smaller audience than influencers, John still earns over $3k monthly, thanks to blog traffic and affiliate optimization.
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Now that you‘ve seen real-world examples in action, let‘s switch gears to expert tips for implementation success.
Expert Tips to Maximize Success With Each Program
As a leader in social media monetization, I‘ve refined approaches to optimize conversions for both programs.
Here are pro tips to maximize earnings:
For Amazon Influencers:
- Refresh your Storefront weekly with trending or seasonal products
- Utilize shoppable short-form video content on TikTok and Instagram
- Share behind-the-scenes of creating product reviews/unboxings
- Promote your Storefront via website banners or email lists too!
- Take product photos styled to match your brand aesthetic
For Amazon Affiliates:
- Use affiliate link plug-ins to easily embed links without coding
- Write long-form, epic content guides receiving organic traffic
- Build curated product roundups showcasing multiple recommendations
- Utilize display ads via Amazon Advertising to promote affiliate products
- Analyze earnings data to double down on high-converting content
Follow this tactical advice and your commissions will skyrocket in no time!
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Now let‘s wrap things up by answering some frequently asked questions about both programs.
FAQs About the Amazon Influencer & Affiliate Programs
Here are answers to the top questions we receive:
Can someone be both an Amazon Influencer AND Affiliate?
Yes! If you meet eligibility criteria for both programs, you can enroll and participate in each simultaneously.
For example, an Instagram influencer with a side blog can leverage their social audience promoting their Influencer Storefront while also using classic affiliate links on blog content.
Diversifying across both models maximizes earning potential.
How many followers do I need to qualify as an Amazon Influencer?
Exact requirements vary regionally, but often having 25k+ engaged followers is a minimum threshold many aim for. Nano or micro-influencers likely need 50-100k+ to have the best shot of approval and earnings success.
Further, having an existing affiliation with other brands helps signal you can drive conversions.
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The Bottom Line
We‘ve covered a full comparison – Amazon Influencer Program vs Affiliate Program broken down. While similarities exist between earning from Amazon, the programs have key differences in their approaches, requirements and perks.
So should you become an Amazon Influencer or Affiliate?
If you are an established social media influencer already, the Influencer Program offers you higher potential status and earnings.
If you are a website owner without a huge audience, becoming an Affiliate open up monetization faster and broader.
Whichever path calls you, incorporate the expert tips in this guide to maximize success!
I hope mapping out both programs provided complete clarity so you can pick the best way to monetize your personal audience and content.
Let me know if you have any other questions in the comments section below!