Product categories are more competitive than they’ve ever been and are still rising as the number of small Ecommerce sellers increases each year. The rise in competition has led to a rise in a new field – affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing offers a solution to increased category density by offering product recommendations by trusted sources, or affiliates. In return for their recommendation leading to a sale, affiliates receive a commission.
Affiliate marketing is booming because this system benefits everyone involved; the seller receives more sales, the affiliate receives a commission, and the buyer receives a product that they’re certain is legitimate because it was recommended from a trusted source.
Affiliate marketing programs have sprouted all over the internet, with one of the largest in the world being the invite-only Amazon Affiliate Program, according to Amazon. The Amazon Affiliate Program contains the field’s most reputable affiliates such as Forbes, CNN, and The New York Times. The affiliates write and publish content directly on Amazon’s product pages and on their own product review sites.
CNN Underscored: CNN’s product review site
Both the Amazon and the affiliate-site content provide their own unique benefits to sellers, and both are services offered by a company called Seller Rocket. Before running to Seller Rocket’s site, it’s important to understand each type of recommendation; both provide their own unique benefits to your product.
Recommendations on Amazon
The first type of recommendation is the Amazon Editorial Recommendation. Amazon Editorials are posted directly to Amazon product pages and are meant to make the shopping experience easier by offering customers a few recommended products from a trusted source.
Best Protein Bars: An Amazon Editorial Recommendation written by Garage Gym Reviews
Editorials sit within the top third of the search page, and take up a larger portion of page space than other advertising types. Each contains five products, all of which are awarded their own unique title and description. The left side of the Editorial Recommendation contains a description of the overall Editorial, and links to a full length article that reviews each product; The full length article for this recommendation can be found here.
Amazon Editorial Recommendation Benefits
Immediately after an Editorial Recommendation is posted, products receive an increase in page visibility, and the greater the product visibility, the greater the chance of purchase. Not only is the product receiving increased page visibility, but that visibility is a recommendation, different than a standard sponsored ad. By receiving a recommendation from a reputable source rather than having an ad that appears self-promoted, the product increases it’s conversion rate.
73% increase in daily sessions: one result of improved visibility
In the above example, the seller saw a 73% increase in daily product views, a 46% increase in daily units sold, and a 51% increase in daily orders. These are great results for the first month, as most revenue generated actually comes after the first month and is due to improvements in PPC efficiencies and SEO performance.
Case study results: Only 8% revenue generation directly from the Editorial
In the above example, 33% of new sales growth after Editorial posting came from improvements in the organic and PPC channels and only 8% was directly attributable to the article. As time goes on and PPC and SEO improves, results will improve as well.
Amazon Editorial Requirements
Amazon Editorial Recommendations do have a few requirements:
- 4+ product rating
- 100+ reviews
- Lots of inventory
- No medical claims
- $30,000/month in sales
- No relation to drugs, sex, or religion
These requirements are meant to ensure that the products within Editorials are of quality and the sellers are capable of dealing with increased sales volume.
The second type of recommendations are publisher-site recommendations. These are recommendations on publisher sites like CNN’s CNN Underscored website. This type of recommendation does not have a set format like Editorials and is up to the discretion of the publisher. Examples of formatting type include blog posts, pro and con lists, and articles formatted similarly to Amazon Editorials.
Best Portable Air Conditioner: An article by The New York Times’ Wirecutter
The article above, which can be found here, consists of a dual format – written both like a blog post and as a side-by-side comparison. Each link directs the user to the product’s Amazon page.
Publisher-site Recommendation Benefits
Publisher-site recommendations improve sales and have an additional unique benefit of improving organic rank on Amazon. The link attached to each product drives external traffic to Amazon which is happily received by Amazon’s A10 algorithm. Results vary per product category, but improvements from rank 331 to 21 have been reported following the use of publisher-site recommendations.
Requirements for Publisher-site Recommendations
Publisher-site recommendations have no requirements, however publishers are more likely to choose products that meet the requirements of Amazon Editorial Recommendations. This is because they want to ensure they’re posting quality products onto their pages.
Utilizing Both Types of Affiliate Recommendations
Both types of affiliate recommendations are uniquely beneficial to sellers, however the greatest revenue generation is seen when both recommendation types are used concurrently.
A bilateral approach: Greater sales growth from concurrent utilization
When both recommendation types are utilized, the PPC and organic channels experience a greater lift in revenue, resulting in a smaller percentage of revenue generation being directly attributable to an article. Additionally, organic rank and share of voice experience greater lifts when recommendations are used concurrently, improving page visibility and conversion even further.
After you’ve met with Seller Rocket and sent them your ASINs, it takes roughly 4-6 weeks for an editorial to go live. Once live, page visibility and product trust will improve, and by month 2, SEO and PPC improvements will have generated lots of new revenue!