- Amazon runs a program for social media influencers where they earn money by promoting products to their followers.
- Skincare influencer Kim Pratt, who runs YouTube channel Natural Cows with 108,000 subscribers, is a member of Amazon’s Influencer Program, which has become an important part of her work.
- Pratt spoke with Business Insider and shared what it’s like to be an Amazon member, how much money you earn on average per month, and your experience streaming on Amazon.
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Amazon uses influencers with well-known followers to help drive sales to the site – and some of them are making significant profits from the platform.
Kim Pratt is a skincare influencer who runs the “Natural Cows” YouTube channel, which has 108,000 subscribers. For every item she mentions in her videos, down to the cotton swabs she uses, Pratt adds a special purchase link in the video description, to bring her followers directly to Amazon.
Pratt is a member of Amazon’s Influencer Program, and for every purchase someone makes through one of their links, they earn a 4% to 10% commission through the affiliate program, she said.
Amazon launched the program in 2017 and it serves as an extension of Online Associates, the company’s affiliate marketing program for creators, publishers, and bloggers.
The Amazon Influencer Program provides members with the option to create their own storefront as a way to list products they recommend to followers. To be accepted, Amazon considers the number of followers a creator has on platforms like Instagram and YouTube (among other engagement metrics), the type of content the creator posts, the amount of content they’ve shared with followers, and the relevance of that content to Amazon customers.
So how much money do these influencers make from Amazon?
Pratt’s Amazon affiliate’s revenue is typically higher than its monthly YouTube revenue (earned from ads running in its videos), she said. But these numbers can fluctuate. In June, Pratt had her best month on YouTube, earning about $7,000, according to screenshots from an analytics dashboard seen by Business Insider. Chase said she earned about $6,000 on Amazon, which is roughly her average monthly income from the platform in 2020.
Last year, she said, Pratt earned about $800 a month from Amazon. But as her YouTube channel has grown with viral videos about popular skincare trends, so has Amazon’s brat’s revenue, she said. In 2019, she said, she ended up earning more than $24,000 in commission sales from Amazon.
You get a portion of everything that person buys during the 24 hour period.
Soon after Pratt started her YouTube channel in 2018, she created an account in the Amazon Partner Program as a way to make money from her videos.
Anyone could create an Amazon Associates account, but at the time, Pratt didn’t think her followers would actually click on her links and buy anything. But in her first month, she made about $79, and I was amazed at how easy that money was to earn.
“Before I got paid on YouTube, Amazon Affiliate was paying me,” she said. “I think I made $600 that fall, before my first YouTube ad was shown. I started to realize it was a legitimate business.”
Her YouTube channel was accepted into the YouTube Partner Program in December 2018, which allowed her to start making money from ads placed by Google that play in her videos.
Pratt changed her account from Amazon Associate to Amazon Influencer Program in 2019, so she could create a dedicated page to keep all the products she was recommending to her followers to buy in one place to shop. This feature is open to influencers in the US, UK and Canada, and Pratt has accounts for all three regions (since their YouTube audience is all over the world), which they have to maintain separately.
Signing up for an affiliate program is not worth it for every influencer, and these programs are very popular among the fashion, beauty and tech categories.
The reason why the Amazon program is so profitable for Pratt is that many viewers who watch her beauty and skincare videos come to the video looking to buy new items to add to their daily routine. They are motivated to buy.
But, nevertheless, she often doesn’t make a lot of money from the first purchase one of her followers makes, since the products she associates with are usually between $5 and $20. Her secret weapon on amazon is that she also gets a portion of what her followers buy for a day after directing them to amazon with her link.
“You get a portion of everything that person buys during the 24-hour period,” she explained.
How does live streaming on amazon work?
Amazon’s affiliate program isn’t the only way it’s trying to attract influencers.
Amazon offers a few other influencer-oriented programs like The Drop (on-demand collections designed by influencers) and Amazon Live, which allow content creators to broadcast themselves via the Amazon Live Creator app (and earn a percentage of sales). The ability to live stream was unlocked for all Amazon influencers in mid-July.
Pratt goes live on Amazon every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and during the live broadcast, it will show some of the different items sold on Amazon, showing how to use it (similar to the TV Shopping Channel). Next to the video, there’s a shopable bar that highlights the product you’re talking about, including the price and the option to shop directly for viewers. You’ll test several different skincare and makeup products, or try a new snack.
But Pratt said Amazon’s live streaming so far is better in theory than in practice.
“The theory is that I will go live and use these 20 products that are in my catwalk and while I go live, if someone stumbles across me and is watching me and clicks on a link I share, I’ll get credit for that,” she said. “But the problem now is that they don’t seem to be pushing the program onto the people of the Amazon.”
Unlike IGTV or the YouTube subscriptions tab, there is no portal where users can see all the Amazon influencers they follow. Pratt said she’ll usually promote because she’s about to go live on her Instagram page to push her followers to watch her on Amazon. Otherwise, no one will know.
“Unless I make a hard push, telling people on Instagram I’m about to go live on Amazon, no one will show up,” she said. “It’s a challenge for me to take my time away from YouTube and donate that to Amazon. For me, streaming on Amazon is not as profitable as YouTube live.”
Pratt said it’s streaming the livestream on Amazon because it gives it the opportunity to work closely with the company and provide feedback to help improve the platform.
But for now, YouTube is better for making money with Amazon live streaming – or even Instagram and Facebook, which don’t have monetization features built in for live streaming. If Pratt goes live on YouTube, subscribers will get an extension
And start tuning. It can also monetize YouTube live broadcasts with ads, along with adding affiliate links to the video description.
“Ultimately, if I only started live on YouTube, that’s the most productive return on my time investment,” she said of live broadcasting.