When I was first starting out as an affiliate marketer, I came across a variety of affiliate partnerships. As a newbie, I wasn’t really sure which program was the best, but even very new affiliate marketers seem to know about Amazon Associates. This is one of the largest, most respected, and most well known affiliate programs. Here is how the Amazon Associates program works…
The second affiliate program I’d like to cover in this article is the Target Affiliate Program, a partnership with the brick and mortar retail giant Target. The Target affiliate program ended up on my radar after I saw some ads on Facebook promoting their affiliate program, so I decided to look into further it and write up this comparison.
Both of these are great programs because they both have large stock you can choose from. You have a diverse range of products to support your niche topic and can promote a wide variety of products. Though very comparable, there are some slight differences in how they operate.
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The Pros Of Amazon Associates
Amazon is probably the largest affiliate partner on the internet. Here are some of the biggest pros for partnering with Amazon Associates:
- Brand Trust: Amazon is the largest online retailer in the world and has incredible brand trust. Not only will your readers feel confident purchasing products through Amazon from your affiliate links, but partnering with Amazon also increase your brand trust. When you have a high degree of brand trust you have a higher conversion rate. Most people at this point already have an Amazon account and many times they have 1-click purchasing enabled. Amazon has some of the highest conversion rates of any online retailer in history.
- Safe And Secure For Both Buyer And Seller: Amazon has a large amount of brand trust because customers have complete privacy when purchasing products, so customers are confident purchasing with them. This safety and security also extends to their affiliate partners. Unlike with other affiliate programs, you never have to worry about being paid on time or for the full amount.
- You Have 90 Days To Make A Profit: At Amazon, once you’ve driven a customer to their website they allow you 90 days from when the customer puts the product in their cart to when they purchase it to pay you for the sale. That means that even if a customer doesn’t purchase something right away, you can still make money from your partnership when they eventually do. Furthermore, even if they don’t buy the specific product you advertised, if they buy something else as a result of your recommendation, you’ll still get paid commission.
The Cons Of Amazon Associates
The pros of partnering with Amazon Associates are really strong, however like with any affiliate program there are some cons you need to consider. Here are the biggest cons for partnering with Amazon Associates:
- Link Cookies Last 24 Hours: Even though you have 90 days from when a customer adds a product to their cart to make a commission, if they do not add the product right away, you only have 24 hours from when the customers goes to Amazon to when they make a purchase because the cookie, the way Amazon tracks affiliate sales, expires after 24 hours, which is not a lot of time. By comparison, many other affiliate programs give you at least 30 days with 90 days being common, so Amazon’s 24hr window is very short compared to most programs.
- Low Payouts: Though Amazon Associates is structured so that affiliates get a higher percentage rate the more they sell, their commission rates are pretty low. Their commission rates start at 4% for 1-6 products a month and cap at 8.5% when you’re selling 3131 or more a month. In general, other affiliates offer higher rates, typically around 10%. However, with those partnerships you will not have the same variety, conversions, or brand reach as partnering with Amazon, so it’s a toss up. In general, promoting any physical product will have a lower commission payout than promoting digital products, so this is something to keep in mind.
- Lack Of Personalization: Many affiliate programs out there have “affiliate managers” that can personalize things and make promotions easier for you. With Amazon, you will never hear from a human being to help you increase sales, have custom banners created, or any assistance whatsoever. You will essentially be a number and will not receive any sort of personalized help.
VIDEO: How To Earn An Income Through The Amazon Associates Affiliate Program
The Pros Of The Target Affiliate Program
Like Amazon Associates, the Target Affiliate Program also has a range of pros and cons. Here are the biggest pros for partnering with the Target Affiliate Program:
- Brand Trust And Identity: Target stores have just as much brand trust as Amazon, but they aren’t quite as known for online sales as they are for in-store sales. Brick and mortar Target stores have been around for decades and just like partnering with Amazon Associates, that brand trust is extended to your partnership and ultimately to your brand. Target also has a very specific brand identity which can help work as the basis for building your own brand identity.
- Link Cookies Last 7 Days: Target offers a very generous cookie expiration. You have seven days for customers to make a purchase after you’ve driven them to the website through your link. This gives you more time to make your commission and can lead to much higher conversion rates.
The Cons Of The Target Affiliate Program
There are also some some cons when working with the Target Affiliate Program. Here are the big cons I think you should know before partnering:
- Less Stock: Though a massive retailer with a truly diverse range of products in every category, there is less stock at Target than on Amazon. Meaning that if you’ve driven someone to Target and they figure while they are there they’ll purchase something else they’ve been thinking about and they don’t have it, you could be missing out on the exact same sale scenario you would have made money with at Amazon.
- Varied Commission Rates: The Target Affiliate Program can be really beneficial if you are selling the high commission items like apparel, but if your website is dedicated to a low commission item like electronics, you could end up making a lot less money. Furthermore with their commission rates broken into different categories, the Target Affiliate Program can be limiting so you may not be able to fully explore all the niches where your expertise will give your website enough credibility to have high traffic and ultimately great conversion rates. And finally, while Target has a lower conversion rate than Amazon, their commission structure doesn’t offer much of an additional incentive.
- Low Commissions: Target has around 150 banner options available for their affiliates. While Amazon has banners, product links, shopping carts, and aStore. They also have advanced developer resources. So with the Target Affiliate Program there are less tools to seamlessly integrate your affiliate links into your website. Many viewers are turned off by obvious banner advertisements, so you could lose traffic as a result.
A Final Word On These Affiliate Programs
As you can see, both Amazon Associates and the Target Affiliate Program offer some really strong pros and cons. So I’m of the opinion that it’s not which program is better, it’s which affiliate program is a better fit for you and your specific audience. I will say that out of the two programs, I think most would benefit from going with the Amazon Associates program over the Target affiliate program, but either one is respectable and a perfectly good option to go with.