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The Power of Getting Readers in the Door at Amazon

Two weeks ago I started an experiment over at Digital Photography School which I think highlights the power of getting people in the door at Amazon using their affiliate program.

The experiment centered around a review that I wrote of a book – Complete Digital Photography.

The book is a brand new release (an updated version of an old book) which I ordered the day it came out so that I could be one of the first reviews on the web going around of it. Having owned a previous edition of the book I knew it was likely to be a good one – and it was.

In the review I linked back to Amazon where readers could get their own copy. The link that I used was my affiliate link and it contained a ‘tracking ID’ which enables me to track what those clicking on the link end up purchasing at Amazon. After two weeks the sales are continuing to come in but I think the initial results give some insights into what people do when following such links.

Here’s a summary of what people bought after clicking the link in this review post:

We’ll start with the books mentioned in the review:

OK – so no surprises so far – but what interested me most was in what else people bought – items NOT mentioned in the review:

  • Exposure and Lighting for Digital Photographers Only – 3 copies
  • A Movable Feast: Ten Millennia of Food Globalization
  • Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Book for Digital Photographers
  • Schoolgirl Cotton Poplin tie front shirt and Stretch Plaid pleated skirt
  • Champion Men’s Double Dry Short Sleeve T-Shirt, White, Large
  • Grosse Pointe Blank (DVD)
  • Songs of Faith and Devotion (CD)
  • Epson Perfection V100 Photo Scanner
  • Canon Digital Rebel XTi 10.1MP Digital SLR Camera (commission of $53.92)
  • Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM Telephoto Zoom Lens for Canon SLR Cameras (commission of $63.16)
  • Nintendo Wii Remote Control Skin – Pink
  • Charbroil Chili Pepper Roaster (3 sold)
  • Wheat Germ Daily Shampoo 250ml by Colorist Christophe Robin
  • Fischer & Wieser Mango Ginger Habanero Sauce, 21 Ounce Bottles (Pack of 6)
  • Popular Mechanics [2-year subscription]
  • Adobe Photoshop CS3 [Mac] (commission – $50.03)

The list goes on with 160 individual items shipped so far – the commissions for which total around $500 USD.

The point is that of the 160 items shipped only 62 of were for the three books actually mentioned in the review (totaling around $130) – a further 98 items that were not mentioned in the review have been shipped (totaling around $370 in commission).

You can see that some of the other books purchased were photography related – but the majority of purchases made have nothing to do with photography and many are not books at all.

These purchases came when people clicked through on the links and then surfed on within Amazon to make other purchases. Some would have bought the book mentioned AND other items while others would have bought the book alone, and others still wouldn’t have bought the book but while at Amazon would have picked up something else.

The Lesson for Today

Get people in the door at Amazon with your affiliate link and while the product you’re linking to has a decent chance of earning you a commission, there’s every likelihood that the real earnings will come from other products. The key is to get people in the door and let Amazon’s system do it’s thing.

Read more about the Amazon Affiliate Program at 9 Reasons Why I AM an Amazon Affiliate.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. This is awesome! I’ve just started using customizable WordPress software so I think I’ll look into this a bit deeper! Thanks!

    Graham

  2. Blog Money says:

    This is a great post, very interesting. I have yet to achieve any great af sales with amazon. But i see that it’s beginning to change on the up with 6 orders in one day.

    great blog…

  3. 45n5 says:

    you can easily see your own results by using the “Orders Report” from the reports dropdown.

    My Month to Date:

    Items Ordered Through Product Links
    22

    All Other Items Ordered

    37

    I sell more on secondary items every month.

  4. Ross Hill says:

    I’ve had the same results, gotta love the cookie’s long tail :)

  5. Schoolgirl Cotton Poplin tie front shirt and Stretch Plaid pleated skirt??
    Lol… I just placed in amazon links. We’ll see how it goes, Darren. You can check out my latest book review here:

    Talent is never enough

  6. vargas says:

    I think that the Amazon affiliate program looks a little more promising than Google adsense.

  7. April says:

    Great, another reason why ProBlogger is better than the average “blogging about blogging” blog. I’m now going to hunt down the WP plugin.

  8. Nathania says:

    I finally made $ on Amazon last week. A whopping 80 cents. And I’m pretty sure it was a reader who didn’t like a controversial post. They ordered something, um, raunchy.

    My site has only been around a few months and I haven’t spent too much time monetizing it the way I could. So don’t be discouraged by my comment.

  9. This was one of the best posts yet… I love trial and error.. and trial and success! Great advice Darren! Thanks for sharing!

  10. Great tip. I haven’t even signed up for their affiliate program yet but I should considering how much I read.

    One Man. One Year. $100,000 online. How’s he going it?
    http://www.oneyeargoal.com

  11. Ryan says:

    That’s interesting. Amazon is so good at getting you to buy a bit more than you originally wanted (e.g. free shipping for orders over $25). It never fails that I’m a buck or two short so I end up spending just a bit more!

  12. Barbra says:

    This is a really useful post, thank you Darren. I have not been putting much effort into reviewing or recommending books because it seemed like the commissions on books are so small. But I had forgotten that people may make other purchases while at Amazon. I’ll be rethinking my Amazon strategy as a result of your analysis.

  13. Deborah says:

    Beleive it or not I just tried this technique today just before you published your post. I think I am finally on the right track. Yippy!

    This is what I came up with:
    http://debohobo.blogspot.com/2007/07/work-4-hours-week.html

  14. Lucia says:

    Here’s an extra tip:

    Use the WordPress “aLinks” plugin to automatically create affiliate links to books I regularly mention. (For example at my knitting blog, the text “Barbara Walker”, who wrote a zillion knitting bibles and how too books, is always automatically linked to Amazon. So are all well know knitting designers I mention.) Visitors sometimes buy the books buy Barbara Walker– but more often, they buy something else.

    I make pretty good money passively this way.

    The plugin is very powerful if you really blog on a niche topic. If you blog about “life and everything” it’s probably not so helpful.

    aLinks is also a great social tool. I enter blogs I link to often in “aLinks”. Then when I mention them, I don’t need to remember the link. (And if they change URL’s, I can automatically update retroactively.)

    I’ve blogged about this plugin three times at my blog: Once introducing it and twice explaining how to use it wth Clickbank. The final explanation shows screenshoots (for the clickbank example), so that might help people figure out how powerful this plugin is.

    The category showing the three titles is here: http://money.bigbucksblogger.com/category/wordpress/alinks/

  15. Brad Isaac says:

    It looks like whoever said Amazon wasn’t a good affiliate program was wrong.

    An added benefit I’ve found on my blog at least is where someone will complain about an affiliate link from Clickbank, I’ve never gotten a complaint about having an Amazon Affiliate link posted. YMMV

  16. Bob says:

    Great article as usual.
    One think I am not getting well though – I think almost everyone is already registered with Amazon. It seems to me that in most cases the affiliate is sending them purchases, but since they come from old customers, the commission will go to someone else. Or am I wrong?

  17. Christopher says:

    Thank you for this information. I never imagined you could make this much. I have been using adsense for a while now. I might sign up for Amazon today.
    http://plseducation.com/

  18. Michele says:

    Darren

    One thing you failed to mention, however, is how many people read the post ie. what the actual conversion rate was.

    Michele

  19. KiwiPulse says:

    Great tool! The only cons is that it doesn’t show on my permalink’s page ( /?p=286). It’s still on the beta version…I’ll give them some time :D

  20. Mark says:

    That’s wild! I was under the impression that if a reader clicked onto Amazon’s site from your affiliate link, then started browsing around, anything other than the initial linked item was not credited to your account. Can somebody clarify this? I’m pretty sure that was part of the agreement when I signed up, but maybe I misunderstood.
    –Mark

  21. I tried Amazon a few months ago but it never really worked for me, but I think it is worth looking at again. In the past I have tried image ads but I think that may be too much ‘in your face’ advertising. Perhaps a simple text link similar to your photography blog would work better. I’ll give that a go. Thanks.

  22. mahdi yusuf says:

    amazing stuff! i just might have to try it! :D

  23. i thought that the tracking ID only applied to the linked item, i didnt know it just brought you to amazon and then anything purchased there was under your affiliate name.

    Thank you for enlighting me

  24. Darya says:

    Hey!! Nice information from your site really amazon is a interesting.to purchase the books your site helps very much while buying the books we every one wish to see the book summary even i have that habit in the same way when i am searching for book summaries i have visited one book summary site.If you want here is the link of that site book summary i got much more information from this site.

  25. I can imagine how exciting it must have been to see that commission amount!

  26. I am new to blogging and wanted to build up my stats before considering making money avenues. Being an Amazon Affiliate is one that looks promising and would suit what I want my blog to be. Thanks for the information.

  27. huh, i wonder how one goes from photography book to school girl outfit? LOL. what a fun post.

    cheers,
    cindy

  28. Phillip says:

    The major point here is that it wasn’t just slapping an ad on the side of a web page or blog, but that you took the time to read and write what you thought. Your review must have been compelling enough to get other photographers interested, to get them to want to visit. Good idea, thanks!

  29. This is encouraging to read. I joined Amazon as an affiliate recently, and even though I’ve had some clicks there have been no purchases. I need to improve on how I place my links and all that, but what’s interesting is that I hadn’t considered all the extra purchases that a user could make besides the product that I have linked to.

    Thanks, this is definitely what I needed to read because I was ready to give up on Amazon.

  30. Wallace says:

    i joined Amazon for one week and earned almost $7.
    it seems not bad,
    but it only work at niche blog.

  31. I learned a lot from this, i never tried amazon.com I usually use google adsense and widgetbucks. i’ll try sometime. what interest me most is the book about photography. its been my hobby but never really had a time to enhance it. Reading helps a lot. i sure learned it from here.

  32. The Oracle says:

    I use the Amazon aff program all the time and you’ll definitely be amazed at what people buy through your links…Amazon even has groceries with free delivery!

  33. Rachel says:

    That is absolutely brilliant. I signed up as an Amazon affiliate but had no idea the extent to which you could take advantage of it. I also never thought to buy wheat germ shampoo from Amazon. Live and learn, I guess!

  34. Tiffany says:

    I’ve been searching the Amazon web site, and can’t find this information anywhere.

    As an Amazon affiliate, do you make the same commission if your blog reader purchases a used book as apposed to a new book?

  35. keldrin says:

    I am curious what percentage of Amazon ad clicks produce sales?

    My site is new, and I have 68 clicks in the past 3 days which sounds like a lot to me but 0 sales out of those 68! Is that normal?

    My site is about HDTV and other high ticket items like Blu-Ray and such, so I am thinking that the items I advertise simply cost too much.

    According to your article though, I should see people browse through and purchase un-related items.

    Do you guys have better luck advertising cheaper items?

  36. Todd says:

    Darren,

    I want to place a CPM ad array on my site like you have in the right sidebar on problogger – 125*125 arranged 3-5 rows down the column. I have checked your various resources cited and can find no resource offering this.

    Is it required I sell my own advertising to offer this or is there a vendor you can refer me to?

    Thanks,

    Todd