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How Amazon Commission Cuts Present a Prime Opportunity for Publishers

Apr 23, 2020
Written by Kelly Merkel

With the announcement last week of widespread changes to the Amazon Associates Program, including 66% cuts to affiliate commissions on average, there is an urgent need for publishers to diversify revenue streams.

For many publishers who have worked hard for Amazon over the years, these changes represent an extremely significant impact to their businesses. These drastic commission cuts—by 80% in some categories—come as Amazon shifts focus to essential goods only, and supplies are strained due to the COVID-19 global pandemic. Our calculations estimate Amazon’s immediate changes will affect at least $300 million in opportunity lost—likely much more as everything progresses.

A Prime Opportunity for Publishers

CJ is fully committed to helping publishers regain the revenue driven by their efforts as we help facilitate connections with advertisers who are still very much open for business, and looking to claim their share of the market that Amazon is leaving behind. This is a prime opportunity for publishers who have never explored the affiliate channel outside of Amazon—the switch is easy and the growth potential is infinite. For those already in the CJ network, there are many things you can do right now to allow for success in the wake of these new changes.

Once joined to the CJ Affiliate network (easily join today for free!) here are some additional things publishers should consider:

Discovery

Build a strong Network Profile to ensure advertisers fully grasp your promotional methods, media or placement opportunities, and reach. The Amazon changes are creating an opportunity to both forge new relationships and optimize existing relationships with advertisers. Upon joining the network, new publishers should focus on building a clear and concise description of their properties (websites, mobile apps, social media handles, etc.), including the types of content you frequently post and the audience an advertiser can expect to reach. Keep in mind: advertisers right now will be reviewing a lot of partnership applications from new publishers—a strong Network Profile that's robust and carefully written is the best way for you to quickly move from application to approval.

Use keywords to holistically search for advertiser opportunity. The keyword filter functionality in the Advertisers tab of the CJ Account Manager will help you quickly identify advertisers with brands or items you want to promote. Advertisers enhance their program descriptions with hundreds of keywords so that they appear in these searches. For example, department stores stock many beauty brands but you may not find them listed in the Beauty category. A keyword search is the best way to hone in on opportunity when you have a specific brand or product in mind.

Strategy

Focus on new customer acquisition and gains in market share. Advertisers across many verticals are assessing how they leverage the Amazon changes to attract new customers or encourage their own customers to shop direct. We recommend publishers explore ways to partner with advertisers to attract the attention of shoppers that are looking for Amazon alternatives. This could be an opportunity to review commission rates to better align with the value of consumer being driven. This is the classic opportunity to “make lemonade from lemons.”

Consider social media opportunities. Amazon shoppers are trained to go straight to the app whenever they are ready to shop. By engaging with consumers via their phones on social media, you are capturing consumers who are primed to start the shopping journey but can direct them to an advertiser partner instead of Amazon. We even created a guide for social media posting to help you. In this guide, you will learn how and where to share affiliate links on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, YouTube, and live streaming platforms Discord, Mixer, and Twitch.

Execution

Explore CJ’s newly updated Deep Link Generator and Product Feeds tools. For many product-focused publishers, accessing the revenue left on the table could not be easier. CJ’s newly enhanced Deep Link Generator tool allows publishers to quickly create commissionable and secure tracking links in a single click for advertiser products, ready to promote across your web properties.

Leverage CJ’s Shopping Feed, standardized in the Google Shopping Feed format. For publishers looking for the most up-to-date product-level details, the best bet is to take advantage of CJ’s Shopping Feed, where advertisers present publishers with a wide array of details including product images, pricing and discount information, and product descriptions. 

Flexibility is Key

These recent changes by Amazon and other large players, have created even greater waves in the industry. But as with any big change, resilience and adaptation leads to success. CJ is here for publishers as they make this transition so you can quickly reclaim revenue through thousands of established brands in our network. Join CJ Affiliate to get started today, or reach out to our Publisher Development team with any questions.