The Amazon Effect: Awin Group’s take on its recent announcement

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Earlier this week, Amazon announced plans to make drastic cuts to commission rates for affiliates, which see some product categories reduced by more than 50%.

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Awin and ShareASale have already felt the ripple effect of this, with publisher applications to our networks and individual merchant programs skyrocketing. As leading global performance marketing companies offering innovative, ethical affiliate marketing solutions, our trusted platforms provide publishers with easy access to products and services across retail, travel and accommodations, entertainment or any sector in between.

Awin’s Global Strategy Director Kevin Edwards sat down with our US Partner Acquisition & Development Manager Jeannine Crooks to get her take on Amazon’s announcement and how the Awin Group is readily available to assist Amazon affiliates now looking for a better home for their performance marketing activity.

KE: Jeannine, you’ve been speaking to a large number of affiliates in recent days about Amazon’s recent announcement. What is your sense of what’s going on?

JC: Affiliates are quite frustrated about having their commissions slashed so deeply. In some cases their incomes will be reduced by 50% or more, depending on their niche. Amazon has rules about what publishers can and cannot do. Their publishers navigated these waters, but are now faced with the potential reward for their efforts disappearing after Amazon’s announcement revealed significant concerns regarding their care for their partners.

KE:  Many affiliates are heavily reliant on Amazon for revenue, what are the alternatives?

JC: For the most part, the same or virtually similar products available on Amazon are likely to be sold in a store outside of Amazon. There is great opportunity for publishers to still generate substantial income with affiliate marketing and promote the same or similar products by working directly with the merchant via a different affiliate network like Awin or ShareASale, which in most instances can offer longer cookie lengths and higher commission rates.

KE: How are you advising affiliates on how to plug revenue gaps they may be anticipating?

JC: I’m encouraging affiliates to find alternative merchants and swap out links as quickly as possible. It’s not always easy, but the Awin and ShareASale teams are readily available to assist in the process and prepared to provide merchant recommendations, as well as offer support in any way we can regarding navigating our interfaces and promotional tools. Though there’s only a week until the cuts take place on April 21, by focusing on the top performing pages/posts first, it’s possible to minimize the losses until everything has been switched to another merchant source.

KE: Could you quickly run through the process for signing up with Awin and ShareASale?

JC: We make the process for affiliates easy. Publishers looking to join our networks need to visit Awin.com or ShareASale.com and can sign up in five minutes or less. Following completion, new joiners will hear on next steps to finalizing their publisher profile, navigating our interface and joining merchant programs within two business days.

KE: What tools and tech would you recommend they use if they’re interested in promoting Awin and ShareASale?

JC: The most important tool within the Awin network is Publisher MasterTag, which is home to Convert-A-Link and Bounceless Tracking. Convert-a-Link enables existing links to be automatically converted to monetized links instantly, with Bounceless Tracking ensuring the best tracking method is applied to any link so our affiliates are rewarded for all of their activities. Awin and ShareASale each offer a bookmarklet tool that can be installed to a browser and can instantly provide deeplinks on the fly to whatever merchant product page you are on; both are just as easy to use as the Amazon affiliate bar.

KE:  There are always hidden gems among our advertiser base, who would you say are rising stars or brands who are particularly engaged with us at this time?

JC: There are always bright spots during any tough time. My personal favorites are Etsy, Outschool, Martha & Marley Spoon, Warby Parker and Nakedwines.com on Awin, and Sun Basket, MasterClass and Madison Reed on ShareASale. Each of these merchants offer something special consumers are craving right now and have communicated they’re ready to quickly approve any new publisher applications.

In working directly with these brands – or any brand for that matter – affiliates will see greater value placed on the support they provide each retailer, as they are often considered an integral part of the team and deserving of respect and fair compensation for the hard work they do. There is an understanding that if you don’t treat your affiliates fairly they are likely to move on, or even promote your competitor, just as affiliates are moving away from Amazon now.

Please contact our publisher management team for more information on Awin and ShareASale, including how to join our platforms and finding advertiser partnership opportunities. For more information on the wider COVID-19 situation, please visit our information hub where we bring you the latest news from the Awin Group, as well as links to network insights, useful pointers and wider updates.

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