Commentary

Amazon Tests New Influencer Program

The Amazon juggernaut continues. There’s no doubt that the ambitions of the world’s largest online retailer extend far beyond e-commerce and cloud computing, and social media influencer marketing is one of the many areas targeted for conquest, judging by the low-key unveiling of the “Amazon Influencer Program,” which launched in beta last week.

Participation in the program is by invitation only, unlike its existing Amazon Associate program which allows any Amazon user to create their own advertising and e-commerce channels.

Users who want to be part of the new Amazon Influencer Program have to submit an application, and will be judged in part on the size of their social followings and engagement metrics on different social media platforms.

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Users who are selected for the Influencer Program will get their own URL on Amazon’s e-commerce platform where they can create lists of recommended products, in effect building and curating their own online store inside Amazon.

The “shopkeeper” (my word) can easily share the link to their store across social media, for example by including it in a video review posted on YouTube, and then receive commissions from sales.

Amazon is not recommending products to sell, leaving these decisions totally up to the influencers.

Influencers are also left to their own devices when it comes to forging relationships with brands, meaning advertisers can hire them but Amazon doesn’t help facilitate these contacts or receive a piece of the action.

It’s not clear whether they get a larger slice than members of the self-service Associate program.

There’s no question advertisers are intrigued by influencer marketing. 

Linqia’s recent “The State of Influencer Marketing Survey,” for example, found that 94% of advertisers who used influencer marketing believe the tactic to be effective, with 87% citing Facebook and Instagram as the most important platforms.

Meanwhile, the influencer marketplace is heating up with recent moves towards consolidation.

As reported previously, last week the Hispanicize Media Group announced deals that will create a major new network of influencers targeting U.S. Hispanics, in combination with events and experiential marketing capabilities.

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