Launched two years ago, Amazon’s influencer program still isn’t quite going anywhere, say brands, agencies and influencers.
Most people don’t know about the program. It invites celebrities, micro-influencers and, in some cases, regular people with moderate followings to sign up for their own pages, with urls at Amazon.com/shop. There, people can curate lists of things that they’re endorsing. Those links live within the Amazon ecosystem. Called “Stores,” the program also acts as an affiliate program, letting influencers make a cut of anyone who uses those links to buy goods on Amazon.
Amazon has largely been quiet about the program. Some influencers Digiday spoke to for this article said they’ve anecdotally heard of more people in recent months being asked to join the program. (A recent story in Business Insider referenced an increased number of tweets and social media posts from people that say they’ve been asked to get on the program.)
Overall, though, the program has mostly been a way for people to make lists of products they use, whether it’s clothing, tech equipment or pretty much anything else Amazon sells, then make a storefront showcasing those products. Influencers get paid on a fixed commission basis, getting a cut from sales. Brands and agency buyers are interested in the program because Amazon could make it powerful if it wanted: The incredible amounts of data the marketplace has, coupled with the direct link to commerce an influencer program can create, could make this a real opportunity.
But whether by design or accident, that hasn’t quite happened. Reasons vary: Amazon is largely quiet about the program, so many people don’t know about it. There are some reporting issues with it, with the data coming back to influencers about how they’re performing still remaining quite thin. And overall, it seems to be, at least for now less clear how brands can directly work with it.
Corey Martin, head of influencer marketing at 360i, said that “influencer commerce” remains the next big phase in influencer marketing’s evolution, which is why the traction he’s seeing on other platforms to swipe up to buy is here to stay. “Amazon has a significant role to play in that, but it’s not there. I don’t get clients asking for it. I don’t see it woven into a lot of campaigns,” he said. “The reason is, it’s evolved in service of influencers’ own economic needs instead of brands’ needs.”
Martin said what he’d like to see is to have influencers, who often double up now as retailers for brands, use Amazon as a retail platform as well. “It needs to be made about a direct sale.”
Vincenzo Landino, who is in the influencer program, said that his overall experience with the program has been fairly positive. “I’ll try anything,” said Landino, a video creator who uses the program to link to gear he uses. “There is some clout when you send people an Amazon link, it makes me look better, I can tell people I’m an Amazon influencer.”