Amazon’s Influencer Program, which opens up the possibility for social media stars to earn money for product endorsements, has widened its scope to include YouTube personalities.
The program was launched in March of this year, but Amazon had reigned it in tightly; it was in a closed beta, and anyone who applied to be a part of it was vigorously vetted. Criteria that was considered included how large of an online following was in place, the quality of content, how much their fans engaged with each post and, of course, the relevancy to Amazon.
However, the online retail giant has quietly opened up applications to YouTube stars. Many of the more famous ones promote products as a way to build a brand relationship and even generate income through affiliate sales. Amazon has seen how successful this has been, and decided that it wanted a slice of the pie.
Applying to the program has been made easy by a new online tool. The first step is to verify your social media identity, and to confirm eligibility for the program, and following application, Amazon will get to work and vet it for suitability. Successful applicants can expect a vanity URL to showcase any recommendations they make, a streamlined search function to allow followers to see endorsements in one place and – most importantly – the chance to earn money through commissions on sales.
As attractive as it sounds, vast paydays for YouTubers may be a way off. The scheme falls under Amazon’s affiliate Program, so commissions are not that high as it’s just an easy way to signpost customers towards the products they want on its marketplace.
This isn’t the first time that the company has tried its hand at online video marketing content. A “watch ‘n’ shop” show, titled Style Code, debuted last year, but after a lacklustre performance, was cancelled in May.
The Influencer Program serves to highlight the importance of quality content, and serves as an idea of what Amazon’s future may have in store. The company plans to extend it beyond YouTube, and support all of the major social media platforms including Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. It’s not known how the latter will work alongside Amazon Spark, which launched in July 2017. Using “shoppable photos”, users can share stories, images and ideas of the products they like, and make it easy for their followers to purchase them.
Amazon says that the Influencer Program is still in an experimental phase, so it’s likely to see some changes as time goes on.