When I first started blogging, I was totally oblivious about what to do with affiliate links. In fact, I didn’t even know what an “affiliate link” was for a long time.
Someone told me, “You should join Amazon’s affiliate program,” but I was clueless as to what to do after I joined.
Once I had a handle on what affiliate marketing was all about, I was popping Amazon affiliate links into every blog post I wrote in the hopes that someone would click on them… then a blogging friend taught me how to use Amazon tracking IDs.
I joined, started looking for links to items I’d mention in articles, and soon I was making a little more money through the affiliate income stream.
Fast forward another 6 months or so, and my blogging friend asked me if I was tracking my progress.
Of course, I was — but not like he was. That’s when he told me something that made things click in my head about how to boost my Amazon affiliate income.
He told me how to really use those Amazon tracking IDs to my advantage.
What are Amazon Tracking IDs?
I know some of you might already know what Amazon tracking IDs are, but for those who don’t, let me get you up to speed.
If you’ve ever seen an Amazon link that had “-20” in it, that was an affiliate link. The “_________-20” was the Tracking ID.
Notice the end of the url is “nws-blog-20“. That’s my tracking code for NinjaWolf Studios. When I have Amazon affiliate links on this blog, they will contain that tracking ID. When I review my Amazon affiliate reports, I can see just how much money has been made from the combined links on the blog that have that tracking ID.
Simply put, a tracking ID is an code that will help you track the progress of any links with that code embedded into them. Yeah, I know — sounds complicated. I promise, it’s super simple.
How to Create an Amazon Tracking ID
Assuming you already have an Amazon Associate (affiliate) account, creating and using an Amazon tracking ID is simple.
- Log into your Amazon Associate account (https://affiliate-program.amazon.com/).
- In the upper left-hand corner of the screen, click “Manage” next to “Tracking ID”.
- Click the button that says “Add Tracking ID”.
- Enter a name for your new tracking ID, and click “Search”. (Note- There can be no spaces. Either run the words together, use hyphens, or use underscores.)
- Now you’re set to use your new Amazon Tracking ID!
How to Use Amazon Tracking IDs
Now that you know how to create new Amazon tracking IDs, let’s talk about why you would need to do this.
Remember, we’re talking about TRACKING IDs… and what do we do with tracking IDs, class? That’s right! We track things.
When you write a new article, you can make a new tracking ID specific to that article.
For example, you’re writing about “Top 10 Accessories for Your Car”. You want to put a lot of Amazon affiliate links in the article linking to the items you’re talking about. In order to track how well the article does at pulling in sales through those links, you make a tracking ID called “10-car-accessories” (which would actually end up through Amazon as “10-car-accessories-20” because they add “-20” to all links originating in North America (as part of THEIR tracking efforts)).
Here’s where you can really find out what methods work and what methods don’t when it comes to affiliate marketing.
If you’re really trying to make money through Amazon (and other affiliates), you should try different methods of adding those links.
- Direct Call-to-Action: “Click here to see which food processor I use.”
- Passive Call-to-Action: “I use this food processor.”
- Informative Link: “My food processor only cost me $50.”
- Totally Passive Link: “…and put it all in a food processor to chop it up…”
You can use a different strategy for every link in each different article. After a couple of months, use those tracking IDs in your Amazon Associates dashboard to track which have performed better for you.
Go to your Reports section (https://affiliate-program.amazon.com/gp/associates/network/reports/report.html) and choose “Tracking ID Summary Report” from the drop down menu for “Report Type”.
Once you get that figured out, you can test them on the articles that haven’t done very well. Go to those articles and change out the style of the link.
Let’s say the article with Passive CTA links didn’t get you very many clicks and sales, but the article with the Informative links did. Just go to the article with the Passive CTA links and change the wording so they’re Informative. Give it a couple of months, and reassess.
This may be an ongoing process for you until you figure out what style is right… and that will change from site to site and even from article to article on a single site.
Information to Note About Amazon Tracking IDs
In my research for this article, I discovered you can only have 100 Tracking IDs for your Associate ID. If you’re planning on blogging 1 article a week for a couple of years, that won’t be much of a problem. If you’re planning to do more than 100 articles in any amount of time, it could be an issue.
I spoke to a young lady named Brittany with Amazon Associate customer service, and she told me that if you needed more than 100 tracking IDs, it would require approval through Amazon. Further, you would have to let them know every time you needed a new one — you can’t just make them like you did the first 100. Brittany said you could call them, email them, or live chat with them to get your new one(s) made. (She also said, if you were approved for more than 100, the new limit would be 1,000! …after that, you need extra-super-special business approval through Amazon.)
There are, however, a few ways you could use Tracking IDs without worrying about the 100 ID limit.
- Make a LOT of money through Amazon – Apparently, if you’re making a boatload of money every month, they automatically up your limit. I say that because the blogging colleague I was talking to said he is well close to 200, and he has never had an issue creating them himself.
- Use Them for Categories – Instead of making a new one for every post, make them for different categories. When you write a new post for a current category, use a current Tracking ID… when you write a new post for a new category, create a new category.
- Use Them for Different Types of Posts – You might choose to use one for recipes, one for how-tos, one for editorials, etc.
- Create a Different Account for Different Blogs – If you have multiple blogs, you might think about creating new Associate accounts for each blog. Yes, you have to be approved separately for each one, but if you need a lot for each blog, it’s the best way to do it. It may also help to keep things separate so you’re not having to sort through everything to just find stats for one blog.
How Do You Use Amazon Tracking IDs?