Walmart affiliate vs. Amazon affiliate program: it’s the eternal choice faced by many an affiliate marketer.
So whatever niche you’re part of — whether you’re promoting $500 kitchen knives, the latest electronics, low-cost school supplies, or pretty much anything else — chances are you can find hundreds (or even thousands) of relevant products on these two sites.
Which goes some way to explaining why they’re the two biggest players in the US ecommerce market — albeit Amazon’s market share vastly outweighs that of Walmart.
For many of us, these two affiliate programs are the obvious starting point for our respective forays into affiliate marketing.
How Much Can You Earn With Affiliate Marketing?
The average base salary of an affiliate marketer is $53,060, with salaries ranging from $39,000 – $73,000, according to data from Payscale based on almost 6,500 salary profiles.
But it’s important to note that a lot of affiliate marketers treat it as a side hustle rather than a job. For all those thousands of Payscale profiles, many thousands more will only spend a couple hours a week on affiliate marketing, and won’t be earning anything like that amount of money.
At the other end of the scale, people like Shane Dutka are earning seven figures a year in passive income from their affiliate activity.
We also have plenty of experience of making money from affiliate marketing ourselves (and we’ve got the receipts to prove it).
However big (or small) the sums involved, all affiliate marketers make money online in the same way. Affiliate marketing is a performance-based referral system that sees advertisers — brands like Amazon and Walmart, for example — reward publishers (or affiliates, as they’re otherwise known) for sending customers to their websites.
When one of those customers makes a purchase within an agreed period of time (such as 24 hours, a week, or 30 days) after clicking on an affiliate link, the affiliate whose link they clicked earns a commission.
About Walmart’s Affiliate Program
Walmart started out as a small discount retailer in Rogers, Arkansas. It’s fair to say the company has grown significantly since then, with Walmart now operating approximately 10,500 retail shopping stores and clubs in 24 countries. It employs 2.3 million associates worldwide, including almost 1.6 million in the US alone.
With its affiliate program, Walmart affiliates get paid for sending customers to Walmart’s network of ecommerce sites.
Every time someone clicks a Walmart affiliate link on your affiliate website and makes a qualifying purchase, you get paid.
How to Join Walmart Affiliate Program
Joining the Walmart affiliate program couldn’t be easier: just head to its affiliate landing page and apply to become a member.
You’ll be transported to Walmart’s affiliate network partner, Impact, and asked to provide a bunch of information, including your:
- Company name
- Website URL
Once you’ve completed your application, Walmart’s approval team should get back to you within 24 hours.
At that point, you’ll get access to a bunch of professionally designed banner ads and other assets to help you promote Walmart products.
Walmart Affiliate Program Requirements
Walmart’s entry requirements are pretty broad. To be approved, you must have:
- At least one active website or blog…
- …and your blog(s) or website(s) should be relevant to promoting Walmart products and services, whether that’s referring people to Walmart grocery delivery, helping them find Walmart pharmacy hours, or directing them to the Walmart store locator.
As with most affiliate programs, Walmart has published a substantial list of websites that aren’t eligible to join, ranging from sites that promote sexually explicit material to publishers involved in pyramid schemes. You can find the full list here.
What Commissions Does Walmart Pay?
The commissions you earn will depend on the types of Walmart products you promote, as follows:
|Product type||Commission rate|
|Media and gaming; electronics; cameras and supplies; wireless devices; toys||1%|
|Sporting goods; patio and garden products||2%|
|Books and magazines; photo services; stationery; automotive; hardware and tools; DIY products; horticulture; personal care; pets and supplies; baby products; apparel; shoes; underwear; accessories; jewelry; seasonal goods; celebrational products||4%|
Can’t see a Walmart marketplace product category you want to promote? Sadly, that means you’ll get a big, fat 0% commission on those products.
What is Walmart’s Affiliate Program Cookie Duration?
Walmart offers a three-day cookie window on all qualifying customer purchases.
That means if someone clicks one of your product links and makes a qualifying purchase within three days, you earn a cut of the sale, as defined in the previous section.
What Are Walmart’s Payment Terms?
Walmart pays commissions on monthly net sales, exclusive of any returns, sales taxes, or shipping and handling costs.
Sales are locked two months after the end of the month in which they’re tracked, and are invoiced on the 3rd of the month after they lock. Approved transactions are then paid one month after the end of the month in which they lock.
About Amazon Affiliate Program
The world’s largest online marketplace, Amazon earned almost $470 billion in total consolidated net sales revenue in 2021 and employs more than 1.6 million people in full and part-time roles worldwide.
Amazon’s affiliate program — Amazon Associates — is one of the biggest in the world, with more than 900,000 members.
The online business is also one of the most trusted brands on the planet, which makes it comparatively easy to “close the deal” as an Amazon affiliate — no one thinks Amazon’s going to rip them off.
How to Join Amazon Associates Program
As with Walmart, it’s pretty easy to join the hundreds of thousands of other Amazon Associates out there — just navigate to the company’s affiliate homepage and hit the button marked “Sign Up” to create your affiliate account.
Unlike Walmart, Amazon operates its own affiliate program rather than handing the task over to an affiliate network.
To register, you’ll first need to provide information about your Amazon account and the websites and/or apps on which you plan to display banners, widgets, text links, or other ads from Amazon Associates (you can add up to 50 websites or apps).
Next, Amazon asks a bunch of questions about the content of your website, the types of Amazon products you plan to promote, and how you currently drive traffic to — and monetize — your site.
Once you’ve done all that, you’re ready to start using Amazon Associates Central — congratulations!
However, that doesn’t mean your home and hosed, because the Amazon Associates team won’t even bother to review your application until you’ve driven three qualifying sales in your first 180 days as a member.
Which is actually pretty tough for someone who’s only just finding out how affiliate marketing works.
Need a little help? Check out our guide on how to make money with the Amazon affiliate program.
Amazon Affiliate Program Requirements
The Amazon Associates program has famously byzantine terms and conditions, so we’re not going to publish a full list of program requirements here — you can find them from Amazon instead.
But in a nutshell, your affiliate website must contain original content — that is, stuff you haven’t just ripped from other sites — and must be publicly available at the URL you provided in your application.
Just like with pretty much all other affiliate programs, Amazon also has an extensive list of sites that aren’t allowed to join its affiliate program, including those that promote:
- Sexually explicit content
- Violent materials
- Illegal activities
What Commissions Does Amazon Associates Pay?
If you thought the Walmart affiliate program paid a wide — and confusing — range of commissions, just wait until you see the commission structure for Amazon Associates.
Amazon’s commissions range from a pretty stingy 1% to a decidedly attractive 20%, although the majority of product categories hover around the 3% – 5% mark. Here’s a full list of Amazon’s basic commissions at time of publication (or click here for a “live” breakdown):
On top of all that, affiliate website owners can earn special commissions from promoting bonus events and “bounty” products.
While the commissions generally aren’t huge, they can be a nice way for affiliates to earn a little extra cash from online sales. Qualifying products and events are updated regularly, but currently include things like:
|Persuading someone to sign up for an Amazon Business account||$15|
|Referring sales of 12-month Prime Gift Memberships||$5|
|Driving registrations for free trials of Amazon Music Unlimited||$3|
You can find a full list of current bounty payments and bonus events here.
What is Amazon’s Affiliate Program Cookie Duration?
Walmart’s three-day cookie window isn’t exactly generous, but the 24-hour window you get from Amazon Associates is even worse.
Or so you’d think.
In reality, things are better than they first seem.
For starters, Amazon has an astonishingly high conversion rate, so there’s a good chance the customers you refer will lead to immediate affiliate sales.
What’s more, when you dig into Amazon’s terms and conditions, you’ll notice this little gem:
As long as the item was added to the customer’s Shopping Cart during this 24-hour window, you will still earn a referral commission if the order is placed before the Shopping Cart expires (usually after 90 days). The referral commission will not be credited to your Associates account until the customer has purchased the item, accepted delivery, and remitted full payment to Amazon.com.
In other words, if someone clicks your affiliate link, adds an item to their cart within 24 hours, but doesn’t convert for a full 90 days, you still get paid. Doesn’t sound so bad now, right?
What Are Amazon’s Payment Terms?
As long as you’ve earned at least $10 in commissions in a month, Amazon will pay you by direct deposit approximately 60 days after the end of the month for which they’re being paid.
For example, payments for sales generated in January will be paid toward the end of March.
If you don’t want to be paid straight to your bank account, you can instead request payment by Amazon gift certificate or check — but be aware that a $100 threshold applies to check payments.
Pros and Cons of Walmart Affiliate Program
Huge range of products and services to promote
Massive, well-respected brand with tons of awareness makes selling Walmart products comparatively easy
Simple registration process for new Walmart affiliates
Excellent affiliate support, including tons of banners, product newsletters, and special offers
Low commission rates on products like toys and electronics
Walmart’s conversion rate is around 6.5%, which is respectable, but way short of Amazon’s
Tight cookie window of just three days
Pros and Cons of Amazon Affiliate Program
Arguably the biggest range of products of any e-commerce site
With Amazon’s fantastic tracking capabilities, you can still get paid if someone clicks your affiliate link on mobile but converts on desktop
Superb conversion rate of around 9%
Amazon is one of the world’s most trusted brands
If someone you refer clicks through to a totally different product and buys, you still earn a commission
You get paid as long as someone adds to cart within 24 hours, even if they don’t buy for 90 days
The basic cookie window is very short, at just 24 hours (albeit with some built-in “wiggle room”)
Commissions across a range of categories are pretty low, with some categories paying 0%
Amazon’s terms and conditions are famously confusing, meaning it’s all too easy to get banned for something you didn’t even know you were doing
Walmart vs Amazon Affiliate: Which Is the Right Affiliate Program for You?
Okay, time for the big question: which of the two programs should you pick?
Well, if you absolutely must go for one or the other, we’d have to say Amazon. It’s one of the best affiliate programs out there, and while the commissions aren’t as generous as they were a couple years ago, there’s still very good money to be made.
However, in reality, it’s not a case of the Walmart affiliate program vs. Amazon Associates, because you can sign up for both. They’re both great programs, so why limit yourself?
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