Amazon influencer program lures social media stars

Sivan Ayla, a social media creator, hosted a workshop on Amazon’s influencer program during a recent paid getaway in Mexico.

Amazon Influencer Program

Over three days in May, more than a dozen stars from Instagram, YouTube and TikTok gathered in the coastal town of Todos Santos, Mexico, where they were treated to sunset dinners and spa sessions.

It’s the kind of luxury weekend internet influencers have come to expect from the growing number of businesses trying to capitalize on their online fame. But the event on Mexico’s Pacific coast was not led by one of the social media powerhouses. It was hosted by Amazon

The online retail giant took the lavish Paradero and renamed “Amazon Resort.” The outing was for members of Amazon’s influencer program, which launched five years ago, allows creators to earn money by recommending the company’s products on their social media accounts. Amazon held previous events in New York and Los Angeles this year.

Amazon is diving into the influencer marketing industry, which has skyrocketed from a market of about $1.7 billion in 2016 to an estimated $13.8 billion in 2021, according to a survey by the Influencer Marketing Hub† It is expected to grow to $16.4 billion this year, reflecting the amount of money companies are spending on the increasingly popular marketing channel.

Influencers are seen as key trendsetters, who can help companies access a specific audience, and they often have rabid and engaged fans. Many social media stars are now running lucrative endorsement deals from major brands.

They are also given wine, eaten and otherwise spoiled.

In addition to the lavish meals and spa offerings at Amazon Resort, the host company held a workshop to help creators set up their own Amazon storefronta dedicated page where they can post shopable videos and selections of their favorite products to encourage purchases and earn commissions.

Visitors could also browse a curated pop-up store of “Famous Internet” items for sale on Amazon, visit the “Kindle Beach Oasis,” and hang out at a Prime Video movie night.

Amazon Influencer Program

Visitors could also browse a curated pop-up store of “Famous Internet” items for sale on Amazon, visit the “Kindle Beach Oasis,” and hang out at a Prime Video movie night.

Raye Boyce was among those in attendance. She’s been a part of Amazon’s influencer program for nearly a year and said she joined the program after giving regular makeup tutorials on Amazon Livethe company’s live streaming service, which has brought her some additional income.

Boyce, who has over a million followers on her YouTube and Instagram accounts, turned a hobby into a full-time gig ten years ago.

“Now there’s Amazon, a way to earn commissions on products you would normally buy alone,” Boyce said. “You can monetize that on top of your branded deals, YouTube and TikTok and everything else.”

Amazon isn’t the first company to send social media influencers on outrageous excursions. In recent years, social media creators have proven their worth and brands invite them to paid outings, usually to promote their latest products and post content that can go viral and convince other influencers to join.

For Amazon, influencers serve as unofficial marketers of its online store, that of the company largest source of income† Influencers must apply to participate in the program, and Amazon considers metrics such as the number of followers they have before being admitted.

“Creators are really decentralized media companies these days,” said Ryan Detert, CEO of influencer marketing start-up influential† “These channels that exist on TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, you name it. They can drive traffic to wherever they want their audience to go.”

Cocktails, cabanas and surf lessons

Amazon pays a commission to influencers every time a customer purchases an item that is recommended. Payouts vary based on product type, but influencers earn the most when they promote Amazon Games titles and luxury beauty items, earning 20% ​​and 10% commission, respectively.

Influencers were not required to release content while at the event in Mexico, Amazon said. But many of them did, including creator Kirsten Titus, who posted a vlog on youtube write down her experience.

“They’ve got a whole setup here,” Titus said in the video, as she walked to a beach that offered free cocktails, as well as access to cabanas and surf lessons on boards called “Amazon Resort.”

Meredith Silver, Amazon’s director of creative growth, told CNBC that the events “facilitate a sense of community among our creators, to educate and inspire them, and thank them for participating in our program.”

Gracey Ryback is a frequent Amazon Live streamer and has been a part of Amazon’s influencer program for two years. She said her monthly income from the program is in the “low five figures.”

Ryback said she started on TikTok and posted content under the username “DealCheats”. Most of her videos focused on shopping and helping users find “dupes” or cheap counterfeit products to buy on Amazon.

“I started to become TikTok’s personal shopper,” said Ryback.

As her following grew, Ryback realized she needed to diversify into other platforms. She joined Amazon’s influencer program and started hosting live streams five days a week that last an hour or two each.

During a recent stream, Ryback promoted products including an Apple Watch knock-off, an LED face mask light, and a Shiatsu foot massager. Each stream takes hours of preparation, and Amazon has a long list of guidelines creators should follow.

“It’s a whole production,” Ryback said. “I’m usually sweating after that, and my house looks like a warehouse because I’ve spread all these products out.”

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