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Maximizing Commissions: Introducing expanded affiliate support for Kit

TL/DR

What’s happening:

  • Kit has automatically updated the “View on Amazon” button beneath each product to a new graphical Amazon button and starting in mid-May will list additional buttons for other top retailers we’ve found selling the same product. Our research has found that this “multi-retailer” approach has doubled earnings per click, on average, for Geniuslink clients and we are excited to apply this to Kit.
  • For those who wish to earn commissions through the new non-Amazon buttons shown on kits, we will offer two approaches:
    • Method 1: Continue using the built-in Kit “Monetize” settings page and take advantage of newly added support for nearly 30 different affiliate programs. To help sustain Kit as a free service, 25% of clicks on your non-Amazon clicks will be shared with Kit. You will continue to keep 100% of your Amazon clicks.
    • Method 2 (New): Connect a Geniuslink account. You keep 100% of the commissions from your monetized clicks. Enjoy easier management of all current and newly added affiliate programs, plus other benefits. Standard click fees apply. Your Kit buttons and URLs will look and function like before; they will just be affiliated using your Geniuslink settings.
  • Kit now also supports all of the new international Amazon affiliate programs, bringing the total from 12 to 19.

How this impacts you:

This update is designed to increase engagement, boost your total commissions, introduce you to new affiliate programs, and give your audience a better shopping experience. Our research has shown the addition of buy buttons from other retailers has significantly increased Amazon conversion rates and commissions. The additional retailer buy buttons also give you new opportunities to further increase your revenue, which brings us to our next point. 

What you can do to prepare:

As the introduction of additional buy buttons should increase your Amazon commissions, no immediate action on your part is required. However, if you want to fully maximize the value you get from Kit we encourage you to sign up for the recommended affiliate programs relevant to your kits (we list these on the Monetization page in your Kit account). Once you have joined these programs, you can add them to Kit via “Method 1” or “Method 2” described above.  

The full scoop…

We are super excited to share that some major changes are coming to Kit from both the shopping experience for fans, and for the monetization opportunities for creators! These updates are something that you, or your peers, requested in our 2019 survey, and we couldn’t be more delighted to be launching it.

In short, we’ve taken technology and learnings from our decade with Geniuslink, working with thousands of the top affiliate publishers, creators, and influencers, from around the world, and have been integrating them into Kit to make it the best possible platform to share trusted recommendations.

Our goals with these updates are threefold:

First, we want Kit to become the best possible place for people to learn about the products that their favorite creators use and love. Perhaps most importantly, we want to make it easy to buy those products while staying informed about their purchasing options.  

Second, we want to ensure that Kit provides creators like you with the tools necessary to maximize your earnings when recommending the products you know and love. We’ve learned a lot over the years and have built some incredible tools over at Geniuslink and couldn’t be more excited to integrate those here in Kit. 

Third, it’s important that Kit has a transparent and sustainable revenue model to ensure that your recommendations are here for the long run and the creator community has the resources it deserves to thrive. 

The way we plan to achieve these goals comes with two interdependent updates — new options for fans to buy a product from multiple retailers and more ways for you to earn affiliate revenue.

Additional Buy Buttons

Let’s start with the first big change on the site: the inclusion of additional buy buttons. 

We call this a “multi-retailer” approach to shopping. Somewhat similar to how a price comparison tool works, the approach is simple: for any given product, give the shopper a variety of options in which to buy that product. Some may buy from their preferred retailer, some may buy from the place that has the lowest price, and others may buy from wherever can ship it the fastest. Sometimes Amazon, (the current default destination of the buy buttons on Kit), can fit all three of these criteria, but certainly not always. 

In fact, while it seems that Amazon “owns” online shopping, that’s only half true, as Amazon’s ecommerce market share in the US is about 40% (source: eMarketer). This means that over half of the online sales in the US are happening outside of Amazon, and this appears to be even lower for niche and specialty products and retailers. A multi-retailer approach helps you capture that other ~ 60% of online sales.

Additionally, 78% of shoppers say they like to do comparison shopping and 81% of consumers conduct online research before making a purchase online. By providing multiple buy buttons for each product recommendation, you are giving those shoppers an easy way to use your affiliate links to do that comparison shopping between retailers. By only giving your fans a single buy button, you are likely inadvertently encouraging them to go off and search on their own, and possibly click, then purchase, without using your affiliate links.  

Using multiple buy buttons for each product recommendation isn’t a new tactic either. Some of the largest and most successful players in the affiliate game have been doing it for years. You can see this today from the big names like CNET, WireCutter, Digital Trends, Tom’s Guide, and many others. Adding “multi-retailer” to Kit is taking a page out of their playbook and putting it in yours. 

Finally, we aren’t just using anecdotal evidence here to quantify the value of multi-retailer. On the Geniuslink side we’ve done extensive testing to measure the benefit of giving shoppers choices. 

…across all of our experiments, we saw an average EPC change for all seven clients: +152% lift, or 2.5x!

Over 11 separate tests, we saw an average of 2.2x improvement in earnings-per-click with some clients seeing as much as 4.2x lift! 

In addition, we have multiple case studies (example A, example B), and numerous testimonials (example A, example B (see bottom of the page), example C-K) to the value of the multi-retailer approach. The results so far have been staggering with the majority of clients more than doubling their conversion rates and their earnings per click.

Beyond Increasing Revenue

What is good for shoppers is often good for you, and there are some additional benefits to the multi-retailer approach in affiliate marketing.  First, including additional buy buttons helps diversify your revenue model away from being solely reliant on Amazon. This in turn provides some insulation from Amazon affiliate commission rate cuts which, in the last few years, have been fairly drastic. 

Additionally, by providing multiple buy buttons you are adding a multiplier to your affiliate efforts as you will have consumers clicking multiple affiliate links.  As they do their comparison shopping they are setting multiple affiliate cookies on other stores which are often much longer than Amazon’s 24-hour cookie. Thus, even if the consumer, after checking a couple of other retailers for the product you are recommending, still ends up buying at Amazon, there is still a possibility that you’ll earn a commission from one of the other stores if the consumer happens to return there a few days later and buys something.

Finally, while you may see a reduction in your total clicks to Amazon due to the rollout of multi-retailer (as some consumers are now buying from their preferred destination), you shouldn’t see a reduction in Amazon commissions. Your Amazon affiliate commissions should actually improve. Our studies showed that when multiple buy buttons were presented, creators maintained or improved their Amazon sales, even though the Amazon button was clicked less. We believe this is a result of giving visitors a way to comparison shop without forcing them to a search engine to finish doing their research and being comfortable moving forward with making a purchase.  

Additional Affiliate Program Support

The introduction of multi-retailer should help sell more products for the reasons laid out above. But if you aren’t able to affiliate those links and monetize those sales, what is the point? 

We’ve expanded our list of supported affiliate programs on Kit to help you capitalize on your product recommendations. Creators will have two choices on how they can maximize their affiliate commissions: 1) Take advantage of the rebuilt and expanded affiliate support built into Kit OR 2) Connect their Geniuslink account and leverage the full suite of affiliate and link management tools. Each option has some important differences.  

Method 1: Use Kit’s Built-in Affiliate Support 

In this update, we’ve also rebuilt the affiliate support found on the Monetize tab of your Kit account. This update is for those who don’t yet have a Geniuslink account to manage their affiliate programs and consists of two major pieces – broader support for new Amazon storefronts, and a massively increased number of affiliate programs supported.

Amazon Affiliate Support

Amazon continues to increase its footprint worldwide by building out new regional storefronts.  In just the last year alone Amazon has added stores to support Poland (March 2021), Sweden (October 2020), and Saudi Arabia (June 2020). And with each new storefront comes a new Amazon affiliate program and a new opportunity for you to earn commissions. There are now 19 publicly available Amazon affiliate programs worldwide and Kit now supports affiliation for all 19 (up from the 12 previously available).  

Amazon clicks on Kit are still localized by Geniuslink (to ensure each shopper is sent to the correct product in the best place for them to buy, and thus increase your conversions) and will continue to be free, so that you keep 100% of your commissions from the Amazon affiliate programs you’ve added support for.

Note: As has always been the case, for Amazon affiliate programs/countries that you don’t assign affiliate Tracking IDs, Kit will use our “in-house” Tracking ID and earn any potential commission.  For example, if you have not added your affiliate Tracking ID for Amazon Canada and a click comes from Canada, then you won’t be able to earn a commission. However, in that case, the Kit affiliate info will then be used to affiliate that Canadian click.   

New Affiliate Program Support 

As part of our multi-retailer rollout, we are also introducing support for a number of new retailers, as well as support for each of their respective affiliate programs.” The initial list for launch is below and we will continue to evolve that over time.  

To help decide which affiliate programs to sign up for we’ve custom built a list of your recommended affiliate programs based on the products in the kits you’ve built and the matches we’ve found. You can find this list on the Monetization page of your account.  

To maximize your commissions we recommend signing up for each of the recommended affiliate programs that match the retailers most common and respected in your industry and then adding your affiliate tracking information into the Monetize tab of your Kit account. Note: it’s often not worth signing up for all of these programs!

With this update, Kit will now offer automatic affiliation support and product matching (*for most, but not all retailers) for the following: 

Amazon

Apparel 

General Retail 

Camera / Video / Lighting 

Computer / Consumer Electronics

Books / Music

Health / Beauty 

Outdoor

Pet

Applying for new affiliate programs

The addition of the new buy buttons will take place approximately two weeks after this announcement to provide time to apply for and add the relevant tracking info for new affiliate programs. While we’d like to think the custom list of “Recommended Affiliate Programs” should help you focus on which programs to apply for we also realize that some of the affiliate programs mentioned require a manual review of your application and/or are “selective” in nature and have a very high bar of acceptance into their programs. 

In cases like these where immediate acceptance into the program isn’t possible we strongly recommend taking advantage of an affiliate aggregator service like Sovrn Commerce or Skimlinks in the interim and then applying again at a later date. More details about how to leverage these affiliate aggregator services to earn commissions from tens of thousands of affiliate programs is detailed in the second method — connecting a Geniuslink account. 

Retiring Flipkart and eBay

Unfortunately, with this major update, we are retiring affiliate support for Ebay and Flipkart, two of the five affiliate programs that Kit previously supported. 

While we’d love to support eBay and their eBay Partner Network, their terms of service had previously prevented us from including them in this upgrade. However, in a future release we hope to return affiliation support for eBay.    

The decision to remove support for Flipkart was related to the very low usage of the Flipkart affiliate program across Kit, the challenges getting into the program and getting paid, as well as the very limited commissions one could earn from their affiliate program. If/when the Flipkart affiliate program opens up access to their affiliate program and changes its terms to become a more viable revenue stream for creators, we’d also be happy to reconsider.  

“Costs” 

Kit will continue to be free to use. There is no direct cost to you to earn affiliate commissions from the products you curate on Kit and 100% of the Amazon clicks you’ve provided affiliate Tracking IDs for will always go to you. However, it’s very important to note that there will be a 25% “click share” in effect for all non-Amazon clicks for the affiliate programs you add support for. 

This simply means that approximately every fourth click on a non-Amazon button will be redirected using Kit’s “in-house” affiliate tracking info instead of the affiliate tracking info that you’ve added. This will help sustain Kit as a free, ever-improving service. 

Again, to be perfectly transparent, the way clicks are affiliated are as such: 

  • Clicks to an Amazon storefront for which you have provided corresponding Amazon affiliate tracking info: 100% use your affiliate Tracking IDs.
  • Clicks to an Amazon store for which you have not yet provided your Amazon affiliate tracking info: 100% use the Kit in-house affiliate Tracking IDs.
  • Clicks to a non-Amazon retailer that you have provided affiliate tracking information for: 75% use your affiliate tracking info, 25% use Kit in-house tracking info.
  • Clicks to a non-Amazon retailer that you have not yet provided affiliate tracking information for: 100% use Kit in-house affiliate tracking info. 

You are, of course, welcome to add or remove affiliate tracking information from your Kit account at any time. 

Please note that adding affiliate links into Kit that are not from one of the supported affiliate programs should be done at your own risk as they are not officially supported. While we’d like to honor those and help you earn commissions from them, there are a variety of reasons these links may not perform as expected. You should regularly test them to ensure they are working as expected and remove them if they are not. 

Method 2: Connect Geniuslink 

One of the most requested feature updates from the survey we sent out shortly after taking over the Kit community from Patreon was an integration with Geniuslink. We are excited to also be crossing this off the list for all of you that have patiently waited!

In short, with this approach, you keep 100% of your clicks, enjoy easier management of affiliate programs and other benefits. Standard click fees apply and your Kit buttons and URLs will look and function like before; they will just be affiliated using your Geniuslink settings.

About Geniuslink

Geniuslink is the largest intelligent link management platform supporting the Amazon affiliate ecosystem worldwide, and we know many of you also take advantage of a Geniuslink account. However, even if you don’t have a Geniuslink account, you’ve been taking advantage of Geniuslink’s technology with Kit — all the Amazon links on Kit are localized through Geniuslink to help you earn international commissions

Many of you know Geniuslink does a lot more than just localize Amazon product links or help you earn international Amazon affiliate commissions. Here are the three additional reasons to connect your Geniuslink account to Kit:

Geniuslink also provides much more in-depth reporting, including insights across geography, language, browser, device, OS, and product type to name a few. 

Additionally, the Geniuslink dashboard provides “Link Health” reports for your Amazon links so you can quickly identify those Amazon links that are out of stock (low conversion) or are no longer available (very low conversion) or simply no longer work (no conversion). 

Finally, Geniuslink provides affiliate program management for many different affiliate programs. More than three dozen different programs are supported directly inside Geniuslink and can be managed via the dashboard. In addition, and most relevant for the Kit Multi-Retailer launch, is that Geniuslink also supports the two largest affiliate aggregators — Skimlinks and Sovrn Commerce. These affiliate aggregators allow you to take advantage of tens of thousands of affiliate programs automatically (you don’t have to sign up for each one!) and send you a check monthly for your combined earnings. Please note, that while these affiliate aggregators are a major time saver their service charges a 25% cut of your commissions, however, they are still often very much worth the time and effort.  

Connecting your Geniuslink account

The initial integration between Geniuslink and Kit is very simple and requires you to simply grab the “Group ID” from the Groups page in your Geniuslink dashboard (this is the number right after the name of your group in the left column). Then just drop that Group ID into your Kit account on the Monetize tab and you are now good to go! Check out this article for step-by-step instructions.

Some tips to get more from your Geniuslink reporting

If you want to get even better insights from your reporting then follow these two additional steps:

Create a new Group – We recommend creating Groups for each unique platform or location you share your affiliate links, then add a unique Tracking ID so you can more easily compare what is and isn’t giving you the best return on your time. 

Creating a Group inside your Geniuslink account specifically for Kit will allow you to segment out your reporting from your other affiliate marketing endeavors. It’s super simple to do by using the big blue “Add a new Group” button, filling in the details, then using that new Group ID in your Kit account. 

Use a Unique Amazon Tracking ID – Every Amazon affiliate account allows up to 100 unique Tracking IDs to better help you segment your data and give you more granular reporting. These are simply created inside each Associates Central dashboard by clicking on your email in the upper right and selecting “Manage Your Tracking IDs” then following the prompts. 

You can then add this new Tracking ID into your Geniuslink account by taking advantage of our “Overrides” feature. The gist is that on the affiliate management page you select the group you want to add unique affiliate tracking info to from the drop-down near the top of the page. Full details can be found here: Managing Groups & Overrides

Turning off Multi-Retailer

If for some reason you don’t want to take advantage of the optimizations that multi-retailer provides for your commissions, or the enhanced shopping experience it provides your fans; the ability to disable additional retailer buy buttons is provided for Kit users that have connected their Geniuslink account. Simply uncheck the box in the Monetize page of your Kit profile and you’ll go back to displaying only the links you provide manually. These links will continue to affiliate with the ID’s in your Geniuslink account unless you disconnect it.

Costs

It’s important to note that while your Geniuslink account is connected, clicks originating from Kit will be applied to your Geniuslink bill and will incur the same fees and are considered for the same discounts. Geniuslink offers a competitive price for creators starting as low as $5/mo

However, as with most Geniuslink clients, your increased revenue should far outweigh the monthly costs. Your Return on Investment should be at least 2.5X (you earn at least $2.50 in commissions for every dollar you spend on Geniuslink) and if it’s not, or you aren’t sure, please contact us and we’d be happy to help you figure it out.   

For the sake of transparency, the way clicks are affiliated when you have connected a Geniuslink account are as such: 

  • Clicks to an Amazon storefront for which you have provided corresponding Amazon affiliate tracking info into your Geniuslink dashboard: 100% use your affiliate Tracking IDs.
  • Clicks to an Amazon store for which you have not yet provided your Amazon affiliate tracking info into your Geniuslink dashboard: 0% use your affiliate Tracking IDs, the destination link is unaffiliated. 
  • Clicks to a non-Amazon retailer that you have provided affiliate tracking information for via your Geniuslink dashboard: 100% use your affiliate tracking info.
  • Clicks to a non-Amazon retailer that you have not yet provided affiliate tracking information for, OR have not added an affiliate aggregator such as Sovrn Commerce or Skimlinks, via your Geniuslink dashboard: 0% use your affiliate Tracking IDs, the destination link is unaffiliated.  

It’s important to note that unlike the clicks coming through non-Amazon retailers with native Kit affiliation (Method 1), as a Kit user with their Geniuslink account connected, none of your clicks are shared with either Geniuslink or Kit. If you don’t provide affiliation details for that retailer, (either through using their program directly and providing your affiliate tracking info via the dashboard or by leveraging Geniuslink’s support for affiliate aggregators) then the link will not be affiliated. 

Preparing For the Kit Multi-Retailer Opportunity

To help ensure you are maximizing your affiliate commissions, a few minutes of preparation before the rollout will go a long way. 

Your first task is to review the list of retailers and affiliate programs we’ve recommended for you based on the kits you’ve built and decide which are most relevant for your industry and fans. 

Second, you’ll want to sign up for those affiliate programs you’ve deemed most relevant. Depending on your niche, you may find there are some affiliate programs better suited for the types of products you use. We’ve provided links to those programs above. 

For any affiliate programs where your application may not have been approved we encourage you to use an affiliate aggregation service like Sovrn Commerce or Skimlinks to monetize the clicks until you can reapply again (note this functionality is only available from Geniuslink and thus requires you to connect a Geniuslink account). 

Your final step depends on whether you will connect a Geniuslink account to Kit or continue using the built-in Kit settings: 

If you choose to connect Geniuslink, you’ll want to add the relevant affiliate programs into your Geniuslink account. Then, once we roll out the multi-retailer features, be sure to select the Geniuslink option inside Kit under Edit Profile > Monetize

If you choose to continue using the built-in Kit settings, you can wait until we roll out the multi-retailer features (mid-May 2021) and then add the program info into Kit under Edit Profile > Monetize.  

What affiliate programs should I sign up for?

While Kit supports nearly 20 Amazon Associates programs and almost 30 other retailers, there is no need to sign up for all of them. In fact, we strongly encourage you not to spend the time doing so. It’s better to focus instead on the retailers and programs that we’ve found to be selling the same products you recommend via the “Recommended Affiliate Programs” list on the Monetization tab of your account.




From that list you’ll want to focus on retailers that have a good reputation supporting your industry, or have an easy to use affiliate program.  

What value are additional retailer buttons when I’m not using their affiliate program? 

Again, we absolutely encourage you to sign up for all of the most relevant affiliate programs for you (see note directly above).

However, while you might assume you are losing money from not being signed up with every retailer that is displayed, our research has found that the first button, (always Amazon), will get the majority of the clicks, and by providing additional retailers you are helping boost your conversion rates (and thus your earnings) specifically from Amazon. Yes, you might lose out on a few sales from other, less popular retailers but the boost in commissions from Amazon often far outweighs any negative.  

If you want to be sure that you affiliate every possible click, then consider signing up with affiliate aggregators such as Sovrn Commerce or Skimlinks. Simply add the API details for the aggregators you join to your Geniuslink account, ensure that you have connected your Geniuslink account with Kit, and your non-Amazon traffic will be affiliated via these aggregators, without requiring that you join each specific retailer individually.

Important Questions and Answers (FAQ)

What if I find one of the multi-retailer buttons goes to the wrong item? 

Unfortunately, bad matches happen. When they do, please let us know and we’ll get them taken care of as quickly as possible. 

When letting us know you’ve found a bad match, please share with us the URL of the page and specific product and retailer that has a bad match.

Can I add/remove a button or change the order of the buttons? 

Unfortunately, with this initial rollout, we will not have the functionality to add buttons or change the order yet. 

Does Kit work with Amazon OneLink? 

No. Amazon OneLink is limited in the storefronts it supports and lacks the matching accuracy that Geniuslink provides. We strongly recommend you don’t enable Amazon OneLink as you may get negative results as Kit already leverages the Amazon link localization that Geniuslink offers. 

Should I be posting Geni.us links on Kit now?

No need! The majority of the same functionality you’d get out of a geni.us link now exists by connecting your Geniuslink account with Kit.  

What happens if I connect Geniuslink and then close my account?

If you close your Geniuslink account you can switch to Method 1 (adding the relevant affiliate tracking information into your Kit account) to monetize your Kit content instead of your closed Geniuslink account. Ensuring that your Kit monetization is disconnected from Geniuslink is your responsibility.   

How do I display only select retailers? 

Currently there is no way to disable automatically recommended retailers selectively – that said, there is a global toggle switch for your account that will allow you to opt out of product matching if you’ve connected a Geniuslink account. 

My links don’t appear to be affiliating correctly!

If you continue to use affiliation natively within Kit, make sure that you have added the correct Tracking ID’s to the Monetize tab of your Kit account – otherwise, if you have connected your Geniuslink account – check that the TSID you have provided matches the ones in your Geniuslink account and that you have added your Tracking ID’s to the Affiliate section of the Geniuslink dashboard.