When you’ve got your store set up and functioning correctly, it’s always a great feeling when you start to see a little traffic coming in. Then a few cart reports begin showing up in your email. You will probably then discover that cart reports do not equate to final sales and commissions. In fact, far from it. Your initial thought may be that there’s something wrong somewhere, and your site is making sales but it’s not being reported correctly. This post will explore Amazon’s associate reporting, so that new users can verify for themselves if things are working as they should be.
I will assume that you have the default cart report set up under the Reports tab of your AOM control panel.
When you log into your associate account, you will of course notice the the box on the right side, containing two summary reports – Earnings and Orders. These are currently set to default to Monthly, but you can change the focus, with Daily being the usual selection. Amazon’s reporting, for those who do not know, is not in real time. The batch reports are processed overnight, and are usually available the next morning. So sales you make today will not show up until tomorrow.
Clicking on ‘View full report’ for Orders will take you to the detailed version, showing you exactly which items are included:
There are two columns of interest to AOM users. The first is Items Ordered Through Product Links, which are items actually ordered through your store. You should be able to match your cart reports to these products. The second is All Other Items Reported. These are products customers have placed in their shopping cart after AOM has brought them to Amazon. Obviously these items will not appear in your cart reports. Sometimes they may be in your store’s target niche, other times wildly different. That would be the customer saying, “Hey, while I’m here, I need to get…”, and they add more items to their Amazon cart. In these cases, your site is just like any other Amazon link – you bring them to Amazon, you get the commission.
To the left on your Associates page, is a list of reports (you can also select them from the drop-down list when viewing the full reports). The one we want to look at is Link-Type Report.
The Link-Type Report shows you all the various methods Amazon uses to bring customers on-site. Banner ads, Text links, Omakase, etc. Associate-O-Matic carts show up under the Web Services Links as Remote shopping carts.
The impressions and click-through rate show up as N/A. Then the number of clicks, the conversion rate, items ordered and items shipped. Finally, the commission generated thus far. The clicks show you just how many of your carts actually reached Amazon. If you have five AOM cart reports and three clicks in this report, then two of your customers abandoned their carts before checkout to Amazon.
The conversion rate is items ordered vs. clicks. This can be skewered by having multiple items in a cart. For instance, if you have a cart with five items and the sale goes through, your conversion rate would be 500%. So try to only concern yourself with conversion rates on a monthly or quarterly scale.
Note that if the Amazon Connection Method of your AOM site is set to REST or SOAP instead of the Default method, your clicks may show up in the corresponding areas of this report. Most of you should be using the default, however.
If you have multiple AOM sites, you can also create separate tracking IDs for each store. At the top of the associates page, click Account Settings, then Manage Your Tracking IDs. You can review how each site is doing by viewing the Tracking ID Summary Report.
If you are getting cart reports and no clicks in your Amazon reports, double-check you have your Associate ID entered correctly in your AOM control panel.
A few final notes:
1) Purchases made through your own sites are automatically deducted before they reach your reports. So if you buy something at your own store, you’ll never see the click, and never get the commission.
2) Amazon’s Link Checker will always fail AOM links, because they are encoded in a format compatible with Amazon’s API data feed, not the direct URL format the link checker looks for.
Hopefully this brief explanation will allow you to better understand how your site(s) perform, and enable you to make decisions that maximize your effort into improving or cutting under-performing stores.