Amazon has expanded its "Influencer Program" to qualifying YouTube influencers, TechCrunch reports.
The e-commerce giant on its website describes the program as an extension of the "Amazon Associates" program for social media influencers, open to those with a YouTube account, a following and "other engagement metrics" that the retailer evaluates when deeming it a qualifying account, along with a user’s content and its relevance to Amazon customers.
Earlier this summer, Amazon launched a shoppable social media feed dubbed "Spark" on its mobile app — an image-intensive, customized feed of products, photos and ideas, also tied to the interests of Amazon customers.
It’s not really clear how Spark and Amazon’s other social influencers efforts are linked, TechCrunch says, but together the programs indicate an emerging effort to engage shoppers with content beyond Amazon’s already influential reviews system.
"The Amazon Influencer Program is an extension to the online Associates program for social media influencers," Amazon says on its page announcing the YouTube addition. "The features of the Amazon Influencer Program give you an additional way to direct traffic to Amazon, which is especially useful when promoted verbally or in an environment where linking is not possible."
So far it’s not clear how much users or their followings are taking Amazon up on these features, which would entail a willingness to move toward Amazon for interaction-plus-shopping. A request from Retail Dive for more details wasn't immediately returned by Amazon.
"Amazon has built a powerful affiliate marketing program — it'll be interesting to see how creators will be compensated for their efforts along with their fans' willingness to move to yet another social (commerce) platform," Tim Sovay, COO of influencer marketing software platform CreatorIQ, told Retail Dive in an email. "But if Amazon gets this right, it has the potential to be the HSN/QVC for a new generation."
Another answer to such television-based home shopping programs — a live fashion program from Amazon titled Style Code — was canceled earlier this year, 15 months after its debut. The show ran live weekday evenings, with a best-of show on Fridays, and featured Lyndsey Rodrigues (who has hosted MTV’s Total Request Live), Rachel Smith (a correspondent for ABC News for Good Morning America and Nightline) and Frankie Grande (a television personality and theater actor known for appearing on CBS’s Big Brother reality show and the Broadway musical Rock of Ages).
Amazon usually reserves its programming for its Prime members, but Style Code Live was free to anyone, part of the e-commerce giant’s aggressive push into the apparel space. The show was among the most recent of Amazon’s moves to help put it on the fashion map; the company was also a sponsor of the 2012 Costume Institute Benefit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, for example, and three years later it was the marquee sponsor of the first New York Fashion Week for men.