Curious about Amazon Live? Want to know how you can use it to make money? Chris P. Giles explains how to get started and how to build relationships with brands for greater success.
This article is based on my interview with Chris P. Giles. Chris started out as a mobile DJ when he was a teenager, and has spent the last 15 years on the road as a DJ and audio engineer.
During the pandemic, he shifted his focus and took his love of event production to move into the live streaming of gaming content, tech-related topics and providing virtual tech support to those in the online universe.
What You’ll Learn
[6:47] What is Amazon Live?
[8:54] Why should you consider Amazon Live?
[14:04] The different levels to work through
[16:25] What you need to get started
[21:24] How to make money on Amazon Live
[25:24] Live stream dos and don'ts
[29:15] Should you use restreaming?
[33:29] How to promote your Amazon Lives
[38:21] Important metrics to monitor
What is Amazon Live?
Listen at [13:10]
Chris says that the easiest way to think of it is to compare Amazon Live to QVC or the Home Shopping Network – you’re watching a show and buying products. Anything that’s for sale on Amazon can be sold live on video.
It’s an affiliate programme for Amazon Associates, which gives you a cut of between 1 and 4% of overall sales. When you go live, you get what’s referred to as a carousel shown on-screen. That shows pictures of up to 40 products, and the images scroll across the screen.
You can add any items you want to the carousel; Chris is into tech, so he highlights gadgets he has in his studio and explains why he recommends it. He also answers questions live.
If someone is interested in a product, they simply click on the image. That generates a 24-hour cookie that tracks the purchases they make on Amazon. Even if they don’t buy the product you recommended, you’ll get a cut of whatever else they decide to spend their money on.
Why Should You Consider Amazon Live?
Listen at [17:24]
If you’re already creating content, you’ll be on several different platforms and working hard to make money from them. Unlike YouTube for example, you don’t need to find sponsors or plan, shoot and edit the videos. You just show up live.
The first time Chris used Amazon Live he made money.
“It’s a good, quick start to get you in the game and get seen by people."
He recommends getting in early to take advantage of it because not many people are using it yet.
If you’re completely new to selling on Amazon, there’s a bit of a process. However, if you’re already an Amazon Associate, you’re already able to earn commissions. Then, you can apply for the Influencer Programme, which gives you a storefront to add shopping lists for people to view.
Once you’re an influencer, you can download the Amazon Live Creator app (note that this is iOS only at the moment). You may have to apply more than once, but if you’re consistently building followers in-between applications, you should get accepted.
You’ll also be asked to include your social media handle for the platform where you have the most followers. At the moment, Chris says Amazon will no longer consider Twitter. They look at YouTube, Instagram or Facebook (page/group only, not personal profile).
It’s worth being aware that the Amazon Live facility is only available on the US version of the site. However, it doesn’t matter where you’re based, so long as you have an amazon.com account.
The Different Levels to Work Through
Listen at [27:44]
Once you’re accepted into the Amazon Live programme, you start out as a ‘rising star.’ You have to stream for 90 minutes so the team can review how good your content is. But, don’t just take a show you’ve already done and restream it.
After that, you move up to ‘Insider’. This lets you show up on product pages while you’re live. When you add an item to your carousel, you can also appear on the relevant Amazon page for that product.
Customers will then see that you’ve talked about the item. This helps increase your visibility. The top-level is ‘A-list’. You need 2,000 followers and $5,000 shipped revenue per month, at the time this show was recorded.
What you Need to get Started
Listen at [32:26]
The simplest way to get started is to open the Amazon Live Creator app and hit the ‘go live button.’ You can use this on iPad or iPhone and go live straight away. If you use Restream or a similar tool, you can email yourself the RTMP from the app and use it on whichever platform you use.
You will have to adjust the image ratio, as Amazon doesn’t do that for you. Select ‘front camera’ to find your stream key, email it to yourself and then adjust accordingly.
To get started, you need to add one product to your carousel. When you’re an Amazon Influencer, you can put together your ideal list of products that can be displayed in a storefront.
The Live Creator app allows you to take items from these lists (you can have more than one) and add these into your stream carousel. You can also search for things while you’re streaming and add these to the carousel.
Chris recommends putting together specific lists ahead of the show. “If I’m going to be talking about lights and I don’t already have a list, I’ll go and create one. I’ll add everything I plan to talk about and then move the items into the carousel as I talk about them.”
How to Make Money on Amazon Live
Listen at [42:24]
Chris explains that the carousel that appears at the bottom of the screen will display four or five images at a time. It then gives you the option to feature a product as you’re talking about it.
“When people click on an item in the carousel, little bubbles pop up with the products in it so you know they’re actually looking at what you’re talking about. The audience can scroll through the whole carousel while you’re live.
I may have 40 items in there that are all related, so people can still see them, but I won't mention them all in the live.”
Amazon would prefer you to either own a product you’re talking about or have a lot of knowledge about it. They want to avoid a ‘deal of the day’ thing where you talk about a product on offer that you don’t own or wouldn’t use yourself.
Chris explains that when it comes to tech, he’s using it while he’s live, so he can’t easily show things to the viewers. So, he uses Restream to screen share and brings up each item on the Amazon website. He talks through the item and includes extra information, such as which lenses to use with a product.
If you’re already doing a YouTube video about a product, you can bring that up during the live. You obviously can’t share a pre-recorded video, but you can play it on the stream and talk through it.
Live Stream Dos and Don’ts
Listen at [50:24]
Some people stream their podcasts directly to their Amazon Live show. They make a portion of it product-centric, so they discuss items as they go. Chris starts off with a two-minute timer, but he’s made it transparent.
That way, it doesn’t look like a video and viewers can see him moving around in the background. Sharing a video that’s longer than five minutes will get you cut off.
You can also make pre-recorded videos to put onto product pages, but the rules on what you can include in these are strict. You can’t ask people to follow you or include the sorts of graphics you would in a normal video.
Chris shares a graphic with the name of his show and his social media handles, and then goes to a clear screen where he talks about a product. He doesn’t respond to any chat comments either, so he can edit that out later and upload the video to a product page.
Then, he can go back and run through the introduction again and start answering questions. And that’s what he does for 60 to 90 minutes. Once the live is finished he can edit out the product pieces ready to be uploaded.
The rules and terms of service change quite regularly, so Amazon will send out an email to let people know. Chris also runs a group for Amazon Live creators with a couple of other people.
The guy who runs the chat gets updates sent to him before other people. The group has around 1,000 members on Facebook, and Chris says it’s a great place to share tips, updates and also things to avoid.
As Amazon only pays you a small percentage of product sales, Chris also recommends reaching out to brands and offering to talk about their products for a set fee.
Should you use Restreaming?
Listen at [58:06]
It depends on your personal strategy whether or not you should restream, Chris says, because some people do it very successfully.
However, his advice would be to have a mixture. If you're already doing other shows, you can add them to Amazon. Just make sure you move the carousel along, even if you're not specifically talking about a product.
And then, once or twice a week go live to talk about some products. This shows Amazon that you’re serious. Chris only ever does Amazon Live on its own, because he talks about products and nothing else. It doesn’t match any of the other content he puts out.
It also makes it easier to stream directly on Amazon so you don’t have to send viewers on Facebook or YouTube to go over to Amazon to find your carousel and click the links.
When you download the Creator app, it gives you options to join as an Influencer and create content. Or, there’s an option to join as a seller, and you can only talk about your own products.
Chris’s advice is if you’re a seller but don’t already have a big audience or a lot of products, you’re better off partnering with an influencer. He gives the following example to explain why that’s a good idea:
“If I’m an Influencer talking about a Sony camera, I can also appear on pages relating to Canon and Nikon products. But if you’re Sony (the seller), then you can only show up on your own page.”
You also can’t mention prices, because they change so much and so often on Amazon. You don’t want to give out the wrong information as this could cause people to distrust you.
How to Promote Your Amazon Lives
Listen at [06:34]
Chris says he promotes his Amazon Lives in the same way he promotes everything else, even if he doesn’t talk tech elsewhere. After all, it’s still the same community, and people need tech.
So, he’ll use link pages on Instagram, shares previous videos and the same kind of marketing he does for other content. You can email your list ahead of time about planned live shows.
People can follow your store on Amazon too. Chris only has 475 followers on Amazon Live, but he’s making money. When it comes to Amazon, follower numbers really don’t matter. You can edit your storefront and upload your logo and edit your header image too.
Important Metrics to Monitor
Listen at [16:18]
The most important metric, Chris says, is earnings. You also want to pay attention to shipped revenue, which is anything sent from Amazon. It takes 24 hours to ship, so don’t worry if things don’t update straight after a live.
Total views is a vanity metric, which only matters if you’re working with influencers. The other important one is unmuted views – this is where you can see people are actively listening in. They’ve made the decision to unmute you and listen to what you have to say, rather than having the live on in the background.
Remember – you’re not competing with lots of other people on Amazon, unlike YouTube. Your cover art only shows on the Amazon live page, so long as people aren't broadcasting about the same categories.
If you’re like Chris and talk about a popular subject, you’ll disappear from the Live page once your show is over. He uses the same images and simply changes the title.
Chris says his biggest advice is: don't get caught up in the 1% to 4% Amazon's giving you. Talk to brands as well. And once you start streaming, you’ll find that people will reach out to you and ask you to promote their products. So ask for a lot of money!
Go live first and get to know what you’re doing, and then reach out to brands who are selling on Amazon. Most companies aren’t aware of the live option, so you can introduce it to them and explain exactly how it works.
One final thing to be aware of is that you can’t use the word ‘Amazon’ in any shows you promote, and if you get a personalised link for your products, you can’t have the word in those either.
This Episode's Sponsor
This episode is sponsored by Restream
Watch Episode 131
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Who is Chris Giles?
Chris P Giles started as a mobile DJ and entertainer with a background in audio engineering which began in the local church as a teen.
After spending the last 15+ years on the road around the country as a DJ and Audio Engineer for events of all types; music concerts, corporate meetings, church services, fashion shows and so much more - 2020 happened! Chris shifted his focus and took his love of event production and moved into the live streaming of gaming content, tech-related topics, and providing virtual tech support to those new to the online universe.
Currently, as a content creator, live streamer and producer, he is going live on Amazon Live, YouTube, Facebook and anywhere that takes a video feed. He helps those getting started in live streaming and gaming to avoid the confusion that being new to tech can bring so they can elevate their performance and shorten the timeframe required to launch their online endeavour.