If you rarely sign in to your Amazon Associate home page, you may have missed the announcement that Amazon Widgets will be deprecated on November 1, 2015. That is, you won’t be able to create new widgets or update old ones after that date, and Amazon will no longer periodically update widget code.
You can continue to use existing widgets, but expect that they’ll stop working at some point in the future. Chances are that the US aStore will also be deprecated soon, following the announcement of its August 31, 2015 deprecation in Amazon UK and FR.
If you like widgets or product grids (like the aStore), look into using the new Amazon Native Shopping Ads, which are available from your Associate home page.
You can create instances of recommended product ads, search ads, or custom ads. They’re mobile responsive, simple in design, and easy to make. Once you get the hang of it, you won’t have to spend time learning how to use the pile of disparate widgets offered in the past.
While the new native ads are a great improvement over the old widgets or dinosaur aStore, my opinion is that text or image links in the context of a good review or informative article will continue to convert better than a product grid.
The Search box is the only widget I’ve used in recent years, though I’ve experimented with most of the others. Since Native Ads include a search-type widget, I think it’s safe to assume that it’s time to think about replacing Search box widgets before they stop working.
New Amazon associates have always seemed to gravitate towards widgets, including the aStore, because they’re easy and colorful, not because they convert well. They don’t. Visitors can go directly to Amazon and get the same information. Sites that offer useful information or reviews that help visitors make informed decisions will continue to prosper.
The Native Recommendation or Custom ads seem worth a try, but at the bottom of posts or pages (in case they load slowly), and I wouldn’t consider them a replacement for existing links.
On a text-dense page with inline links, Native Ads could be used to add a splash of color and freshness or a convenient summary of recommended products. If you have concerns or questions about implementing them, visit the Amazon Associates Discussion Board (Forum) for ongoing discussions and help from other associates.