Marketing Strategies

Outthink with Affiliate Innovation

Rakuten Advertising’s award-winning affiliate innovation showcases how leading brands Microsoft, MAC and Forever New are outdelivering expectations.

Affiliate innovation is making it easier to reach desired audiences and shift strategies to align with their changing habits. And it doesn’t have to be scary. As Steve Jobs said, “innovation is the ability to see change as an opportunity – not a threat.” The very nature of the affiliate channel supports this. The low-risk, low-cost models mean you can try new tech, strategies, and publisher models with a mitigated risk factor. It invites innovation into your programmes and campaigns.

But how do you grab hold of the opportunities that emerging tech and publisher partners provide? Having the right network partner is the first step. And that’s where Rakuten Advertising can help. We pioneered the affiliate industry, and we’re the ones driving it forward. Together with our clients, We’ve even won a flurry of awards for our innovative partnerships that are changing the affiliate channel and exceeding performance expectations.

Microsoft and Discord lead the charge through social commerce  

Publishers recognise the value of affiliate innovation more than ever before. Emerging publishers are working to leverage social technology to reach your consumer where they choose to spend their time.

Lowkey Discord is a publisher that leveraged the Discord gaming community to promote the latest X-box in partnership with Microsoft. For those unfamiliar, Discord is an instant messaging social platform tens of millions of gamers use to voice, video, and text chat.

Now, using Discord for information sharing isn’t new. Still, adding affiliate links to track and monitor performance led to further optimisations and was a strategy that stood out from the crowd. The highly anticipated X-Box console launch achieved the ideal state for a hyper-driven industry: high demand and limited stock. To help gamers get the earliest possible access to the new console, the publisher used bots to crawl Microsoft’s site and alert followers when the X-box was back in stock. The strategy reached a highly engaged community of gamers and exceeded sales expectations by 278%.

MAC adapts to changing behaviours with AfterPay

Fintech publishers are driving tremendous change with innovative payment models. The best example of this is the rapid growth of Buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) providers. BNPL services are growing as people adapt to changing economic situations, particularly with Gen Z and their hesitancy to use credit cards.

Additionally, BNPL publishers are quickly becoming shopping directories, where consumers discover new brands and products while taking advantage of the payment model. Leading BNPL provider fterpay recently initiated a brand-to-brand partnership with a global cosmetic retailer MAC to identify likely customers and develop new touchpoints for a carefully curated product selection.

Using data segmentation, Afterpay promoted the value of the products to new cohorts to educate them on the breadth of MAC’s line and inspire new customers to purchase. Using different creative to enrich the user experience with data and insight to optimise the campaign, Afterpay delivered over 165 thousand new shoppers with order values that rivalled average-order-value (AOV) for the entire business.

Forever New builds influence after purchase to acquire new customers

New technology can be costly. Partnering with tech providers on a CPA model via the affiliate channel reduces costs and risks, making it possible to use innovative tech to drive your campaigns further.

Lightbox-based tech solutions are creating new marketing touchpoints to achieve unprecedented business goals for brands. Lightbox solutions are pop-ups that appear after a customer has completed a transaction, inviting them to make recommendations to their friends and family. By providing the shopper with unique codes and discounts to reward customer referrals, these technologies turn recent purchasers into enthusiastic brands ambassadors.

Australian retailer Forever New recognised this and partnered with tech publisher Soreto to use their lightbox solutions. Through customised solutions, risk-free CPA set-up, and the Rakuten Container Tag technology, Soreto and Forever new were able to acquire new customers and increase AOV, exceeding targets by 41%.

Affiliate innovation is central to reaching highly-valuable shoppers and aligning with their ever-changing purchasing habits. It doesn’t have to be scary, expensive or require a huge tech lift or implementation. Understanding how the right partners and technology can work for your brand enables you to take full advantage of the opportunities that innovation creates. Embrace the change instead of hiding from it, and you’ll soon exceed your expectations.

Ready to take on affiliate innovation? Get in touch with one of our experts here.

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Rakuten Advertising

Rakuten Advertising leads the industry in delivering performance-driven ad solutions that help the world’s top brands connect with unique, highly engaged audiences – from first impression to final sale.