Man stares at his computer surrounded by plants.Taylor Swift said, “this is a new year. A new beginning. And things will change.” While some see change as scary, we at Rakuten Advertising view it as an opportunity. For advertisers and publishers to be successful this year, they will need to change their thinking and how they run their affiliate programs.

As marketers, we recognize that in this economy, we’re asked to deliver immediate results. It’s easy to do great work and deliver high-performing marketing campaigns when budget and resourcing are high. When we’re asked to do more with less, the strength of tried and tested strategies shines through. Rakuten Advertising is about changing the conversation. We’re elevating how people use the affiliate channel with a focus on partnership excellence. We’re shaking off the industry bells and whistles and building a tech stack that helps our partners return to the fundamentals of affiliate and enables them to do more with less.

Without missing a beat, our product experts have worked to bring about change through advanced technology that exceeds performance goals for our clients and partners. Our team has built upon the Rakuten Advertising platform with advanced features that increase partnerships, enhance commissioning models, and provide actionable insights.

With a new year and a new beginning now upon us all, it’s time to leverage a new breed of tech and shake up your performance strategy to deliver campaigns that outsmart the competition and achieves your business KPIs.

A renewed partner experience

Like Taylor Swift and many marketers out there, we’re about relationships. We’re committed to fostering the strongest relationships in the affiliate industry and making it easier than ever for publishers to drive value. We’re doing this through the following:

  • The reimagined Publisher Dashboard features AI-powered partner and product recommendation engines, helping to forge new partnerships and increase revenue. With fully automated partnership offers and links, publishers can access critical data quicker and easier than ever.
  • An enhanced deep linking API and Advertiser Search API in the upgraded Developer Portal, significantly simplifying program execution and recruitment for publishers. The overhaul to our developer tech stack improves performance stability and provides the infrastructure to implement APIs efficiently.

Driving advertiser effectiveness

Doing more with less is a throwaway sentiment unless you have access to the tools that enable it to happen. Our team foresaw this need and developed a tech stack that helps advertisers work smarter by making data-led decisions that ultimately stretch budgets further.

  • Our industry-leading Affiliate Forecasting tool allows advertisers to input publisher mix and commission rate changes to receive detailed performance forecasts. It utilizes an intelligent, in-house model developed by our data scientists to foster smarter decisions making via unique data sources.
  • Paid Placement Recommender eliminates the risk of tenancies and paid-for exposure by identifying top placement opportunities for advertisers. Eliminating the trial and error phase to create new successful and profitable partnerships.
  • Advertisers can better understand how to optimize campaigns using our industry-first On-demand Benchmarking tool to compare program performance to industry benchmarks. On-demand benchmarking also supports advertisers in advocating for more affiliate investment.
  • We released Optional Transaction Fields to help advertisers better align their affiliate strategies with business objectives and incentivize partners further. Although available to all advertisers, this feature is of particular benefit to those in the travel vertical. The fields sent will help advertisers identify how their consumers chose to fly, their reasons for booking travel and whether they are paying using points or cash. Advertisers can use this information to optimize campaigns and strategically incentivize publishers based on their objectives.
  • The team also developed the Global Performance Dashboard for advertisers working with us globally and running more than one program. The dashboard helps program leaders track, measure, and optimize global, regional, and national campaigns.

New opportunities to earn

  • Linkless Code Tracking removes the walls around affiliate marketing and creates new opportunities for advertisers and publishers. Advertisers can drive sales across brick-and-mortar, social, CTV, print and podcasts by enabling new partnerships and program capabilities with existing partners. Publishers and non-traditional affiliates will earn commissions when vanity codes are used at checkout, even when a click doesn’t occur.
  • Our revolutionary Audience Engine feature lets publishers and advertisers activate their first-party data and serve highly targeted marketing messages. Showing unique messages to a consumer based on their previous click or purchase data, Audience Engine propels partnerships to new levels of strategic value, creating custom campaigns and audiences.

As we navigate the next twelve months, how advertisers and publishers leverage the tools and tech available will be crucial. The industry can’t keep cruising. Advertisers and publishers need to be like Taylor, so busy dancing that regardless of what happens, you don’t get knocked off your feet.

Want to shake up your 2023 affiliate program? Contact us today to speak with one of our experts.