Marketing Strategies

Smart Affiliate Commissioning Strategies

Smart commissioning strategies are changing the way advertisers engage with the affiliate channel. The tools and technology now make the channel more agile than most and deliver performance growth that supports direct revenue, drives awareness, and aligns with emerging advertiser priorities.

To understand how advertisers can make commissioning strategies work smarter and harder for them, we need to first look at the tools available: 

  • Via Multi-touch Commissioning, advertisers can reward publishers for their role in driving brand awareness and top-of-the-funnel activities.
  • Dynamic Commissioning gives advertisers greater control of their costs and offers transparency to publishers on how they can help brands achieve their business objectives. With more than 35 commissionable fields, advertisers can pay different commissions based on products, new vs existing customers or even device type.
  • Linkless Code Tracking enables advertisers to payout publishers based on the use of an exclusive code at checkout, even when no click has occurred.

When put into practice, commissioning strategies open a realm of opportunities for advertisers and publishers to forge new partnerships, strengthen existing ones and optimize campaign tactics.

Publisher Diversification

Commissioning strategies enable brands to diversify their publisher partner portfolios and leverage the opportunities they bring. Whether reaching offline audiences or growing brand awareness, commissioning strategies give brands greater flexibility in how they use the affiliate channel.

Traditionally seen as a conversion-only channel, affiliate marketing has evolved to help brands achieve greater awareness and market penetration. Multi-touch commissioning supports the goal of brand awareness by rewarding publishers for the role they play in the customer journey. By rewarding upper-funnel publishers like influencers or media and content houses, brands can strengthen their relationships and leverage promotional opportunities and the audience of their partners.

Additionally, Linkless Code Tracking allows for further publisher diversification by enabling offline partnerships like podcasts to run through the affiliate channel. Paying partners based on the use of an exclusive code at checkout, even when no click has occurred, opens the doors to new models for advertisers and unique earning opportunities for publishers.

Alignment with Business Objectives

No other marketing channel gives advertisers the agility to adjust how they pay for placements or exposure like the affiliate channel does. Should a business want to promote a new product or even reduce stock on an older one, dynamic commissioning can support this. Alternatively, advertisers can commission differently based on whether an item is full-price or discounted, resulting in affiliate revenue growth and AOV increasing for orders driven via the channel. An advertiser using tiered commissioning strategies recently saw revenue increase more than 80% YoY, and AOV grew by 19%.

Additionally, advertisers are using dynamic commissioning to reward publisher partners who can support their brand purpose. Brands can incorporate KPIs surrounding purpose into their affiliate campaigns by rewarding those who align with their business values and promote sustainable messages with a higher commission payout.

New Customer Acquisition

New customer acquisition is often the most requested business objective that advertisers push through the affiliate channel. And it’s one the channel is primed to support.

Using smart commissioning strategies, a Rakuten Advertising client experienced 30% of affiliate revenue coming from new customers vs the 10% of sales previously driven.  One of the brand’s objectives was to increase the number of new customers shopping through their website. Through a tiered commissioning strategy, publishers understood that new customers were a target and could adjust their strategy and make optimizations accordingly.

Whatever the objectives, smart commissioning strategies are an essential tool for successfully achieving them. The agility they give brands to drive awareness, reach new audiences and align with business values and goals is unlike other marketing channels.

To learn more about smart commissioning strategies, reach out to your Rakuten Advertising account representative or visit

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