Unlock Game-Changing Insights with Affiliate Conversion Journey

Affiliate Conversion Journey is the latest feature to be made available in Rakuten Advertising’s Insights and Analytics Portal. Below, we showcase the game-changing insights available and give real-world examples of how you can use Affiliate Conversion Journey to outdeliver on campaign performance.

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You’ve no doubt heard that success in affiliate marketing lies solely in lower-funnel strategies. And whilst it’s true that utilizing cashback, loyalty, and coupon publishers to get the sale over the line is an excellent strategy, savvy affiliate marketers continue to ask the question:

How did they get there in the first place, and what actions can I take to drive more sales and optimize my publisher partners?

We know that purchases are rarely triggered by a single isolated touchpoint. There’s a path to purchase that consumers traverse which typically follows the stages of awareness (upper-funnel), consideration (mid-funnel), and conversion (lower-funnel). Within that path to purchase lies insights into how your affiliate campaigns drive action with customers, revealing game-changing ways to take your program to the next level.

At Rakuten Advertising, we’ve made it easy to look beyond that last-click in the affiliate channel before a sale using the Affiliate Conversion Journey Report, which illuminates the consumer journey and uncovers actionable insights.

Looking beyond last-click

Many brands are looking beyond last-click, though it remains an important metric in understanding your performance. It cuts to the chase, like skipping to the end of a novel. You know how it finishes, but you’ve no context into the how and why. And it’s the context that provides the full story and unlocks game-changing insights for affiliate marketers.

For upper-funnel activity, such as sponsored content, shopping comparison publishers, and influencers, a last-click view of their performance – or how many sales they’ve driven – can frequently reveal low ROI.

For example, a sneakerhead may be looking to get the latest release from their favorite brand. They read a review on a content publisher’s website, and they are in love. It’s a done deal, they must have them. That content publisher’s website links them to the advertiser’s product page. Deal-focused, they check their preferred cashback website to see what deals are on. Bingo, the same sneaker but with a cashback offer. They click through and convert.

Expanding this single journey into thousands and last-click reporting suggests the content publisher often contributes little to ROI. The result?  Knee-jerk reactions to reduce spend in the upper-funnel, because you can’t prove its value on bottom-line sales.

Questions also arise for lower-funnel activity, such as the cashback publisher in the above example. A last-click view typically shows high ROI. The question is, are those that show low-ROI adding value in other stages of converting user journeys?

We’ve made it easy to answer these questions and more with Affiliate Conversion Journey. Here are some strategic ideas for you to try out now with Affiliate Conversion Journey.

Map audience affinity for more conversions!

Say goodbye to guesswork and hello to better partnerships. Using Affiliate Conversion Journey, you can unlock a view of which publishers in the awareness stage are initiating converting user journeys, and which aren’t. This quickly tells you which upper-funnel publishers have an audience with an affinity to your brand and enables you to refocus your efforts and ad-spend towards testing and perfecting new strategies and offers with high-performing publishers.

Insights and Analytics dashboard

A practical example:

In this example, the content publisher is driving large amounts of awareness for an advertiser, along with supporting sales in the consideration phase and even some conversions. This is an excellent example of a publisher whose value in introducing the brand to customers could be missed on last-click reporting.

Our top tip:

Offer competitive discount codes to high-performing, high-affinity upper-funnel publishers could result in higher conversions.

Insights and Analytics dashboard

A practical example:

In this example, we see the voucher publisher and the cashback publisher are creating awareness and are being looked at by consumers for coupon deals and cashback offers. They aren’t performing well in the conversion phase, indicating the advertiser’s offers can be optimized to be more competitive. In doing so, you might see more conversions. On last-click reporting, you’d be tempted to stop working with these publishers altogether, but there is clearly value that can be unlocked with some strategic tweaking.

Our top tip:

If you’re seeing large numbers of voucher or deals publishers in the consideration phase, consider offering exclusive codes or more enticing deals, and test to see if this drives more sales. If it doesn’t, you might have low audience affinity with certain publisher audiences.

Level up your new customer acquisition strategy

If you’re tracking new customers, then Affiliate Conversion Journey is poised to help you understand which publishers are most effective at bringing them in across every stage of the path to purchase.

A practical example:

If you’ve run an affiliate paid placement campaign, then you can utilize Affiliate Conversion Journey in conjunction with your new customer acquisition tracking to see the percentage of new customers that the campaign has initiated. The same logic can be applied across the funnel, highlighting which publisher is perfect for supporting your customer acquisition goals.

Our top tip:

Combine Affiliate Conversion Journey reporting with your own new customer acquisition reporting to see which publishers are most effective at driving new audiences to your brand.

Getting started with Affiliate Conversion Journey

Affiliate Conversion Journey is accessed through Rakuten Advertising’s Insights and Analytics Portal, our platform that is home to a suite of cutting-edge technology and reporting. It’s available to all Rakuten Advertising clients at no cost. Contact your account representative or visit to get started.

Learn more about how to outperform with full-funnel affiliate strategies. 

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