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Your first call for data-driven affiliate strategy 

We all know that success in the affiliate business is based on your relationships with partners. This was never truer than today because we’re all under so much pressure to deliver greater sales and profit. But what makes for a great relationship has changed considerably in the past several years.

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We all know that success in the affiliate business is based on your relationships with partners. This was never truer than today because we’re all under so much pressure to deliver greater sales and profit. But what makes for a great relationship has changed considerably in the past several years. In today’s data- and insights-driven environment, partners should provide more than just great traffic. We must provide strategic insights and tailored solutions aligned to specific go-to-market goals.  

At Rakuten, we help brands leverage the power of data and technology to grow sales. We provide a great deal of value to brands when we build an ongoing information exchange. This post will review a few of the most important ways we add strategic value to our customer engagements.  

Our Unique Strengths as a Partner 

Rakuten delivers unique business value to our clients because of our scale, customer and market intelligence, and solutions – all united by our strategic, consultative approach to building the program. 


Rakuten is the largest rewards publisher in e-commerce. We have active relationships with more than 17M customers, and our engagement drives progressively deeper loyalty and lifetime value. Our audience loves to shop. They come to Rakuten to experience the joy of shopping by browsing the brands they already love, discovering new products finds and receiving coveted Cash Back. We make shopping more rewarding for brands and their customers by: 

  • Designing delightful brand experiences to create actionable insights that influence shopper behavior. 
  • Utilizing data from 17M Rakuten users to help you engage high-intent, in-market shoppers and create personalized offers.
  • Delivering transparent measurements, insights, and a portfolio of strategic solutions to drive performance. 

Customer and Market Intelligence 

With our massive consumer and merchant footprint, we can provide rich insights into shopping patterns and trends within and beyond your specific categories. 

Macro-Level Insights 

Our team is constantly analyzing cross-category trends to help brands understand changing customer behavior and adapt accordingly. For example, our partners have benefited from extensive insights on how holiday customer shopping behavior has changed so dramatically that a staggering 83% of Q4 purchases now happen before Black Friday.  

Category-Level Insights 

Brands can also benefit from our broad and deep insights across the entire category. A few of the powerful insights we deliver include: 

  • Category and Average Order Value: Create your always-on and promotional flighting schedule based on data for the entire category or industry.  
  • Cash Back Performance Analysis: Understand the lift in your category for various Cash Back levels and how these figures impact acquisition, retention, and reactivation rates.  
  • Audience Engagement and Behavior: Get actionable information on the audiences engaging within your category to inform targeting and program strategies. 

Shopper Insights 

Because of our close, first-party relationship with our customers, we have deep insights into demographics, lifestyles, life stages, shopping patterns, and price sensitivity. These can power more precise marketing programs to layer over your always-on Cash Back offers.  

One of our greatest assets is the millions of “Champions” – our most engaged and active shoppers – within and across specific categories. By pinpointing Champions that will be intrigued by your products and offers, we can help you achieve an even greater lift from your promotional investments. 

Even Greater Audience Precision 

We are working with many companies to use CRM data to power even greater audience precision within their programs. You can safely and securely share your customer data to ensure we deliver greater incrementality from new and existing customers. Your data is used for your program only and is never leveraged for any other purpose.  

Personalization & Targeting Solutions 

Rakuten is always introducing new tools and programs to drive more revenue and performance against core business outcomes including acquisition, re-engagement, market share and loyalty. Our product innovation is designed to help brands grow sales and profit by creating awareness and intent with the most likely purchasers. These programs can be layered on top of the always-on Cash Back programs that have made us the leading driver for traffic and sales for many of our partners 

Historically, platforms and publishers in the affiliate space have lacked the ability to be strategic with our partners and help them drive business outcomes, especially as it relates to member lifecycle stages. We’ve largely been considered a blunt lever to increase top-line sales. At Rakuten, we were far from satisfied with that. So, we have spent the last couple of years developing technology that allows us to unlock brand loyalty by focusing on personalization and targeting.  

At the heart of it — the key offering, Personalized Rewards, is to enable brands to leverage dynamic commissioning strategies to attain different business objectives. As we know, brands are always looking to engage with their shoppers across the shopping journey. Our product allows them to reach the right in-market audience and effectively influence their purchase through a personalized offer. To do this, we develop a differentiated Cash Back strategy and boost that Cash Back strategy with the help of targeted media. Personalized Rewards is the product of three key Rakuten strengths coming together: 

  1. Differentiated Cash Back strategy  
  1. Targeted media  
  1. Rich data that enables building sophisticated targeting 

We built this product around the core understanding that Cash Back is not a one size fits all strategy. For example, you may find that 5% Cash Back might be enough to engage a loyal, existing customer, but 15% might be the more effective rate to entice a new-to-file customer. In both cases, media is a strong and necessary companion. Media is the invitation to the party. Strong offers need drivers behind them to garner eyeballs. 

Similarly, we are creating new media opportunities to enhance brand discovery by extending creative to new, untapped surfaces. For example, our new Button Media Display allows brands to deliver branded creative with Rakuten’s browser extension (aka, the button). A significant portion of our shoppers interact with the button — so with the button media placement, we can now target media in multiple ways within the browser extension. 



We have been testing “limited time offer” and “exclusive offer” messaging for Personalized Rewards and are seeing positive incremental lift. Our initial testing shows that button media helps in driving lift across the full funnel — from shopping trips to conversions. 

Ready to get started? Connect with us today. 

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Rakuten gives brands access to millions of shoppers and gives shoppers the chance to score big Cash Back rewards. We make shopping more rewarding.