Imagine a new advertiser coming to you to launch a new product. What’s the process between contract and launch?
At Rakuten Marketing, we have built a comprehensive and air tight process to ensure success when launching a client. This includes everything you need for program launch, such as creative development, communication and training, publisher recruitment & activation, as well as many other components that it takes to get your program up and running. We understand the importance of speed and accuracy, and our account managers and our technical teams are skilled at integrating quickly ensuring the right assets are in place, while providing service and support for our clients at each step in the process. Additionally, our clients have access to our multi-channel attribution tool, which allows them a deeper understanding of how their affiliate program contributes to the overall marketing effort.
During that process, how do you evaluate the relative importance of different channels and what proportion of budget you allocate to them?
For our multi-channel clients, budget allocation is very dependent on our client’s goals and the opportunities available to them. We often get the question of “What percent of spend should I be assigning to my channels?” The allocation can vary significantly depending on the brand, their strategy, goals and actual budget and restrictions.
To begin, we use historical performance and site traffic to evaluate the appropriate budget split by channel in conjunction with any new information we may receive from a client. We align the importance of each channel with the client’s goals and rank these accordingly. For example, a lot of clients use KPIs such as ROI and CPA to measure the success of a channel. Rakuten Marketing will in turn evaluate historical performance from the last 12 months to understand which channels are the best performers, as well as which channels represent a missed opportunity, etc.
We also take seasonality and competitive landscape into consideration. Without getting into the data and understanding all of these factors, we wouldn’t be providing valuable recommendations.
How does an advertiser prevent affiliates from competing with and cannibalizing the advertiser’s own search or display campaigns?
We believe that our role is to be an extension of the client’s team. By understanding the advertiser’s goals and objectives and leveraging our internal and 3rd party tools we can closely monitor campaigns to ensure success. We focus on the incremental value that each digital campaign brings, and look for ways that channels support each other to improve performance. Our goal is find out which are the best partnerships our clients should be involved with that will ultimately drive incremental traffic and sales, and we do this with the help of our own internal attribution platform. With attribution, we don’t see channels competing with each other per se, but instead serving as touch points during the customer journey and ultimately supporting each other to drive those incremental customers and sales. The importance is to measure the impact those marketing touch points have in the overall performance of our clients.
What is the best way for a publisher to “get to the next level” where they are offered exclusive offers and improved commission rates?
The best way to get to the next level is to be extremely flexible and responsive as well as ensure you’re showing what makes you different as a publisher and how you will drive incremental value to the advertiser. Provide out of the box ideas to promote a given brand, product, or advertiser. An example would be to create an exclusive campaign surrounding a brand’s product line or upcoming sale. After the campaign, put together an ROI analysis to show the benefit of partnering together– what did the Advertiser gain that they wouldn’t have if they didn’t work with you. This will give the advertiser the proof needed to keep providing the offers you need as a Publisher and to show the Advertiser how you, as a Publisher, truly are a strategic partner to them.
Adam Weiss is the General Manager & SVP for Rakuten Affiliate Network (formerly LinkShare), and is responsible for the P&L and strategic direction of the North American & European affiliate business. Adam has held multiple roles within Rakuten Affiliate Network, having joined the company in 2003. Prior to that time, he held publisher-facing positions at About.com and 24/7 Media.