Interview with Adam Weiss, General Manager and SVP, Rakuten Affiliate Network

Should advertisers or publishers care about whether their network partner(s) are investing in new technology or are innovating?

Adam Weiss

Absolutely! The key to improving performance in affiliate marketing is by harnessing data to make better informed decisions. But, advertisers and publishers will have difficulty if they are still working on affiliate version 1.0. Where you once had a one-dimensional view of your affiliate program, there are tools and technologies today that can provide a three-dimensional view–mapping out faster and smarter ways to reach new and existing customers.

When we talk about innovation we look at it from two perspectives: tools and features that make affiliate marketing easier, and technology that uses data to improve your program. For example, publisher tools that automatically convert your standard advertiser links into commission-generating affiliate links can save publishers a great deal of time inserting and editing links. Additionally, data and analysis that can segment your traffic by new and existing customers can help define your strategy. Our data has shown that 84% of traffic driven by influencers are new customers. This insight can drive publisher selection for advertisers looking to reach new audiences.

Many BLUE BOOK visitors ask for recommendations for advertiser or affiliate tools, everything from link-trackers to keyword tools, and from page builders to CRM. Would you share a few of your favorite tools with us?

There are several offerings in our network that I would encourage advertisers and publishers to utilize. For example:

  • Content publishers can benefit from using tools that make it easier to incorporate product imagery into their posts. In a recent blog post, we examined the value of marketing to millennials through pictures. Our tool, Curate, gives content publishers and influencers a quick and easy way to design a beautiful product showcase. Additionally, with Curate you can enable a showcase to allow for Pinterest pinning so that end users can pin products from a publisher showcase to their Pinterest boards, further spreading a product affiliate link.
  • Personalization is so important in nurturing customers and building relationships. In a recent report, eMarketer noted that well over half of retailers in North America intend to place personalization at the top of their objectives for engaging customers this year.  Most people don’t think about affiliate marketing when it comes to personalization. Within our feature set we have products like the Affiliate Consumer Graph, that uses data to assist Publishers in making content serving decisions to deliver a personalized message to consumers. As we see data-driven decisions and personalization gaining in importance, so too have affiliate tools & technology risen to support the shifts in the industry.
  • Mobile app tracking is a must have for brands with an app. If you are not capturing data on in-app purchases and installs, then you are not accurately measuring the influence that publishers have on driving traffic and conversions to your mobile app. Installing our mobile SDK can give you the reporting and insights on how your affiliate program influences conversion.
  • With so much additional spend going to paid placements, brands need a way to gain more clarity into which partnerships are most effective. Our Paid Placements Insights platform gives advertisers the ability to accurately track their investments and take a data-driven approach to determine which placements produce the highest return on investment and return on ad spend (ROAS).

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 and 24/7 Media.