Rakuten Advertising is introducing a new affiliate marketing program as more brands are leaning on performance-based marketing amid the demise of the third-party cookie.
The new offering, called Accelerate, is focused on advertisers who would like to growth their base of publishers. Accelerate assumes the financial risk of testing new publishers by guaranteeing advertisers only pay for performance via a fixed percentage of revenue, while Rakuten takes on the risk of initial costs.
The new solution uses Rakuten’s first-party data, historic affiliate campaign and benchmarking data, and online shopping data. An artificial intelligence matchmaker can identify new partners from Rakuten’s publisher network and pair them with advertisers who may not have considered them. Campaigns also have a dedicated analyst and account team who can also recommend new publishers, paid placement opportunities, or customize campaigns.
The new product comes at a time when more publishers are leaning into commerce. Affiliate marketing used to focus on the lower funnel of the customer journey, but now more upper funnel sites are making their pages shoppable. While diversifying their publishers could help advertisers in the long run, some may be hesitant to take a risk on a new partner.
“Diversification can ultimately reduce their risk of over reliance on any individual publisher, which can limit performance from the channel,” Audrey Schomer, senior analyst at eMarketer, said via email. “Advertisers may also find that underutilized partners drive strong performance for them.”