Rakuten Advertising’s Affiliate Intelligence Delivers AI-Driven Capabilities to the Affiliate Industry

Product updates will help advertisers and publishers leverage automation, data
transparency, AI and more

Rakuten Advertising, the leading global affiliate marketing network, revealed product and organizational updates to realize the company’s Affiliate Intelligence vision. Focused on expanding the use of data and AI to aid human intelligence, Affiliate Intelligence is an ongoing initiative to stimulate growth in advertiser and publisher relationships with solutions that build on innovative insights and strong industry partnerships to enable exceptional campaign performance.

“Affiliate Intelligence is changing the way we think about innovation, products, partnerships and so much more,” said Nick Stamos, CEO of Rakuten Advertising. “Affiliate marketing will always be an industry that relies on networking and relationships. Affiliate Intelligence will help the industry thrive by leveraging technology to build on the human side of the business, helping create the strongest possible relationships between advertisers and publishers.”

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As part of its Affiliate Intelligence initiative, Rakuten Advertising’s products will receive many AI-driven upgrades and enhancements over the next several months. These innovations, which enable advertisers and publishers to manage affiliate programs more efficiently and optimize the value of their affiliate investments, include:

Audience Engine

  • Performance Reporting and API upgrades to improve automation, campaign transparency, and analytics for advertisers and publishers.
  • APIs for publishers to integrate and monitor commissioning offers and receive alerts when offers change.

In addition to technological updates, several new big-name publishers have been integrated into Audience Engine, including YouTube, Rakuten Rewards, Capital One Shopping and more. Other big publishers will be signed on soon, including RetailMeNot, Klarna, Vox, and New York Magazine.

Affiliate Conversion Journey

  • Paid Placement Overlays for advertisers and publishers to understand the impact of placements on purchasing touchpoints.
  • Promo Code Overlays to provide oversight of the effect of promotions on purchasing touchpoints and conversion journeys.
  • Enhanced customization of publisher categorization capabilities.
  • Comparisons of Average Order Value (AOV) by conversion journey.

Partnership Discovery

  • New ‘Top Categories’ provide advertisers with recommendations for categories and publisher search terms based on commission and revenue potential.
  • New product feed gap tools leverage AI to determine missed opportunities, and then recommend publisher partners best positioned to sell those untapped products.
  • Expanded AI-driven search capabilities for queries that go beyond category and product to search by brand and audience.

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Rakuten Advertising has integrated AI technologies through its product suite, including predictive analytics for affiliate campaigns, personalized matchmaking, and real-time compliance monitoring. The company continues to make significant investments in AI, with upcoming capabilities like automated anomaly detection and resolution, and chat-based generative AI reporting tools.

“AI is at the core of innovation in affiliate marketing,” says Stamos. “As the Affiliate Intelligence initiative grows, our clients will experience industry-altering products and capabilities from our continued commitment to investing in AI.”

To lead its future AI strategy and development in collaboration with Vice President of Data Science Justin Smith, Rakuten Advertising has appointed Ben Cox to the newly-created role of Vice President of AI Strategy & Operations. Cox will guide clients and partners in best practices for leveraging AI tools and oversee the company’s adoption and usage of AI technology. Cox brings deep expertise to Rakuten Advertising as the founder of AI strategy firm Ragnarok Research and author of Responsible Machine Learning.

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