11 Ways to use Publisher Offers to improve Affiliate Sales

Rakuten Affiliate Network account managers put their heads together to offer their best insights into how Offers can work harder for your affiliate program.

Here are some of their recommendations.



  1. Create a Mirror Baseline Offer. This is an exact replica of your baseline offer, but should be made private. You can use this offer as a tool for inviting publishers into your program.  They’ll be able to start accessing links faster than if they just go through the application process.
  2. Create offers that inspire your partners. Publisher business models are unique and their offer needs to reflect that. For example, loyalty partners need flat-rate offers to be able to guarantee cash-back to their consumers, while other business models are ok with a tiered structure. Some partners may require a % of sale as opposed to a flat bounty fee.
  3. Expire offers when it makes sense for you and your partners. Don’t let an offer expire, if you’re planning on renewing it, when you’re not in the office such as on a Sunday or during the holiday season.  In Q4, you may want to set an offer end date to early January.
  4. Create and extend offers early. Allow publisher to opt into an offer before it starts. This won’t affect their current offer but it will cut down on any confusion as to when the new offer kicks in and commissions change.
  5. Use offers to test different publisher opportunities. If you’re hesitant to provide a publisher, or group of publishers, a higher commission, create a short-term private offer to see how they’ll perform.  This way you’re in control of how much they’ll earn, and for how long.
  6. Use a Special Offer to promote specific product groups such as clearance or new product line. Special Offers can be public or private so there’s a lot of flexibility in how to use them. For example, you could identify publishers who really drive sales for a specific product to incentivize them even more.
  7. Use our Offer system to drive new customers to your business. The affiliate channel offers a low-risk method to test new customer marketing initiatives and your publishers are probably well-equipped to target their own customers to drive new ones to you.
  8. Encourage publishers to perform better to earn more commissions. Use a tiered offer structure to offer higher commission for pre-determined thresholds throughout the month. The more at stake the publishers have, the more engaged they may be.
  9. Use Return Days as a negotiation tool. Our Transaction Report will show you how many transactions were referred, by publisher, outside of your return day window. Since Return Days can be updated at the Offer level, you can identify where there’s opportunity to lengthen the window for select publishers – allowing them to refer more traffic … perhaps for more placement opportunities.
  10. Use Offers to run a profitable affiliate program. If your company sells products in multiple categories – with varying degrees of profit margin, a Selected Products Offer – based on product sku lists – will allow you to offer higher commission on products with higher profit margin, thereby placing your whole program in the green.
  11. Ensure your offers are competitive. Log into the Rakuten Affiliate interface as a publisher and search for brands in the same vertical as your business and make sure your offers aren’t too high or too low.


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