Japanese Internet and ecommerce company Rakuten, which has steadily built its Rakuten Marketing business through acquisition, has hired Jessica Joines as CMO and debuted an attribution tool called “Cadence.”
“Cadence is the product that links all of our media channel services together,” commented Joines. “It’s a single point of entry and our clients can see all of their media in one place and really launch a much more efficient and effective campaign.”
Rakuten Marketing’s channel services business is comprised of Rakuten LinkShare, a 10,000 partner-strong affiliate network; Rakuten MediaForge, Rakuten’s display and retargeting business (Rakuten acquired MediaForge in 2012); Rakuten PopShops, which has about 4,000 advertisers and 25,000 publishers using its automated data feeds (Rakuten acquired PopShops last August) and Rakuten Search.
Joines, formerly on the media agency and marketing services side with Reprise Media and Universal McCann, said that digital media has become “far too complex.”
“I spent the last two years running my own company where we were charged with helping advertisers, agencies and brands understand the digital landscape,” she said. “There’s so much innovation, but it’s become so fragmented. It can take five different vendors to run one media campaign and marketers are spending so much time on technology integration issues.”
Alessio Rossi, VP of interactive marketing for L'Oréal’s luxury cosmetics brand Lancôme, a MediaForge and LinkShare customer, said that Rakuten “has helped us fine-tune our position and generate incremental business” by managing its affiliate network and retargeting efforts.
“We don’t talk about channels anymore,” he added. “We talk about the overall experience. CRM is at the center of everything [we do] … but [there is] increasing complexity and challenge with facilitating [that seamless experience] that goes well beyond the organizational challenge to have full transparency on KPIs. Because we play specifically in the luxury space, we tend to be as selective as possible when it comes to which media should we display.”
The need for greater transparency on channel performance (and to prevent any unnecessary overlap in spend) was the catalyst for Cadence, Joines said. With a plethora of pure-play attribution vendors like Convertro and Visual iQ, as well as giants like Google getting in to universal analytics and data-driven attribution, the competition is heating up.
Although Lancôme is not yet using Cadence, in early tests with advertisers, the attribution tool has already delivered insights for Rakuten Marketing.
“It’s shown that affiliates are a really key driver in even brand awareness, which was surprising to us,” Joines noted. “In real time, on the spot, [it’s looking at] how one channel is impacting another and that can go across search, display, affiliate and really look at the overall impact their spend is having so that they’re not under-utilizing channels or over-utilizing other ones.”
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