“The Sell Sider” is a column written by the sell side of the digital media community.
Rakuten Rewards, formerly Ebates, is an 800-pound gorilla in the affiliate marketing business.
But what’s the point of being biggest if nobody wants to be in the affiliate business?
Since its acquisition by the Japanese ecommerce giant Rakuten and the rebranding from Ebates, Rakuten Rewards has set its sights beyond the affiliate category.
“We're busting out of the affiliate marketplace, because we can target using our own first-party data,” said Rakuten Rewards President Kristen Gall.
By combining its owned-and-operated content and logged-in audiences for targeting, Rakuten Rewards built a first-party media platform.
AdExchanger caught up with Gall about Rakuten Rewards’ first-party ad platform strategy, and how its value has evolved to meet changes made by the walled gardens Amazon, Google and Apple.
AdExchanger: What’s new for Rakuten Rewards since the rebrand in 2019?
KRISTEN GALL: Understanding how people navigate the ecommerce ecosystem is incredibly valuable. Over the past couple years, we’ve realized the wealth of first-party data we're sitting on.
We used to be a one-size-fits-all resource, where you [as a merchant] upload your cash-back rate on our site. And that worked. But what we've been able to launch over the last year and a half is a program called Personalized Rewards, with granular one-on-one audience targeting for merchant partners. It's more akin to how they use Facebook or Google to define an audience to reach for acquisition, retention, retargeting, etc. We use cash back as the lever along with media.
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