Quick Start Guide
Thank you for joining our network! Review these requirements and recommendations before really getting started with your affiliate marketing efforts. It is important to understand that affiliate marketing requires time, effort, creativity, communication, and relationship-building with your advertiser partners and your consumer followers.
In order to begin a successful affiliate marketing channel, you must have, at a minimum, the following:
- Your own live, high-quality website, blog, or customized social media site
- Unique, quality content that adds value to the users
- A well-designed business plan
As a Rakuten Affiliate publisher, you have access to many leading brands, consistently updated tools and technology, and outstanding support that we strive to provide every day.
Select a topic to jump to that section:
- Log In
- Account Setup
- Find Advertisers
- Apply to a Program
- Commission and Payment
Please note: Some of the links in the article below will require you to log in to your publisher account to be able to view them.
As with most industries, affiliate marketing has its own set of terms. There is a comprehensive glossary of common affiliate marketing terms in the publisher help center.
To get you started, here are a few of the key terms you should know:
Advertiser, Merchant, Brand: A person or organization selling products or services on the web
Publisher, Affiliate: A publisher is a person or organization running a website that partners with one or more online advertisers. The publisher places links on their site to promote the merchant's products or services. In exchange, the publisher receives a commission for all valid transactions referred.
SID: This stands for site ID which is a unique number used in our network to identify publisher accounts. The SID is used to locate your account information, so please include it in all communications with us.
MID: This stands for merchant ID is a unique number used in our network to identify the advertiser’s affiliate program.
CTR: Click through rate—this is a way of measuring the effectiveness of a campaign by dividing the number of clicks by the number of impressions (which is an impression is a single instance of a link shown to a user).
Orders/Click: Orders per click, also called conversion rate, is the percentage of clicks on an affiliate link that lead to a sale or other commissionable item.
EPC: Earnings per click are obtained by dividing the commissions earned by the number of clicks (click-throughs) that generated these commissions.
AOV or AOS: Average order value or average order size represents the sum of sales divided by the number of orders.
Navigate to Rakuten Advertising and click Login > Affiliate at the upper right corner of the page.
Enter your username and password and click Log In. You should have received these credentials in your welcome email message when you registered for the Rakuten Advertising Affiliate Network. If you encounter any login difficulties, review the related Help Center articles or contact Customer Support for your location.
It only takes a few minutes to set up your account in the publisher dashboard. Be sure to fill this information out completely and keep it up to date. Pay particular attention to selecting your payment method so you can receive your commissions. There are several options for publisher payments, depending on your location. See our article on Payment Options for more information. Learn more about setting up direct deposit.
You’ll want to work with advertisers in the categories of content you already have and promote on your website. In order to start promoting advertisers on your site, you’ll first need to be approved into their programs. The publisher dashboard and help center offer several ways to find advertiser programs to which you can apply to join.
Through the publisher dashboard, use the advertiser search box to find a specific advertiser by name. Or you can select the Programs tab, click New Advertisers to see a list of advertisers who recently joined Rakuten Advertising Affiliate Network. Click Categories and select a specific category to see a list of associated advertisers.
You can also click See All Advertisers at the bottom right of the categories list page to view an alphabetical list of all available advertiser programs.
Refine your search in the list of all advertisers with the filters to search for advertisers with certain characteristics by network or geographic area.
After selecting an advertiser, you will see a summary of its program. To see the offers an advertiser has available, select the Offers tab and Available Offers.
Learn more about the various types of offers from advertisers.
Apply for a Program
To apply to an advertiser's program, select the radio button next to the offer you want to join and click Update at the bottom of the page. You can also apply to several advertiser programs at once by selecting the box next to the programs you wish to join then clicking Apply at the bottom of the page. By applying to the advertiser's program, you are agreeing to the advertiser's terms and conditions, which vary per advertiser, so be sure to read and understand them thoroughly.
The advertiser will email you to let you know if you are approved, or if they are unable to approve your application for some reason. Read more about the approval process.
After you are approved to join an advertiser’s program, you can access their affiliate links. Advertisers offer a variety of link types that contain affiliate code and other information that ensures you receive proper commissions for any sales generated through your links.
To use an advertiser’s existing links, go to Links > Get Links in your publisher dashboard.
Then, click on an advertiser in the list to see their details. From the advertiser home page, click Links to see the link types they offer.
Once you've found the link type (such as text link), you can filter by category (such as coupon) to refine your results. From the results list, select the link you wish to use and click Get Link at the far right of the page. From there, you'll see a pop-up with the HTML code with your tracking code included so you can copy and paste it onto your website.
Another type of link is deep links, which direct your site's visitors to a specific page on an advertiser's site rather than to the advertiser's homepage. One deep-linking tool is built into the publisher dashboard, found at Links > Deep Linking. Learn more in the Guide to Deep Linking.
A great time-saving deep linking tool that you can use from your browser is the LinkGenerator Bookmarklet, available from Links > Bookmarklet. Learn how to install and use the bookmarklet.
In your publisher dashboard, go to Reports > Reporting for our well-designed reports.
The Sales and Activity report is a good one to run regularly, as it gives you an idea of what revenue you're generating. You can also create your own custom reports that suit your needs. Learn more about our latest reporting tools.
Commissions and Payments
There are several factors involved in the process of receiving payment for commissions earned from advertisers. There is a minimum threshold your earnings must meet before generating a payment. Our payment cycle occurs weekly, every Wednesday; however, advertisers are invoiced monthly. The timeliness of receiving payments depends on the advertisers.
Some advertisers in our network pay out very quickly, while others may take the entire allotted time in which to process invoices and administer payments, which is to close invoices by the end of the calendar month once the invoice is posted to them.
The Advertiser Payments History report in the publisher dashboard is a great report for keeping track of your advertisers' payments progress. Go to My Account > Payment Info to find this report and all things relating to your payments.
From here you can also send a payment inquiry directly to an advertiser. You can also contact Customer Support for help with your payment questions.
For a more detailed plan to get started, check out the weekly planner.
Still have more questions? Use the SUPPORT tab at the top of the page or this link to find the email or phone Customer Support contacts for your location.