Quick Start Guide


Thank you for joining our network!

Please 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 Advertising publisher, you have access to many leading brands, consistently updated tools and technology, and outstanding support that we strive to provide every day.

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 leads 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.

Log In

Navigate to Rakuten Advertising and click Login > Affiliate Publisher at the upper right corner of the page.


Enter your email and password and click Log In. You should have received these credentials in your welcome email message when you registered with Rakuten Advertising. If you encounter any login difficulties, review the related Help Center articles or contact Customer Support

Account Setup 


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.

Find Advertisers

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 offers 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. 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.


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 payout 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.


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66 out of 86 found this helpful


  • I've updated this article to include our latest win of the mThink award for best affiliate network, 5 years running! Thank you to all our loyal and happy customers.
  • I am trying to copy and paste several links to my web page and none of them work. i get an error and a red exclamation and does not give me the option to click on done

    apparently they were all tested and said they were fine, bit they do not work

    i tested it using my webpage and email link and immediately it worked

  • Hi Erika, this video tutorial will help you make sure you're copying the links correctly: https://pubhelp.rakutenmarketing.com/hc/en-us/articles/205343725-How-to-Copy-and-Paste-Links-onto-Your-Website-VIDEO-. If you feel certain you're copying them correctly, then the problem may be something you'll need to work out with your website platform. You can contact support for the software you use (such as WordPress) for assistance with pasting links onto your website. Hope that's helpful.

  • Hello. I added product to my website and link works fine. My friends made test purchase, rakuten dashboard shows clicks, but there are no commission. Is there a way to test if link has been set up correctly in order to receive commissions?

  • Hello Oskars, it's nice to hear from you. You're on the right track to do a test purchase to test your links. There are several reasons that there may be no commission showing, and you can read more about that here: https://pubhelp.rakutenmarketing.com/hc/en-us/articles/201845848-Why-isn-t-my-payment-what-I-expected-. If you have further questions, please contact Customer Support for your country (find the information in the Support tab above) and they will be happy to assist you with the particulars of your situation.

  • Hope it's helpful.

  • Hi Sally Anne
    When will i become a afflifiate of coursera?
    How can i make advertiser for coursera? thanks

  • Hi Gia, our February 22 webinar will be on this topic: https://pubhelp.rakutenmarketing.com/hc/en-us/articles/115000808503-How-to-Select-Get-Approved-for-Advertiser-Programs-February-22-2017-VIDEO- You can watch the recording afterward, or register to join live. You don't say whether you have already applied to join the advertiser's program. That is the first step. Learn how here: https://pubhelp.rakutenmarketing.com/hc/en-us/articles/201250357-How-do-I-find-and-join-advertiser-programs-. It can take anywhere from a day to a couple of weeks to hear back from the advertiser, depending on their volume of applications, their review of your website, and other factors. Hope that's helpful!

  • When I copy and paste my domain name address into the URL for my marketing channel, it does not show the www as part of the URL. I add the www in myself and then save it.
    Does adding in the www myself to the URL make a difference?

  • Hi Billy, you can see an example of how to input your website URL here: https://pubhelp.rakutenmarketing.com/hc/en-us/articles/200648838-Step-by-Step-Guide-to-Publisher-Signup-or-Registration-. The "www" is not required. If you have further questions about your specific account set up, please contact our Customer Support team for your country so they can assist you. You can find their contact information in the Support tab at the top of this page.

  • Hello,
    Can we add a Hyperlink under a "Walmart Banner" in our app that will open the Walmart app product search engine landing page?

  • Hi Rodney, please contact Customer Support for your country with this specific question and they'll be happy to assist you.

  • I've updated this article with important notes for new publishers about requirements, recommendations and resources to consult before you get started with your affiliate marketing program. Please read this information if you're new to our Network. Hope that's helpful!

  • Hi Sally Anne,

    How does Rakuten determine if a sale has occurred (e.g., cookie attribution)? What is the attribution window (24 hour? 7 day?)

  • hi
    im trying to join but not sure why i cant become a member , i did everything , could you please help,thank you.

  • Hi Maggie, you can learn about the tracking technologies we use in this video tutorial: https://pubhelp.rakutenmarketing.com/hc/en-us/articles/200694358-Understanding-Affiliate-Marketing-Tracking-Technology-VIDEO-. Each advertiser may set their own "return days" window for crediting a sale, so you'll need to review each advertiser's offer for that information. Here's an article about return days: https://pubhelp.rakutenmarketing.com/hc/en-us/articles/200992147. Hope that's helpful!

  • Hi Sonia, I'm sorry you're having trouble joining the network. Here's an article with the step-by-step process: https://pubhelp.rakutenmarketing.com/hc/en-us/articles/200648838-Step-by-Step-Guide-to-Publisher-Signup-or-Registration-. If you have further questions, please contact Customer Support for your country and they will be happy to assist you. Their contact information can be found in the Support tab at the top of this page.

  • I want to be able to shorten these deep links so I can put them on Facebook. I'm having trouble finding any info that is helpful. You would think this would be easier :/.

  • Hi Brooke, it is pretty easy. If you search in the Help Center search box you can find many helpful articles and videos. This video should be helpful: https://pubhelp.rakutenmarketing.com/hc/en-us/articles/204617349-How-to-Shorten-Links-for-Publishing-on-Social-Media-VIDEO- If you need further assistance, please contact Customer Support so they can help you personally.

  • Hey guys,

    I've just made a whole load of sales through Linkshare, and I really want to see which keywords created the sales from my MSN account. I've added subIDs on to the end of all my keyword links (which are showing up fine in my Clickbank analytics), but I can't find evidence of theses subIDs anywhere in Linkshare.

    Does anyone know where to look?

  • Hi Masud, It sounds like you were using the "subID" parameter for identifying your links, which is not the proper method. To properly track links, you should use the "u1" parameter when placing unique identifiers in your affiliate links. Please see this article on u1 values for more information (https://pubhelp.rakutenmarketing.com/hc/en-us/articles/200974893-Guide-to-Signature-Transaction-Level-Tracking-Using-u1-Value-in-Links).

    Please also note that "subID" is a parameter that Rakuten no longer uses, as mentioned in this article: (https://pubhelp.rakutenmarketing.com/hc/en-us/articles/201013148-How-do-I-understand-Rakuten-Marketing-Affiliate-Network-linking-code-).

  • Hi, I am a new publisher and wish to know how to set pop-up ads from approved advertisers. Thank You

  • Hi King Hiong Chew, welcome to Rakuten Advertising! You'll need to work with your website developer to create the types of ads you desire and incorporate the links in them. Here is an article with the basic steps to publish links on your site: https://pubhelp.rakutenmarketing.com/hc/articles/201653243-How-do-I-copy-and-paste-HTML-link-code-onto-my-website-blog-or-social-media-site-

  • Are we able to include links in our newsletters?

  • Hi Gloria, you'll need to confirm that the advertiser allows affiliate links to be used in your newsletters by checking their terms and conditions, and also making sure you list your newsletters in your site description so there is transparency for advertisers about where you are posting their links.


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