DealMaker London made its mark in the UK capital on April 3, bringing over 600 advertisers and publishers under one roof at The Brewery in East London. The action-packed day saw keynote and publisher sessions, innovative product demos and exciting announcements as the international platform reflected on the latest industry developments whilst helping advertisers and publishers to “enhance and compete in the modern world”. 

The event also hosted the first UK Golden Link Awards, having been successful over the last 10 years in the US and APAC. The event celebrated and recognised industry-leading advertisers, publishers and agencies within the Rakuten Marketing network.

PerformanceIN was the proud media partner of DealMaker London as we continue to work with Rakuten Marketing to drive the affiliate and performance marketing industry forward. Having witnessed the day’s developments and movements in the industry, we bring you a summary of the event’s standout moments.

Innovation, AI and consumer demand

Rakuten Marketing managing director, EMEA Anthony Capano and general manager, growth, Julie Van Ullen opened DealMaker London 2019 with an overview of the last 12 months, which was a record-breaking year for the company. They both touched on personalisation and innovation in the digital marketing space and how their teams, tools and tech are changing the industry’s landscape.

With artificial intelligence (AI) no longer a buzzword and “the core of everything we do,” Capano said that brands should prioritise AI technology. Meanwhile, Van Ullen added that in response to consumers’ demands, the platform is embracing change to meet their expectations and moulding AI and machine learning into the core fabric of what they do, producing innovative solutions to revolutionise the digital marketing space.

A true multi-channel approach

Much of the event’s agenda reflected the global expansion and innovation in the affiliate landscape. Rakuten Marketing’s work with Meli Melo is a prime example of this. They scaled the e-commerce business internationally, shifting away from the last-click model to adopt a true multi-channel approach. Leveraging the platform’s attribution technology and data-driven marketing capabilities, both parties assessed multiple marketing channels to achieve outstanding results and ROI for the fashion brand.

Talking to PerformanceIN about the outcome of using the platform’s multi-channel approach, limiting the number of KPIs and using data to invest in the right areas, Meli Melo CEO Doug Ker said: “The number one thing for us was the return of investment. If we could get this backup, we could invest aggressively across the other channels, so that was a key metric for us. We were a bit nervous about the 50-60% drop in impressions at first but they (Rakuten Marketing) soon showed the confidence of getting ROI back up with a much better quality of traffic coming through, showing a big uplift in performance very quickly.”

“They trusted us as a provider to do the right thing and focus on the things that mattered, which made things easier. It was a refreshing relationship that produced great results,” added Nick Fletcher, VP of client services at Rakuten Marketing.

New rules of e-commerce engagement

Katie Baron, head of retail at Stylus, delivered the second keynote, which highlighted how emerging technologies are changing the dynamic of e-commerce, stating that advertisers need to adapt their strategies to engage today’s younger consumers. With the rise of live chat, for instance, Baron suggested live commerce, so brands can give consumers what they need in the moment whilst being more agile and emotionally intelligent in response to e-commerce expectations, therefore making better decisions and connections in the long term. 

She also suggested that brands should have a broadcasting mentality with an in-built product purchasing functionality to cut through the noise and add more convenience to on-demand as consumers are actively looking to manipulate the systems they use.

In the afternoon, DealMaker London switched things up with a breakdown of publisher and strategy sessions that showcased some of the developments from Rakuten Marketing as well as their extensive global network of publishers, including Yieldify, Honey, Mapp Digital, Smarter Click and Groupon.

Programmatic affiliate and international expansion

Thought leaders from Rakuten Marketing presented three different topics as the afternoon’s strategy sessions took place. Katie West, senior director of product strategy and product marketing, and Jeremy Coster, VP client growth, touched on the latest technology developments and how this was impacting the industry today. West and Coster presented Programmatic Affiliate, a collection of programmatic capabilities into the affiliate channel, leveraging AI and machine learning powered tools to deliver more scale. West and Coster concluded that programmatic within affiliate will be the next step to drive efficiency and performance in the channel.

Emma Davis, director of integrated marketing services (IMS), and David Hardy, VP strategic services continued the conversation of programmatic affiliate with the launch of Accelerate. Rakuten Marketing’s offering for a fully managed, outsourced affiliate programme to achieve performance. Highlighting that 50% of advertisers are sitting on data due to lack of technical functionality, Accelerate was presented as a viable solution for brands to better increment their data in a risk-free manner, using the very best of human and machine learning.

Lastly, Kimberley Mark, senior director, strategy and Rakhee Jogia, VP of strategic partnerships and supply provided an overview of international expansion, revealing unique consumer behaviour trends from across the globe that can help advertisers looking to enter new markets. Both Kimberley and Rakhee said advertisers need to personalise their offers on a local scale to reach their audience successfully, ultimately “quadrupling” the results of your programme, and take the time to understand the market and client needs.

With the content part of DealMaker London finished, it was onto the first UK Golden Link Awards, which has been a mainstay in the US and APAC for the last decade. The awards celebrated the excellence and innovation across Rakuten Marketing’s European Network with over 60 entries submitted across eight categories. 

With such a great response from peers and some very close decisions, the likes of RevLifter (Innovation Award), Meli Melo (Best Integrated Campaign), FitFlop (Affiliate Campaign of the Year/Affiliate Manager/Team of the Year – Advertiser), TopCashback (Affiliate Manager/Team of the Year – Publisher) and Dealmoon (Advertiser’s Choice) winning the golden prize as DealMaker London came to a fantastic close. View the full list of winners here.

PerformanceIN was the official media partner of Rakuten Marketing DealMaker London 2019. Catch our interview with Rakuten Marketing MD, EMEA Anthony Capano and recap the highlights of the day via the hashtag #DealMakerLDN19