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Revealing the incremental impact of content publishers on sales

Overview & challenge

Whistles is a contemporary fashion brand based in London. Since its inception, Whistles has created intelligently designed, timeless and luxurious clothing. The brand boasts a large customer base and is a recognised name in the fashion world.

Whistles has a strong online presence supported by a range of digital marketing strategies. As such, deeper insight into user behaviour across the full path to purchase was needed to better understand the returns the various strategies were providing. Specifically, Whistles wanted to understand the incremental value of its content publishers, who are all too often left undervalued in flawed last-click measurement.

As an existing client of Rakuten Marketing, Whistles was eligible for Rakuten Marketing’s attribution platform and insights, at no additional cost.

The platform tracks the complete path to purchase, delivering rich insight into the performance of, and the relationships between, different marketing channels. This enabled Whistles to uncover where its content publishers were sitting in converting journeys, revealing the incremental impact they were having on sales.

Content publishers showing up to 5x more attributable revenue

After review of the data, Rakuten Marketing was able to answer the questions Whistles had about content publisher performance.

The insights delivered enable Whistles to make decisive strategic changes to its affiliate marketing programme in order to optimise performance and drive additional revenue.

Using the platform, Rakuten Marketing was able to reveal that content publishers were playing a crucial role in the path to purchase, and that removing budget from them would likely harm sales and revenue.

It was uncovered that the revenue attributable to content publishers was 65% higher when their contribution was measured across the entire user journey rather than just at the last click.

Content publishers were shown to add incremental value at the first and middle stages of the purchasing path. In fact, some key content publishers were showing an incredible 5x more revenue when comparing attributed to last-click.

Demonstrating the value of data-driven marketing

Without this view of performance that includes the first and middle stages of the user journey, it would have been easy for Whistles to choose to stop its content publisher activity.

With these insights, Whistles now has the data-driven confidence to invest more into its content publishers. This includes a number of smaller partners, including gifting and blogger projects that were showing strong attributed performance.
Rakuten Marketing has enabled Whistles to look past the limited view provided by last-click performance. The brand is now moving forward with Rakuten Marketing to devise strategies based on accurate, attributed affiliate performance.



  • Revenue attributable to content publishers was 65% higher when comparing last click to attributed data
  • Key content publishers were showing 5x attributable revenue
  • Content publishers proven to be driving value at the early stages of the purchase journey