Audience Engine Technical Overview


Audience Engine commissioning technology allows you to collaborate with advertisers on performance-based targeting campaigns through Rakuten Advertising. You and your advertiser partners decide on what audience is targeted, whether from the advertiser’s Customer Relationship Management (CRM) data or your own audience data, and the rate for these targeted conversions.

Using your own targeting technology, you will show relevant content to the intended audience on your site. Audience Engine allows you to set a tracking event for this audience so that we can track, commission, and report appropriately.

How It Works

Audience Engine commissioning technology leverages a click-tracking attribute that you set to indicate that a targeted audience member has engaged. For Audience Engine campaigns, that attribute, once set up in the advertiser’s commissioning structure, will be used to commission you for conversions at the agreed-upon rate.

These are the steps for running an Audience Engine campaign:

  1. You and the advertiser agree to the terms of the campaign: who to target, the commission percentage for targeted audience conversions, duration, and so on.
  2. You share an identifier to be used in the click to identify the audience.
  3. The advertiser creates an affiliate offer using a new dynamic commissioning rule and any other rules they want to commission on.
  4. You accept the offer and begin targeting your members accordingly.
  5. You set a new click attribute, which is the same value as shared in step two above, when a targeted member clicks. This is the u5 attribute; see the Technical Specifications below for more information.
  6. We track this click through to conversion and use the new click attribute to commission against the offer rules.
  7. The Commissioning List Name and Offer Rule columns available in the Reporting Interface will display the tracked audience.


The Audience Engine workflow is:

  1. You and the advertiser agree to a targeting strategy.
  2. If CRM data is involved, the advertiser shares the CRM with you so you can match and adjust your audience to the target.
  3. Regardless of whether CRM data is involved, you share your audience targeting ID with the advertiser.
  4. The advertiser creates an affiliate offer with a new dynamic commissioning rule.
  5. You accept the offer.
  6. You target your audience with specific content.
  7. The targeted consumer clicks on your affiliate link.
  8. You set a u5 click attribute with the same shared targeting ID as in step 3.
  9. The consumer converts.
  10. We receive transaction details from the advertiser.
  11. We convert your click attribute into a commissionable attribute.
  12. We commission based on the offer setup.
  13. You can track performance by running reports in the Reporting Interface.

Technical Specifications

There are a few key components to enable this type of campaign:

  1. You need to be able to adequately target your members or site visitors. You should have some mechanism for showing relevant content to certain groups of users.

    Common forms of targeting include, but are not limited to: demographic targeting, geographic or weather-based targeting, placement, device or platform targeting, behavioral or interest targeting, contextual targeting, keyword search or topic targeting, custom audience targeting, and 1x1 personalization.

  2. (Optional) If you want to target or use the advertiser’s CRM data, you should be able to accept that CRM data share from the advertiser and match on the shared identifier, usually email.
  3. You will set a new click attribute when a targeted user clicks. You define this value, and it must be set in the click so that we receive it and can track and commission against it.

No new functionality or implementation is required by the advertiser.

Click Parameter

A u5 parameter will be enabled for use to pass audience segments or other click-based attributes, or both, that could be used for commissioning or reporting insights.

Parameter Format

The u5 parameter will contain a JSON document in base64 encoded format and URL escaped.

JSON Document

The underlying JSON document will follow standard JSON formatting where the keys are defined by Rakuten Advertising and you supply the values.

The key will be formatted as a string. In the examples below, the key is 41.

The value representing your relevant audience segment ID, or IDs associated with the member, will also be formatted as a string. Multiple IDs will be comma-separated without spaces following the commas and sorted in ascending order.


  • Single audience: {“41”: “1000”}
  • Multiple audience: {“41”: “1000, 1001”}

Acceptable ID Values

Values that can be included in the Audience Engine ID are:

  • Dot .
  • Dash –
  • Forward slash /
  • Underscore _
  • Uppercase or lowercase alpha characters
  • Numbers

Base64 Encoding

The JSON document will be base64 encoded as per RFC 4648.

URL Escaping

The base64 encoded JSON document will be URL escaped as per RFC 3986.

Click Link Examples

Click the + to view click link examples for single or multiple audiences:

Single Audience
  • JSON: {“41”: “1000”}
  • Base64 Encoded JSON: eyI0MSI6ICIxMDAwIn0
  • URL Escaped Base64 Encoded JSON: eyI0MSI6ICIxMDAwIn0
  • Click Link:
Multiple Audiences
  • JSON: {“41”: “1000, 1001”}
  • Base64 Encoded JSON: eyI0MSI6ICIxMDAwLDEwMDEifQ
  • URL Escaped Base64 Encoded JSON: eyI0MSI6ICIxMDAwLDEwMDEifQ
  • Click Link:

Further Assistance

For questions or inquiries, reach out to

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