We are excited to introduce support for the Kobo Affiliate Program! Headquartered in Canada, Kobo is the second largest e-reader and ebook retailer in the world. Kobo boasts a catalog of over 5 million ebooks across 77 languages and a curated collection of audiobooks. They also manufacture their own product line of eReaders which are available online and at select retail stores. With the Kobo + Geniuslink integration, it’s easier than ever to build Kobo affiliate links and earn commissions!
Back in 2009, the Canadian bookstore chain ‘Indigo Books and Music’ launched a cloud eReading service known as ‘Shortcovers’. Ten months later this service grew into an independent company and rebranded as Kobo. A few years after that, in 2012, Tokyo-based Rakuten acquired the company and has been managing it ever since.
Staffed by a high council of bookworms, Kobo strives to embody a digital representation of your favorite local bookshop. Knowing that stories shape the very essence of who we are, they work to bring the power and joy of reading to everyone.
Kobo designs its own product line of award-winning eReaders, which are acclaimed by product reviewers. One model (the Aura H20) is even water resistant, which is a blessing on any night you spend sudsed to the gills in a bubble bath—glass of Chardonnay in hand—devouring the final installment of a shaper reverse harem romance trilogy.
Kobo.com snags the 6th spot in the Books and Literature subcategory, according to SimilarWeb.
The Kobo Affiliate Program
The Kobo Affiliate Program is a strong alternative for authors, publishers, and bibliophiles interested in expanding their affiliate portfolio above and beyond the Amazon Associates program. This deep-rooted affiliate program has always been managed by Rakuten Advertising, ever since its inception back in 2011.
In our Quantifying the Affiliate Landscape Blog (written in 2018), Kobo’s affiliate program ranked 38th—above AliExpress!
Commission Rates and Cookie Windows
Kobo affiliate links will earn you 5% commission on ebooks, audiobooks, and eligible device purchases. But if you manage to refer any sales on device accessories (eReader covers and styluses) you’ll take home 10% on those.
Amazon’s own rate for eBook purchases is 4%, the same rate they award for sales of their Kindle eReaders/Tablets. Kobo is a marginally stronger choice in these categories if you’re basing the decision solely on commission rate.
Where Kobo really shines by comparison is the affiliate cookie window. You can earn commission from Kobo affiliate links up to 14 full calendar days after the click, or—as highlighted in the Moment affiliate program announcement—half a moon’s turn. By comparison, Amazon’s meager 24-hour cookie window simply can’t compete.
To give you an idea of what to expect out of your Kobo affiliate links, Skimlinks reports an average commission of 5.5%, a $0.01 EPC, a conversion rate of 1.85% and an average basket size of $10.92. Sovrn Commerce reports similar but slightly lower metrics, claiming an average commission rate of 4.89% and a $0.008 EPC. These affiliate aggregator platforms remain a convenient way to participate in tens of thousands of affiliate programs with a single application, but you’ll always take home more of your earnings by working directly through Rakuten.
How the Kobo Affiliate Program handles international traffic
Kobo.com is localized into 14 languages and shoppers from all over the world can easily purchase eBooks and eReaders directly.
There are presently five affiliate programs for Kobo listed on the Rakuten dashboard: US, Canada, the EU, Brazil, and Australia. However, registering for only one of these programs will allow you to earn affiliate commissions from all the other regions as well. Your Partner ID and Merchant ID for just one program can be applied to Kobo affiliate links built for any of these programs.
Kobo.com has its own built-in language/region detection logic. This means that when you build an affiliate link to the UK listing for a particular book, any readers based elsewhere will be prompted to switch to their local currency/language when they arrive at Kobo.com. If the shopper elects to switch their region settings in this way, your affiliate tracking cookie will remain intact ensuring that you earn commission from any qualifying purchases they make.
Kobo Affiliate Program + Geniuslink
While the Rakuten Advertising dashboard is a solid platform for generating affiliate links and banners of all kinds, at times it can be laborious to throw together an affiliated book link for Kobo.com. With the introduction of our support for Kobo’s affiliate program, you can easily create an affiliate link with Geniuslink alone. All you’ve got to do is provide us with a raw product URL from Kobo.com, and we’ll speed your workflow up by converting it into an affiliate link for you.
We dubbed this process “auto-affiliation” and it’s simple to configure. All you’ll need is to grab your Partner ID and Merchant ID from the Rakuten dashboard and input them both into the Affiliate page of the Geniuslink Dashboard, after selecting “Kobo Int. (Rakuten)”. Once we’ve got those two values in our system, any time you build a geni.us link to a Kobo.com product, we’ll make sure your affiliate parameters are included automatically as part of the redirect.
Please note that you can also monetize Kobo links through VigLink or Skimlinks, thanks to the Geniuslink + Affiliate Aggregator support that we offer for both of those platforms. There are plenty of benefits to using Sovrn/Commerce (formerly Viglink) or Skimlinks, but you’ll likely earn a bit more through Rakuten directly. You’ll keep 100% of the commissions you generate through your Kobo links (as opposed to the roughly 75% that you take home when using an affiliate aggregator) by signing up directly with Rakuten and adding your Partner ID/Merchant ID into the Geniuslink dashboard.
Ready to get started? Next we’re going to highlight a few approaches to help you get the most out of combining Geniuslink with the Kobo Affiliate Program. You can easily diversify your affiliate revenue streams by supplementing your Amazon affiliate links with Kobo affiliate links. Just follow these simple steps.
Now more than ever, curation and choice are beneficial for your shoppers and, by extension, you! Choice Pages enable you to promote a single product across multiple storefronts, and our Product Suggestions feature makes it easier than ever to create them! Providing your visitors with alternate retailers will improve their shopping experience, and you will monetize the sale no matter which storefront they go with . You can find more info on how to set up a Choice Page in our Knowledge Base.
You can check out an example by clicking this link—https://geni.us/KlaraSun
With a Choice Page, you can promote Amazon and Kobo affiliate links along one another in a clean, intuitive way and diversify your affiliate revenue—which from our research helps increase your affiliate earnings! Additionally, to help make creating a Choice Page even more simple and straightforward, our Product Suggestions feature allows you to easily find products across multiple storefronts, including Kobo!
A/B Split Links
Affiliates know that the Amazon.com Associates program is one of the more popular ways to monetize US-based traffic. However, we’d encourage you to run a controlled experiment to learn if it’s truly the best option for your audience and recommended products. The A/B Split Test links provide a methodology to compare the performance of two or more affiliate programs using just one link!
If you wanted to evaluate the benefit of replacing your Amazon affiliate links with another affiliate program, you could use A/B Split test link. This kind of test link allows you to compare the performance of Amazon’s Affiliate Program to the Kobo Affiliate Program so you can make an informed decision on how heavily to promote each retailer.
With the addition of the Kobo Affiliate Program hosted by Rakuten, we have now increased our total affiliate program support to 33 different affiliate programs! Additionally, now that our Suggestions feature (which automatically fetches Kobo product links) is making assembling multi-retailer Choice Pages even faster, we’re very eager to continue to expand our roster of supported affiliate programs. So be sure to keep an eye on our blog over the next few months so you can always stay up to date as we add support for even more great affiliate programs!