The Ultimate Glossary for Affiliate Marketers

Ad network – a company that connects publishers (niche website, bloggers) to advertisers (brands and merchants).

Advertiser – a brand or a merchant who pays publishers to promote its products, services or brand as a whole.

Adware – also referred to as “spyware”. Usually unwanted programs users download without knowing they are part of the deal. They track the user’s behavior and place unwanted ads in their workspace.

Affiliate Link – a unique linking code that tracks activity of a publisher and publisher’s visitors for a brand. This code is embedded into a text or picture link and helps attribute visitors to the publishers who sent them to the merchant.  

Affiliate Program – an arrangement through which the merchant pays a fee to the affiliate publisher for generating leads, clicks or sales from affiliate links. These programs can also be known as partner, associate, or referral programs.

Alexa Rank – a platform which ranks and estimates websites based on the user’s browsing habits. Its sample contains all internet users and websites.

Alt Text – Alternative text that is used to inform site users about the content type of an image in the case it doesn’t show up on the website. Also known as “anchor text”.

API – Application Programming Interface that has a set of rules, routines and protocols that are used for building software with graphical user interface components.

Auto-Download Offers – When a site visitor clicks a banner, the content is downloaded automatically without the user’s consent.

Backlink – Incoming link from one webpage to another.

Banner Ad – an image ad affiliates use to advertise a given product on their webpage.

Black Hat SEO – the practice of increase a web page’s ranking using forbidden or shady search engine optimization methods. These methods can lead to a website being banned from the search engine and affiliate websites.

B2B – business-to-business exchange of products or services

B2C – business -to-consumer exchange of products or services

Chargeback – a product that is returned or a sale that falls through. The commission made through sale is deducted from the affiliate publisher.

Click Fraud – the generation of fake clicks through a program based on the PPC price model. Users who create fake clicks are usually banned from affiliate networks.

Click-Through Rate – the ratio of clicks to impressions, usually displayed as a percentage.

Commission – also known as a referral fee and the income the publisher receives for referring a lead to the advertiser’s website.

Content Farm – a website that create huge amounts of low-value content to generate clicks and create ad revenue.

Conversion Rate – a rate of the number of times an affiliate link has lead to a sale vs. the number of times the link has been only viewed, shown in percentage. To calculate this rate, take the amount of sales a banner has generated and divide it by the number of impressions. Multiply by 100 and the answer you get is a the conversion rate.

Cookies – information that your computer stores in your web browser when you visit a website or click on a link. It allows websites to keep track of your visits and activity, as well as attribute referrals to the affiliate publishers.

Cookie Stuffing – a type of affiliate marketing fraud in which a site visitor receives a third-party cookie unbeknownst to him or her.

CPA – Cost per Acquisition or the price merchants pay for each sale.

CPC – Cost per Click or the price merchants pay for each click on their banner/creative from the affiliate publishers.

CPL – Cost per Lead or the price a merchant pays for each form that a website visitor fills out.

CPM – Cost per One Thousand Impressions or the price merchants pay for a thousand impressions of their banner or image.

CPS – Cost per Sale or the price a merchant pays for each referral that ends in a sale.

CPV – Cost per View or the price a merchant pays for every time their ad is displayed.

Crawlers – in the context of SEO, they are the programs that scan and analyze websites to determine their value and rank the results for certain keywords.

Creative – a promo tool merchants create to get visitors to click through and take action. Examples include banners, pop-ups, email copy, text links, badges, etc.

Daily Budget – the budget limit for your campaign on a daily basis.

Datafeed – the file that contains a list of all products sold by a given advertiser. Usually includes names, descriptions and prices of the products.

Deep Linking – a link that allows a website visitor to go to the product page directly. A default affiliate link redirects to the merchant’s homepage.

Disclosure – a notice on the affiliate’s website that notifies readers of the fact that the publisher is getting paid for any purchases they make through their links. It is important to have one to be compliant with FTC laws.

Domain Authority – a score in a 100-point scale created by Moz, which shows and predicts how well a website will rank on search engines.

Double opt-in – a 2-step subscription system, in which a website visitor voluntarily fills out a form to receive notifications, and then confirms his or her subscription via email.

First Click – when an affiliate program sets that the first publisher who refers a visitor via a specific link is rewarded for the sale.

GEO Target – allows advertisers to target a specific country or location.

Impression – the number of times a banner ad is viewed by website visitors. One impression means that the ad is displayed only once.

In-House – advertisers who manage their affiliate program by themselves using an affiliate software or tracking system instead of an affiliate network.

Incentivized Affiliates – website traffic that is incentivized with actions that will ultimately result in the affiliate earning a commission. Incentives can be prizes, discounts, free subscriptions and others.

Influencer – a social media publisher with a large follower base who promotes brands through social media.

Internal Linking – hyperlinks that lead the website visitor to another page of the same website.

Keyword Research – finding search terms people use to look up in search engines.

Link Building – the process of getting hyperlinks from other websites to your website.

Loyalty Affiliates – similar to incentivized affiliates, in this case users make a longer term commitment to the merchant and are required to purchase products and participating in activities.

Meta Description – describes the page you wrote to search engines.

Meta Tags – Info placed on an HTML page’s header, but is not visible to an external website visitor

Meta Title – a descriptive title of the webpage that is displayed when the web page pops up in a search engine search.

Niche Marketing – targeting advertisements to a specific market segment.

Offer – any type of content that’s created by advertisers (merchants) and promoted by publishers (affiliates), which are found in affiliate networks.

Outbound Link – a link to a website other than your own.

PageRank – an algorithm used by Google to rank websites on their searches. It ranks it higher depending on the quantity and quality of links pointing to it

Paid Search – an advertising model used on many search engines and content sites. In this model, advertisers pay their publisher when their ad is clicked on. Advertisers bid on keyword sentences that relevant to their target.

Payment Threshold– the amount of commissions publishers are required to earn before being able to withdraw them to their bank account.

Payout – revenue per one sale or conversion.

Publisher – also known as an affiliate. Owner of a website which hosts affiliate links and promotes brands.

PPC – pay per click model, in which an advertiser pays when their ad is clicked on.

PPL – pay per lead model, in which an advertiser pays when their site visitor provides their contact information to the merchant.

PPS – pay per sale model, in which an advertiser pays the affiliate only when a sale happens.

Raw Clicks – total number of clicks that occur on the same affiliate link.

Redirection – forwarding a URL to another URL.

Referring Domain – original domain that has a backlink pointing to destination website.

Return on Investment (ROI) – a calculation to derive the revenue from a PPC campaign. Subtract the cost from net revenue to get this number.

Revenue – amount of sales before expenses are subtracted.

Search Engine Marketing – promoting of websites by increasing their visibility in search engine results.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – maximizing the visitor volume to a website by optimizing the site to appear high in the list of search results.

Single Opt-In – the simplest conversion flow, where the site visitor only enters his or her information in the form without confirming it via email.

Split Testing – also called “A/B testing”. The practice of testing several different versions of content, copy and/or ads to understand which one works best for the target audience.

Super Affiliates – group of select affiliates who generate most of the affiliate programs’ profits.

Targeted Marketing – distinguishing between different market segments in a marketing campaign. Groups can be distinguished by location, age, interests, etc.

Tracking Software – platforms like MediaRails that track and analyze affiliate activity in a reliable way.

Traffic – all users that visit a website.

Two-Tier – an affiliate program that allows affiliates to earn commissions from their own sales and from the second-tier affiliates they recruited to participate in the program.

Unique Clicks – a type of reporting that allows you to see how many unique people click on your link or ad. This is different from Raw clicks as it doesn’t include duplicate visitors or clicks.

White Hat SEO – the opposite of Black SEO – an accepted method of search engine optimization that improves search performance for a single web page using approved methods.

Let us know in the comments what term you are looking for and we will update the glossary!