Affiliate Marketing Glossary



The following Affiliate Marketing Glossary provides a brief description of terms that are commonly used in affiliate marketing. The glossary will be updated as new terms and phrases emerge.


Ad Blocker: Software based programs that prevent online advertisements from displaying.

Ad Display/Ad Delivered: When an ad is successfully displayed on the user’s computer screen

Advertisers: Also known as a merchant. A company that sells a product or service, accepts payments, and fulfills orders online. Advertisers partner with publishers to help promote their products and services. Publishers place an advertiser’s ad, text links, or product links on their website or include them in email campaigns and search listings in exchange for commissions on leads or sales. Also known in affiliate marketing as a “merchant.”

Affiliate: The owner of a  web site owner  who earns commission for referring clicks, leads, or sales to an advertiser

Affiliate Marketing: Any type of revenue-sharing program in which a publisher receives a commission for generating online actions (such as leads or sales) for an advertiser; also called performance-based marketing, partner marketing, CPA, associate program, or pay-for-performance program.

Affiliate Manager: An affiliate manager is responsible for the affiliate program and the publishers it has in that program.

Affiliate Agreement: Terms that govern the relationship between a merchant and an affiliate.

Affiliate Link:  It’s a special URL that contains the ID or username of the affiliate. This URL is used by the advertiser to track all traffic the affiliate sends to the advertiser’s site as a part of the affiliate program.

Affiliate Program: An affiliate program is a marketing program where you can receive commission for helping a parent company  generate sales.

Affiliate Software: Software that, at a minimum, provides tracking and reporting of commission-triggering actions (sales, registrations, or clicks) from affiliate links.

Banner: A banner is a clickable  advertising graphic, and is the most common type of web advertisement. Banners are graphics of all shapes and sizes

Base Rate: Standard commission rate for a given program term

B2B:  (business-to-business), also known as e-biz, is the exchange of products, services, or information between businesses rather than between businesses and consumers.

B2C: (business-to-consumers) A transaction that occurs between a company and a consumer, as opposed to a transaction between companies (B2B).

Banner Ad: a form of advertising on the World Wide Web delivered by an ad server. This form of online advertising entails embedding an advertisement into a web page. It is intended to attract traffic to a website by linking to the website of the advertiser

Black Hat: Phrase used to describe unethical practice of SEO, such as link scheming.

Blog:A website featuring regular posts and encourages user comments, linking and interaction. Short for “Web log.”

Bounce Rate: The percentage of visitors to a particular website who navigate away from the site after viewing only one page.

CPA: Cost Per Action  (sometimes known as Pay Per Action or PPA; also Cost Per Conversion) is an online advertising pricing model, where the advertiser pays for each specified action – this could include (but not limited too): an impression, click, form submit (e.g, contact request, newsletter sign up, registration etc), double opt-in or sale.

CPC:  cost-per-click  is the amount you earn each time a user clicks on your ad

CPL: Cost Per Lead  is an online advertising pricing model, where the advertiser pays for an explicit sign-up from a consumer interested in the advertiser’s offer

CPM: is the cost per 1000 impressions. For example, a $1 CPM means $1 for 1000 ad views.

CR: Conversion Rate. The percentage of visits to a publisher’s website that convert to a sale or lead. For example, if one in every hundred visitors to your site makes a purchase, then your conversion rate is 1:100, or 1 percent.

CTR: Click Through Rate.  A ratio showing how often people who see your ad end up clicking it.

Customer Acquisition Cost:  is the cost that an organization must incur in order to convince a potential customer to buy the product/services.

Charge Back: Is the return of funds to a consumer.

Commission: Money an affiliate earns after selling a product or service.

Cookies: A cookie, also known as an HTTP cookie, web cookie, or browser cookie, is a small piece of data sent from a website and stored in a user’s web browser while the user is browsing that website.

EPC: Earnings Per Clicks is a mathematical formula used to determine the commissions earned per click in online advertising

EPM: earning per 1,000 impressions.

DataBase: A large collection of data stored in rows and columns to allow for fast retrieval.

Deep Link: Allows a publisher to hyperlink directly to a specific product or service webpage on the advertiser’s website, which can cut out the step of going to the publisher’s page/website first. Also known as “direct link.”

Dynamic Link: A link type that may contain many different elements in any rich media format and allows advertisers to change link content on a real-time basis.

Earnings: The amount of money a publisher has earned through an advertiser’s program.

Geo-Targeting: Selective advertising in which a publisher can choose what geographical areas they want the ad to appear in. For example, if a publisher’s website focuses on umbrellas and rain apparel, they may just want a certain ad to appear in places where it frequently rains.

HomePage: The “front” main page of a website.

Impression: Occurs every time a link appears in a visitor’s browser. It represents an opportunity to buy an online advertiser’s products or services. Analyzing the number of impressions served, in conjunction with other data, allows publishers and advertisers to assess the effectiveness of the links.

Java Script: A client-side scripting language developed by Netscape Communications that brings interactivity to the World Wide Web. Its functionality is primarily aimed at enhanced forms, simple Web database front-ends, navigation enhancements and allows for dynamic updating via servers vs. hard code updates like HTML requires.

Landing Page: the section of a website accessed by clicking a hyperlink on another web page, typically the website’s home page.

Lead: A type of action in which a consumer registers, signs up for, or downloads something from an advertiser’s website. A prospective customer filling out a form on an advertiser’s website is also a type of lead.

Link: A link is a form of advertising (an icon, a picture, or a highlighted string of text) on a website, in an email, or in an online newsletter, that, when clicked, refers a consumer to an advertiser’s landing page or website. In the world of affiliate marketing, the link is provided by an advertiser to allow for publisher’s to earn commission.

Organic Search:  Also known as search engine optimization (SEO), focuses on optimizing website content, architecture, meta tag development, linking strategies, directory listings and webpage submissions based on the relevancy algorithms search engines use to index and rank webpages. Organic search methodology is a long-term solution to obtaining search engine exposure without paying the recurring costs associated with pay-per-click advertising models.

Pay Per Lead: is an online advertising pricing model, where the advertiser pays for each specified action – this could include: an impression, click, form submit, double opt-in or sale

Pay Per Call: Pay-per-call is a Performance-based advertising model and compensation method. Pay-per-Call is similar to online Pay-per-Click advertising.

Pay Per Impression: Cost per impression, often abbreviated to CPM, is a term used in online advertising and marketing related to web traffic. It refers to the cost of internet marketing or email advertising campaigns where advertisers pay for every time an ad is displayed.

Pay Per Sale: Commission method in which a publisher is paid when a product or service is purchased on an advertiser’s site by a publisher-referred visitor.

Performance Incentive: Additional performance-based rewards offered by advertisers to top publishers, paid as a bonus two months after the month the transactions were generated. There are three types of PI’s: total sales, total commissions, and number of actions.

Pop Up: A smaller browser window or message area that appears in front of the main browser window.

Publisher: The owner of a  web site owner  who earns commission for referring clicks, leads, or sales to an advertiser

ROI: stands for ‘Return on Investment’. This is what all marketing managers want to see from the money they spend on their marketing and advertising campaigns. The higher the sales, the large the number of shoppers and the greater the profit margin generated by sales  the better the ROI.

SEO: Search engine optimization is the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine’s “natural” or un-paid (“organic”) search

SEM: Search engine marketing  is a form of Internet marketing that involves the promotion of websites by increasing their visibility in search engine results

SERP: A search engine results page is the listing of results returned by a search engine in response to a keyword query. The results normally include a list of items with titles, a reference to the full version, and a short description showing where the keywords have matched content within the page.

SPAM: Irrelevant or inappropriate messages sent on the Internet to large number of recipients.

Super Affiliates: The highest performing affiliates.  Typically less than 1% of affiliates are super affiliates yet that 1% typically will bring more than 90% of your sales.

Terms of Service: Terms of service are rules which one must agree to abide by in order to use a service. Terms of service can also be merely a disclaimer, especially regarding the use of websites.

Tracking Code: Refers to the hidden 1X1 pixel tracking code that is placed on the confirmation page of your store for tracking sales conversions.

Two-tier: Affiliate marketing model that allows affiliates to sign up additional affiliates below themselves, so that when the second tier affiliates earn a commission, the affiliate above them also receives a commission.

Unique Visitor: Unique visitors refers to the number of distinct individuals requesting pages from the website during a given period, regardless of how often they visit. When an individual goes to a website on Tuesday, then again on Wednesday, this is recorded as two visits from one visitor.

Viral Marketing: the rapid adoption of a product or passing on of an offer to friends and family through word-of-mouth (or word-of-email) networks. Any advertising that propagates itself the way viruses do.