It can be a confusing and overwhelming time as a new affiliate. There’s a lot to learn, and a ton of new terminology to try and wrap your head around. Arm yourself with our guide to affiliate marketing lingo and you’ll be talking like a pro in no time.
Above the Fold: The top half of your website that is immediately visible without scrolling down the page. Because content above the fold is the first thing your site visitors see it considered to be more valuable , so your most important information should be placed above the fold.
Affiliate: That’s you. As an affiliate you earn commission for referring sales, clicks or leads to a merchant’s website. An affiliate is also referred to as an associate or publisher.
Affiliate Link: A URL link containing a special code unique to each affiliate. It allows the affiliate network or merchant to track the sales you generate so they can allocate your commissions to you.
Affiliate Manager: The person responsible for running a merchant’s affiliate program. An affiliate manager will recruit affiliates, provide resources for them to use in their marketing campaigns and help them with their marketing efforts. They will also report on sales to the merchant and help the merchant develop and improve their campaign.
Affiliate Network: A third party providing services and support to both merchants and affiliates. They provide tracking, reporting and payment fulfilment services.
Analytics: The examination of your website data such as clicks, page views, traffic sources etc. You can use analytics to help you understand the strengths and weaknesses in your affiliate marketing campaign so you can act upon these.
Average Order Value (AOV): The average amount of a purchase. It is calculated by dividing the total value of all orders within a specific time period by the number of orders.
Banner Ad: A graphical advertisement promoting a merchant’s product or service that an affiliate displays on their website.
Browser: A client software program used to access Internet resources such as Google Chrome and Internet Explorer.
Cart Abandonment: When a website visitor leaves (abandons) an item in their shopping cart without completing the transaction.
Charge Back: This occurs when a merchant reverses a previously allocated commission due to an invalid sale or a customer cancellation. Also known as a reversal.
Conversion: When a website visitor completes the desired action set by the merchant. For example, purchases a product or completes a form. As an affiliate, you want to make as many conversions as possible.
Conversion Rate (CR): The percentage of site visitors who undertake the desired action set by the merchant (such as making a purchase or completing a form). The conversion rate is calculated by dividing the total number of completed actions by the number of click-throughs to the merchant.
Commission: The money you earn in exchange for referring visitors to a merchants site who go on to complete the desired action set by the merchant, such as making a purchase.
Cookie: A small file placed on a user’s PC by web browsers which is used to save specific website or user data. In affiliate marketing, a cookie is placed when someone clicks on an affiliate’s link. It records data such as from which site the customer came from, the link or banner they clicked on to get to the merchant’s site, and even when they clicked the link. Cookies ensure you are credited for the conversions you make. They are valid for a set amount of time, such as 30 or 60 days, enabling you to earn commission on any purchases made by a customer you have referred, even if they did not complete the conversion straight away.
Cost Per Action (CPA): The cost a merchant incurs for a conversion such as a sale or lead.
Cost Per Click (CPC): The cost incurred for an individual click when paying on a pay per click basis.
Cost Per Lead (CPL): The cost a merchant incurs for each new qualifying lead such as a completed form or survey.
Cost Per Thousand (CPM): The cost incurred for 1,000 impressions (showings). For example, a merchant may offer $10 CPM for a banner ad campaign, meaning the affiliate will earn $10 for every 1,000 impressions of a specific banner ad.
Click-through: When a visitor clicks on a link to visit a merchant’s website.
Click-through Rate (CTR): The percentage of visitors who click on a link to visit a merchant’s website.
Deep Linking: Using a link to send a visitor to a specific page of a website that is not the home page. For example, you may want to direct your visitors to a specific product page on a merchant’s website rather than to their home page.
Direct Linking: Using your affiliate link to send traffic directly to a merchant’s website instead of to your own website or landing page. Many affiliate networks and merchants will want you to direct traffic to your own website first in order to ‘pre-sell’ the product or service to the customer before encouraging them to link to the merchant’s website.
Disclosure: A statement on your website which informs the visitor that you are recommending products and services on your website for which you will earn a commission should they go on to make a purchase using one of your links.
Earnings Per Click (EPC): The average affiliate earnings per 100 clicks sent to a merchant’s website. This is the metric that most affiliates will look at when determining whether an affiliate program will be profitable for them to promote.
Google AdWords: Google’s PPC (Pay Per Click) advertising program where users pay a cost per click on adverts displayed alongside Google’s search results. Homepage: The main ‘cover’ page of a website.
Impressions: How many times an advertisement, such as a banner ad, is shown on a page. One impression is counted each time an ad is shown.
Landing Page: A one page website or a page inside of a larger website.
Merchant: Also known as an advertiser. The company selling the products or services you are promoting and who pays you for traffic you send to their website which results in a sale.
Niche: A specific market. For example, the health and beauty, pet or bodybuilding niches. Pay Per Click (PPC): An affiliate program that rewards affiliates for each unique click they send to the merchant’s website. Due to click fraud and fake clicks, PPC programs are now uncommon.
Pay Per Sale: An affiliate program that rewards affiliates for each visitor they send to the merchant’s website who goes on to complete a purchase.
Pay Per Lead: An affiliate program that rewards affiliates for each lead they send to a merchant’s website. This might be a completed signup form or survey, a sign up for a trial or a software download etc.
Pay Per View: Also known as Cost Per View (CPV), in this type of advertising model the advertiser pays every time their website or ad is displayed to a viewer. Views are achieved through the use of pop-up windows which are generated by adware installed on the end users computer. Most major affiliate networks do not allow affiliate linking from PPV traffic.
Performance Based Marketing: When commission is only paid when a certain specified result is delivered, such as conversions to sales or leads. Affiliate marketing is a form of performance based marketing.
Return on Investment (ROI): How much you get back after spending a certain amount on marketing and advertising. You want to earn more from sales than what you are spending on marketing.
Super Affiliate: What every affiliate aspires to be. They make up only about 1% of affiliates but bring in as much as 90% of a merchant’s revenue, making them the highest performing affiliates.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO): The process of ‘optimising’ your website in order to achieve a better performance and higher rankings in the search engines.
Tracking Code: The small piece of code in your affiliate link that records your sales and other data.
Unique Visitors (UV): Visitors to a website within a certain timeframe, determined by the number of unique IP addresses that site visits are coming from.