Guide : Affiliate Marketing Glossary – Key Terms, Jargons, Abbreviations

Affiliate: – An affiliate (also known as publisher) is an individual who provide traffic to online merchants. When a sale, lead, or other predetermined action takes place, the affiliate will earn a commission. Affiliates drive traffic in many different ways but the most common method is search engine marketing i.e. seo and ppc.

Affiliate Link: Affiliate link also known as tracking link is a special link containing code which tracks web visitors sent to a ECommerce site by an affiliate. Each affiliate link contains a unique id (affiliate ID) specific to an affiliate and will record clicks, sales, visitors, and impressions generated and allow the merchant/network to attribute commissions.

Affiliate Network: An affiliate network provides a third party service to merchants and affiliates. The network will provide tracking, reporting and payment fulfillment services and allows a merchant access to a large pool of affiliates. Networks generate performance based revenue by charging the merchant an override on top of affiliate commissions. (See also independent affiliate programmes).

Associate: An Affiliate is also known as associate and affiliate program is also known as Associate program.

Banner Ad: Graphic advertisement displayed on an affiliate site.

Charge Back: It is when a merchant removes sale commissions from an affiliate due to returned goods, declined credit cards, or fraudulent activity.

Click Through:  When a web user clicks on an affiliates banner or link on a affiliate website and is directed to the merchant’s site.

CTR:  Click through rate is number of clicks an ad receives divided by number of impressions for instance if a banner ad was shown 1000 times and received 50 clicks it would have a click through rate of 5%.

Click Reference: Most affiliate networks offer a facility to create unique tracking links by appending a special parameter containing a click reference. This allows affiliates to identify sales that have come via a particular page or link within their site or PPC campaign. (See Also EPI).

CPA: Cost Per Action. Metric for payment of commission based on a recordable action,.

CPC: Cost Per Click.

CPM: Cost per thousand impressions.

CR: Conversion Ratio. ( number of click to merchant divided by number of sales generated.)

Creatives: Banner Ads, Product feed, Emailer’s

Commission or Payout :  An affiliates payment for sales generated by their traffic based on percentage of sales or a fixed lead payment basis.

Cookie: Affiliate marketing works on the concept of a cookie (a small text file which contains relevant information such as affiliate ID, merchant ID, banner ID etc.). So whenever a user clicks on any banner/text link running on affiliate website a cookie gets set on user’s web browser. The information stored in the cookie is sent back to Network’s server whenever Affiliate tracking code is called. As long as the cookie resides on the user’s browser any sale / action happening through that system will be attributed to that particular affiliate.

Cookie-less Tracking: Tracking solutions that are not reliant upon cookies.

Contextual Linking: This refers to the process of placing affiliate links to appropriate products within related text or articles on a website.

Conversion Rate (CR): Percentage of clicks that convert to a sale, i.e 10 sales for every 100 visitors would constitute a 10% conversion rate.

Data Feed (Product Feed or XML Feed): A data feed is a file popularly in CSV or XML formats. Data feed contains product information for a merchant. This file will contain fields like url’s, names, images & descriptions of  various products offered by the merchant.

EPC: Earnings per hundred clicks.

Google Ad-sense: Google pay per click program for affiliates. Affiliates (Publishers) are paid when web user click on ads running on their website by google.

Google Ad-words: Google pay per click advertising solution offered by the Google search engine where advertisers (merchant) pay a cost per click which is relative to the type of site content, and how much other advertisers are willing to pay. Ads are shown alongside Google results , i.e google search network and advertisers also have the option of ads being displayed on content network.

Impressions: Refers to the number of times a banner ad or web site page is requested from the server.

Link Popularity: It refers to the number of other sites linking to yours.

Network Override: This is the charge applied by networks to merchants on top of commission payments.

Merchant : Advertiser/client/Online retailer / business owner.

PPC: Pay Per Click. The practice of paying for traffic from search engine advertising services on a cost per click basis.

Residual Earnings: Income generated from programme where merchants pay commission on subsequent transactions by customers originally referred by an affiliate.

Sky-Scraper: Type of Banner ad in format 120 x 600 or 160 x 600.

Super Affiliate:  Well there is no specific definition for super affiliate it is what all affiliates strive to be! Super affiliates are top affiliates who generate huge amount of revenue for the programmes they promote.

SEO: Search Engine Optimization. The process of optimizing a site to ensure better performance and positions in the search engines.

Tiered Commission: Commission structure offered by merchants which increases with sales or sales value. for eg. Upto 100 sales – commission INR 100 after 100 sales Commission 150.

Two Tier Affiliate Programme: such program’s rewards you for signing up sub affiliates. This means that you are paid a certain percentage of their earnings for the life of the affiliate.

Unique Visitor (UV):  it is a metric which refers to the number of unique individuals clicking on a link. For example, one person could click on a link 5 times in one day creating 5 clicks  but only one unique visitor.

Common Verticals or Campaign Types or Offer Types in Affiliate Marketing

VERTICAL or CATEGORY or Niche– This is the type/category that an offer falls into.An example of a vertical would be : app installs, dating, sweeps, e-commerce, Travel.

ECOMMERCE – this  vertical deals with tangible products like Amazon Products. So pretty much any e-shop falls into this category. Two most popular platforms used by affiliates are Shopify and Teespring.

TRAVEL : This vertical deals with products like flight booking, hotel booking, cab booking, holiday packages etc

REBILLS – this can be a wide range of products across many verticals, both tangible and service/info products. The basis principle is a repeating charge to the customer. The billing cycle often starts with a free/trial membership and then recurs at a set rate every 30 days for example.

NUTRA – again a very popular vertical, this vertical consist of  health supplements, diet, vitamins, skincare, weight loss products etc,There are also a number of ADULT products in this vertical like muscle, penis pills.

SWEEPS – products that give the user a chance to win something. The most popular prizes these days are iPhones and other smartphones or shopping vouchers. SWEEPS can be either Lead generation (SOI or DOI) or PIN Submit offers. SOI – Single Opt In – these offers require 1 action from the user to be completed. Usually it is filling out a form or entering an email address. whereas DOI i.e. Double Opt In – these offers require more than 1 action from the user to be completed.

DATING – One of the evergreen verticals. Dating offers can be both mainstream and adult. These are mostly SOI/DOI lead generation Offers. The modulus oprendi of these offers is users get free access to the members area, but when they want to contact someone they need to pay a monthly fee. So the dating business model is actually based on REBILLS. These offers are also available as REVSHARE or PPS.

APP INSTALLS – this is a mobile vertical, conversion happens when the user downloads some application for their smartphone. There can be more requirements like : open the app, use it for some time.Apps can be downloaded both from official stores like google play or apple appstore or from alternative stores for android.

CONTENT BILLING – these offers give the paying user access to some members area where they can download some content, usually videos, ring tones, wallappers or games.

PIN SUBMITs – These are primarily aimed at mobile phone users, because the billing is done via premium SMS charges. That’s why they are also called CARRIER BILLING offers. This is a very popular billing method covering a wide range of VERTICALs and all kinds of offer categories. These can be SWEEPS, APP INSTALLS, ANTIVIRUS …

1 Click/ 2 Click / MO Flow – These are all PIN SUBMIT offers, but all with a different registration/subscription process. “1-Click” takes just 1 click on the Agree button, “2-Click” is like a DOI so one more confirmation is needed. MO-Flow means you have to type the SMS yourself and manually send it to some premium number. 1-Click converts the best, MO is the worst.

SURVEYS – these are similar to SWEEPS, sometimes they are actually mixed into one. So the user has to fill out a survey in order to get a chance to win something. The original SURVEY offers compensate the users for their time with a small payment. The payment serves as an INCENTIVE for the users to actually mess with the SURVEY form.

INCENTIVE – This is a specific approach to getting user engagement. These offers actually give something to the users to make them do something in return. The compensation can be a small payment, some freebie or some virtual currency. Virtual currencies are widely used these days, since the rise of mobile games. I’m sure you have seen this many times in form of watching an ad in exchange for a few diamonds, or downloading some application to get some gold nuggets in the game you were playing … the options are endless. Offers based on INCENTIVES usually pay less and such “traffic” is of lower quality.

INFO PRODUCTS – Clickbank network is a typical representative of the INFO PRODUCT vertical. They have e-books and guides for pretty much everything you can think of. These products are mostly using the REVSHARE or PPS payouts model.

PUA – Pick Up Artist – this is a specific category within the INFO PRODUCT vertical. These are usually promoted with quite funny VSL (Video Sales Letter), so I think they are worth mentioning just because of that This products are ADULT in nature and used to work well on adult sites.

GAMBLING/CASINO – another huge VERTICAL that is also ADULT friendly. I don’t think it needs more commentary.

PAY PER CALL (PPC) – These offers pay for each phone-call that meets some conditions – usually certain duration, so the prospect might not hang up sooner than a given amount o seconds. These can be all kinds of LEADGEN type offers resulting in the sale of some product/service or a “premium number” call, that bills the user per minute – these are the infamous TECH SUPPORT offers for example.