Affiliate Marketing

Understanding Affiliate Marketing Jargon

Understanding Affiliate Marketing Jargon
Written by Kerie Hinchliffe

When you decide that you are going to make money online and that you want to do it Affiliate Marketing. There is one big hurdle, understanding Affiliate Marketing Jargon!

So I decided to look into the main ones that every newbie needs to understand. There are a lot more than the ones below but these are the most important ones to start with:

Affiliate Marketing

Is a fantastic way for companies to get a large number of people (known as affiliates) to advertise, promote and sell their products and services in return for a small commission.

Above the fold

This is the part of the web page in a browser that someone sees without having to scroll any further.


This is the company or person that has created the product or service that you are promoting as an affiliate. Commonly referred to as the merchant.

Affiliate Agreement

This is the agreement between you as the affiliate and the advertiser (merchant). This agreement defines the rules, roles, and responsibility of the relationship on both sides.

Affiliate Link

This is the link that the advertiser (merchant) will give you to use in your advertising. It is unique to you and enables them to track your sales and clicks.

Affiliate Manager

This usually the person that manages the product or service for the advertiser. They are usually the first point of contact, the person that usually approves you and provides you with any resources you might need to create sales of the product.

Affiliate Network

This is a third party that provides a platform for an advertiser (merchant) to place their products. These platforms usually deal with everything from tracking to commission payments. Good examples are JVZoo, Clickbank, Warrior Plus, Commission Junction and Affiliate Window.

Affiliate Program

These programs are arrangements in which an online merchant Web site pays affiliate Web sites a commission to send them traffic.

Affiliate Tracking

Tracking is usually done by a piece of software that tracks or manage affiliate marketing activities. Tracking usually provides the means to track the performance of clicks, views, and impressions of advertising material (Banner, Links, etc.) within any online marketing activities.


To be able to join an affiliate program most of them request that you apply. You usually have to state your website and what methods you plan to use to advertise, be honest if you are newbie tell them, most are helpful.

Banner Ad

A web banner or banner ad is a form of advertising on a website that is usually delivered by an ad server/network eg. BuySellAds

Charge Back

Refers to a product being returned or a sale “falling through” that you were already paid for. Since the sale didn’t actually finalize, the merchant will deduct the amount you were previously given in commission for that sale from your affiliate commissions. In lead generation, this can also occur if the merchant decides the leads sent were unqualified or fraudulent in nature.

Click Through

Click-through is the process of a visitor clicking on a Web advertisement and going to the advertiser's Web site. Also called ad clicks or requests.

Click Through Rate

The click-through rate (CTR) measures the amount of times an ad is clicked by users versus the amount of times it's been viewed but not clicked (impression).


Cloaking is hiding content on a web page or hiding affiliate tracking code in links. However hiding content on a web page is bad as it is against the guidelines of the mainstream search engines such as Google. Hiding affiliate tracking in a link is an acceptable and widely used practice.

Contextual Link

A contextual link is a type of link that's usually found within the body of content and is in context with the idea surrounding the link.


The predefined money or fee a merchant pays an affiliate for generating a predefined, desired outcome for the merchant.


Getting a user to take a desired action, for example opting in or making a purchase.

Conversion Rate

It is the percentage of user's that have taken the desired action.


A text file that is sent from a website to a file within a user’s web browser. Cookies are used for various reasons on the web as a whole. In regards to affiliate marketing, Cookies are used to assign an ID to a user that has clicked on your affiliate link to get to a merchant website for a predefined period. If the user returns within that predefined period (whether or not they click on your affiliate link again) then you will be credited with the sale.


Cost per acquisition (CPA), also known as pay per acquisition (PPA) is an online advertising pricing model where the advertiser pays for each specified acquisition – for example, an impression, click, form submit (e.g., contact request, newsletter sign up, registration etc.), double opt-in or sale.


Cost Per Click. Refers to the amount of money paid to generate a click by a user on one of your links. Example – if you spent $200 on an ad campaign and received 100 clicks on that campaign, then your CPC would be .50 cents (clicks generated / campaign cost = CPC).


Cost Per Thousand. Refers to the amount of money it costs to display an advertisement per 1000 impressions. Example – if you wanted to buy advertising on a website that offered their advertising at a $6 CPM and you wanted that ad to show 10,000 times, then you would need to pay $60 (desired impressions / 1000 * CPM) for that advertising.


A type of graphical ad or link used to promote the affiliate offer.


Earnings Per Click (EPC) is a metric used to indicate the average earnings generated as a result of 100 clicks on an affiliate marketing link or ad.

First Click

In affiliate marketing, first click is often used to describe an affiliate program where the first affiliate to get a user to click a link and make a purchase within the limits of the cookie expiration is the one to be credited with the sale, even if the user landed on another affiliate’s website and actually converted after clicking on a link from the second site.


An advertisement's appearance on an accessed Web page. For example, if the page you're on shows three ads, that's three impression

A page impression is the exact number of times a specific Web site has been accessed or viewed by a user. A page impression acts as a counter for Web pages, informing site owners how many times their sites were visited.

Joint Venture (JV)

This typically refers to a business relationship for one event, product or project versus an ongoing, more permanent relationship.For example, two affiliate marketers create a product together and do a launch together it would be referred to as a Joint Venture or JV partnership.

Last Click

In affiliate marketing, last click is often used to describe an affiliate program where the last affiliate to get a user to click a link and make a purchase is the one to be credited with the sale – even if a valid cookie from a prior click on a different affiliate’s link still exists on the user's computer.

Master Affiliate Network

A network that affiliates any and all links to merchants with affiliate programs through a piece of JavaScript code you place on your website. They take a cut of any commissions generated – usually about 25% – as payment for the service.


Online the word niche is used in a number of technologies to refer to a specific topic, subject or category. Web sites and blogs may provide news and content on a niche (e.g. a blog about sports or finance), while online sellers often sell in niche categories. It is believed that by focusing on a niche topic or category you will see higher traffic numbers for your Web site or blogor see higher profits in online sellingas you have less competition in a niche area.


Express permission given by a customer, or a recipient of a mail, email, or other direct message to allow a marketer to send a merchandise, information, or more messages.

Opt-in rate

Opt-in Rate refers to the percentage of site visitors who subscribe to your email list.


Stands for Pay Per Sale. is an online advertisement pricing system where the publisher, website owner  or affiliate is paid on the basis of the number of sales that are directly generated by an advertisement.


Stands for Pay Per Lead. In a PPL based affiliate program, the affiliate is paid a commission whenever a lead is generated. A lead could be a form filled out, a quote requested or whatever else the merchant has specifically identified as a commissionable lead.


Pay-per-click (PPC), also called cost per click (CPC), is an internet advertising model used to direct traffic to websites, in which an advertiser pays a publisher (typically a website owner or a network of websites) when the ad is clicked.

Payment Threshold

A payment method that is used in relation to online marketing whereby the affiliate must earn a certain minimum amount of commission dollars in order to actually receive a payment from the product or service vendor.

Privacy Policy

A privacy policy is a statement or a legal document (in privacy law) that discloses some or all of the ways a party gathers, uses, discloses, and manages a customer or client's data.

Raw Clicks

The total amount of clicks an ad receives independent from where the click comes from. If an ad is clicked 10 times from the same IP address within 1 day it counts as 10 Raw Clicks. See also under unique clicks for more information.

Recurring Commission

When you recommend a user to any product (usually membership program or products which require recurring monthly payment), you earn a fixed commission when a referred user pays his next bill. Some of the companies offer recurring commission for fixed time (Let's say one year) & many companies offer the same for a lifetime.

Residual Earnings

Also referred to as “lifetime commissions”. In an affiliate program that offers residual earnings, you are credited for the lifetime sales for any new customer you refer to them, indefinitely versus only being paid on the first, initial purchase made by the referral. For example Sarah Staar's Licensed Partner Team or iPro Partnership


ROAS stands for Return On Advertising Spending and represents the dollars earned per dollars spent on the corresponding advertising.


Return on investment (ROI) measures the gain or loss generated on an investment relative to the amount of money invested.


Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a web search engine's unpaid results—often referred to as “natural”, “organic”, or “earned” results.

Split Testing

Split testing (also referred to as A/B testing or multivariate testing) is a method of conducting controlled, randomized experiments with the goal of improving a website metric, such as clicks, form completions, or purchases.

Squeeze Page

A squeeze page is a landing page designed to capture opt-in email addresses from potential subscribers. The goal of a squeeze page is to convince, cajole, or otherwise ”squeeze” a visitor into providing one of their most sought-after and coveted pieces of personal data: the email address.

Super Affiliate

An affiliate capable of generating a significant percentage of an affiliate program’s activity.


A two-tier affiliate program is an affiliate model that allows you to make commission not only from your sales but also from others that you bring as an affiliate. (Your sub-affiliate)

A typical structure would be 25% of  commission on all direct sales that you generate from your referrals then you recieve a second commission of 10% from what your sub-affiliates have referred.

Unique Clicks

A unique click is a click on your ad from a single computer. If everyone who clicks on your ad clicks on it only once, then your unique clicks number will be the same as your clicks number. But sometimes people click on ads more than once.


A white label product is a product or service produced by one company (the producer) that other companies (the marketers) rebrand to make it appear as if they have created the product or service themselves.

About the author

Kerie Hinchliffe

Kerie Hinchliffe is a former high school teacher that has always had an entrepreneurial spirit. From writing books in different niches, skinning apps or creating an Internet Cafe in South Africa!

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