The Essential Affiliate Marketing Glossary of Terms

This Affiliate Marketing Glossary will allow you to get to know an array of different definitions that will help you speak the industry's language! Check this big list of the essential affiliate marketing terms that every affiliate marketer needs!

  • 301 redirect

    An eternal redirect from a URL to another. These redirects will send website visitors and also search engines to a whole different URL than the one that was originally typed on their browser or picked from one of the results from the SERP.

  • 302 redirect

    A temporary redirect from a URL to another. Search engines will decide whether or not to keep the old page or simply replace it with the one they find on the new location. In case the wrong kind of redirect has been set up, search engines can become confused which means there’ll be traffic loss.

  • Above the fold

    When a web page has finally loaded, the “above the fold” part is that which is visible.

  • Ad Exchange

    Traffic sources groups that are connected with DSPs and SSPs.

  • Ad Network

    A company that connects advertisers to publishers (owners of websites). Media Buyers can purchase its inventory. There are several pricing models available, and you bid for impressions, clicks or views. Why use ad networks? To reach a lot of websites while at the same time being able to optimize your traffic.

    Read more about Ad Network

  • Advertiser

    An advertiser is the owner of an offer/product. They pay affiliates for every conversion. When an ad network speaks about “Advertisers”, they refer to people who buy traffic there.

    Read more about Advertiser

  • Adware

    Can also be referred to as “spyware.” It’s usually a part of computer programs people download without actually realizing that the adware is a part of the deal. In most cases, these types of ads are unwanted and also quite hard to get rid of, even in case a user uninstalls the program.

  • Affiliate Marketing Forum

    An online community where users can get access to information on various topics related to the affiliate marketing industry.

  • Affiliate Program

    An arrangement through which the advertiser pays a fee to an affiliate for the action of generating clicks, sales or leads from links located on that affiliate’s website. These can also be known as partner, associate, revenue sharing or referral programs.

  • Alexa Rank

    A platform which estimates and ranks based on users’ browsing behavioral patterns. Alexa’s data panel is a sample containing all internet users.

  • Alt Text

    Alternative text. It’s a word or sentence that can actually be used to inform site users about the content type of a linked image. It’s similar to what is known as “anchor text.”

  • Anchor Text

    The clickable words on a hyperlink.

  • API

    Application Programming Interface. It’s an interface that lets users access Majestic data for the purpose of application development as well as automated searches.

    Read more about API

  • APK Offers

    APK stands for Android Application Package, which is the file format used by Android operating systems for installing mobile applications – Apps.

  • Auto-Download Offers

    Once the user clicks the banner, the content is automatically downloaded without the consent of the end user.

  • Black Hat SEO

    The practice of increasing a web page’s ranking in a search engine results page (SERP) using shady methods. These methods are not allowed by the search engine’s terms of service and can therefore make your website become banned from both the search engine and affiliate websites. Google’s Webmaster’s Guidelines is one of many platforms that have denounced Black Hat SEO proponents.

  • Blacklist

    If you have a RON but you realize you wanna stop buying traffic from some websites, you’ll create a filter – Black List (BL) – containing those unwanted websites. The term Blacklist can be applied to many more situations whenever you want to avoid specific parameters.

  • Charge Back

    A product returned or a sale that falls through. Due to the fact that the sale failed to materialize, the advertiser will actually deduct the amount you were previously given as a commission for that specific sale from your affiliate marketing commissions.

  • Click Fraud

    Generating fake clicks in a program based on the PPC price model. These fake clicks can either be generated by robots or humans and, since the traffic is of no use, persons who create a way to fake clicks are usually banned from affiliate networks.

    Read more about Click Fraud

  • Click ID

    It’s the user’s identification code. It contains info about the segment, browser, hour, day, etc. It essentially contains data of where and when the user performed an action.

  • Click-Through Rate

    The Click-Through Rate measures the percentage of clicks compared to the impressions. If you’re using banners, it’s very important to check your CTR performance since it’s one of the most important indicators, allowing you to make decisions. Normally, a high CTR means that more people are clicking your banners.

  • Click-Through

    This is the act of actually clicking a link and later arriving at a website (destination.)

  • Cloaking

    The process of either hiding a webpage’s content or an affiliate tracking code on a link. This is a negative practice since it’s against the guidelines of search engines.

  • Commission

    Known as a referral fee. The income the affiliate gets for generating a lead or sale to an advertiser’s website

  • Content Farm

    Term used to describe a site or group of websites that publishes huge amounts of cheap, low-quality content. This content is specifically created to generate traffic for search engines, thus generating ad revenue.

  • Conversion Rate

    This is a metric used to showcase the number of times an affiliate link has registered a conversion in comparison with the number of times the link/banner has been viewed (it’s a percentage). How to find out what the conversion rate of your ad is? Just take the amount of sales a banner has generated and then divide it by the number of impressions received. Afterwards, multiply that result by 100 in order to get your CR percentage.

  • Conversion

    When a website’s visitor makes a purchase. The action of getting a sale, lead or subscription is referred to as a conversion.

  • Cookies

    A text file sent from a site to a specific file in a user’s web browser. Cookies are used to assign a specific ID to a given user who has clicked the affiliate link to get to an advertiser’s website.

  • CPA – Cost per Acquisition

    Action, sale (CPS), lead (CPL) or conversion. The CPA model is directly related to subscription services. Publishers get paid when someone acquires a product or service.

    Read more about CPA – Cost per Acquisition

  • CPC – Cost per Click

    You pay per each click on the banner/creative. Sometimes, affiliates can refer to “clicks” as re-directions.

  • CPL – Cost per Lead

    A lead occurs when someone fills a form in which contact details are provided to the offer’s owner. The user does not pay for the lead. This model is usually associated with dating and sweepstakes offers, where the lead is used to send info about other products.

  • CPM – Cost per One Thousand Impressions

    This means you’re setting the price you wanna pay for a thousand impressions of your banner/popunder for the users to view.

  • CPS – Cost per Sale

    A sale is confirmed when a purchase is made. Transactions are normally processed by credit cards. This model is commonly associated with both dating and sweepstakes offers.

  • CPV – Cost per View

    You pay every time your ad is displayed. If you know your revenue, you can then calculate your earnings per each visit (EPV.)

  • Crawlers

    Web crawling involves a number of website URLs which need to be visited, named seeds. Then, the crawler of the search engine visits each web page and identifies all the page’s hyperlinks, adding them to the list of places to be crawled.

  • Creative

    A creative is a promo tool advertisers use to get users to actually click-through and take action. Examples of creatives: towers, text links, badges, banners, pop-ups, email copy, etc. Synonym of “banner.”

  • CSV File

    A CSV file is a type of Excel file.

  • Daily Budget

    The budget limit you impose on your campaign on a daily basis. If reached, the campaign will stop, restarting on the next day.

  • Datafeed

    A file containing a list of all the products sold by a given advertiser. It usually includes descriptions, images, and prices of the advertised products.

  • Dayparting

    Allows you to target specific days and/or hours according to their performance. Check your stats for a couple of weeks per hour, and see if you can find some golden hours to target.

    Read more about Dayparting

  • Deep Linking

    Most affiliate networks have a deep linking function. It allows affiliates to send a visitor to a particular page on the advertiser’s website. The affiliate link – by default – redirects to the homepage.

  • Demand-Side Platforms (DSP)

    Interfaces where you can buy digital advertising inventory. You normally have access to multiple ad exchanges. This means you can get traffic from a great range of traffic sources.

    Read more about Demand-Side Platforms (DSP)

  • Direct Billing Flow

    When the billing is made directly from the cell phone’s balance through to the MSISDN detection.

  • Direct Buy

    This means you’ll buy traffic in bulk by contacting website owners directly. In this type of deals, you normally get high and low-quality traffic. Direct buy is characterized by a high level of transparency – you know your position, impressions, expenditures, and dates. However, target optimizations are not an option since you receive the whole traffic. Some ad networks also present this possibility, which means you don’t have to contact the website’s owner directly.

  • Disclosure

    A notice or page on your site which makes sure your visitors are fully aware that you’re actually getting paid for any purchasing suggestions or service endorsements you make on your site. The disclosure is crucial for you to be compliant with FTC laws.

  • Domain Authority

    A score (in a 100-point scale) created by Moz. It manages to predict how well a site is gonna rank on all search engines.

  • Double opt-in

    This term means the subscriber has confirmed the subscription. The user confirms they agree to subscribe to the service. Then, they’ve got to confirm again. Ad -> 1st Confirmation -> 2nd Confirmation -> the user is subscribed.

  • Duplicate Content

    Duplicate content usually refers to huge blocks of content across domains that either match other content completely or are remarkably similar.

  • Dynamic Tracking

    A crucial tool since it allows you to track both your activity and investments. Ad networks and DSPs usually provide you with lots of tracking tokens for you to implement on your offers’ link and get as much data as possible.

    Read more about Dynamic Tracking

  • EPC – Earnings per Click

    EPC shows you the revenue you get for each 100 clicks. It’s the average amount of cash you can earn per every 100 clicks on your affiliate link. How to calculate the EPC? Take the amount generated in revenue from an affiliate link, divide it by the total number of clicks on that link, and multiply the value by 100.

  • Fired Pixel

    This is a well-known expression to all affiliate marketers. It basically means that the click ID (user’s identification code) was triggered and you should receive that info on your side. A conversion flow can serve as an example: the user purchases your offer, the click ID is activated or “the pixel is fired”, and you receive that info on your tracking platform.

  • First Click

    When a program sets that the first user to get a visitor to click a given link and purchase within the specific limits of cookie expiration is the one to be rewarded with the sale.

  • Flat Deal

    This means you’ll buy traffic in bulk by contacting website owners directly or by making a deal with an ad network. In this type of deals, you normally get high and low quality traffic. Direct buy is characterized by a high level of transparency – you know your position, impressions, expenditures, and dates. However, target optimizations are not an option since you receive the whole traffic. Some ad networks also present this possibility, which means you don’t have to contact the website’s owner directly.

  • Frequency Capping

    The number of times (impressions) a single user will see each ad within a defined period of time.

    Read more about Frequency Capping

  • GEO Target

    Allows you to target a specific country.

  • Hit

    A single request from a unique item on a web server. Imagine you were to load a page with 3 graphics – that would actually count as 4 ‘hits’, one for the page plus one for each of the graphics.

  • HTML

    This acronym stands for Hyper Text Markup Language. This language is normally used to structure multimedia and text documents, usually online. It’s also utilized to set up hypertext links among documents on either different pages or the same page.

  • Impression

    A measure of the number of times a given ad is shown on a specific page. One impression means the ad was displayed one single time.

  • In-house

    Advertisers who manage their affiliate program by themselves using an affiliate software instead of an affiliate network.

  • Incentivized Affiliates

    This is where website traffic is bequeathed with incentives to complete a set action that ultimately results in the affiliate earning a commission. The incentives can vary. In fact, it could be a prize, discounts, money or even free subscriptions.

  • Index

    It’s the database utilized by a given search engine. It has info on all the sites that search engine is able to find. In case a site is not in the index of a search engine, users won’t be able to find it utilizing that search engine. These indexes are regularly updated by search engines.

  • Indie Program

    Independent Affiliate Program. It’s all about an advertiser who runs his own affiliate program using affiliate software instead of a regular affiliate network.

  • Internal Linking

    These are hyperlinks that target the same domain as the domain in which the link exists on (the source). An internal link points to another page on the exact same site.

  • Keyword Density

    The ratio between the keyword that’s being searched for and the total number of words which show up on a website’s page.

  • Keyword Research

    This is something search engine optimization (SEO) pros use to find search terms people insert into search engines.

  • Keyword

    A specific word a user can type on a search engine so as to find documents associated with that word. SEO experts usually peruse the most important keywords users choose in order to appeal to them, ultimately making them get to their website. The right “keyword” is the product of strategy and placement.

  • Lifetime Value

    The amount of money a given customer will actually spend in a particular company during their lifetime.

  • Loyalty Affiliates

    Similar to incentivized affiliates. However, traffic is rewarded differently. In fact, the reward is actually a longer term commitment to the merchant. These users are required to become full site members, taking part of activities and purchasing products.

  • LSI Keyword

    Latent Semantic Indexing keywords are those which are semantically related to your primordial keyword. For example, synonyms/acronyms.

  • Manual Approval

    The review process affiliates have to go through. For an affiliate network to actually accept an affiliate as a member, the latter must be subjected to a review. The aspects reviewed are usually the affiliate’s identity, financial status, address, credit, etc. Later, the affiliate can either be approved or rejected.

  • Maximum Budget

    The maximum value you wanna spend on a campaign. Once reached, the campaign will stop until you restart it.

  • Meta Description

    An HTML and XHTML element which describes the page you own to search engines.

  • Meta Tags

    Info placed on an HTML page’s header. This info is not visible to external site visitors.

  • Meta Title

    A title you give a webpage within the meta tags. The aim is simple: when a person perceives a link to your page from the search engine, it’s accompanied by a title.

  • Mobile Affiliates

    People who either target consumers via their mobile phones or users interested in mobile products of some sort.

  • Mobile Billing

    It’s the type of user flow (from the moment they see the ad, to the moment of subscription or purchase.)

  • Niche Marketing

    The process of targeting advertisements to a specific market segment.

  • Off-Page SEO

    Off-page optimization is about factors which have an effect on your site or web page listing on organic search results. These factors are off-site since they’re not controlled by neither you nor the coding on your page. Examples: page rank and link popularity.

  • Offer

    An offer is any type of advertising content produced by advertisers (offer owners) and promoted by publishers (traffic owners). Typically, offers can only be found in affiliate networks. Only a handful of advertisers make them directly available to affiliates.

  • On-Page SEO

    On-page optimization is about those factors that clearly have an effect on your website or web page listing on organic search results. These factors are controlled by you or by simply coding on your page. Examples: HTML code, keyword placement, meta tags and keyword density.

  • Opt In Email

    An email which is requested by the receiver.

  • Page Authority

    A score (in a 100-point scale) created by Moz. It manages to predict how a given page is gonna rank on all search engines.

  • PageRank

    This is an algorithm used by Google to rank sites on their searches. PageRank rates the importance of a given page analyzing both the quantity and quality of links pointing to it. This isn’t the only algorithm Google uses to rate web pages. However, it’s the most popular.

  • Pay Bump

    When an affiliate receives a higher payout for a specific offer.

  • Payment Threshold

    The amount of paid commissions you’ve gotta have before being able to withdraw funds gathered with affiliate marketing. On Mobidea, this amount is 50 EUR.

  • Payout

    Revenue received per one conversion. The value/payout, which is decided by the advertiser, can be either fixed or dynamic.

  • Pixel

    Expression: “the pixel is fired”. This is a well-known expression to all affiliate marketers. It basically means that the click ID (user’s identification code) was triggered and you should receive that info on your side. A conversion flow can serve as an example: the user purchases your offer, the click ID is activated or “the pixel is fired”, and you receive that info on your tracking platform.

  • Plug-in

    A small app which adds certain features to a larger app – an improvement.

  • Portal

    The term that’s utilized to describe a site that’s meant to be used as a crucial point-of-entry to the web or even as a homepage.

  • Postback URL

    URL used on the offer that allows you to be notified — where you buy the traffic — that a given action has happened, such as a conversion, for instance. Also called Server-to-Server or S2S

  • PPC Affiliates

    Pay Per Click (PPC) affiliates usually send traffic through to an advertiser’s website. They use PPC engines like Google AdWords or Miva. Affiliates will buy relevant keywords on search engines so as to attract important websites that contain an ad offer that’s related to the keyword utilized.

  • PPC

    Pay-per-Click. A payment model where an advertiser pays only when the ad’s actually clicked on.

  • PPL

    Pay per Lead. In this type of model , affiliates get paid a fee every time a lead is generated. A lead could be a filled-out form or whatever else the advertiser has specifically identified as a possible lead.

  • PPS

    Pay per Sale. The affiliate gets a commission once a sale is registered.

  • Prelander

    This lander type is displayed before the typical offer landing page. Prelanders are a great tool to convince users of the need to buy the product that’s being promoted. It’s an awesome way to pre-sell the product. Landers should be interactive and appealing so that users are driven to purchase the product.

  • Premium Targeting

    Target specific zones or spots of a website.

    Read more about Premium Targeting

  • Profit

    The amount of money you actually earn from your sales after having paid all your expenses.

  • Publisher

    An alternative term to “affiliate.”

  • Raw Clicks

    It allows you to check how many overall clicks have occurred in your affiliate link. Raw Clicks will basically showcase each click which has occurred, even if it happens to be the exact same user clicking 5 times.

  • Redirection

    The process of forwarding a URL to a different URL. 301, 302, and meta refresh are the three main kinds of redirections.

  • Referring Domain

    Ref domain is a site with a backlink pointing to either a page or link to the website you’re looking at.

  • Referring URL

    The Uniform Resource Locator (URL) a given user came from to reach your website.

  • Return on Investment (ROI)

    Amount derived by actually subtracting your net revenue from the total amount of costs. This is a calculation used to ascertain the profitability of a PPC campaign.

  • Revenue

    The total amount of sales calculated before expenses are actually subtracted.

  • Robots.txt

    A Robots.txt file is used by webmasters to give instructions about a specific website to web robots.

  • ROI

    See Return On Investment.

  • RON – Run of Network

    A campaign type. When you want to target all the websites from a network, you’ll go for a Run of Network (RON).

  • Root Domain

    Shortest domain form (without particularly specifying any subdomains.)

  • RTB: Real-time bidding

    It’s a method where bids are made for each and every impression in real-time auctions that occur while a web page is loading (unlike static bidding, where the bid is produced in groups of up to several thousand impressions).

    Read more about RTB: Real-time bidding

  • Search Engine Optimization

    The process of carefully picking keywords and keyword sentences relevant to your specific website or site page. The general idea is to place these chosen words inside the content of web pages. The objective is to rank highly on search engines so as to appeal to a great number of potential website visitors.

    Read more about Search Engine Optimization

  • Search Engine

    A search engine is a software application that’s designed to find digital resources such as web pages, texts, news, images, videos, etc. using keywords.

  • Search Term

    This refers to what users insert on a search engine at the time they’re wishing to find a particular thing. A term can be just a single keyword and can also be a combination of several.

  • Segment

    A group of elements that define a user’s path. This term combines such elements as Country, Operating System (OS), and mobile Carriers/Operators. An example of a segment can be UK – Android – Vodafone.

  • SEO affiliates

    SEO is the action of optimizing the content and code of a given website so as to improve that website’s ranking on search engines for particular keywords. SEO affiliates are sometimes referred to as “search affiliates.”

  • SERP

    This is the acronym for Search Engine Results Page. It’s the group of results a search engine returns as a response to a certain word or sentence query.

  • Single Offer

    Concrete offer designed for a specific target (e.g. FR – Orange – iOS; UK – Orange/Vodafone/Three – Android). They usually have static payouts.

  • Single opt-in

    This refers to the most simple conversion flow. One confirmation and the conversion is done.

  • Site map

    It’s a visually organized model of the content of a website. It lets users navigate the site to find the info they’re searching for.

  • SMS Billing Flow

    Users need to send or insert their mobile phone number in order to be subscribed. This flow is usually associated with Wi-Fi.

  • Social Marketers

    Affiliates who expand the social element of their incentivized websites into other social media-related tools.

  • Spiders

    Web crawling involves a number of website URLs which need to be visited named seeds. Then, the crawler of the search engine visits each web page and identifies all the page’s hyperlinks, adding them to the list of places to be crawled.

  • Split Testing

    A/ B testing. The practice of testing two (or more) different versions of content, copy, sales or ads one against the other to understand which one gets a better performance.

  • Spot

    It’s the ad format you’ll use to promote your offers. Depending on the ad network, you’ll have different options to promote your offers.

  • Subdomain

    A domain that’s part of a primary domain. Instead of registering a whole new domain name, you can create a subdomain. The latter will be a sort of complementary website.

  • Super Affiliates

    The elite. The group of select affiliates who generate close to 90% of most affiliate programs’ profits.

    Read more about Super Affiliates

  • Supply-Side Platforms (SSP)

    Interfaces that connect publishers/webmasters and ad exchanges. Here, publishers manage, sell and optimize their advertising space inventory.

    Read more about Supply-Side Platforms (SSP)

  • Sweepstakes

    Lead Generation offers for which users compete to earn a big prize, in exchange for some contact details sharing.

    Read more about Sweepstakes

  • Targeted Marketing

    Having the ability to distinguish the various groups that a market is comprised of, later developing specific products and marketing campaigns targeted at those chosen groups.

  • Token

    A tracking token is a dynamically generated variable provided by a paid traffic network (ExoClick, Traffic Junky, Ero-Advertising, etc.) In offers’ URLs, tokens are used to track specific info in an ad campaign. Normally, you can add multiple tokens to your tracking software in order to help you optimize your campaigns.

  • Top-level domain (TLD)

    The last segment of a domain name. The “TLD” letters normally follow the final dot of a web address.

  • Tracking Method

    The method used by affiliate programs to track sales, clicks or leads.

  • Tracking Platform

    This type of platforms allows you to track your activity in a simple and reliable way. Normally, you’ve got different filters available to analyze your data.

  • Tracking Software

    Software that’s located on a server that’s not your own. This software records and tracks visits to your site.

  • Tracking URL

    The URL of a website with a specific code attached to it. All visitors that arrive at the website will be tracked through this code.

  • Traffic

    Number of visits and visitors a site gets.

  • Unique Clicks

    The number of unique persons who have clicked the affiliate link/banner instead of the number of raw clicks (since the same person can click an ad 100 times). If you click a banner ad 7 times, only one of these will be counted as a unique click.

  • Unique User

    A unique visitor that reaches your website. In affiliate marketing, it refers to someone who’s been tagged or identified.

  • URL

    URL is an acronym which stands for Uniform Resource Locator. It’s basically a website’s address.

  • Viral Marketing

    A type of marketing technique which galvanizes website users to pass on a marketing text to either other sites or users.

  • Web Host

    A business which basically provides storage and services needed to serve website files and pages.

    Read more about Web Host

  • Webmasters

    Someone who manages the content and organization of a website. They’ll also be responsible for the technical programs and aspects of a site.

  • White Hat SEO

    The opposite of Black Hat SEO. It refers to any method that improves search performance on a search engine results page (SERP). People who use these approved methods are obviously never going to risk being banned since they respect the search engine’s terms of service.

  • White Label

    A product created by a company that other companies will later rebrand so as to make the original product fit their own brand. It’s basically a product sold without labeling. The term itself implies the labeling is blank for the marketer to fill as they feel like. Producers usually customize white label types of software according to a specific marketer’s needs.

  • Whitelists

    Target only the best websites.

    Read more about Whitelists

  • XML

    Extensible Markup Language. It’s used to brand documents with a standardized format which can be read by an app that’s compatible with XML. This language can be used on HTML pages.

  • Ad Agency

    Ad agencies or advertising agencies are media buying companies or even full-service creative companies which partner with marketers and advertisers to produce ad media buys or ad creatives.

  • Ad Tech

    Ad tech – advertising technology – actually refers to software which is built for the advertising industry and which helps to improve the efficiency of media as well as increase operational effectiveness. This term can refer to numerous platforms such as DSPs (Demand-Side Platforms), or DMPs (data management platforms).


    ASVOD or ad-supported streaming video on demand is configured to allow for ad-supported streaming. In general, these services tend to use a subscription model in which users (subscribers) are charged a monthly fee in order to access programming. HBO, Netflix and Hulu Plus are examples of ASVOD.