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Affiliate ABC – The Complete Affiliate Marketing Glossary

Rewardful Team

Are you trying to navigate the world of affiliate marketing? Then this glossary will come in handy for the ride.

Affiliate marketing is a great way to promote products and earn serious money, but it can be confusing with all the buzzwords flying around. 

To understand the who's who, we've created this cheat sheet with affiliate lingo. 

We'll break down 50 of the most common affiliate marketing terms to help you become more familiar with this industry and help you communicate more clearly with your partners or affiliates. (Pin this to your bookmark as we’ll keep adding more!) 

1. Advertiser

A brand promoting its products with affiliate marketing. They are also referred to as merchants.

2. Affiliate

An individual (or, in some cases, entity) that promotes a product or service in exchange for a commission on any resulting sales or leads. Affiliates are sometimes also called publishers or affiliate marketers.

3. Affiliate Agreement

A legal contract between an affiliate and a business that outlines the terms and conditions of their relationship. This agreement may include commission rates, program terms, and performance goals.

4. Affiliate ID

A unique identification code assigned to each affiliate that allows the merchant to track their performance and commissions.

5. Affiliate Link

A unique URL provided to an affiliate that tracks clicks and conversions on a business’s website. This link allows the merchant to attribute any resulting sales or leads to the appropriate affiliate. Businesses can generate these links using online referral software.

6. Affiliate Manager

The person responsible for managing an affiliate program. Their tasks can involve recruiting and supporting affiliates. This person is often the main point of contact for affiliates and provides guidance and support to help affiliates succeed. The best referral software out there helps affiliate managers with content and a dashboard to keep track of all metrics.

7. Affiliate Network

A platform that connects merchants with affiliates, offering tracking and payment solutions for both parties.

8. Affiliate Program

Also known as referral programs. They are a way for brands to incentivize people to promote their products using unique affiliate links.

9. Anchor Text

The clickable text within a hyperlink that directs users to a specific webpage. In affiliate marketing, the anchor text is used as a way to track clicks and conversions from an affiliate's website or content.

10. Attribution

The process of assigning credit to the appropriate affiliate for a sale or lead generated through their promotion.

11. Campaign

A specific marketing effort designed to promote a product or service to a particular audience or demographic.

12. Caps

Refers to limits placed on the number of sales or leads that affiliates can generate for a merchant within a certain period of time.

13. Chargeback

A transaction that is reversed due to a dispute or fraudulent activity. In affiliate marketing, chargebacks can occur if a customer disputes a purchase made through an affiliate's link or if the transaction is found to be fraudulent.

14. Click Pixel

A small image or tracking code that is placed on a webpage or email to track clicks and conversions.

15. Click-Through Rate (CTR)

Click-through rate (CTR) is the percentage of website visitors who click on a specific link or call-to-action.

16. Commission

Commission is the percentage or flat fee paid to an affiliate for each sale or lead generated through their promotion.

17. Conversion Rate

Conversion rate is the percentage of website visitors who take a desired action, such as making a purchase or submitting a lead form.

18. Cookie

A cookie is a small file stored on a user's computer that tracks their activity on a website, allowing for accurate attribution of sales and leads. 

19. Cookie Length

The length of the cookie determines the period during which the affiliate can earn a commission on any resulting sales or leads. For example, if a merchant has a cookie length of 30 days, then the affiliate can earn a commission for any sales or leads generated by that user within 30 days of clicking on their affiliate link.

20. Cost Per Action (CPA)

Cost per action is an affiliate marketing payment model where affiliates are paid based on specific actions, such as filling out a form or completing a purchase.

21. Cost Per Click (CPC)

Cost per click is an affiliate marketing payment model where affiliates are paid based on the number of clicks their links receive. This model focuses on generating website traffic.

22. Creatives

The marketing materials provided by the merchant for affiliates to use in their promotions, such as banners, text links, and product images.

23. Deep Linking

The practice of linking to a specific page or product on a merchant's website, rather than the homepage, to increase relevancy and conversions.

24. Earnings Per Click (EPC)

Earnings per click is the average earnings generated by an affiliate per click on their affiliate link. This metric shows the effectiveness of an affiliate's promotion efforts.

25. Earnings Per Lead (EPL)

This metric reflects how much you earn on average for each lead you generate through your promotion.

26. Exclusive Offer

A special promotion given only to certain affiliates to motivate better performance.

27. Impression

This is the number of times your ad or affiliate link is displayed to potential customers. The more, the merrier, but it also matters to get in front of the right people.

28. Landing Page

The webpage a user is directed to after clicking an affiliate link, typically designed to promote a specific product or service. Landing pages are typically optimized for conversions.

29. Lead Magnet

A valuable piece of content, such as an e-book or guide, used to attract potential customers and generate leads. Lead magnets are typically offered for free in exchange for contact information, such as an email address.

30. ​​Lifetime Value (LTV)

The estimated value of a customer over the course of their relationship with a business, taking into account repeat purchases and referrals.

31. Link Cloaking

The practice of disguising an affiliate link to make it appear as a regular, non-affiliate link. This can help to increase click-through rates and prevent users from being turned off by the presence of an affiliate link.

32. Merchant

A business that sells a product or service and offers an affiliate program to promote it. Merchants can range from small businesses to large corporations. They can also be referred to as advertisers.

33. Multi-Level Marketing (MLM)

A commission-based business model where affiliates can earn from their own sales as well as those of the affiliates they recruit.

34. Network Fee

A fee paid by affiliates to an affiliate network for using their platform and services to connect with merchants and promote their products. Not all affiliate networks charge a fee.

35. Pay Per Click (PPC)

An affiliate marketing payment model where affiliates are paid based on the number of clicks their links receive, regardless of whether or not a sale or lead is generated.

36. Payout

The amount of money paid out to an affiliate for sales or leads generated through their promotion.

37. Performance Bonus

A reward or bonus affiliates receive on top of their commissions for hitting specific performance goals and milestones.

38. Performance marketing (or performance-based marketing)

A marketing strategy focused on driving specific actions, such as sales or leads, rather than simply generating traffic or brand awareness.

39. Program Terms

The rules, requirements, and limitations of an affiliate program, as outlined in the affiliate agreement.

40. Publisher

Another term for an affiliate, referring to the fact that they publish or promote content that includes affiliate links.

41. Recurring Commission

Recurring commission is a commission paid to an affiliate for ongoing sales generated from a single referral.

42. Return on Investment (ROI)

Return on investment (ROI) is the measure of profitability for an investment, typically calculated as the revenue generated minus the cost of investment. With SaaS affiliate tracking, you can always keep an eye on your wins.

43. Sub-Affiliate

A sub-affiliate is an affiliate who promotes a brand’s products or services through their own affiliate network, earning a commission on the resulting sales or leads.

44. Super Affiliate

An affiliate who generates a large volume of sales or leads for a merchant, often through their extensive reach and promotional efforts.

45. Target Audience

A target audience refers to the particular group of potential customers that a merchant or affiliate is attempting to reach.

46. Two-Tier Affiliate Program

An affiliate program that allows affiliates to earn commissions not only from their own sales but also from the sales of other affiliates they recruit.

47. Vanity Code

A vanity code is a customized code or tag added to an affiliate link used to track and report offline or print promotions.

48. Verticals

Verticals refer to specific industries or categories of products or services within the affiliate marketing industry. Common verticals include fashion, beauty, health, finance, and technology.

49. White-Labeling

White-labeling is the practice of rebranding a product or service as one's own and reselling it to customers. It allows affiliates to offer their own branded version of a product or service.

50. Zero Risk

A type of affiliate program where affiliates are not required to make any upfront investment or purchase any products, but can still earn commissions on sales generated through their promotion.

Get started with affiliate marketing

Now you’ve covered the basics of all things affiliate marketing, it’s time to set up your own affiliate program. And that’s a lot easier than you might think. Check out Rewardful and have your own affiliate marketing program up and running in a matter of minutes!

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