There is a pretty big learning curve when you are first introduced to affiliate marketing. Part of the learning curve is simply becoming familiar with all the terms used in affiliate marketing and online marketing in general.

So, we've compiled a list of terms and their definitions to help decrease the learning curve for you! Or, to at least be a resource that you can reference when you run into a term you are not sure of.

Our Affiliate Marketing Glossary is a living document. We are constantly updating it with new terms so make sure to check back often and comment below if there is a term you think is missing that we should add 😃

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301 redirect
A permanent redirect, the 301 is used to ensure that no traffic is lost even if when changing domains, moving websites, or consolidating traffic from multiple existing websites to go to the main active page. For redirecting to an https URL, the 301 redirect is the acceptable standard as well.

302 redirect
A temporary redirect, the 302 allows for redirecting to a different site where the suitable content is available temporarily, usually done when the old URL still has content but is under repair or is being updated. 302 is not the standard practice as it could possibly split traffic between two sites.

Above The Fold
Refers to the content and layout of the page that is immediately visible upon loading a website (without scrolling down); the term comes from when newspapers were folded when sold in new stands – making the most interesting piece of information stand out, hence encouraging passersby to purchase the newspaper.

Ad Exchange
A technology-driven and real-time platform that facilitates bidding for ads, connecting both demand-side platforms (DSP) and supply-side platforms (SSP). It automates the bidding for better efficiency and convenience.

Ad Network
Sometimes called traffic source, an advertising network serves as an intermediary between publishers who have ad space inventory, and advertisers who want to promote a specific product or service. They provide the platform and the program to automate the process of bidding for ad space and executing/displaying a winning ad.

There are different types of ad networks, and their difference rely mainly on the ad formats they serve. The following are the most common ad network types:
  • Native ad network
  • Display ads network (banner and text ads) network
  • Push notification ads
  • Contextual ad network (includes in-text ads)
  • PPV ad network (includes pops and domain redirects)
  • Social media network
  • Search ads network
  • Adults ad network
  • Mobile ad network
These networks also vary in their bidding model. Some use CPC, while others utilize CPM.

Advertiser
The entity paying to drive traffic to their landing pages. An advertiser can be any of the two:
  1. The owner of the product or service -- this is the entity (whether individual or company) who provides an offer and pays for conversions.
  2. The entity purchasing traffic from a paid source -- An affiliate can become an advertiser when joining traffic networks if his intention is to buy traffic.
Adware
A piece of software that is linked to and (usually) hidden within downloadable computer programs and applications, typically referred to as “spyware” as it tracks the activity of the user, and would then present ads based on such activity.

Affiliate Link
A link that is unique to the affiliate, which enables the CPA network and/or advertiser to identify the traffic brought in by the specific publisher or affiliate.

Affiliate Marketing Forum
An online forum that serves as a community for affiliates, traffic networks, CPA networks and other providers to connect, discuss, inquire, and share information relevant to affiliate marketing. One great example is Afflift!

Affiliate Program
Also referred to as a partner or referral program, the affiliate program is the agreement between the advertiser and affiliate in which the advertiser agrees to buy or pay for leads from the affiliate. The leads can be measured in terms of clicks, form sign-ups, sales or more.

Alexa Rank
A platform that measures the popularity of a page or website, with Rank 1 being the highest-performing site in terms of traffic. It is usually used as a KPI or a benchmark for analyzing the effectiveness of a website’s digital marketing strategies.

Alt Text
Short for “alternative text”, this provides information on the image or page. It also takes the place of the image when the latter does not load.

Anchor Text
This is the text that is displayed for a clickable link. The most common example of this is the words “click here”.

API
This is short for Application Programming Interface. It is a set of protocols used to create specific applications and allow one program to communicate with another.

APK Offers
Short for Android Package Kit, this is the file format used when installing mobile applications on devices that use the Android Operating System.

Auto-Download Offers
As its name itself implies, these are offers that automatically download a file or a program to a user’s device once a page is opened or when a banner is clicked.

Backlink
Also known as an incoming link. This is when other websites make reference to the webpage in question by linking to it.

Banner Ad
An image-based display advertisement that can be clicked to bring the user to the offer page or landing page.

Black Hat SEO
This is a type of SEO practice that uses shady and unethical tactics to rank higher quickly in search engine results. Typically, the webpage does not help the user in any way and end up getting penalized when caught by search engines.

Blacklist
This is a list of websites that you don’t want your ads to be shown in. It can also be a list of sources that you don’t want your page to receive paid traffic from. This list is added within your campaigns from your paid traffic provider.

Charge Back
In affiliate marketing terms, this is the refund of payment for leads or conversions that were proven to be either fraudulent or invalid. The payment given to the affiliate will be taken back and returned to the advertiser.

Click Fraud
This is when invalid clicks were generated through means of unethical practices in order to artificially inflate traffic and in turn increase earnings. These are fake clicks and usually lead to the banning of the affiliate from CPA networks.

Click ID
This is the code that helps identify the user that clicked on a link or allowed a page to load. The user’s information, such as his location, ISP, browser, device and more. It also provides essential details of the click such as when it occurred and which ad led to the action.

Click-Through
The process by which the user clicks on either a banner or a hyperlinked text and waited for the corresponding page to load.

Click-Through Rate
Also referred to as the CTR, this is the ratio of clicks that the ad gained compared to the impressions it received. This is a key performance metric that indicates whether or not the ad creative is effective.

To calculate this, just take the number of click-throughs, divide it by the number of impressions, and then multiply it by a hundred.

Cloaking
This is the process of hiding the actual page’s content and showing a different content that is acceptable to the viewer (such as search engines or reviewers from a traffic provider). Cloaking can also be used to hide information embedded in the tracking link.

Commission
This is the fee that an affiliate receives for promoting an offer, with the promotion resulting in a specific action, such as a lead or a conversion.

Content Farm
This is a website or a group of websites that contains a large amount of content that is usually of low quality. The purpose of such websites is to rank high and gain traffic from search engines in order to earn from various ads.

Contextual Links
This is a link found within an article. It usually contains keywords important to the page it is linking to.

Conversion
This is when the user performs the advertiser’s desired action. A lead, a purchase or a subscription can all be classified as a conversion.

Conversion Rate
This is a performance metric that determines what percentage of the ad impressions, clicks or page visits resulted in a conversion. To calculate this, just take the number of conversions, divide it by the number of impressions (or clicks or page views), and then multiply it by a hundred.

Cookies
This is a small file or a piece of data sent by the website the user is viewing to the device he is using. It can be stored locally or in the browser. This allows the website to record the user’s browsing activities on the site as well as other relevant information such as your device’s IP address and your language preference.

CPA (Cost per Acquisition)
Cost per Acquisition is the average cost incurred for every successful defined action. A defined action depends on the advertiser; it could be a lead (at the minimum is comprised of a name and an email address), a subscription (to a service or a free trial), or a purchase.

The CPA Rate can also be referred to as the amount the advertiser is willing to pay a publisher or an affiliate for every successful conversion.

CPC (Cost per Click)
This is simply the average cost the media buyer incurs for every click of his ad. This can also be referred to as the payment model that traffic providers use to bill their clients.

CPL (Cost per Lead)
This is the cost incurred for every successful form sign-up. In CPA networks, it can be referred to as the amount the advertiser is willing to pay an affiliate for every lead.

CPM (Cost per One Thousand Impressions)
Short for Cost per Mille, CPM is the cost incurred by the advertiser for every one thousand views of his ad. For publishers in an ad network, this is how much he earns for every ad space he has that received one thousand impressions.

CPS (Cost per Sale)
This is the cost incurred for every successful purchase. In CPA networks, it can be referred to as the amount the advertiser is willing to pay an affiliate for every user confirmed purchase.

CPV (Cost per View)
This is what you pay CPV networks every time your ad is viewed. This is typically used for pop ads and domain redirects.

Crawler
Short for Web Crawler, also called spiders, robots or spiderbots, is a program that crawls webpages to help search engines understand the content of the page. It also provides feedback on what websites the page link to (outgoing links), what websites link to the page (incoming links), what the content is about and more. These crawlers help search engines index (or de-index) a webpage.

Creative
This is the promotional material that the advertiser uses to attract viewers to click on their ad. Creatives vary depending on the ad format. An ad creative can be text-based, with an ad title and text (in case of search ads), a combination of ad text and image (in case of push notifications), while it can also be an image or a GIF (in case of a banner or display ad).

CSV File
Short for Comma Separated Values, a CSV file is a type of spreadsheet file that contains data and can be opened using Excel, OpenOffice, Google Sheets, and other spreadsheet programs.

Daily Budget
This is the amount you are willing to spend per day in a traffic network for a specific campaign, ad set or ad creative. Once this budget is used up, the ad or campaign will pause for the day and will restart again the following day.

Datafeed
This is a file that includes all products or offers under one advertiser. It includes relevant information such as offer name, number, description, CPA, accepted traffic, ad creatives and more.

Dayparting
These are the days of the week, or the hours of the day, that you want your ad to run on. This schedule can be set when creating your campaign in a traffic network. Your ad will only run on the specific time of the day and days of the week you choose.

Deep Linking
This is an advertising technique wherein you use a link that displays the exact page you want the viewer to see. This is effective for huge websites that have multiple products or services to offer, such as a hotel booking website or an eCommerce website.

Deep Link Generator
This is the tool used to generate an affiliate link based on the exact page the affiliate wants to promote.

Demand Side Platforms (DSP)
This is a platform that aggregates ad exchanges and traffic sources in one dashboard. It is called the Demand Side Platform as it caters to the needs of media buyers and advertisers, or the “demand-side” of the ad buying world.

Direct Billing Flow
This is a type of conversion flow wherein a conversion is recorded when the user pays for the offer or service by adding the charge to his phone bill or when he pays using his mobile phone’s prepaid credits.

Direct Buy
This is an ad-buying system wherein the media buyer is in direct contact with a publisher and purchases ad inventory in bulk. Instead of passing through a bidding system, the media buyer pays for the ad space at either a fixed CPM rate or a fixed schedule (with start and end dates).

Under such circumstances, the media buyer has no option of filtering low-quality traffic since he gets the entire bulk of impressions for his ad space of choice. However, this can be a cheaper option compared to purchasing traffic from an ad network.

Disclosure
This is a required text that needs to be placed on advertisers’ webpages to inform users and potential buyers/investors about how the information on the page may have a direct or indirect bias to influence users on their decision.

This means the affiliate needs to inform the user that he or she is getting paid a fee each time a user signs up or purchases through his link. This is a requirement by the US Federal Trade Commission.

Domain Authority
This is an SEO ranking score as predicted by Moz. It is an estimation of how well a website would do when it comes to search engine rankings, with a score that ranges from 1 to 100, the latter being the highest score.

The score is based on several factors or signals, including the number of domains linking to the page, and the number of ranking keywords within the website.

Double Opt-In (DOI)
Otherwise known as Confirmed Opt-in, this is a two-step subscription procedure. The user needs to input his details in a form (which requires an email address), submit it, and then check his email to confirm the subscription. Only when the user has confirmed subscription will the lead be counted towards the affiliate.

This style of subscription is said to have better quality leads as compared to Single Opt-Ins.

Duplicate Content
These are exact blocks of content that appear in two or more webpages that Google deems to be “appreciably similar”.

Dynamic Tracking
This is a tracking style that changes dynamically based on the information that the click provides. Data is gathered based on the tracking tokens that ad networks automatically fill out. The tracking tokens vary and depend on the traffic network.

Earnings per Click (EPC)
This is the average rate that helps affiliates estimate their earnings (or potential earnings) at a glance. Although it is called “Earnings per Click”, in reality, it is earnings per one hundred clicks.

This is computed based on the total affiliate earnings for that offer/program, divided by the number of clicks the offer has received for a given period. The result is then multiplied by a hundred to come up with the average earnings per 100 clicks.

Fired Pixel
This is an industry-wide term which means a click or an impression has occurred, and that information on that specific ad view or click has been sent back to the affiliate’s tracker.

This may also mean that a conversion has occurred when the click generated a lead or a sale.

First Click
This is a program policy wherein the first affiliate who managed to place a cookie on a user’s browser or computer will be the one credited with the lead or sale. This is applicable only until the cookie expires and if the user has not yet deleted the cookie. Until then, cookies placed by subsequent affiliate links will not be considered for the conversion.

Flat Deal
Also known as Direct Buy or Flat Rate Advertising Deal, this allows a media buyer to purchase all incoming traffic from a website at a fixed fee.

Since all traffic is being purchased, the buyer cannot filter or separate high-quality traffic from low-quality ones. The only thing the buyer can control is the location of the ad space, as well as the start and end dates of the ad.

Frequency Capping

This is the number of times a unique user views (or clicks) an ad within a given period (i.e. an hour, a 12-hour period, or a 24-hour period). This helps prevent ad burn out.

GEO Targeting
This is a targeting option that allows the affiliate to purchase only traffic coming from a specific geographic location, such as a region, country, state or even city. An ad network is able to filter this based on the IP address of the user.

Hit
This is the number of file requests each webpage makes on a server. If a webpage contains one image and one graphic, that page makes three hits when it loads completely: one for the page, one for the graphic file and one for the image. However, this term is sometimes incorrectly used to refer to one pageview.

HTML
Short for Hyper Text Markup Language, HTML is a markup language that uses a combination of symbols and codes to create pages that can be displayed in a browser. When published live, these become available on the World Wide Web.

Hyperlink
This is an item on a webpage that contains a link that directs the user to a different part of the page or a different website altogether. The hyperlinked item can be a word, a series of words, or an image, and is often highlighted to emphasize that clicking on it will lead you somewhere else.

Impression
This refers to the numerous times an ad is displayed. In pop-ads, one “pop” of a webpage is counted as an impression.

In display and text-link ads, an impression is counted whether or not the ad is in the viewable range. A viewable impression, on the other hand, is counted when at least 50% of the ad appears in the viewable range for at least a second.

In-House
There are multiple meanings associated with this term, but in general, it means “from within”. Here are some instances where the term In-House is most commonly used:
  • In-House Affiliate Program - This is when a company or advertiser wants to run their own affiliate program instead of working with agencies or using affiliate networks.
  • In-House Tracking Platform - This is when an advertiser, an affiliate network, or a traffic network uses a tracking system that is built exclusively for them.
  • In-House Fraud Preventions System - This is when a traffic network uses its own proprietary system to track and prevent bots.
Inbound Link
Also known as a Backlink, an Inbound Link is one that is used to drive traffic towards your website from an external page. This type of link is one of search engines’ positive signals which helps increase your webpage’s rankings in search results.

Incentive Traffic
This is a type of traffic wherein the user receives a reward for completing a certain action, which in turn results in a conversion for the affiliate. Rewards can come in the form of discounts, money, free items, points and more.

Index or Indexing
This is when a webpage is discovered by search engine crawlers and become part of that search engine’s database. A search engine’s index is a compilation of all websites and pages in their database. Once a website has been indexed, it has the potential to appear in a search query.