Affiliate Marketing Terms 2015

October 28th, 2015

PeerFly prides itself on our very large, extremely loyal base of affiliates. Some of you have been with us since 2009 (wow, time flies) and others have joined much more recently.

We are rolling out an initiative to make sure we’re providing more training, resources, and recommendations over the next few months. This will help all of our affiliates maximize their campaigns and overall strategy. Part of that initiative includes making sure our new affiliates have access to the basic information one might need when beginning their affiliate marketing career.

Without further adieu, here are some common affiliate marketing terms and definitions. Feel free to comment below and let us know if you have any questions, or if you want to share some important terms we’ve missed.


Above the Fold: The part of the webpage you can see without scrolling down or over. The exact amount of space will vary by viewer because of screen settings.


Advertiser: The company that owns the goods or service to be sold; also knows as the merchant. Sometimes referred to internally at PeerFly as the client.

Affiliate: A Web site owner that earns a commission or finders-fee for referring clicks, leads, or sales to a merchant.

Affiliate Agreement: terms between a merchant and an affiliate that govern the relationship.  This includes the terms on which the affiliate will be compensated for the conversions sent to the merchant’s web site.

Affiliate Link: A URL tracking link that identifies the affiliate and sends traffic to the merchant’s web site. The Affiliate links are unique in order to track the traffic coming from the Affiliate site.  For example, a link might look like

Affiliate Manager: The person responsible for managing affiliates on an Affiliate Network or running the merchant’s affiliate program.  Often referred to as AM. Typical AM duties includes recruiting affiliates, providing motivation and technical assistance on the promotion of campaigns, recommending traffic sources and affiliate tools.

Affiliate Tracking: The process of tracking clicks, conversions, and other actions using a unique link or variable that is attributed to specific affiliates and sources.

Banner Ad: An electronic advertisement or billboard such as an animated GIF, PNG, or JPEG image that advertises a product, service, or web site. There are 2 main parts to the banner ad, the graphic as well as text. Sometimes the text is simply a logo or slogan; sometimes it contains ad copy. Good Banners ads should be enticing and often utilize a call to action.

Charge Back: An invalid sale that results in the affiliate’s commission being forfeited.

Click-through: The action when a user clicks on a link and follows through to the merchant’s web site.

Click-Through Ratio (CTR): percentage of visitors who click-through on a link to visit the merchant’s web site. Also known as Click-Through Rate

Cloaking: Showing one version of a Web page to bots, reviewers, etc and a different version to the end user is known as cloaking. Many advertising sources and search engines have explicit rules against unapproved cloaking.

Commission: Income an affiliate earns for generating a sale, lead or click-through to a merchant’s web site. Sometimes called a referral fee or a CPA Payout. Also can be used to refer specifically to offers that pay on a percentage basis as opposed to a flat CPA Payout.

Content Management System (CMS): Content Management Systems allow website owners to modify their site, make changes to images, text, etc on their websites without specialized programming knowledge of software.

Contextual AdvertisingA feature offered by major search engine advertisers allowing your advertisement to be placed next to related news articles and on other Web pages. Contextual advertising seeks to match Web content from the display page with your advertised search term(s). Here’s a great example from Luke’s blog using 50onRed’s contextual traffic:


Cookies: small text files stored on the visitor’s computer, which record information that is of interest to the merchant site. They can also store the date/time of the click for purposes of tracking the time elapsed between a click and a conversion to a sale or lead.

Conversion: A conversion is the completion of the action that must occur for the affiliate to earn a CPA payout or Commission. Conversions are typically leads, sales, or installs.

Conversion Rate: Percentage of clicks that result in a commissionable activity (sale or lead).

CPA (Cost Per Action): The payout amount and point for a conversion such as a sale, lead, install, etc. Also referred to as Cost Per Acquisition.

CPAU (Cost Per Active User or Converts Per Active User): This term is used primarily in the game vertical – similar in meaning to CPA but refers specifically to Conversions requiring ‘Active Users’. Merchants use the term Active Users to classify users who reach a required level of activity such as completing a specific level of a game, logging in multiple times, or playing for XX number of minutes.

CPC (Cost Per Click):  Cost of an individual click when paying on a per click basis.

CPI (Cost Per Install): Same as CPA but referring specifically to app or software installs.

CPL (Cost Per Lead): Same as CPA but specifically refers to leads.

CPM (Cost Per Thousand): The cost of 1000 banner impressions.

CPO (Cost Per Order):  Same as CPA but refers specifically to sales.

CPS (Cost Per Sale): Same as CPA but refers specifically to sales.

Day Parting: Day parting refers to serving ads at different times of the day and days of the week, or even changing bids or copy / creative at different times. For example, you may not want your ads to show from 11AM-2PM on Tuesdays. This can be done manually in most online platforms, or automatically in some.

Designated Market Area (DMA): Refers to the location the merchant wants you to market to. Typically DMA is more specific to a smaller location than a geo, and is used to refer to a city, county, or other small area designation.

Direct Linking: Refers to having your affiliates links go directly to the merchant’s landing page rather than a redirect or your own presell page.

Doubt Opt-In (DOI): This type of registration requires a person submitting information to specifically request he or she be contacted or added to a list. Double Opt-In leads are leads that verify their email address after the initial sign up.

EPC (Earnings Per click):  Average earnings per 100 clicks.  A relative rating that describes the ability to turn clicks into commissions. Used as an indicator of an offers potential, however can be heavily skewed based on individuals with very high or very low performance results.

Geo-Targeting: The ability to reach potential customers by their physical location. Most commonly used in referring to targeting by country, but can be specific to regions, states, cities, etc.

Impression: How many times a banner advertisement was displayed or viewed.

Interstitial: An ad that appears between two pages a person is trying to view. The ad often appears near a hyperlink allowing someone to quit viewing your ad and go directly to the page he or she originally tried to access.

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Keyword: Almost interchangeable with Search Term, keywords are words or a group of words that a person may search for in a Search Engine. Keywords also refer to the terms you bid on through search engine marketing in trying to attract visitors to your website or Landing Page. Merchants may prohibit you from bidding on certain keywords.

KPI (Key Performance Indicator): A metric that is used to evaluate exactly how something is performing by using desired goals or historical averages to measure against current performance. Merchants may utilize KPIs to judge affiliate traffic quality or demand a certain quality level be reached for valid conversions.

MAU (Monthly Active Users or Monthly Average Users): Metric used to measure the success rate of games, apps, social networks and other types of websites.

Merchant: The company that owns the goods or service to be sold; also knows as the advertiser. Sometimes referred to internally at PeerFly as the client.

Pay-Per-Sale (PPS): An affiliate marketing program that rewards affiliates based on each conversion to a sale such as when purchasing a product or service from the merchant’s web site.  Pay-per-sale programs usually offer the highest commissions but tend to have the lowest conversion rates.

Pay-Per-Lead (PPL): Affiliate program that rewards affiliates for conversions to leads.  A lead might include a signup form, software download, survey, contest or sweepstakes entry, signup for a trial, etc. Pay-per-lead generally offers midrange commissions and midrange to high conversion ratios.

Pay-Per-Click (PPC): Rewards an affiliate for each unique click to the merchant’s web site.  This type of affiliate program is uncommon because of click fraud or fake clicks.

Pay-Per-Call (PPCall): Rewards an affiliate for each unique call to the merchant.  There can be other qualifying actions that have to take place for conversion to occur, such as a specified call duration, agreement to sales pitch, etc.

Performance-Based Marketing: Marketing in which the merchant only pays commissions for results such as conversions to sales or leads.

Retargeting: A user performs an action, such as a visit to your site or landing page, then has a cookie placed on her or his browser. As the user visits other sites, your retargeting ad appears in front of them (typically in the form of a banner ad). Retargeting can be done through various ad networks and platforms.

RevShare: Short for Revenue Share or Revenue Sharing, in the Affiliate Marketing industry it refers to a payment agreement in which affiliates earn a percentage of the revenue that is generated when their traffic converts into a sale. Recurring RevShare would be a program in which affiliates can get a percentage of the payment made by their converted traffic each month. This can be found with merchants who have a subscription based product or service.

ROAS: stands for ‘Return on Advertising Spending’. This is the amount of revenue generated for every dollar spent on advertising. For instance, a ROAS of $1 means you’re generating $1 in sales for every $1 in advertising spend, and a ROAS of $5 means you generate $5 in sales for every $1 in spending.

ROI: ROI stands for ‘Return on Investment’.

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SEM: Search Engine Marketing, typically refers to paid search but can also describe SEO

SEO: Search Engine Optimization. Refers to the practice of optimizing your sites to rank better in the search engines. Often described as organic traffic.

Single Opt-In (SOI): This type of registration requires a person submitting information to specifically request he or she be contacted or added to a list but does not require email confirmation for the conversion to take place.

Targeted Marketing: Offering the right offers to the right customers at the right time.

Text Link: A link that is not accompanied by a graphical image.

Unique Click: The process of only counting unique clicks from each web visitor.  Unique clicks are typically tracked by recording the IP address and browser information.

WordPress: WordPress is an extremely popular Content Management System. Many marketers create blogs, landing pages, or even full-fledged websites using WordPress.


Travis is a dedicated member of the PeerFly Team, working primarily in the Business Development Department. He has been involved in the Online Advertising & Marketing Industry since 2007.

5 thoughts on “Affiliate Marketing Terms 2015

  1. Jackie

    Good basic dictionary.

    But I would clarify what you wrote for the definition of “Keyword”

    On search PPC platforms there is a huge difference between “keyword” and “search term” —
    * Keyword is the word/phrase that the advertiser bids on
    * Search term is a the word/phrase that the user actually searched for.

  2. Jack He

    I always check out the latest blog posts, I know that I will get benefit from it.
    I have understood what are the ‘ROAS’ and ‘Revshare’. 🙂

    Thanks a lot for sharing, Travis.
    Thank you!

  3. Tanvir

    Wow!!! I was looking for affiliate marketing terms and got this.

    Thanks a lot. It will be a great source of information about affiliate marketing.


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