Affiliate Marketing Definitions

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October 25, 2022

To build a solid foundation for affiliate marketing, let's get our affiliate acronyms and definitions straight.

Learn the lingo of affiliate marketers with the Affiliate Savant Dictionary.

The terms below are presented alphabetically and added as needed to support the Affiliate Marketing Guide for Beginners.

And because your success depends on more than affiliate marketing definitions, entries in this specialized dictionary will link to further resources as they're created.

Affiliate Marketing Terms and Definitions


An affiliate promotes a company's products or services in exchange for commissions on sales generated by referrals.

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is a type of performance-based marketing in which the merchant rewards its affiliates for each lead or sale brought by the affiliate's marketing efforts.

Affiliate Network

An affiliate network is a platform where affiliates can connect with multiple merchants. The affiliate network provides affiliate links, tracks sales, and forwards the affiliate a commission.

Affiliate Niche Site

An affiliate niche site is a website that focuses on a specific topic or niche and promotes related products or services with affiliate links.

Affiliate Tracking Software

Affiliate tracking software refers to affiliate tools and services that track clicks, conversions, and the earnings of all campaigns in one place. It can also refer to software used by businesses to track the performance of their affiliates.


Analytics measure and analyze how visitors interact with a website. Standard analytics services used by affiliates are Google Analytics and Google Search Console.


Attribution in affiliate marketing is the process of identifying which traffic source or marketing campaign is responsible for a conversion.

A/B Testing

A/B testing compares two different versions of a web page against each other to see which one performs better.

Affiliate Commission

Affiliate commission is a merchant's payment to an affiliate for each sale or lead generated. The commission is typically a percentage of the sale amount, or a flat payout.

Content Marketing

Content marketing is a type of marketing that involves creating and sharing content online to attract and engage customers. Affiliates can use blog posts, articles, social media posts, infographics, and videos for content marketing.


A conversion occurs when visitors to your site take a desired action such as a newsletter sign-up, a contact form submission, or click an affiliate link and complete a sale.

Conversion Rate

A conversion rate is the percentage of visitors to a website who take the desired action, such as buying a product or filling out a form. Affiliates are also concerned with the conversion rate of clicks on their affiliate offers.

Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)

Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is the process of increasing the percentage of conversions on a website or landing page. CRO can be done through testing and making changes to website design, copywriting, user experience, and offers.

Cost Per Action (CPA)

Cost per action (CPA), also known as cost per acquisition (CPA), is an online advertising pricing model where the advertiser pays for a specified action - such as a lead, click, or sale.

Cost Per Mille (CPM)

Cost per mille, also known as CPM, is an advertising pricing model in which an advertiser pays for every 1000 impressions of an ad. An impression is a view of an advertisement or page.

Click Fraud

Click fraud is the act of artificially inflating traffic statistics by maliciously clicking on ads or links.

Click-Through Rate (CTR)

A click-through rate (CTR) is the percentage of people who see your ad or affiliate link and then click on it. In other words, it's the number of clicks divided by the number of impressions.

Display Advertising

Display advertising, sometimes called banner advertising, comes in various ad formats, including banner ads, pop-ups, skyscrapers, and rich media. Most display ads are served via third-party ad networks that handle targetting, delivery and payments.

Email Marketing

Email marketing is the use of email to promote products or services.

Landing Page

A landing page is a web page that a visitor lands on after clicking an ad or link, such as a paid ad or search engine result. Landing pages typically contain a sales pitch promoting a product or service. We design landing pages to convert website visitors into leads or customers.


A merchant is a business that creates and sells products or services. In affiliate marketing, the merchant is the company that provides the product and billing for offers it makes available through an affiliate program.


Website monetization is the term used for the various ways of making money from a website. The most common methods include display advertising, subscriptions, and affiliate marketing.


A newsletter is a regularly-published email sent to a list of subscribers. Affiliates can use a newsletter to share blog updates and promotional content with subscribers.


An affiliate niche is typically a small, specialized market and can be a specific demographic, a certain need or want, or a particular type of product or service.

Paid search refers to online advertising where businesses pay to have their website shown above or below organic search results for a specific keyword or phrase.

Pay Per Click (PPC)

Pay per click is an online advertising pricing model in which the advertiser pays a fixed average price for every click on an ad.

Cost per click (CPC) is the amount of money an advertiser pays each time someone clicks on their PPC ads.

Pay Per Sale (PPS)

Pay per sale affiliate programs pay their affiliates a commission for every sale they generate for the merchant.

Performance-Based Marketing

Performance-based marketing is where businesses only pay when a specific outcome occurs, such as a purchase or sign-up. Affiliate marketing is a type of performance-based marketing.


An online publisher is a person or company that publishes content, such as articles or videos on the internet. Some online publishers make money through advertising, while others make money through affiliate marketing.

Revenue Sharing

In affiliate marketing, revenue sharing or "rev share" typically refers to affiliate offers that earn a recurring monthly commission. Rev share commissions are usually a percentage of the sale amount.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

Search engine marketing (SEM) involves the promotion of websites by increasing their visibility on search engine results pages (SERPs) through paid advertising or search engine optimization (SEO).

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO (Search engine optimization) is the practice of improving the ranking of a website on search engines. SEO involves optimizing a website's content, structure, on-page elements, and off-page SEO factors such as link building.

Social Media Marketing (SMM)

Social media marketing is the process of marketing your business or product on social media platforms. It may include creating and sharing content, running ads, and engaging with audience comments.

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