In the field of internet marketing, there are a multitude of different acronyms and terminology that is useful to get acquainted with. Below is a comprehensive alphabetized list of common verbiage and phrases used in internet marketing. Feel free to consort this glossary whenever you come across a term or acronym you are unfamiliar with.
Above the Fold – A part of the website/blog/landing page that a person first sees when landing on that specific site without scrolling down.
Advertiser - Also known as a Merchant. This is the company that produces whatever product or service affiliates promote to the world.
Adware – Adware are programs that are downloaded unknowingly to a person's computer that are often used to place ads all over the web pages of the victim's computer. This is usually downloaded along with another program, or disguised as the program itself. Adware can also be known as “Spyware” Many merchant's have noticed affiliates promoting this way and often refuse to do business with them. Using Adware to place ads is considered Black Hat, and is often a violation of a merchant's affiliate TOS. (make an article on different kinds of adware and how to avoid/get rid of it.)
Affiliate – A person that promotes an advertiser's products or service in exchange for making money or receiving other types of conpensation through generating leads, and therefore assisting in making sales for the merchant's product or service. (make an article on the basics of affiliate marketing and what it's all about.)
Affiliate Agreement – A simple agreement created between an advertiser and an affiliate. This agreement usually defines legal issues, rules, and any responsibilities of both parties.
Affiliate Link – Usually a URL or embed code provided by the merchant that includes a unique tracking code so the merchant can keep track of the important metrics of the affiliates sales.
Affiliate Manager – Pretty self explanatory, a person who manages the affiliate program on behalf of the advertiser. These people are usually the middlemen between the affiliate and the advertiser, and some of their responsibilities include increasing affiliate sales for the advertiser, making sure the affiliate uses the best possible means to promote the product or service, and for recruiting more affiliates. Can also be known as an OPM. Can be directly tied to the advertiser or could be a third party.
Affiliate Network - A third party that connects affiliates to merchants by means of affiliate management. Examples are places like The Warrior Forum or Clickbank. They can provide technology to track affiliate campaigns, maintain tracking, and make sure that affiliates are paid for their service, sends reports to both the affiliate and the merchant, and expose the merchant to other possible affiliate opportunities. (make a better list of reputable AN's)
Affiliate Program – A program in which affiliates use various means of driving traffic and building a rapport to send to a merchant's sales page. This is usually done by things such as reviews, recommendations, or referrals. This is done for a merchant in exchange for a commission based on whatever deal is agreed upon between the affiliate and the merchant.
Affiliate Software – An in house affiliate marketing program made for merchants for use instead of an Affiliate Network. This software often tracks affiliate's sales and make reports accordingly.
Affiliate Tracking – An ID attached to a link that is unique to a single affiliate to drive traffic to the affiliate's merchant. This is used to track sales and referrals.
Anchor Text – A link that is placed into a blog or an article that is created into a single word or a phrase. You will often see this by a blog directing you to “Click Here” to go somewhere, with that phrase being used as the link rather than a URL.
Associate – a business acquaintance, usually another name for “employee.” In affiliate marketing, this refers to the affiliate.
Auto Approval – A merchant that automates affiliate applications and approves them instantly.
Banner Ad – An ad created by a merchant that can be embedded into a website by the affiliate. Usually a small graphic in the sidebar or a large thin banner that spans across the page.
Black Hat – A metaphor describing unethical ways of creating traffic or sending traffic to a merchant, such as click fraud. Black Hat methods usually hurt affiliates or merchant's, so is frowned upon and are often considered a violation of a merchant's TOS.
Charge Back – A product that is refunded or a sale that falls through after an affiliate is already paid. Usually this means the merchant will withdraw the affiliate's commission for the failed or refunded sale. This can also happen if a lead or multiple leads are considered fraudulent.
Click Fraud – A black hat method in affiliate marketing that often involves generating fake clicks sent to a merchant to manufacture sales. This is meant to subvert the merchant to benefit the affiliate because these “Leads” aren't interested at all in completing a sale, so are therefore wasting a merchant's time and providing the affiliate with fraudulent sales.
Click-Through – Simple, the act of someone clicking on your affiliate link and taken to the merchant's sales page. This is also written as “Click-Thru.”
Click-through Rate (CTR) - The number of times your affiliate link has been clicked on compared to the number of times the link has been viewed, shown as a percentage. To calculate this metric, simply take the number of clicks received and divide it by the amount of impressions. You will come out with a decimal number, and if you know your decimals you can tell the percentage. (just multiply the decimal number you got by 100. So, let's say I got 20 clicks from 100 impressions. Divide 20 by 100 and you will get .2, then multiply that by 100 and you have 20%.)
Cloaking – Hiding a web page's content or an affiliate link. Hiding a web page's content is not a good idea due to Google and other search engines, but hiding an affiliate link is often considered acceptable and is often put into practice by most affiliates.
Contextual Link – A link that is made to be a part of a blog as opposed to an outside advertisement such as a banner. This are often shown as anchor text to look more streamlined.
Co-Branding – Something involving the merchant that also places your name or brand onto the product or the sales system, such as a custom landing page made by a merchant that also shows your logo. This is often reserved only for the cream of the crop, the “Super Affiliates.”
Commission – a specific amount or fee paid by the merchant to the affiliate for creating a specific result for the merchant. The amount and the process is usually outlined in the Affiliate Agreement.
Conversion – A user that is directed towards and takes a particular desired action. Whatever counts as a conversion varies on the affiliate agreement, such as someone that buys a merchant's product or service, signing up for an email list, completing a form, etc.
Conversion Rate – A similar metric to the Click Through rate, but instead of clicks the amount of conversions, whether they be sales, signups, completed forms, whatever is dictated in the Affiliate Agreement, are calculated instead. (let's take the previous example. Instead of 20 clicks, we made 20 sales out of 100 impressions. Divide the impressions by the sales, then multiply the answer by 100. In this case, we would once again be at a 20% rate)
Cookies – A file that is sent from any website to a file in the user's web browser. This is often used by merchants for various reasons, such as tracking sales, keeping information on file for a specific period of time, or dropping to assign an affiliate ID. With affiliate ID's this is usually done in the background with no attention brought to it. This is often used by merchants such as Amazon, which will drop a cookie into a user's web browser that was directed there by an affiliate link. This will often stay on record for a specific amount of time as well (in Amazon's case, 24 hours) so that any sale made through that specific affiliate link in the alloted time will be tracked with the sale and the commission will be made to that affiliate. This can backfire, however, say if an affiliate link is clicked on, but then navigates away from the page and clicks on somebody else's affiliate link. In that case, the commission will be made for the last affiliate link clicked on, since the cookie is dropped to that unique tracking ID.
Cookie Expiration – The time alloted for a specific cookie to register making a commission for that specific affiliate link. If a purchase is made after that allotted time the sale will not be registered with the affiliate and the affiliate will not receive a commision. Some expiration periods can be as short as 24 hours, some can be as long as 90 days.
Cookie Stuffing – A Black Hat technique in which cookies are dropped onto as many user's browsers as possible without clicking the affiliate link, usually done in hopes that someone will randomly stumble across the merchant's site again and make a purchase that will be accredited to the affiliate. This is usually done in the broadest methods with places such as Amazon in hopes of racking up commissions without actually doing the legwork of making the user a lead and trying to mold them into a conversion. This is often seen as spammy, and in the worst of cases can even spread unwelcome adware or other malicious programs. Because of this and the questionable ethics behind this, merchants almost universally frown upon this, and is 99% of the time a violation of the TOS.
CPA – Cost Per Acquisition, or sometimes Cost Per Action. A reflection of the amount an affiliate is paid to achieve a certain desired outcome, such as a successful sign up or sale.
CPC – Cost Per Click. A reflection of the cost to create a click from a lead onto a link. Say you spent 100 dollars on advertising and received 20 clicks, the CPC would be the amount spent divided by the amount of clicks, in this case it would be a $5 CPC. In most cases the lower CPC, the better as you are spending less on advertising for profitable clicks.
CPM – Cost Per 1,000 impressions. An easier way to calculate larger scale advertisement campaigns by showing the cost to display an ad for 1,000 impressions. An example would be if you wanted to buy an advertisement for $5 CPM and you wanted to show it 6,000 times, the amount paid for that campaign would be $30.
Creative – Similar to a banner, a creative is another graphical ad or link provided to the affiliate for promotional usage.
Customer Bounty – Another term for “Commission.”
Datafeed – A file that lists all of the items or services any single merchant sells, usually including images of the product, description, price, and affiliate links. These datafeeds are often made into an online store.
Disclosure – A notice on your blog, website, or video stating that you are being compensated for recommending a product, endorsing a product, or any other affiliate information such as that. Full disclosure isn't required, but these very basics are a requirement of the FTC if you are to engage in any sort of affiliate marketing. (create an article with more on the subject.)
Drop Shipping – A facet of E-Commerce. Drop shipping is a type of store style where you send your product specs to an outside manufacturer, and where it is packaged and shipped out to customers directly for a nominal fee. A great place to set up a drop shipping online store is with (blank).
E-mail Link – An affiliate link with the sole purpose of being used through email marketing or through an overarching email sales campaign.
EPC – Earnings Per Click. A reflection on how much you make every time somebody clicks your affiliate link. Say you made 1,000 dollars with a specific affiliate which was made from 10,000 clicks. Divide the 1,000 by 10,000 to come to a total of 0.1, which means your EPC in this case would be 10 cents for each time your affiliate link is clicked.
First Click – The reverse of Last click, in which the first affiliate who had their cookie dropped by their affiliate link will be the one credited with the commission, regardless of how many other people's affiliate links were clicked on.
Grey Hat – This is a metaphor for techniques used by affiliate marketers and e-commerce stores that are not breaking TOS or any legal stipulations, but may be considered “cheating” or not effective for the time and the reputation damage of the technique. One Grey Hat technique would be buying followers on social media. It is not illegal or breaking TOS of social media platforms, and it can be lucrative if done the right way, such as paying for access to another marketer's network or email list. However, if done lazily or sloppily, you could end up with a lot of followers, but almost no interaction. This is a huge red flag to people and merchant's alike and may soil your reputation. In other words, proceed at your own risk.
Impression – A metric referring to how many times an ad is shown on a page. For example, if you showed 10 ads on your blog it would be considered 10 impressions.
In House – a colloquialism referring to a merchant or an e-commerce store running its own affiliate program rather than deferring to an affiliate network.
Indie program – A term used by the software used in house by a merchant. Obviously, short for “Independent Program.”
Joint Venture (JV) - A one-off business endeavor as opposed to a long term, permanent relationship, such as when two bloggers collaborate on a single article and push it simultaneously with advertisements.
Last Click – The reverse of First Click. This represents when an affiliate is paid by the last place their cookie was dropped under their affiliate link. For example, Amazon once again. Amazon is a great example of Last Click because their cookies last for 24 hours, but only for that single cookie drop. So if the lead backtracks away from the site, then goes back and purchases something under another affiliate link, that last affiliate link clicked on would receive the commission for the sale.
Lead – A potential prospect for a sale, usually at the top of a sales funnel, whereas a conversion is more likely to be at the bottom. Leads can be a person who clicks on a link, watches a sales video, signs up for an email list, and various other tasks that can begin the process of selling.
Manual Approval – The opposite of automatic approval, where the merchant sifts through an affiliate's application manually to determine eligibility for the affiliate program.
Merchant – Another term for “Advertiser,” the company that creates and manages the product that one as the affiliate would be promoting.
Niche – A laser focused term used to denote a very specific topic from a broad topic category. For example, say you want to go into the category of music. Music would be the broad category, but there are many different genres of music. A specific genre of music would be a niche, or a specific person involved in music would be a niche, such as music fans or musicians.
OPM – Outsourced Program Manager, would also be called an Affiliate Manager.
Opt-In Rate – The number of people who signed up for the mailing list in regard to how many impressions, represented by a percentage. For example, if you had 100 impressions and 5 of those people signed up for the mailing list, you would have an opt-in rate of 5%.
PPS – Pay Per Sale, is represented by an amount made in commission to the affiliate for each sale made.
PPL – Pay Per Lead, is represented by an amount made in commission to the affiliate for each lead generated for the merchant. A lead could be a quote or a form filled out or anything considered a payable lead by the merchant.
PPC – Pay Per Click, is represented by an amount made in commission to the affiliate for each click on the merchant's ad. Google Adwords is a PPC affiliate program.
Payment Threshold – The minimum amount of commissions necessary to be made before a payout from the merchant to the affiliate happens. Oftentimes this is done to avoid multiple small payouts in a row. Sometimes the Payment Threshold is set by the merchant, sometimes it can be set by the affiliate.
POD – Point of Difference. Whatever unique and individual trait or advantage your product or the product you are promoting has over its competition.
PLR – Private Label Rights. This refers to any sort of content that you can acquire that can be used under your brand or considered your own resource.
Raw Clicks – The unedited amount of clicks received on your affiliate link. These clicks do not filter things such as the same person clicking on your link multiple times, but can be used in conjunction with Unique Clicks to get a broader understanding of how productive a single amount of clicks can be.
Recurring Commissions – These are multiple commissions an affiliate can make as a result of successfully promoting an item that has a subscription or other recurring payment. These are usually service based subscriptions, such as web hosting.
Residual Earnings – Any commissions that are made throughout the service lifetime of any customer referred by the affiliate, as opposed to one single commission that is made after a prerequisite has been met.
ROAS – Return on Advertising Spending, can also be referred to as ROI, or Return on Investment. In most types of internet marketing, one of the best ways to get more attention to your site (and therefore your affiliate links or products) is to create paid advertisements. The point of this is to hopefully create more revenue in affiliate commissions than you would have spent on advertising. You can calculate your ROAS by taking the amount made in commissions and dividing it by the amount spent on advertising, and then multiply that by 100. Let's say you spent 200 dollars on advertising and made 1000 dollars. Take 1000 and divide it by 200. You would come out to a total of 5. Multiply that by 100 and you would have a percentage of 500% ROAS. You can use this percentage to determine how fruitful an advertising campaign would be for you or if you would need to adjust accordingly.
ROI – Return on Investment. This is basically the same as ROAS, but can be used for total amounts made in revenue divided by the total cost of production or to run your service. This is an important number because it is a direct reflection on how well your business is doing.
Sales Funnel - The sales pages that takes random traffic brought to your web page and “funnels” them down into leads. This can also be a representation of your whole sales process, from random curious prospect to full fledged customer. There are many steps involved in creating a sales funnel, and the desired outcome differs from person to person. Some may simply want more people on their mailing list, while others cultivate people from the whole process from curious prospect, to conversion, to lead, then hopefully to customer. This process of reduction is considered a “funnel” because massive amounts of traffic are slowly whittled down into prospects, then those prospects are whittled down to conversions, and so on. If you would like a more detailed run down on the purpose of a sales funnel, click here.
SEO - Search Engine Optimization. The series, sets, and combinations of various search-able keywords that a search engine uses to translate what people search for into a respective list of possible websites. SEO is often hailed (sometimes rightfully so) as the king of free traffic, because if enough people are searching for specific keywords found in your site multiple times in multiple areas, then most search engines will determine your website is a good fit for what they are looking for and will place that (hopefully) on the first page of the search results. SEO can be a bit of a gamble depending on many factors, but can be done right and with the proper optimization of keywords in your site, there can be a good possibility of it ending up on that fabled first page. Many people have written about SEO, and this page is no exception. To find out more about SEO and how to make it work for you and to use it to get more traffic to your website, click here.
SID Tracking – Can also be known as CID, TID, or MID tracking. This is terminology used by affiliate networks, and almost every mainstream network refers to it differently. These ID's are created to allow you to track the progress of any one affiliate campaigning effort.
Split Testing – Can also be known as A/B Testing. This is taking one specific aspect of your sales funnel (usually the wording of the squeeze page) and altering it slightly and testing these two aspects against each other in the hopes of one drawing in more prospect traffic than the other. If done on a consistent basis it is an easy way to scale your system.
Squeeze Page – This is a landing page that is used to take prospects and entice or convince them (squeeze them) into opting-in to receive a free item or system series in return for the prospect's email address. This is widely considered the proper beginning of what is known as a “Sales Funnel.” If a prospect opts in and surrenders their email, that prospect is considered a “conversion.”
Super Affiliates – These are the top performers in any given affiliate program, and often account for around 80% of a network's commissions. These can also refer to affiliates that make more than 10,000 dollars a month through affiliate marketing. These affiliates are often granted different options than regular affiliates because of their proven power of conversion and lead generation.
Tracking Method – A method in which a merchant or network tracks affiliate activity, sales and leads.
Text Link – A link using text or anchored to text as opposed to a link anchored to a banner or another type of advertisement image.
Tracking Code – This is another way to refer to Affiliate Tracking.
TOS - Terms of Service. These are provided by the merchant and express the rules of operation, and outlines actions that are considered for immediate expulsion from the program.
Turnkey Websites / DFY – Sometimes referred to as “Done For You” websites, these are websites with completed sales funnels that are ready to begin making money just as long as you “plug in” your unique affiliate links and drive traffic to it. These are often considered low-to-no revenue generating sites, but there are rare stories about some affiliates plugging in their links and making money immediately from these type of sites. Often considered a gamble, whereas the only winner is often the one selling the site...but as with all business ventures, your mileage may vary.
Two-Tier (2-Tier) – Seen as a digital version of multi-level marketing. This is where an affiliate not only makes their normal commission, but also received a percentage of the commissions that are earned by other affiliates recruited into the program, albeit often much smaller.
Unique Clicks – A term in affiliate reporting that represents a filtered version of “Raw Clicks.” For example, if somebody clicks on your affiliate link 5 times, that 5 times is considered raw clicks, while that person who clicked is considered a “Unique Click,” usually up to a specific deadline. If a Unique Click navigates away from the page after clicking on the affiliate link and the deadline passes, but they come back and click on your affiliate link again, it is considered a second Unique Click. This is used in tandem with Raw Clicks on an affiliate report to represent an idea of how productive an affiliate link can be.
White Hat - These are practices that are considered wholly ethical, with no moral ambiguity in any way in the business of internet marketing. While White Hat methods are completely ethical and include no manipulation tactics, they can be considered slow. White Hat methods of marketing are guaranteed to never break a merchant's TOS.
Whitelabel – This refers to a merchant giving an affiliate permission to place their own brand on the merchant's product with no mention of the merchant's brand. To any regular prospect it would seem the product the affiliate is promoting is in fact their own product. These are oftentimes reserved for only the best affiliates, or the “Super Affiliates.”
WSO – This is a specific term for Warrior Special Offer, unique to the widely known and used internet marketing forum and affiliate network marketplace known as The Warrior Forum. These are special offers made by the members of the forum that are sold to or offered to affiliates to promote their product as a special deal. The ROI or revenue possibilities of these types of special offers are up for debate, so as usual in business ventures, your mileage may vary.
YMMV – Your Mileage May Vary. This is a euphemism used by various people to reflect that any venture has the potential to go anywhere depending on what actions an individual takes. This is often cited in business ventures because a return is NEVER guaranteed, and bad decisions are often made, but just as a bad decision can be made, a good business decision can be made and proper action may be taken to turn a venture once seen as revenue losing, or a liability, into a revenue earning asset.