Affiliate marketing glossary for beginners and vets
Call-to-action (or CTA); an urging message or instruction – text link, image, button, etc – used in marketing to generate an immediate action.
Charge back; a commission deducted or cancelled by the merchant due to non-finalized sales or interactions that post factum were considered unqualified actions.
Click fraud; unethical manual or automated traffic generation methods used especially in PPC marketing to deliver “artificial”, useless traffic to a merchant’s website. It will harm the advertiser who is forced to pay for “fake” clicks or simulated actions that actually has no potential for revenue generation.
Click-through rate ( or CTR); a metric used to measure the level of interest. If a link displayed 100 times has received 2 clicks, it means a CTR of 2%.
Cloaking; hiding certain content on webpages or in affiliate links; the former method is considered to be a black hat technique that will damage your SEO efforts; the latter is a useful, widely accepted and used practice in affiliate marketing.
Commission (or customer bounty); the remuneration calculated on the basis of a percentage of the generated sales or profit; the average affiliate commission level is between 5% and 25%.
Contextual link; a link which is literally included, incorporated in the main content of a web page as a usual underlined textual link. The opposite is some sort of traditional advertisement displayed within various secondary structural elements (header, sidebar, etc) in form of textual or image links.
Conversion; the fulfillment of a desired, well-defined action or objective as a result of a given marketing message or strategy (e. g. a new sale, a new subscriber, etc).
Conversion rate (or CR); a metric used to measure the efficiency level; if a link displayed 100 times has generated 3 sales, it means a CR of 3%.
Conversion rate optimization (or CRO); the sum of all the efforts and practices that are used to increase the number of those visitors who will take a specific decision or desired action once they have arrived on a website.
Cookies; a text file sent from the merchant’s website to the customer’s web browser. Is used to assign an ID to a given customer who landed on the merchant’s site after clicking on your affiliate link. If the actions of the given customer will produce the desired outcome in a precisely defined period of time – even later and without clicking again on your affiliate link -, you will receive a commission.
Cookieless tracking; a new, emerging tracking method that not relies upon cookies; the negative impact of the widely spread spyware programs and the quite common practice of routinely deleted browser cookies are real problems for advertisers.
Cookie expiration; an amount of time predefined by the merchant. You are going to receive your commission only if the customer referred by you will produce the desired outcome before the given period expires; the average cookie time is between 30-60 days.
Cookie stuffing; an unethical method that will try to send and deposit multiple cookies from different merchant websites onto customers computers in the hopes that these customers who actually has never seen the advertiser’s website before, eventually will visit the merchant’s site generating a sale. Usually is strictly prohibited by affiliate agreements.
Copywriting; the act of writing compelling and engaging textual content that will be used as a marketing asset in order to generate a certain customer behavior.
Cost per action (or CPA); the amount paid to generate one qualified action (e. g one sale).
Cost per click (or CPC); the amount paid to generate one click one one link. With $100 spent and 40 clicks received, your CPC would be 40 cents.
Cost per thousand (or CPM); the amount paid in order to display an advertisement 1,000 times. If an advertiser has a $5 CPM offer, you’ll have to pay $15 to have your ads displayed 3,000 times.
Co-branding; the merchant offers certain self-branding opportunities to the affiliate; usually these are special creatives (e. g. squeeze page) containing branding elements (e. g. logos) for both the advertiser and the publisher.
Creatives; textual or graphical marketing aids or materials provided by the merchant; they are used by affiliates on their own websites to generate the desired actions (e. g. banners).
CSS (or cascading style sheets); coding language used to define formatting rules – position, dimensions, color, alignment, etc – that will tell a web browser how to display a given web page element.
Customer acquisition cost; the sum of all costs involved in making a visitor to become your customer.
Customer lifetime value (or CLV); a quite important metric which is trying to “predict” the total amount a given customer may spend with a merchant during his lifetime.