Glossary of Affiliate Marketing terms

Here is a glossary of Affiliate Marketing terms to help guide you through the jargon.

Affiliate Marketing Glossary


Advertising Network: A group of Web sites which share a common banner server. Typically a sales organization which manages the commerce and reporting. An ad network has the ability to deliver unique combinations of targeted audiences because they serve your banner or ad across multiple sites.

Ad View: An ad view, synonymous with ad impression, is a single ad that appears (usually in full view without scrolling) on a Web page when the page arrives at the viewer’s display. Ad views are what most Web sites sell or prefer to sell. A Web page may offer space for a number of ad views. In general, the term impression is more commonly used.

Affiliate Marketing: Affiliate marketing is the use by a Web site that sells products of other Web sites, called affiliates, to help market the products. Amazon.com, the book seller, created the first large-scale affiliate program and hundreds of other companies have followed since.

Bandwidth: The amount of information that can be transmitted over communications lines at one time. The higher the bandwidth, the faster the Web page loads. Limited bandwidth is the main reason for keeping pictures small. Just as it seems we will never have fast enough computers, it feels like we will never have enough bandwidth. The amount of research and development money being thrown at this problem should yield surprising results before long.

Berners-Lee, Tim: The original designer of world wide web software at CERN, in Geneva, Switzerland, in 1990, Tim Berners-Lee put his creation on the internet the following year. While others reap millions from the web, he receives only accolades. ‘If I tried to cash in, there might not be a web as we know it.’ He is now at MIT guiding the World Wide Web Consortium, which includes over 120 companies.

Click: According to ad industry recommended guidelines from FAST, a click is ‘when a visitor interacts with an advertisement.’ This does not apparently mean simply interacting with a rich media ad, but actually clicking on it so that the visitor is headed toward the advertiser’s destination. (It also does not mean that the visitor actually waits to fully arrive at the destination, but just that the visitor started going there).

Clickstreams: The electronic path a user takes while navigating from site to site, and within site, from page to page.

ClickThrough: The act of clicking on a banner or other ad, which takes the user through to the advertiser’s Web site. Used as a counter point to impressions to judge the response-inducing power of the banner.

ClickThrough Rate (CTR): The response rate of an online advertisement, typically expressed as a percentage and calculated by taking the number of clickthroughs the ad received, dividing that number by the number of impressions and multiplying by 100 to obtain a percentage:
Example: 20 clicks / 1,000 impressions = .02 x 100 = 2% CTR

CPA – Cost Per Action: The price paid by an advertiser for each ‘action’ that a content site delivers. ‘Action’ may be a sale, a lead, a successful form fill-out, a download of a software program or an e-commerce sale of a product. Both the action, price and terms of a CPA purchase are mutually agreed upon by the advertiser and content site and such a purchase typically involves a back end tracking system provided by the advertiser that allows the content site to view clicks and actions every 24 hours if they choose to do so.

CPC – Cost Per Click: The price paid by an advertiser to a content site. When buying on a Cost Per Click model, the advertiser and content site have mutually agreed that the content site will continue to display the advertiser’s ad creative until X number of clicks have been delivered – the amount purchased. As with other forms of online advertising, is dependent on content, audience reached and targeted delivery – Untargeted being lower priced, targeted to an affluent audience being at the high end of the rate scale.

CPM – Cost Per Thousand (Roman Numeral) Impressions: The price paid by an advertiser for a content site displaying their banner 1,000 times.

PPI – Pay Per Install: Affiliate programs paying per install. SW developers can bundle some other products to their installation package and be paid for installing other SW. Or web site content can be blocked and unlocked only after some SW is installed to user PC.

CPS – Cost Per Sale: The price paid by an advertiser to a content site for each sale that results from a visitor who is referred from the content site to the advertiser’s site. This type of buying model is typically tracked with cookies, where the cookie is offered on the content site and read on the advertiser’s site at the success page after successful completion of one transaction/sale. Typical rates/bounties range between 5% and 25% of the retail price of the product or service being sold. See also CPA above.

Cookies: Client-side text file that is used by Web servers to store information about the site visitor and visitor behavior. Information pertaining to a site can only be read by the side that wrote the information. Used to identify repeat visitors and track visitor behavior.

Effective Frequency: The number of times an ad should be shown to one person to realize the highest impact of the ad without wasting impressions on that individual.

Frequency: The number of times a given person will see an ad in a given time period.

Gross Exposures/Gross Impressions: The total number of times an ad is shown, including duplicate showings to the same person.

Hits: Every time a file is sent by a server, be it text, graphic, video, and so on, it is recorded as a hit. Not a reliable gauge to compare different sites, as one page with five graphic elements will register six hits when viewed, while a page with no graphics will only register one hit.

Impression: The Opportunity To See (OTS) a banner or other ad by a surfer. When a page that includes a banner is viewed, it is considered an impression.

Inventory: The amount of available space for banners on a Web site that can be delivered in a given time period. Also known as the amount of gross impressions per month (or clicks if the publishers is selling on a Cost Per Click rate model) available for sale to advertisers by a Web publisher.

Link: A hypertext connection between two documents, image maps, graphics, and the like.

Pageview: When a Web page is requested by somebody through a browser. Pageviews are often used to track the number of impressions a banner gets.

Run-of-Network: A run-of-network ad is one that is placed to run on all sites within a given network of sites. Ad sales firms such as Latitude90 handle run-of-network insertion orders in such a way as to optimize results for the buyer consistent with higher priority ad commitments.

Run-of-Site: A run-of-site ad is one that is placed to rotate on all non-featured ad spaces on a site. CPM rates for run-of-site ads are usually less than for rates for specially-placed ads or sponsorships.

Spam: Originally posting an ad to multiple newsgroups, now used to describe unsolicited email advertising. Named after a skit by Monty Python, spam is one marketing and advertising technique to avoid at all costs

Unique Visitor: A unique visitor is someone with a unique address who is entering a Web site for the first time that day (or some other specified period). Thus, a visitor that returns within the same day is not counted twice. A unique visitors count tells you how many different people there are in your audience during the time period, but not how much they used the site during the period.

View: A view is, depending on what’s meant, either an ad view or a page view. Usually an ad view is what’s meant. There can be multiple ad views per page views. View counting should consider that a small percentage of users choose to turn the graphics off (not display the images) in their browser.

Visit: A visit is a Web user with a unique address entering a Web site at some page for the first time that day (or for the first time in a lesser time period). The number of visits is roughly equivalent to the number of different people that visit a site. This term is ambiguous unless the user defines

Leave a Comment