Affiliate marketing: glossary of terms

Affiliate Dictionary: terms and notions every professional should know

Dmitry Denisov


Advertiser — the owner of an offer who pays money for certain actions on it, for example, for registering a user or for a confirmed order.

А/B test — same as split-test. A kind of research that allows to figure out the conditions when a landing page, email newsletter, or an ad brings the maximum number of conversions. The same audience sees different creatives and the result determines the most successful option.  

Approval Rate reflects the percentage of conversions approved by the advertiser. For example, we drove traffic to an offer and received a certain number of orders. Then the advertiser discards the leads that do not conform with the KPI or were disqualified after customer calls. The remaining number of orders is the Approval Rate. 

Adult is one of the affiliate verticals aimed at an adult audience. This niche also includes such concepts as: adult dating — online dating, nutra — adult goods, webcam — erotic chats online.


Banner blindness — decline in interest in an advertising banner due to the large number of visuals of similar format/style.

Banner exchange networks — this term refers to a group of websites governed by a common set of rules where users can exchange banners.

Baseline — the term is most commonly found in the gambling vertical. It means the fixed amount of money a new player should deposit to be considered an active user. Once this requirement is fulfilled, the affiliate can claim a reward. Baseline can be accumulative (the sum consists of several payments by one player) or single (deposit performed in one go). 

Bid is the amount of money you are willing to pay for a click on your ad or for 1000 impressions. The term is commonly used on auction-type (real-time bidding) advertising platforms such as Google Ads. 

Black-list — the sources and websites you do not want to display your ads on.

Bot — software with a prescribed set of actions. They can be useful by collecting the necessary information, or on the contrary wreak havoc with clickfraud (intentional clicks on ads to spend your advertising budget faster).  


Cost Per Action (CPA) is a payout model where the advertiser pays only for certain user actions. For example, for subscribing to a newsletter, watching a video, making a purchase, making a deposit, etc. 

Cost Per Lead (CPL) is a payout model where an affiliate gets paid for the contact data of a customer who is interested in a product or service.

Cost Per Sale (CPS) is a payout model where the advertiser pays for the finalized sale. CPS can come either with a fixed payout, or as a percentage of the order amount.

Cost Per Click (CPC) — the affiliate is paid for clicks on the ad that redirects a user to the advertised website.

Cost Per Mile (CPM) is a payout model in which the price is set for a thousand views of the ad.

Call to Action (CTA) — a visual element that motivates the user to perform a specific action (for example, a “download” button, “buy” button, etc.).

Click Through Rate (CTR) — the ratio of the number of clicks on an ad to the total number of impressions. The higher it is, the better users respond to the creative.

Case study — in the context of affiliate marketing it is a step-by-step list of actions that have been profitable for the author. Usually cases include a combination of traffic source, creative, affiliate program, and offer.

Cloaking is an approach for shielding your real content with a fake one. Cloaking is used in paid advertising and SEO. In a nutshell, search bots or ad platform moderators see the "facade" content while the real users are shown the true content of the ad. Today, this technology is mostly used for passing moderation on Facebook or Google with ads that violate the rules of these platforms. Cloaking is officially prohibited.

Cloaker — software or service designed to bypass moderation.

Conversion Rate is the ratio of the target actions performed on the page to the total number of visitors. Target actions include registration, newsletter subscription, filling out a form, submitting an application, making a purchase, and so on. 

Creative — any teaser, video, ad, or banner. This is an advertising unit prompting the users to perform the necessary action.


Doorway is a kind of website that has been optimized for specific search queries. Their goal is to get into the top positions in search results and take the user to the advertiser's landing page.

Deeplink — is a tool that allows you to redirect users to a specific page in an application (for example, directly to the product description skipping the welcome page). It is also possible to use deeplinks in social networks when a click on an ad opens the desired website directly within the app and not in the browser.

Dating is one of the affiliate verticals which can be represented by three main types of offers: Mainstream dating (usual dating based on mutual interests or aimed at long-term relationships), Adult (websites and applications with 18+ content), and Casual (easy dating for one-night stands).


E-commerce — a sector of the economy that includes all trade and financial transactions performed via computer networks as well as the related business processes.

Earn Per Click (EPC) — an indicator of the average amount you earn per one click on an ad. It is usually compared to CPC. If the CPC is higher than EPC, your ad campaign is at a loss.


First Time Deposit (FTD) — the cumulative sum of deposits made within 24 hours of the first deposit.

Fraud — a scheme that involves cheating your affiliate network or advertiser to get profit. One of the most common cases of fraud in affiliate marketing is when a scammer places an order for a product/service and confirms it over the phone. The affiliate network pays for the attracted customer, the store sets the order in motion. But the customer never comes to pay for it.

Fulfillment — a set of customer's actions from the moment of placing the order to receiving it.


Hold — a period of time when the advertiser checks the quality of traffic and delays the payout to an affiliate. 

Hosting — a situation when the website is hosted on a third-party server.


Incentive traffic is a type of traffic where users are attracted to the advertiser's website by direct motivation (they are offered some kind of bonus). The purpose is not to sell the product, but to attract attention to the website. Advertisers do not like this type of traffic and usually consider it fraudulent.

IFrame is an HTML document that can be displayed in a browser window along with other documents. Affiliates use it when they are not satisfied with the affiliate network's landing page or do not want to drive traffic to the advertiser's website.


Net30, Net45, Net60 — a settlement model where the hold period starts at the end of the accounting period (week/month). The number 30/45/60 indicates the length of hold in days.


Landing Page — the page users are taken to when they click on an ad. Usually such a page describes all the advantages of the product in great detail.

Lead — a potential customer who has submitted some information about themselves but has not yet made a purchase.

Locker is a service that blocks all the actions of a user on a page until they perform the target action (register, send an SMS, download a file, etc.)


Midlet is a type of Java-based application that uses the MIDP profile (Mobile Information Device Profile). Usually these are mobile games where you can enact payments directly from your phone. To do this, you must accept the user agreement.

Mindep is the minimum deposit, that is, the minimum amount that players can deposit to the casino. It may differ depending on the geographical location.

Mobile is a broad definition of traffic from mobile devices: phones, tablets, smartphones, etc. 

Monetization — generating revenue by using your digital property, for example, a website.


Native advertising — when the advertised product corresponds to the theme of the website and is openly labeled as advertising material.


Offer — a campaign (mobile application, online store, educational course, physical product, etc.) in an affiliate network which the advertiser wants to "sell" and is willing to pay for its promotion. 

Offer Wall is a page with a variety of offers prompting you to download, register, order, and so on.


Pay Per Click (PPC) is an advertising model where the affiliate is paid for the clicks that take users to the advertiser's website. 

Pay Per Install (PPI) a payout model that is used in offers where the target action is installing an application from the App Store, Google Play.

Pay Per Lead (PPL) — affiliate is paid for each lead they attract. From the advertiser's point of view, it is the same as the CPL.

Pay Per View (PPV) — affiliates get paid for the number of views. This model is most often used in pop-up networks.

Pin Submit — a type of offer where users must send an SMS to pay for the service: paid prize draw, game download, etc.

Popup is a pop-up ad that appears on top of all other content on a page. It usually appears when the user has performed a certain action.

PopUnder is similar to pop-up ads, but it appears in the background within a new browser window.

Postback — in the context of CPA, it is a request by an affiliate network to the affiliate's website. Postback is activated when a user performs the target action.

Private is an offer or a whole CPA-network that has restricted access.

Profit is the difference between the revenue from the attracted traffic and the expenses incurred by attracting it.


Rebill — a term for automatic payment from a user to extend a service. It is valid until the client unsubscribes from the service.

Redirect — software or script that redirects the user from the selected page to another one. 

Return Of Investment (ROI) is the ratio of the cost of advertising to the profit generated by it. To calculate the ROI, you need to subtract the cost of advertising from your income, then divide the resulting amount by the cost of advertising, and then multiply it by 100 (to see the percentage). The formula looks like this: 

How to calculate ROI

Real Time Bidding (RTB) is an online real-time auction for advertising spots. Depending on the CPM amount you set in advance, the system determines whose ad will be displayed at the moment. 

RPU/ARPU (Average Revenue Per User) — indicates how much each customer brings to the website. In other words, it is the total amount of revenue divided by the number of attracted customers.

Retargeting is a tool responsible for the repeated display of ads to users who have already interacted with the product/service in some way. 

Revenue Share (RevShare) is a payout model that is most commonly used in the gambling and betting verticals. Usually, an affiliate receives a percentage of the player's loss as a payout, but there may be other options (a share of the turnover/ the deposit, etc.) 


Sweepstakes is an affiliate vertical that usually takes the form of a prize draw where users are required to submit personal information to participate.

SubID is a statistical tool for collecting information about user actions. It allows you to analyze traffic, identify high-quality sources, and disable those that do not convert.


Targeting — aiming your advertising campaign at a specific portion of the audience. 

Teaser — an ad that displays some information about the product not showing the product itself. Usually consists of a picture + text.

Traffic Direction System (TDS) is one of the most important affiliate tools. It allows you to distribute the traffic and most importantly to collect granular statistics.

Traffic — the flow of visitors to a website or users clicking on your link.

Tracker is a software that processes all the incoming traffic and provides valuable statistics for affiliates.


UTM is a special URL parameter that marketers use to track advertising campaigns. When an ad link is marked up using UTM, it is possible to track the traffic sources.


White-list is the list of sources where your ads will be displayed. It means that the placements will be limited to those indicated in the list.

Webmaster — the specialist who develops websites and is responsible for their smooth operation.

Wapclick is a technology aimed at monetizing mobile traffic. It allows users to pay for content on the website without submitting their phone number or entering a confirmation code. The user agrees to all the terms of the subscription by clicking on a certain button, for example, "OK" button.