Affiliate Marketing Terms De-Mystified

Affiliate AcronymsAffiliate marketing is no different to most other modern day careers with respect to the number of acronyms and mysterious terms that are bandied about. Sometimes people will use these to bamboozle you or make themselves sound clever, but mostly it is just a shorthand to allow subjects to be discussed easily. Either way, if you are a newcomer these affiliate marketing terms and acronyms might seem like a different language, and one which you will certainly need to get to grips with in order to succeed. In this post I hope to list and explain some of the commonly used terms to help you on your affiliate marketing journey.

There are certainly hundreds if not thousands of terms and acronyms you will come across in your affiliate marketing career, and there is a great deal of overlap into the area of web design and web statistics also. For the list below I have tried to stick to terms that are related more towards the affiliate marketing arena rather than general web terms.

  • AdSense – AdSense is a service provided by Google to allow you to display PPC adverts on your web-site or blog. Based on the keywords and content in your pages, AdSense is designed to publish adverts that are relevant to the subject you have published. After signing up for an AdSense account you will be provided with personalised code to publish on your sites, each advert clicked on by a visitor is tracked back to your account for payment.
  • Article Directory – Article directories are sites which you can join and publish your own articles free of charge. They are used by article marketers to publish backlinks to their sites and blogs. These links help to build the PR of your sites, but also provide a direct traffic source when people read your article and follow the links. Some article sites (for example eHow, InfoBarrel and Hub Pages) also provide a payment scheme which is often based on an AdSense revenue share.
  • Article Marketing/Bum Marketing – Article marketing is the term used to refer to affiliate marketers who primarily use articles published in article directories to drive traffic and grow their backlinks. The slightly derogatory term bum marketing is said to stem from the fact that since there is minimal financial outlay, even a bum can afford to do it!
  • Backlink – A backlink is simply a hypertext link from another site back to your site. The number of backlinks and the quality of the sites they link back from, is highly important to the ranking a search engine will place on your site. So generating as many quality backlinks as possible is a key area to affiliate marketers since traffic = money.
  • CPA – Cost Per Action – This is a type of affiliate offer where the seller pays the affiliate a certain cost or amount based on a particular action being completed by the visitor. The action usually being the completion of a sale.
  • CPL – Cost Per Lead – This type of affiliate offer pays the affiliate for each lead generated. This type of payment scheme is often used for getting leads for banks accounts or mobile phone deals etc.
  • CPM – Cost Per Thousand (M=Mille) – If you have a high traffic website, CPM schemes may be of benefit. This is where you are paid for every thousand ad impressions displayed on your site. You may also see eCPM, which is estimated cost per thousand impressions. For example, AdSense use this figure to provide you with an estimate of what you might expect to be paid for a thousand impressions of a page of their adverts.
  • CTR – Click Through Rate/Ratio – This term refers to the percentage of people who click on your displayed affiliate adverts and links. Obviously the higher this percentage the better potential you have for earning money from your visitors.
  • EPC – Earnings Per Click – EPC relate to the type of advert where you are paid for each visitor who clicks on that advert. The amount you get paid varies from advert to advert because the keywords associated with that advert may have cost the advertiser more or less depending on how much competition there is. This is important for people displaying AdSense on their sites, because if they use high value keywords in their site content they will potentially get a better EPC.
  • Keyword/Key Phrase – Keywords or key phrases are the terms that you want your site or blog to rank highly for in the major search engines. They are a major part of the search engine optimization (SEO) for your site and with good planning and research you should be rewarded with a lot of free organic search engine traffic. There are a variety of tools available to assist with keyword selection – see my Affiliate Tools Part 1 article for further info.
  • Landing Page – Theoretically a landing page can be any page that a visitor might initially arrive at on your web site. Which therefore includes any page that you allow to be indexed by the search engines. From a marketing perspective, a landing page normally refers to a page specifically designed to allow visitors to be introduced or to opt into a product or service the site is selling. Typically then, as an affiliate marketer my site or blog will carry affiliate links pointing to the seller’s landing pages.
  • Link Hiding – Link hiding (not to be confused with link cloaking) is a method used on sites and blogs to provide cleaner looking affiliate links which do not contain your personal affiliate details. This can be done for a variety of reasons, either just to make your links look better, or to prevent others from seeing personal details in your affiliate links, such as your account name etc.
  • Link Juice – Search engines use backlinks as one measure to determine the value of your site or blog and where it should rank in search engine results. Link Juice is the term often used by web aficionados to describe this benefit of backlinking.
  • Offer or Affiliate Offer – This term is commonly used by marketers to describe the product or service being sold or a special incentive.
  • Organic Traffic – Organic traffic or organic search engine traffic, is traffic to your website or blog which originates directly from the search engine results (as opposed to links from articles or blog comments, or from paid advertising). Organic traffic is what we try to generate with all that hard work we put into SEO!
  • Passive Income – Passive income usually describes web sites or other resources such as article directories, where in theory once you have done the initial set up, they continue to provide an income with little or no ongoing input or maintenance.
  • PPC – Pay Per Click – Pay per click adverts are where the advertiser pays out each time a visitor clicks on their advert. For example, most of the adverts you see in the Google side bar are PPC, the adverts you might display if you put AdSense code on your site are PPC. From the advertiser’s perspective, PPC can be a great way of buying traffic, but it can also swallow up a huge budget, so is probably an area best avoided by affiliate marketing novices.
  • PR – Page Rank – Page Rank is awarded by Google on a ranking of zero to ten as an assessment of how important they consider your site to be. It is based on a secret algorithm but is generally considered to take into account such things as site age, originality and quantity of content etc
  • RSS – Really Simple Syndication – This is not in any way a marketing term, but is often overlooked by beginner online marketers and bloggers. The online community often subscribe to their favourite blogs via RSS. This allows them to see updated posts at a glance from an RSS feed reader or via e-mail updates. It is therefore well worth making sure your blog has links to an RSS feed.
  • SEO – Search Engine Optimization – SEO has got to be one of the single most important aspects of succeeding online. Search engines need to be able to make sense of your site or blog in order to correctly place it in the search engine results. So your choice of and placing of keywords and key phrases, page naming, image naming and alternative texts, are amongst the things that you need to get right in order to optimize your site or blog for the search engines.
  • SOC – Strength of Competition – SOC in this context is usually something that you need to investigate when selecting the niches that you wish to market to, and the keywords and key phrases you will use in your site or blog content. You may find my Affiliate Tools Part 1 article useful for additional information on what tools to use to assess competition.

These are just a few of the more common affiliate marketing terms that might baffle or confuse the newcomer. Can you suggest any additional affiliate terms or acronyms I may have overlooked? – Please feel free to leave a comment, as always your input is most welcome at Affiliate Progress.

6 thoughts on “Affiliate Marketing Terms De-Mystified

  1. Hey again,

    Nice list there! First half I knew since I’ve been reading blogs for a few months now, but second half made me blush for not knowing.
    .-= Moon Hussain´s last blog ..A Conversation That I Will Remember For the Rest of My Life =-.

    • Thanks Moon,
      I bet there are hundreds more that could go in there. It seems like you come across a couple of new ones every day, so I tried to stick to what I think are the most often used ones.

  2. I’m in slight disagreement. The thing that confused me most, and I’m afraid others especially beginners, was actually classifying some of these as “affiliate marketing terms”.

    It could easily appear as if you’re saying, these are only or even mostly used by affiliate marketers.

    If one were to ask me, I would say, for the most part anyway, only the 3-letter abbreviations, affiliate offer, and passive income fit that bill.

    I know no one asked me, but there it is. lol
    .-= Dennis Edell | Direct Sales Marketing´s last blog ..Will DEDC Comments Remain Do-Follow? It’s Up To YOU! =-.

    • Gimme a break Dennis, I’ve got to get my keywords into the title somehow! :-)

      Seriously, I know what you mean, but I was thinking over all the terms that a new starter might come across that they wouldn’t necessarily understand. I did say in the post that there is a lot of overlap with general internet terms. So even though they aren’t all exclusively used by marketers, there are none there that I would leave out.

      Are there any other terms you would have included?

  3. there is a great deal of overlap into the area of web design and web statistics also. For the list below I have tried to stick to terms that are related more towards the affiliate marketing arena rather than general web terms.

    Oh my bad, I completely missed that section.

    I’m about to look even worse by adding that I can’t add any terms as I’m just getting started in affiliate marketing. LOL!

    In all seriousness, I’m not an “affiliate marketer” as it were, yet, but I have been web marketing for some time now, and a few of those terms are ones I would never gear more towards AM.

    Article marketing/directories?
    Link Juice?
    Even Keywords

    Of course affiliate marketers will come across them, but I’d never think AM first…..please don’t hate me. :-)
    .-= Dennis Edell | Direct Sales Marketing´s last blog ..Will DEDC Comments Remain Do-Follow? It’s Up To YOU! =-.

    • Hi Dennis,
      hate you for engaging in a debate? Not in the slightest!

      I still maintain that for an affiliate marketer, particularly using methods which don’t pay for traffic (which this blog currently concentrates on), you won’t get far without at least understanding the basic concept of these terms. We are both in agreement that they are not all purely marketing terms though.

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