27 Valuable Terms For Making Sense Of Affiliate Marketing

Making sense of affiliate marketing can be a challenge. It's a continuous process, but learning and understanding these 27 basic terms will definitely help!

Got the “brand new affiliate headache,” do ya?  No worries, if you’re just getting started, I understand that it can be a little overwhelming making sense of affiliate marketing.

Take a deep breath, close the 14 other tabs you have open, and park your eyeballs on this article for a few minutes.

If you’re at all like me, the first mention of “affiliate marketing” probably didn’t mean much to you.  You may have just tilted your head, rubbed your eyes and said, “Affiliate whodawhaty?  What does that mean? How does it work?

affiliate marketing

And then, to make matters worse, the language starts pouring out of the screen at you.

I’m not talking about four-letter words, I’m talking about affiliate marketing lingo.  There’s another head-scratcher for you – just the lingo itself can be enough to turn a newbie away.

So, here’s what I’ve done.  You have a lot to learn, and there’s no way you will learn it in a day (or a week, or a month), but starting with lingo is super helpful.  Learn these 27 basic Affiliate marketing terms, and you won’t have to pause and rewind every time you encounter them in your future research.

Hope this helps!


The person promoting other people’s products (this is you). As an affiliate, you will link to merchants’ sites (see #2 below) throughout your content.


The owner of the product the affiliate is promoting. Also known as a “vendor.”


The most important piece in the puzzle of affiliate marketing.  The consumer is directed by the affiliate to the merchant’s page, where they buy the item (and both the vendor + affiliate get paid).  Without the consumer’s purchase, there is no point!


This refers to the entirety of the online selling environment.  For example Affiliates, vendors, Amazon, Shopify stores, etc.  All online sales are considered part of the “e-commerce industry.”


Site visitors, not cars on the road! This refers to the number of people who view your affiliate offer(s). The more traffic you have, the greater your chance is to make sales. For example, you got 1000 visitors on your website it’s mean your website has traffic of 1000.


When a site visit becomes a sale.  If 100 people view your offer, and five of them actually purchase, then you earned five “conversions,” and your “conversion ratio” is 5 percent.


This stands for click-through rate.  When a site visitor views your initial offer (your article, landing page, video or what have you), if they click on your affiliate link to find out more info and/or make a purchase, they are said to have “clicked-through.”

If 100 people view your article, and twenty of them click on your affiliate link, then your CTR is 20 percent. This number is an important indicator of content quality, relevance, and other important metrics.


This stands for a call to action.  What do you want your visitors to do?  Usually represented by a button, for example, include click here, contact us, submit, hire me, and send, etc.  It doesn’t necessarily require a purchase.

Affiliate Network

If each merchant is a store, affiliate networks are like shopping malls.  These large websites (like JVZook Rakuten, CJ affiliate and many, many more) connect affiliates with many different vendors and products.  This is where affiliates get their links. See Affiliate Network detail by Clicking Here.

Moreover, Affiliates must apply for networks, and in some cases, to promote specific offers.

Sales Funnel

A series of web pages designed to promote a product or service.  Funnels can be simple (like a sales page and a thank you page) or highly elaborate.  This article can help you learn more about sales funnels.

Landing page

A static page that introduces visitors to a product or service.  Generally, landing pages are simple in design, and they may feature a video and/or a small amount of copy.  Almost always, they have at least one button that invites users to submit their names and emails and/or visit the merchant’s site. For example, www.medlinpro.com


Simply put, an email marketing system that allows you to pre-schedule a set number of emails.  If a customer signs up for your email list, for example, you can configure your autoresponder (See how) to send them certain emails 1, 3, 5 and 7 days after signup without any more involvement on your part.

scrabble blocks that spell SEO

Image by William Iven from Pixabay


This stands for “search engine optimization,” which refers to a set of methodologies designed for a single purpose:  getting your content ranked high in the search engine results for specific search queries.

Firstly there are “on-page” SEO tactics, which involve structuring your content in a specific way. Secondly, the “off-page” techniques, which involve promoting your site with backlinks and many other strategies.

You don’t want your site to rank on page 167 in Google, search results, you want to be on the first page or two!


This stands for “cost per action,” which refers to the amount of money earned from a sale or signup.  In the case of a sale, it’s pretty straightforward – the merchant will set their CPA at a fixed value based on the product price, cutting the affiliate in with a fixed commission.

Some vendors will pay (typically smaller amounts), however, for email submits or free trial signups as well.


This stands for “pay per click,” an advertising model in which Google (and some other search engines) will place your content on the first page, regardless of SEO.  Each time someone clicks on your ad, you have to pay Google a small amount.  The idea is to net more in sales than you pay for in ads.

As a site owner, you can allow advertisers to place ads on your site, meaning you’re the one who gets paid with every click.  I touched on how Google can do that for you.


As an affiliate, you must disclose that you will earn a commission if site visitors click through on your links and make purchases.  The manner in which this is required is subject to the FTC’s changing regulations.

It’s very important for affiliates to maintain this practice in order to remain in good legal standing.


A specialized area of the market. For example, the health and fitness niche, the wealth niche, dog training niche, holistic medicine niche, and the list goes on.

The more specific your niche is, the easier it is to rank your content and find cheaper ads.  The drawback here is that the maximum audience size is smaller.  It’s very important to choose the right niche for you, which you can learn about here.


What a person types into Google to get a search result.  “Men’s jogging shorts,” for example.  For search ranking purposes, the keyword should be integrated into your site content, but abusing it will likely lead to a penalty, meaning Google will demote your page to a lower rank. There are different websites that I mention in another article(click here to read) from where you can search for keywords free or paid.


There is the initial purchase of a product, and then there is the upsell. For example, if a consumer buys some affiliate training program for $100, they may then be offered a product of higher value with more features for the typical amount of $1,997.domain names .com .gov .org and .eduImage by Tumisu from Pixabay


Simply the URL of the internet site; it’s the web address.  Amazon.com, for example. Tip: Keep it simple, and have it end with .com.


A website service that will host the domain name and website of an affiliate who is trying to claim their spot on the internet. Your website is a car, and the host is the parking space.


A potential customer. “Lead generation” is the act of driving Internet users towards an offer.

Lead magnet

This is the process of creating and offering (usually free) content, whether it’s a training course, e-book, video series, etc…. that solves a customer’s problems.  Most often, the customer receives the lead magnet in exchange for their signing up for an email list.


This stands for “pay per lead.”  Many companies will pay marketers for simply sending them potential customers, regardless of whether a sale was made.


A very important acronym that refers to the “return on investment.”  It’s a simple calculation: What is your profit (in sales, CPA conversions, etc.) versus your initial investment (on ad spend and other costs)?  Obviously, you want the first number to be higher.

If you made $1000, and you only spent $500 on that particular campaign, then you have a 2x ROI, which is pretty solid!

Banner Ad

Simply put, it is a picture ad of the product you are trying to promote.  Typically, these ads are rectangular in shape, and they run across the top (or sidebar) of the page, which is why they’re called banners.

You can use them to promote your own brand or host ads for other advertisers.  Amazon affiliates, JVZoo affiliates, etc…can use banner ads to promote a merchant’s products.  Some merchants even have premade banners ready for you to insert into your content.


This stands for “over the counter.”  Go buy some over the counter headache medicine for yourself when those challenging times in affiliate marketing start.

In conclusion, there are so many more terms you can learn and must learn as time goes on.  But if you have an understanding of these common terms, then you’ll be better off then where were you were at the starting point.

Rest assured, this is just the beginning, but we definitely knocked out the most basic terms that you will surely see again, and again, and again in your research as an affiliate.

Remember:  Though you are probably super excited about the endless earning potential and general awesomeness of the affiliate life, you will absolutely burn out if you try to learn everything in a week.  Be patient, do your research, and when you finally launch that first campaign, you’ll experience the thrills firsthand.

So keep your head straight, smile, and sound off with an “I can do this”!

Do these terms make sense now, and are there any that I didn’t cover that you could use some assistance with?

Get Free Course