Top 10 Common Affiliate Marketing Terms

May 1, 2024 | Affiliate Marketing

Terminology is half the battle. Make sure you understand affiliate marketing terms and definitions before starting your own affiliate journey.

Affiliate Marketing Terms

Just like any other sub-field in digital marketing, affiliate marketing has its own set of terminology you need to learn before you can truly unlock its power. Here is a short list of the 10 most common terms you'll encounter in the affiliate marketing space, and what they mean for your own strategy. 

1. Advertiser

An advertiser is a company or organization that has a product to sell. The advertiser could be a department store with a large inventory of products to push, or a company with a niche product trying to build visibility online. 

The advertiser pays the affiliate a commission relative to agreed-upon objectives, like completing a sale, clicking a unique link, or developing leads. 

Advertisers are also sometimes referred to as merchants

2. Publisher 

A publisher promotes the advertiser's products and services. In return, the publisher receives a commission when site visitors take an action, like clicking a link or purchasing a product. 

Some of the most common publisher types include: 

  • Coupon & deal sites
  • Content & blogging sites
  • Product & price comparison sites

3. Promotions

A promotion is a deal or offer that an advertiser provides to a publisher.

  • Site-wide promotions target a broad consumer base with a coupon code that can be used across an advertiser's entire website. 
  • Category-wide promotions target a specific range of products or a brand, like an outdoors store promoting a deal on all grills 
  • Product-level promotions are hyper-specific for a single SKU. 

Learn more: Types of affiliate marketing promotions, explained

4. Affiliate Link

Advertisers provide links to publishers that include a unique tracking code specific to that advertiser. This code allows the publisher to obtain credit for sales on the advertiser’s website. These tracking code links are typically generated within your affiliate network. 

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5. Affiliate Network

An affiliate network is a third-party platform that connects advertisers and publishers, and makes it easy for advertisers to manage promotions, commission rates, and much more in one location. 

Affiliate networks make it easy to start an affiliate program, but there are many details to be cognizant of, and using them requires a certain level of vigilance to guard against fraud or deceptive practices.  

Learn more: Our guide to maintaining your affiliate marketing program

As you evaluate publishers, a network like CJ Affiliate (used here at Informatics) makes it easy to filter publishers by: 

  • Promotional model
  • Platform type 
  • Publisher geography 
  • Publisher size 
  • And more... 

6. Commission

Each advertiser pays an affiliate publisher for purchases made through their platform. The type and amount of commission varies based on the desired outcome of the affiliate program.

Here are five types of affiliate commission structures, but there are many more to choose from.

  • Pay-Per-Click (PPC)
  • Pay-Per-Lead (PPL)
  • Pay-Per-Sale (PPS)
  • Flat Fee
  • Lifetime Commission

7. Consumer

A consumer is the person buying a product. These individuals may already know about your products and are looking for a discount. Or they could be prospective individuals interested in your products but not familiar with your company. 

Deal publishers are most likely to attract new customers, followed by coupon publishers, according to Jeb Commerce. 

8. Influencers 

Influencers have a built-in audience of consumers whose purchasing decisions can be motivated by the influencer’s endorsement. Influencers can have broad audiences or niche audiences, and their power can be derived from being a thought leader, a celebrity, or other factors.

By partnering with them to offer their fans affiliate deals, you can earn the trust of their audiences by association. 

9. Merchant Page 

A merchant page is the advertiser's page on a publisher's platform. This page will include the company name, logo and the latest promotions.

Not all publishers will offer a merchant page, but when they do, it's a great way to promote your company and deals within a trusted brand environment.

10. Placement

A placement is additional exposure or visibility on a publisher’s website. This could be a feature on the homepage, newsletter, social media or elsewhere, and is usually offered on a temporary basis.  

A placement often comes with an added cost, but ideally results in more sales for your brand—especially if the messaging and visuals are engaging and targeted. 

When you understand the terminology of the affiliate marketing field, you can start to build an affiliate strategy that works for your specific business goals.

If you have questions or need help, reach out to us—we can help you get the most out of this exciting channel. 

Let's refresh your affiliate strategies

Our expert digital marketing team can help you build a strategy towards your goals. 

Get Started Today

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