You might have noticed it!  There’s a certain…confused look people get when having affiliate marketing explained to them.  Words like affiliate, publisher, advertiser and pixel start to swirl in their brains like a tornado.  Eyes squint in skepticism…

Which is funny because it is a pretty simple concept!  In a nutshell, affiliate marketing is performance based marketing that stars four core players: the merchant, network, publisher (also known as the affiliate), and the customer.  It’s a way for a company to sell its products by signing up individuals or companies (affiliates) who market the company’s products for a commission.  Here are 9 more terms commonly used by affiliate marketing ninjas:

An individual who promotes products or services for a merchant in exchange for receiving compensation for the sales or leads they drive.

Affiliate Manager
The person who manages an affiliate program for a merchant. They are responsible for affiliate recruitment, ensuring that the affiliates are using above board promotional methods and for increasing affiliate sales for the merchant. They also act as the liaison between the affiliate and the merchant. The affiliate manager may work directly for the merchant or be an independent service provider contracted by the merchant to run their affiliate program.

Affiliate Network
A third party who provides affiliate program management to a merchant. Affiliate networks provide the technology for tracking affiliate efforts, ensure that sales are properly tracked, commissions are paid to affiliates, handle reporting for both the merchant and individual affiliates and help expose the merchant to potential affiliates for their products and services.

Getting a user to take a specific, desired action. It could be buying a product or service, filling out a form, signing up for an email list or whatever the intended goal may be.

A type of graphical ad or text link provided to the affiliate for use in promoting the affiliate program.

In regards to affiliate marketing, click fraud most often refers to generating “fake” clicks to a merchant program that is based on a PPC compensation method. The fake clicks (which can be generated in a manual or automated fashion) have no chance of converting for the merchant since the traffic clicking the ads have no real interest in the product or service the merchant is selling.

Merchant / Advertiser
This is the company that produces the products or services that you promote as an affiliate. Less commonly referred to as the Advertiser.

A tiny, transparent graphic that is placed with each link as a means of tracking link performance.

The owner of a website that chooses to display or promote an advertiser’s products or services. Publishers agree to place ads on their websites or promote an advertiser’s offers via search or other means authorized by the advertiser. In return, publishers can earn commissions which vary by advertiser, click-throughs, leads, or purchases made through the links on their websites.