Affiliate Marketing Definitions

We have listed some common terms and acronyms in the affiliate marketing channel and their meanings.


Account settings

The account settings area of your dashboard allows you to manage and change your login credentials, update your username and update your password.

Ad networks

An Affiliate who buys ad space on numerous websites (creating a network) with the intention of serving merchant creative across this network of sites.


An Affiliate who buys ad space on numerous websites (creating a network) with the intention of serving merchant creative across this network of sites.

Advertiser billing details

The billing details area will contain the relevant payment information for your account, such as payment contact person, company details, subscription information and direct debit or credit card details.


Adwords is the name of the Google tool which allows anyone to bid on keywords to appear within the sponsored listings section of the Google search engine results pages.


A website owner that earns a commission for referring clicks, leads, or sales to an advertiser. Also known as Publisher or Partner.

Affiliate agreement

Terms between an advertiser and an affiliate, or an affiliate and an affiliate network. This includes the terms on which the affiliate must follow to be rewarded for the traffic sent to the advertiser’s website.

Affiliate billing

If you are operating as a business, you have the ability to add your business details to your Commission Factory affiliate account such as business name, address, phone number email address and ABN. If you do not provide these details, we do not add GST onto your commission payment invoices. If you wish Commission Factory to add GST onto your commission payment invoices, please ensure your ABN is correct and you are registered for the Goods And Services Tax (GST) with this option selected.

Affiliate ID

(also known as Publisher ID) The Commission Factory Affiliate ID is a unique number that identifies the Publisher on the Network. It is used within all tracking links so that the Commission Factory system knows which Publisher to assign a sale to. It also tracks any banner impressions as well as clicks referred from the Publisher's website.

Example tracking link with the Publisher ID highlighted in bold:

Affiliate link

A URL tracking link that identifies the affiliate and sends traffic to the merchant's web site. For example, a link might look like: These links are unique in order to track the traffic coming from the Affiliate site. Typically these links can be simple text links, images, product links, etc.

Affiliate manager

The person responsible for running the advertiser’s affiliate program. This includes recruiting affiliates, establishing incentive programs, creating media for the affiliates, reporting on sales and paying affiliates.

Affiliate network

Affiliate networks act as an intermediary between affiliates and advertisers. They offer services to both affiliates and merchants including reporting and payment services. Commission Factory is an affiliate network.


Analytics tools are used by website owners to gain a greater level of understanding about their website/online marketing activity. This can include the number of visitors, time spent on the site, popular pages, bounce rates, exit points. The most popular free analytics tool is Google analytics.

Advertisers may also use third party companies such as Doubleclick, Atlas or Mediaplex, usually charged at a CPM rate based on clicks.

Animated .gif

A type of banner Advertisers use for display advertising or to supply to their Publishers. It is an animated graphic that rotates through various frames to display a marketing message, this animation is set to loop endlessly.


Average order value (AOV) is calculated by Revenue ÷ Number of Orders = AOV. 

Auto approval

The affiliate application process whereby all applications are immediately accepted/approved once the affiliate has applied to the program.


Average commission per transaction



A Banner is an electronic display image that is available for affiliates to integrate into their site. Banners are usually formatted in GIF, Flash Movie and JPEG that advertises a product, message, service or website.


A blog is a regularly updated website or web page, typically one run by an individual or small group, that is written in an informal or conversational style.

Brand Bidding

A term used for Publishers who bid on search engine keywords that are either the Advertisers brand name or phrases containing the brand name.


A web browser is a software application for accessing information on the world wide web. Commonly used browsers are Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari or Chrome.


Cart abandonment

Shopping cart abandonment refers to visitors who add items to their online shopping cart, but exit without completing the purchase. Affiliates can assist using their technology to recover this lost revenue.

Cashback site

A cashback website is a type of reward website that pays its members a percentage of the commission earned when they purchase goods and services.

Click Append

A click append is a command which is added onto a destination URL in order to define the source of the activity which drove a customer to an Advertisers site.

Click-less tracking

A form of tracking that does not require a click to be the source of the transaction. Uses exclusive coupon code assigned to individual affiliate to match the transaction to the affiliate, instead of a click. This may also be known as cookie-less tracking.


The action when a user clicks on a link and follows through to the merchant's web site.

Click-through rate (CTR)

CTR is calculated Impressions  ÷ Clicks.  The % of views or impressions that result in clicks to the advertiser site. The CTR gives you an indication of how effective a creative or communication or campaign is, depending on the placement position. 


Income an affiliate earns for generating a sale or a lead to an advertiser’s website.

Commission Tiers

Commission Tiers can be established to reward Publishers increased commission for achieving greater amounts of volume. This can be based on the quantity of sales or the amount of revenue.

Commission Rules

Commissions rules are the settings that determine the rate at which commission is paid out. These can be set for individual affiliates, certain time frames, products, coupons and many more. See this article for a more detailed overview of options available.

Confirmation/Thank-You Page

This is the page that a visitor comes to after making a purchase or providing lead information on an advertisers website. It is within the source code of this page that the conversion tracking tag resides.

Content Site

A website that publishes textual, visual or aural content that is encountered as part of the user experience. It may include, among other things: text, images, sounds, videos and animations. An example of a content site should be a news site or online magazine.

Conversion rate (CR)

Percentage of clicks that result in a sale/lead.


Small text files stored on the visitor's computer, which record information that is of interest to the merchant site. In the Affiliate channel, software cookies are utilised to track which affiliate the web visitor came from and which creative type (banner, text links etc) they clicked on. They can also store the date/time of the click for purposes of tracking the time elapsed between a click and a conversion to a sale or lead.

Cookie Period

When a cookie is planted on a web browser, a date when the cookie expires is defined. This date is important because affiliate sales can only be recorded before the cookie expiration date. This period will also determine if repeat sales will be recorded.

Cost per action acquisition (CPA)

The cost for a conversion such as a sale or lead.

Cost per click (CPC)

Cost of an individual click. An internet advertising model used to drive traffic to a website, in which an advertiser pays an affiliate when the ad is clicked on.

Cost per Lead (CPL)

The commission structure where the advertiser pays the publisher an agreed fee for each qualified lead (potential customer) referred to the advertiser's website.

Cost per thousand (CPM)

Cost per thousand (CPM) is one of the online payment models by which advertisers pay for every 1000 impressions of their advertisement. This method of payment is most commonly used in display advertising. The "M" in CPM is from the Roman numeral for 1000. The Roman numeral M was derived from the Latin word "mille" meaning "thousand".


Coupons are used by Advertisers to encourage customers to convert. Also known as Vouchers, and Discount Codes, Coupons will have a code attached to the offer. For example: Save 10% OFF site-wide using code 10OFF. These can be found under the Creatives section of the dashboard.

Coupon Site

A website that publishes in directory style advertiser coupons, vouchers or promotional offers to its users.

CSV Feed

CSV stands for "Comma Separated Values" and this is a format that publishers can download all products for a particular advertiser.

Customer Type 

Commission factory define customer type as new or return customers. The advertiser can pass this data to Commission Factory as part of the tracking to report and commission on new customer acquisition. 


Data feed

A data feed is supplied by an Advertiser and includes all the product information; this is processed by Commission Factory in order to ensure that all links and images are trackable by CF. The Affiliate will then use the outputted data feed within their websites.


De-duplication is the process of attributing a sale to one online marketing channel on predefined conditions, these conditions will decide which tracking tag is shown at the confirmation of sale page.

Example: Where an advertiser runs their programme on two networks, de-duplication is essential to prevent paying for the same sale twice.

This can occur when a customer has visited publisher sites from both networks, and ends up with two publisher network cookies on their computer.

Using automatic de-duplication, the advertiser only displays the tracking for the network that last referred the customer. Therefore, only one network receives notification of the sale, thus removing the need to decline duplicate sales manually at the validations stage.

Deal aggregator

Deal aggregators use incentive offers, sales and promotion data (from API or product feed) to publish on their or third-party sites.


A Deep Link is a hyperlink that directs to a specific landing page or image on a website, instead of the default URL or main landing page i.e. homepage. An example of this would be if an Advertiser would like Affiliates to direct to their products section or the newsletter sign up page, instead of the homepage. This can be created by an Advertiser in the Creatives section or by Affiliates via the Creatives section.

Display network

Display Network is an intermediary that allows advertisers to access a group of websites, videos and apps where display banners can be advertised.

Domain parking

Domain parking is the registration of an Internet domain name without that domain being used for content. Affiliates who own these domains often use domain parking to direct their paid search activity to these sites.


Earning per click (EPC)

EPC stands for Earnings Per Click and is a calculation of clicks sent to a program or landing page divided by the sale amount, or for affiliates the commission earned. E.g. If $20.00 has been earnt after sending 100 clicks then the EPC is $0.20.

Email creatives

An Email Creative is a set of creatives that advertisers upload to Commission Factory for Affiliates to promote directly via their email database. The creatives have an HTML code that can be copied by the affiliate and may include specific offers or messaging to help encourage their database to convert.


HTML code

Refers to the lines of code that an affiliate places on their web page(s) for linking to the merchant's site. This HTML code contains the unique identifier that identifies the traffic as coming from the Affiliate's web site.



When an advertisement or any form of digital media renders on a user’s screen. Impressions are not action-based and are merely defined by a user seeing the advertisement.


Every time we pay you, an invoice is generated and a record is kept in your account. This allows you to keep accurate bookkeeping of your finances. You can view your invoices from your affiliate dashboard or download them for your financial department to have record of.


Join merchant page

The page that shows more information about the advertiser’s program including commission rates, specific program restrictions, program information and stats.



Keywords are words or phrases that are commonly used by internet users in searches for a particular type of website, often providing a certain product/service or information.



A lead is information that may be used later to provide a sale later on. This is normally a request for a quote, the ordering of a brochure or the completion of a questionnaire.


Leakage is the term used to describe mechanisms on an advertisers website that result in customers either purchasing in a non-trackable manner e.g/ over the phone, cause the customer to leave the site, or purchase from an area of the site that the publisher is not awarded sales on.


A link is any form of getting the visitor to visit an advertisers website. This is normally in the form of a graphical banner or text link.

Linking via landing pages

Affiliates that navigate the user from search engine results to the advertiser’s website with at least one interim stage (usually a landing page). Affiliates who run paid search activity often refer the traffic they are getting from these ads to a landing page before then giving the option for users to click further to the advertiser’s website.

Loyalty affiliates

Loyalty affiliates monetise their membership base through advertiser promotions and increased rewards. A membership base might be employee programs, shopping points, charity/club focused and more.


Manual approval

Refers to the process of validating affiliate applications and then approving them manually after their details or promotional websites have been deemed suitable.

Media Brokers

An Affiliate who buys exit traffic and pop-under opportunities from website owners.

Media buying

Media buying is the act of purchasing advertising inventory on a third-party site or via an ad network. The Media buy might be on performance (CPA), on click (CPC), per 1000 impressions (CPM) or fixed tenancy ($X amount). Media buys will take different forms depending on the publisher, creative and medium.


A synonym for Advertiser. A company that pays for their product to be advertised through various different channels.

Merchant ID/Advertiser ID

An advertiser ID is how Commission Factory identify each advertiser on our system. It is our unique reference.

Example tracking link with the Merchant ID highlighted in bold

Mobile search

Affiliates that run search advertising campaigns that navigate the user from 'search engine results' on a mobile device (such as a smart phone) to the 'merchant's website'.

Manual Commissions

A manual commission is money paid to a publisher, which for whatever reason did not go through the normal validation procedure. Manual commissions can be used to fix errors in payments, or give commission to publishers for offline sales.


On-site abandonment

On-Site Abandonment refers to an affiliate using technology that activates onsite (e.g. Overlay) when a customer is leaving and aims to recover any potentially lost sales.


The Network Override is the fee agreed upon by the advertiser and Commission Factory that will be paid to Commission Factory based on each commissionable conversion. Please note, the override fee is charged on top of affiliate commissions.


The process of prioritising certain creatives within a campaign in order to serve more impressions of those ads which have a high click-through rate. Some ad serving solutions are able to do this automatically.

Order Reference

This is whatever the advertiser uses as a unique reference for the sales/leads on their website.


Payment settings

The payment settings area on your dashboard allows you to specify your preferred payment option (such as Payoneer or Bank Deposit), and how often you would like Commission Factory to pay your commission. You may choose to withdraw your commissions weekly, bi-weekly or monthly.


Commission Factory is one of the only large-scale networks that offer weekly payments to affiliates. We recognise how important it is for affiliates to have consistent cash flow.


Rewards an affiliate for each unique click driven to the advertiser’s website.


A marketing pricing system where the advertiser only pays for leads generated at their website. A lead can be a signup form, software download or contest sign up.


An online marketing pricing system where the affiliate is paid on the basis of the number of sales that are directly generated by them for an advertiser.

Pending validation<

Sales that have not been validated by the advertiser. The majority of advertisers have a 30-day validation window, however, this differs from advertiser to advertiser.

Performance-based marketing

A form of marketing where payment is only made on measurable results such as a conversion.

Post impression

A cookie is dropped on every user that views an ad (which means almost every visitor). Even if the user does not click on an ad, the cookie remains with their browser. If the user visits the advertiser’s website or somehow completes the defined “action” for the advertiser, attribution is given to the appropriate campaign. For this type of attribution tracking, you need to understand that a “look-back window” is defined, usually in days, to set a limit on how long, after viewing an ad, attribution should be counted for any impression.

Post view (PV)

Post view typically refers to a type of tracking whereby conversions are tracked to a view or impression and not a click through. AKA Post Impression (PI) or View Through Tracking (VVT).


PPC stands for Pay Per Click which is a payment model used mainly by search engines and price comparison sites.

If advertisers wish to bid on specific keywords they select a list with each of the search engines. This means that if a user searches for one of the specified keywords they will appear within the "sponsored listings" search results.

If the user then clicks on the advert or "sponsored result" the advertisers will be charged a cost per click.

The price of the advert will vary dependant on how much the advertiser was willing to pay, the position they are trying to achieve and for Google, the quality score.

Product Feed

A product feed is a data file of all of an advertisers products from their website. It contains a variety of fields such as the product ID, name, RRP, price, link to the offer page, image URL, specifications...

A feed can be downloaded in a .csv or .xml format dependant on which type the publisher prefers. Typically these feeds are used by price comparison sites, or publishers wishing to list all of a advertisers deals.

Price comparison websites

A comparison shopping website, sometimes called a price comparison website, comparison shopping agent, or comparison shopping engine, is a vertical search engine that shoppers use to filter and compare products based on price, provider and other comparison measures.

Product aggregator

Product aggregators use product level data (from API or product feed) to publish on their, or third-party, sites. Thus they replicate product display, however clicking through to purchase on the advertiser site.


(also called Affiliate or Partner)

A publisher has an online audience, whether that be the through a website or e-mail database.

They act as a virtual sales force for advertisers and are rewarded commission when their online traffic click on banners, logos or text links and then make a purchase.

Commission may also be achieved from other actions such as completion of an application form, or the booking of a test drive.


Return on Advertising Spend (ROAS)

Stands for 'Return on Advertising Spend' and is used to determine media effectiveness. It is the amount of revenue generated for every dollar spent on advertising. For instance, a ROAS of $1 means you're generating $1 in sales for every $1 in advertising spend, and a ROAS of $5 means you generate $5 in sales for every $1 in advertising spend. This can also be represented as 5:1 or 16:1 meaning that for every $1.00 spent you get a return of $5.00 or $16.00..

Return on investment (ROI)

Stands for 'Return on Investment' and is a performance measure used to evaluate the efficiency of an investment or compare the efficiency of a number of different investments. It directly measures the amount of return on a particular investment, relative to the cost of the investment.


Sales revenue 

Sales revenue refers to the total amount of money generated and is often the key metric used to evaluate performance. It can help to direct activity in your affiliate program if you set monthly targets to reach.


SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation. It is a technique used to attempt to gain high rankings for an advertiser website within the natural search areas on search engines such as Google.

Social search

Affiliates that run search advertising campaigns that navigate the user from social media websites to the merchants' websites.


Text Link

A Text Link, also known as a Promotion Link, is a link that’s created by an Advertiser / Agency to communicate an offer or message for Affiliates to use on their site. The offer or message must be clear, concise and include any relevant T&C’s for Affiliates to ensure they promote the message correctly.

Third-party tracking

Third-party tracking tags or pixels are most commonly used by CPA Networks, Sub-Networks, Cashback or Loyalty Affiliates. The tracking code is placed on the merchant or sub networks website and reports/collects data to an external source.

Tracking code

Refers to a snippet of code that collects data needed to identify when a sale has been driven by an affiliate and is placed on all website pages including the confirmation page of a brand’s website.

Transaction active

A transaction active affiliate is an affiliate that has sent at least one conversion for your program in the last 30 days.


Unique click

The process of only counting unique clicks from each web visitor. Unique clicks are typically identified by IP address and browser header.

Unique Users

Unique individual or browser which has either accessed a site (see unique visitor) or which has been served unique content and/or ads such as e-mail, newsletters, interstitials and pop-under ads. Unique users can be identified by user registration or cookies. Reported unique users should filter out robots.


Uniform Resource Locator (URL) is the Internet "address" of a web site or web page on the world wide web. For example our sites URL is A browser requires this information in its location box in order to load a web page.


Validating Commissions

Commission Factory requires advertisers to validate the commissions for their publishers  as this ensures that only valid commissions are paid, thus giving the advertisers much more control over how much they pay to publishers.

Validation period

The amount of time taken for a pending sale to be validated. A short validation period is a sign of a strong advertisers programme.

Video creatives

Advertisers are able to provide Affiliates with Video Creatives to embed and promote on their site. These video creatives will automatically contain tracking data for affiliates, meaning any customers that click through the video can convert immediately.


Simply someone viewing the website, normally from an advertisement, search or directly entering the URL.



Widgets are web-based resources that can be embedded into an Affiliate’s website to promote an advertiser. These widgets can be used for a search form, product listing, active scroller, competitions, surveys or animated banners that are hosted by the Advertisers site.



Stands for Extensible Markup Language and is a markup language that defines a set of rules for encoding documents in a format readable for both humans and machines. It can be used by affiliates to import data and is more complex than a simplified .csv.