Online Marketing Terms, Definitions Explained

If you have been searching the internet looking for information on Affiliate Marketing then it may be a good idea to understand what you’re reading. When words pop up like Click-Through Ratio or you see a bunch of letters like SEO, you may start scratching your head. Don’t let this overwhelm you, once you know the meaning of these terms it will  help you to better understand what it is you are reading. I put together a list of the most commonly used terms, words, and abbreviations along with the definition for each one. This will help you as you begin your journey into Affiliate Marketing.


List of Commonly Used Marketing Terms

Above the Fold: The section of a website or blog that appears in a browser when someone lands on a page on your site without them having to scroll.

Affiliate: The person who is promoting products or services for a merchant in exchange for commissions made by making a sale or getting leads.

Affiliate Link: A link provided to you by the merchant that includes a unique tracking code specifically assigned to you for the merchant to track the sales you are responsible for generating for them.

Affiliate Program: With this program, the merchant rewards the affiliate for web traffic, sales or leads on a pay-per-click, pay-per-sale, or pay-per-lead basis.

Click-Through: Also sometimes spelled as “Click Thru”. This refers to the act of someone clicking on your affiliate link and being taken to the merchant’s website.

Click-through Rate (CTR): Also sometimes spelled as “Click Thru Rate”. A metric used to show the number of times your affiliate link has been clicked on compared to the number of times the link has been viewed displayed as a percentage.

Cookies: A text file that is sent from a website to a file within a user’s web browser. Cookies are used for various reasons on the web as a whole. In regards to affiliate marketing, Cookies are used to assign an ID to a user that has clicked on your affiliate link to get to a merchant website for a predefined period. If the user returns within that predefined period (whether or not they click on your affiliate link again) then you will be credited with the sale. Example – a user clicks your affiliate link (cookie gets “dropped” to their browser) and then bookmarks the merchant’s website to buy later. The user returns before the Cookie Expiration and makes the purchase. You would receive credit – and this commission – on the sale.

Cookie Expiration: The amount of time a Cookie set by someone clicking on your affiliate link has to show a conversion before you are no longer credited with a sale even if that user eventually ends up making a purchase. The standard length of a Cookie is typically between 30-90 days. Anything below 30 is considered low/short while anything above 90 is considered to be healthily above average.

Conversion: Getting a person to take a specific action. As in buying a product or service, filling out a form, signing up for an email list or whatever the intended goal may be.

Conversion Rate (CR): This is calculated by taking the number of times an offer converts and dividing it by the number of times it was clicked.

Cost Per Action (CPA):  Refers to the amount of money paid to obtain the desired outcome (usually a sale or signup).

Niche: A specific topic of interest. For instance, if you own a site about cats, then your niche would be cats – as well as pets in the broader definition of a niche.

Pay Per Sale (PPS): In a PPS based affiliate program, the affiliate is paid a commission whenever an actual sale is generated.

Raw Clicks: Refers to a term often used in affiliate reporting that allows you to see how many overall clicks have occurred on your affiliate link. Raw clicks show every click that occurs, even if it is the result of the same person clicking an affiliate link 8 times in a day. Raw clicks are often shown in conjunction with Unique Clicks to give an affiliate a fuller picture of affiliate link activity.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO): The practice of optimizing your website to get it to show up higher in the search engines for specific topics and keywords.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM):  Marketing acts associated with researching, submitting, and positioning a website within search engines with the aim of achieving the best website exposure on these search engines. The best exposure may be achieved by improving the website’s search engine ranking, participating in PPC campaigns, or a combination of these and other relative activities (for example, SEO).

Squeeze Page: Refers to a page where designed to only have one goal or desired conversion in mind. Typically, squeeze pages remove any and all distractions for the desired goal. Example – navigation elements on the page may be removed to keep the user focused solely on the specific “pitch” being made.

Tags: Individual keywords or phrases for organizing content.

Targeted Marketing: Offering the right offer to the right customer at the right time.

Unique Clicks: Refers to a term often used in affiliate reporting that allows you to see how many unique people have clicked on your affiliate link versus seeing all clicks (Raw Clicks) that have occurred. If a person on their home computer clicks your affiliate link 3 times, then 1 of those clicks would be considered a unique click. What is defined as unique click typically resets after 24 hours, with most programs. So, if that same person in the above example comes back 6 days later and clicks on your affiliate link 1 more time, they would now account for 4 raw clicks and 2 unique clicks.

Viral Marketing: A marketing phenomenon that facilitates and encourages people to pass along a marketing message. Nicknamed viral because the number of people exposed to a message mimics the process of passing a virus or disease from one person to another.

Wealthy Affiliates (WA): The very best when it comes to learning how to start your own online Affiliate Marketing business.

Widget: A widget is a live update on a website, web page, or desktop. Widgets contain personalized neatly organized content or applications selected by its user.

Did you find this helpful? Please let me know by leaving a comment below.

To your success,


Please follow and like us:


  1. Steve Reply

    Hi Cathy,

    That is an impressive list and a must read for all budding affiliate marketers and even the more experienced of online marketers. One thing for sure is that it is hard enough to start up an online business (no different to any other business really) without knowing the terminology, your information has helped me and I thank you.

    • Cathy Post authorReply

      Thank you, I’m glad you found the information to be beneficial. I will be adding to the list so please visit again to see all the updates.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *