Key terms in affiliate marketing: A complete guide for advertisers and publishers

Key terms in affiliate marketing: A complete guide for advertisers and publishers

Affiliate marketing offers advertisers and publishers an opportunity to promote products and services, and generate revenue online. However, to succeed in this field, it’s essential to master its specific vocabulary.

In this article, we’ll explore the glossary of affiliate marketing, providing clear explanations to help you better understand the more complex terms. Whether you’re a novice or an experienced marketer, this guide will help you get to grips with affiliate marketing jargon and maximize your opportunities for online success.

1/ General Terms:

Affiliate marketing is a strategy in which companies reward publishers for driving traffic to their website, or for generating specific sales or actions, such as registrations or downloads. This method enables companies to extend their marketing reach and reach new audiences, while offering affiliates an opportunity to monetize their online audience.

Discover the fundamentals of affiliate marketing in this first part, where we explain in detail the essential terms to remember.

  • Affiliate Marketing: Affiliate Marketing is a marketing model in which publishers promote the products or services of one or more advertisers in exchange for commissions on sales or shares. This enables the advertiser to find new customers and the affiliates to monetize their audience.
  • Advertiser: The advertiser is the entity that creates and offers products or services to be promoted via advertising campaigns. He hires affiliate networks or agencies to distribute his ads to his target audience.
  • Affiliate: An affiliate (also known as a “publisher”) promotes an advertiser’s products or services and receives a commission for each sale or action generated. Affiliates use tracking links or other methods to track their performance and are compensated based on the results achieved. They are key players in online marketing, including bloggers, influencers, emailers, deal sites, cashback platforms, etc.
  • Audience: The audience represents the demographic or behavioral group targeted by an advertising campaign. It is defined based on criteria such as age, gender, interests, etc. Understanding the audience is essential for effectively targeting campaigns and optimizing their impact.
  • Preview: A preview is used in the validation process of mailing send-outs. In affiliate marketing, it refers to the final stage where the advertiser approves the content before it is distributed by the publisherse via email to their subscribers.
  • Targeting: Targeting is a marketing strategy aimed at selecting and reaching a specific audience based on demographic, behavioral, or geographical criteria. It allows advertisers to optimize the effectiveness of their campaigns by delivering personalized messages to users most likely to be interested in their products or services.
  • Click: It is the initial click made by a user on an affiliate link that redirects them to the landing page of the promoted offer or product. It represents the starting point of the conversion process and is used to track the effectiveness of online advertising campaigns.
  • Cookie: Cookies are small text files stored on a user’s device when they visit a website, containing information about their online interactions. They are widely used in online marketing to track user behavior, personalize ads, and measure the performance of advertising campaigns.
  • Conversion: Conversion refers to the completion of a specific goal by a user, such as a purchase, registration, or app download, in response to a marketing incentive. It is a key indicator of the effectiveness of advertising campaigns and user journeys on a website or application.
  • Impression: An impression is the number of times an advertising banner is displayed on a webpage or mobile application. It is used as a metric to measure the visibility and reach of an online advertising campaign.
  • Online Marketing: Online marketing refers to the set of promotion and communication activities carried out on the Internet to reach and engage the target audience. It includes various strategies such as SEO, online advertising, social media, and email marketing.
  • Opt-in: Opt-in is a process whereby users give explicit consent to receive marketing communications or participate in affiliate programs. This means that users must voluntarily choose to subscribe or engage, rather than being automatically included without their prior consent.
  • Lead: A lead is a potential prospect who has shown interest in a company’s products or services by providing their contact information via an online form. It represents a sales opportunity for the company and is typically followed up to be converted into a customer.
  • Landing Page: A landing page is a web page specifically designed to encourage visitors to take a specific action, such as signing up for a newsletter or purchasing a product. It is optimized to convert visitors into leads or potential customers.
  • Affiliate Platform: An affiliate platform is a technical and advisory solution that facilitates the connection between advertisers and affiliates. It provides tools and features for managing affiliate programs, including creating tracking links, tracking performance, managing payments, and connecting with potential partners.
  • Affiliate Program: An affiliate program is a system in which a company rewards affiliates for directing traffic to its website or application or for generating sales or specific actions such as sign-ups or downloads. Affiliates are compensated based on performance, usually through commissions on sales or other predefined actions.
  • Account Manager: An account manager is a professional responsible for managing client relationships within an advertising network or affiliate platform. Their role is to understand client needs, advise them on the best advertising strategies, coordinate campaign implementation, and provide regular follow-up to ensure client satisfaction and success.
  • Performance: or “Performance-based Model” is the model on which affiliate marketing is based: the affiliate is paid only when their promotional efforts result in a specific action by the consumer.

2/ Remuneration Models 

In this second part, we will take a closer look at remuneration models in affiliate marketing. From traditional models to more innovative methods, discover how advertisers reward affiliates based on performance.

  • CPC: CPC, or cost per click, is an advertising pricing model where advertisers pay only when their ad is clicked by a user. This allows for precise measurement of campaign effectiveness based on the number of clicks obtained.
  • CPA: CPA (Cost per Acquisition/Sale), or cost per acquisition, is an advertising pricing model where advertisers pay only when a user makes a purchase on their e-commerce site. It is often rewarded as a percentage.
  • CPL: CPL (Cost per Lead), or cost per lead, is an advertising pricing model where advertisers pay for each lead or prospect generated by the affiliate. It is more commonly rewarded as a fixed cost and depends on the number of fields filled out by the user.
  • CPM: CPM, or cost per thousand impressions, is an advertising pricing model where advertisers pay a fixed amount for one thousand impressions of their ad, regardless of user action. This allows for measuring the cost of ad visibility to the target audience.
  • CPD: CPD (Cost per Download) refers to the price an advertiser pays when a user downloads their app from app stores.

3/ Distribution Levers in Affiliate Marketing

In this section, we explore key distribution levers of affiliate marketing. Understand how these levers work together to optimize performance and maximize the results of your affiliate efforts.

  • Deal Aggregator: A site that aggregates other deal and coupon content sites.
  • Cashback: Cashback is a loyalty program where users receive a partial refund of their purchase after making a purchase via an affiliate link. It encourages repeat purchases and customer loyalty by offering financial incentives.
  • Promo Code website: Promo code sites are online platforms that provide discount codes and special offers for products or services sold by various companies. Users can search for deals on these sites to find discounts on their online purchases, allowing them to save money.
  • Display: A site or blog that displays only standard IAB format banners.
  • Email Marketing: Email marketing campaigns involve sending promotional or informational emails to a list of subscribers to promote products, services, or events. It is used to nurture customer relationships, boost sales, and retain customers.
  • Price Comparison: A site that offers a comparison of prices and features for a type of product.
  • Sweepstakes website: A site that lists sweepstakes available on the Internet.
  • Co-registration: A site that offers an internet user who is filling out or has just validated a form to subscribe to a complementary service.
  • CSS (Comparison Shopping Service): A CSS is a specific online platform within Google allowing users to compare prices and characteristics of products sold by different e-merchants, helping consumers find the best deals and providing advertisers a way to promote their products.
  • Lead Emulation: A site that offers the setup of mini-sites with the aim of collecting intent-based leads for service offers (energy, insurance, etc.).
  • Shopping Guide: A content-based site based on product/brand recommendation, usually in the form of an article that offers a promotion/benefit.
  • Influence Marketing: Influence marketing involves collaborating with influencers to promote a brand, product, or service to their audience, leveraging their popularity and engagement to effectively reach the target audience.
  • Vertical website: A site or blog with editorial content about a specific topic.
  • SEO: SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, refers to the set of techniques aimed at improving the ranking of a website in search engine results organically, without resorting to paid ads. It aims to increase visibility and qualified traffic to the site.
  • SEA: SEA stands for Search Engine Advertising and refers to advertising actions that allow visibility on search engines for payment, payment mostly occurring through auctions and when the promotional link is clicked. The most well-known example is Google Adwords.
  • Social Ads: Social Ads are sponsored ads on social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, and YouTube. Through these paid ads, brands distribute their content and offers to a targeted audience.

4/ Technologies and Tools

In this section, we delve into the key technologies and tools of affiliate marketing, enabling you to understand how these resources work to optimize performance and make the most of your affiliate efforts.

  • API: An API (Application Programming Interface) is a tool that allows different platforms to communicate automatically. For example, it can be used to integrate data from affiliate programs into websites or applications.
  • Banner: A banner is a graphic advertisement displayed on a website to promote a product, service, or event. It can contain text, images, and clickable links and is often used to attract users’ attention and encourage them to interact with the ad.
  • Product Catalog: Also known as a Product Feed. It is a digital file containing the entire product catalog and its associated data (item description, price, associated visual, tracking tag for each product) made available to affiliates (price comparison sites, shopping guides, etc.). It is generally available in two formats (either CSV or XML).
  • Capping: Capping refers to limiting the number of impressions or clicks an ad can receive over a given period. It is used to control advertising costs and prevent user oversaturation with the same ad.
  • Promo Codes: Promo codes are alphanumeric codes used during online purchases to obtain discounts or special benefits, such as free shipping or gifts. They are widely used in online marketing to stimulate sales and customer loyalty.
  • Deeplinks: Deeplinks are hyperlinks that direct users to specific pages within a mobile application, rather than the home page. They are used in affiliate marketing to direct users to relevant products or content directly from an app.
  • Email Kit: An emailing kit is an html file optimized according to well-defined rules to ensure deliverability, and intended to be ready to use by the distributors who will send it to their bases as part of an emailing campaign. This kit generally includes elements such as the highlighting of current offers, images, call-to-action buttons, and other resources needed to create attractive and effective emails.
  • Text Link / Hyperlink: A text link or hyperlink is a clickable element in web content that redirects the user to another web page. It is often used to navigate between different sections of a website or to direct to external resources.
  • Mirror Link: A mirror link is an alternative URL that redirects users to the same destination as a primary link, providing a backup option in case of an issue with the primary link. It is used to ensure continuous availability of online resources and improve the user experience.
  • Tracking: Tracking is the technique of monitoring user interactions with online advertisements or web content, allowing measurement of marketing campaign performance and effectiveness. It uses technologies to record user actions, such as clicks, conversions, and browsing paths.
  • First-party Tracking: “First-party tracking” involves the use of cookies from a website’s subdomain to track user interactions with affiliate links. When a user clicks on an affiliate link and performs an action, such as a purchase, the data of this interaction is recorded in a cookie belonging to the visited website’s domain.
  • Server-to-Server (S2S) Tracking: S2S tracking in affiliate marketing is a conversion tracking method where data on user actions is sent directly from the advertiser’s server to the affiliate’s server, bypassing the user’s browser. Unlike cookie-based tracking, which can be blocked or altered by browser settings, S2S tracking is often considered more reliable as it circumvents these potential issues.
  • Tracking Tag: A tracking tag, also called an affiliate tracking pixel, is a series of code placed on a web page to track user behavior and actions such as sales, downloads, and leads.

5/ Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) in Affiliate Marketing

KPIs, or Key Performance Indicators, are quantifiable measures used to evaluate the success of a campaign in achieving set goals. KPIs are specific, measurable, relevant to goals, achievable, and time-bound. They allow companies to track and analyze their performance and make data-driven decisions to improve their results.

  • Acquisition Cost: The acquisition cost (CAC) is the total amount spent to acquire a customer or lead, calculated by dividing marketing expenses by the number of customers or leads obtained. It is a key indicator for evaluating the effectiveness of advertising campaigns and optimizing customer acquisition strategies.
  • CTR: CTR, or click-through rate, is an indicator that measures the percentage of users who clicked on an ad compared to the total number of impressions. It allows for evaluating the effectiveness and relevance of online advertising.
  • COS: Cost of Sales correspond to potential expenses ÷ potential revenue.
  • ECPM: Or Effective Cost Per Mille, is a metric used in affiliate marketing to measure the revenue generated by each display on an affiliate link. Unlike traditional CPM, which focuses solely on the display cost per 1,000 impressions, ECPM takes into account the revenue generated by these impressions, offering a more accurate view of the profitability of promotional efforts.
  • Cancellation Rate: It refers to the percentage of orders or leads that are not counted as commissions owed to the affiliate. Such cancellation can be due to various factors, including payment issues (e.g., a transaction by card that needs to be refunded by the merchant) or merchandise returns resulting in a refund.
  • Conversion Rate: The conversion rate measures the percentage of users who performed a specific action, such as a purchase or registration, compared to the total number of visitors to a website or landing page. It is used to evaluate the effectiveness of marketing campaigns and user experience.
  • Engagement Rate: The engagement rate is a key indicator of the performance of a post on social media. It refers to the number of reactions (positive and negative) that an influencer’s post generates.
  • Average Basket: The average basket (average order cart in English) corresponds to the average amount spent by a customer during an online purchase or in a physical store.
  • ROAS: Return on Ad Spend = potential revenue ÷ potential expenses.
  • ROI: ROI, or return on investment, is an indicator that measures the profitability of a marketing campaign by comparing the profits generated to the costs incurred. It allows advertisers to evaluate the effectiveness of their advertising investments and optimize their strategies accordingly. It is calculated as follows: (Revenue – Expenses) / Expenses

In Conclusion… 

In conclusion, the glossary of affiliate marketing is vast and varied, comprising a multitude of terms and concepts essential for success in this field. Whether you are an affiliate, an advertiser, or a marketing agency, understanding this vocabulary is crucial for conducting effective campaigns, optimizing performance, and maximizing revenue.

Paul Pages

May 17, 2024


What do I need to do to launch my affiliate program on SKALE?

It is very simple!
First, you have to fill in the sign-up form here.
You will then receive an email confirmation link which you will have to click on to validate your registration.
You will then be redirected to our campaign creation page.
In a few clicks, you will :
- define the country in which you want to promote your offers and products
- upload your ads
- define the commission rate that you will offer to your publishers
- set up and check the tracking pixel
- sign your online contract
- credit your account (by credit card only) which will be used to pay the first sales generated by your publishers.

Once these steps are completed, your program is live and ready to be broadcast.

Do I need a strong technical background to launch my program on SKALE?

Absolutely not and that's the whole point of our solution.
Our campaign creation page has been entirely designed to be as simple as possible, in plug & play mode. Furthermore, we are technically integrated with the main e-commerce solutions on the market, such as Shopify, Prestashop, WooCommerce (and many others) to make your job easier.

I don't have any creative ads because I am starting my business, what should I do?

Our creative studio, expert in the creation of performing ads, can do it for you. All you have to do is select one of the pay-per-use packages (6 or 12 banners) during the creation of your campaign. Our team will then contact you and offer you, in record time, a batch of high-performance creatives so that you can launch your campaign.
Please note that these ads will be your property and that you have the rights to use them for any other channels, outside Kwanko.

Which countries can I launch my affiliate program?

SKALE with Kwanko is available in Eurozone countries (and very soon available for Pound Sterling and Dollars).
This means you can launch your affiliate program in all major European countries (and shortly in the US and Canada).

How long does it take to get my program ready to go live?

We estimate that it takes 30 minutes (assuming you already have your creatives) to set up your affiliate program on SKALE with Kwanko.

What is a publisher? Where my ads will be displayed?

You will be able to run your offers and/or products on our network of more than 150,000 international publisher websites.
Our network is made up of the best e-commerce verticals, mainly:
- content websites, blogs, and social networks with a direct affinity with your core target, directly targeting your brand and products
- price comparison websites sites for optimal promotion of your products
- cashback websites, promo codes, and voucher sites to reach communities of buyers
- remarketing visitors to your online store
- Performance-based Social Ads to reach prospects through ultra-precise targeting

Can I integrate my own publishers and manage all my partnerships in one tool?

Of course!
All you have to do is ask your publishers to register for free on our platform here.

How will I activate publishers on my affiliate program?

A search directory of publishers (by vertical, theme/sector, country, etc.) will enable you to identify the best websites in affinity with your audience. You'll be able to invite them to join your affiliate campaign. The websites will then be notified of your interest: all they will have to do is set up your ads on their websites. In addition, websites may also spontaneously apply for your campaign and you can approve them on your interface if they're a good fit.

How do I know if the payout I offer is attractive to publishers?

It is key to define the right payout that is, on the one hand, attractive for publishers and, on the other hand, profitable for you also.
This is why we have created an ROI calculator that will allow you to determine a range of commission to offer to your publishers. Click here and start your estimate.

What is Kwanko's commission rate on each sale?

It's simple: 0%.
Indeed, there is no platform commission with our SKALE offer.
The entire payout is paid to the publishers who will generate sales on your online store.
For a very simple reason: this is a self-service offer. This means that you launch and manage your campaign by yourself. However, you can choose to be accompanied by our experts by subscribing to our pay-per-use offers. In this case, the price is fixed.

How will I animate with my network of publishers?

SKALE with Kwanko provides you with a messaging tool to communicate directly with your publishers and negotiate specific deals and highlights. You can, for example, announce the setup of new offers, publisher challenges, payout increases during peak periods or negotiate one-to-one deals.

How does Kwanko track sales?

We track sales with the implementation of a tracking pixel.
In concrete terms, this is a code that you will install on your website in a very simple way with our plug & play solution. Everything will be explained to you when you create your campaign. The publishers will incorporate ads and install them on their website(s).

How do publishers get paid?

SKALE with Kwanko is a performance-based business model. This means that you only pay for the sales generated on your online store. Our platform tracks the sales and the publishers associated with those sales. Once you have validated the sales in question, our platform will automatically manage the payment of the publishers.

What tools are available on the platform?

On the Kwanko platform, you will find all the tools that will allow you to manage, analyze and optimize your affiliate program: detailed statistics in real-time, complete reports, APIs, conversion and payment management tools, a messaging tool as well. Please note that whatever pricing plan you choose, you will have access to ALL the features of the Kwanko platform.

How much does SKALE with Kwanko cost?

You pay a monthly fee (from 99€/month*) for the use of the platform and all its features. And you pay your publishers the commission rate per sale that you have previously defined. Unlike other platforms, there is 0% platform commission with SKALE. To learn more about our pricing, click here.

What are pay-per-use services?

The pay-per-use services are additional services that you can choose to take at any time. You choose when you need support, whether it be technical (help with technical implementation), operational (Starter and/or Booster Pack) or creative (6 or 12 banner pack). The prices are fixed.

What happens if I exceed my annual spendings defined in my chosen plan? Will my campaign stop?

Of course not! If you exceed your limit spending defined in your plan, your conversions will continue to be tracked. However, you will be upgraded to the upper plan the following month and you will be alerted by email.

Can I change my pricing plan at any time?

The upgrade of pricing is automatically managed by our platform according to your annual advertising expenses. But you can opt for an annual package (2 months are offered) and decide to go back to a monthly basis at any time.

Why is there a minimum commitment of 3 months?

This is the time you need to assess its potential.
Indeed, between the activation of the campaign on our network, the implementation by the publishers, the generation of the first sales, and the validation of these sales, 3 months is the period we consider necessary to be able to draw up an initial assessment and judge the profitability of the model for you.

Can I unsubscribe from SKALE with Kwanko?

After this 3 month period, you can request your termination after 14 days by sending an email to If your deposit has not been used, we will proceed to refund the outstanding amount. Of course, we don't want it to happen. A series of comprehensive tutorials and documents (wiki), written by our operational teams, will give you plenty of tips on how to take advantage of affiliate marketing and scale your eCommerce business.

What is the free trial and how can I activate it?

The free trial corresponds to the period between the first day of the launch of your affiliate program and the end of the calendar month, during which you will not be charged the monthly or annual plan. You will be able to discover the full potential of the SKALE platform with complete peace of mind. During this period, you can interrupt your affiliate program free of charge by contacting the SKALE team by email at:

If you do not cancel, the pricing plan you have subscribed to will take effect from the 1st of the month following the launch of your affiliate program, i.e. at the end of the Free Trial Period.

Please note that the publishers' commissions remain due and will be deducted from the refund of the deposit you made when you launched your affiliate program.