Affiliate Email Marketing Terminology

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Oh, vocabulary, everybody’s favorite subject. We all know how frusturating it can be to attempt to communicate with a client, affiliate, partner or colleague – only to be misunderstood due to a terminology difference. In the interest of making sure we are all on the same page, below is a list of key affiliate and email terminology. 

Affiliate/ Publisher – The individual who is promoting the offer and receiving a compensation for the conversions (sales or leads).

Advertiser – The company that owns the offer/ campaign that is being promoted by affiliates, also referred to as the merchant.

Offer – The promotion/ product that the affiliate is promoting for the advertiser. 

Network – The ‘middle man’ company that manages affiliates, provides tracking, ensures commissions are paid and works with several different advertisers to broadcast their offers to their database of affiliates. The most well known networks are Commission Junction, Share A Sale, Rakuten Affiliate Network (Linkshare) and Ebay Affiliate network (PepperJam).

Conversion – The action that the advertiser pays the affiliate for. Most commonly a conversion occurs upon a consumer purhcasing a product, filling out a lead form or downloading an app.

Conversion rate – The metric that shows how how many conversions have taken place versus the clicks on the affiliate link. 

CPA – Cost per action, one of the most commonly used conversion payment models where an affiliate is paid a flat predetermined rate per conversion.

CPL – Cost per lead, another commonly used payout model where an affiliate is paid based on a lead form being completed.

CPS – Cost per sale, where a percentage of the product cost is paid back to affiliate. 

CPI – Cost per install, amount paid to affiliate upon download of an app.

MD5 Hash – The standard hashing method used for e-mail addresses. MD5 is a one-way hash function that takes a plain text email address and converts it into a 128-bit, 32 digit character hash. It is the most widely used and accepted algorithm for e-mail. (Our advice on how to work with MD5 hashed emails can be found here.)

Scrubbing – The process of scrubbing one email list against another, most commonly used in affiliate marketing when an affiliate scrubs their email list against the advertiser’s suppression list to remove opt outs for legal purposes.

UnsubDefender – UnsubCentral’s propietary system that can be downloaded for affiliates to scrub files locally on their own computer as opposed to in a browser.

Salt – An added layer of password protection that can be added to MD5 and SHA-256

FTP – File Transfer Protocol, a standard network protocol used to transfer files from one host to another over a TCP-based network. This process allows clients to automate file transfers from ESPs, CRMs and UnsubCentral.

Seed – A seed hit is an email address owned by UnsubCentral that is inserted into a suppression list, for the purpose of alerting advertisers if an affiliate inadvertently emails the suppression list. Read more about seed hits here.

Did we miss something? Do you have a definition you’d like to debate? Let me know in the comments below or send me an email