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Glossary of Affiliate Terms

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  • Ad Spend: The amount of money spent on advertising a product or service
  • Advanced link: Advanced links include flash banners, HTML banners, email creatives, printable coupons, videos, search box banners and other interactive links that publishers can use to promote advertisers. Advanced creative involves much more development and are a step above a standard gif or jpeg banner image. These creative need to be hosted on the advertiser’s end and the HTML coding gets uploaded into the Ascend interface for publishers to pull
  • Advertiser/Merchant: An advertiser, or merchant, is a company that sells a product or service online. Advertisers partner with publishers to help promote their services or products online. Advertisers provide their publishers with ads, banners, text links, and other creatives to promote in exchange for commissions on leads or sales
  • Advanced Product Feed: The recommended product feed and specs that we provide advertisers.  This is a Ascend formatted feed and allows the advertiser to provide us up to 78 fields of information, to make this feed more robust for publishers and to allow the advertisers all relevant information for each product
  • API (application program interface): A set of routines, protocols and tools for building software applications. Advertisers and publishers utilize API’s to systematically pull in information to store in their own internal systems. Our API is accessible through a REST-based interface and is offered to both advertisers and publishers
  • API Documentation: API documentation, also known as Programmers documentation, is a deliverable of technical writing in which a technical writer develops instructions about how to effectively use a software API, hardware (SCPIs) or web-API
  • Auto Escrow: This is an automatic payment system that allows the advertiser to set up a credit card to the account to be automatically charged for activity
  • Attribution: method used to track the different touch points that result in a sale/lead for an advertiser
  • Attribution Lookback Period: A defined period of time for determining attribution after a conversion
  • Attribution Settings: The section in the network that advertisers could set up in-cart attribution and turn on the functionality for publishers
  • Average order size/value (AOV): The AOV is calculated by taking the total amount of sales revenue and dividing it by the total number of conversions, or purchaeses, the advertiser recorded through their shopping cart for a specific period of time



  • Banner: A clickable graphic ad. Banners can be static or animated and are offered in various sizes. Banners often display the advertiser’s logo, best-selling products, promotions, or highlight any new offer that is available from the retailer
  • Baseline commission: The default commission rate an advertiser has set up for their affiliate program. The baseline commission is visible to publishers in the interface and they receive the baseline commission for any sale/lead they refer to the program
  • Best of web: the lowest price currently available for a product across the Internet
  • Bonus: An action taken within the account to pay a publisher for a placement on their site or any other monetary compensation that needs to be provided; has a 7 day locking period


  • Click: occurs when a consumer uses their mouse or touchpad to click on a link
  • Click Active Publisher: A publisher that has generated a click, also known as traffic, within an advertiser's affiliate program
  • Clickstream: A series of clicks made while using a website or in linking to multiple websites
  • Click-Through: When a visitor clicks an add that is linked to an advertiser's website
  • Click-Through Rate (CTR): (Clicks / Imp) * 100
  • Co-Branded Landing Page: A landing page on the advertiser’s site that displays a clear relationship between the advertiser/publisher. An example may be a banner “Welcome Ebates Shopper. Earn 5% Cash Back today”. Co-Branded landing pages may help to increase conversion rates
  • Commission Rate: the percentage in which a publisher is paid per sale/lead 
  • Commission: Compensation provided to the publisher for generating a sale/lead
  • Commission Summary: A summary of commissions paid per transaction
  • Content Publisher: A publisher is any business/individual/etc that prepares and issues or delivers content to an audience. Examples include bloggers and online magazines
  • Conversion: Sales/leads that have resulted from clicks through affiliate links
  • Conversion Rate: The percentage of users that take the desired action and make a purchase via a link
  • Cookie: A cookie is dropped when a user clicks through an affiliate link. The cookie is then stored for a certain length of time until the user visits the site again. The website will recognize the user because of the information stored from the cookie
  • Cookie stuffing: also known as Forced Clicks. When publishers set tracking cookies on a site causing the web browser to click on a link and set a return day cookie on the computer regardless of the (known or unknown) action taken by the user
  • Cost per action (CPA): A commission structure in which the advertiser pays a flat fee for each specific action (click, sign-up, sale)
  • Cost per click (CPC): A commission structure in which an advertiser pays publishers a flat amount every time a visitor clicks through a link on the publisher’s website and is redirected to the advertiser’s site
  • Cost per lead (CPL): Cost per lead is a pricing model, where a visitor referred by the Affiliate completes a sign up form with contact information about a visitor likely to be interested in a specific product or service. CPL advertising is also referred to as online lead generation
  • Cost per thousand impressions/cost per thousand (CPM): A commission method traditionally used in advertising in which an advertiser pays a set amount for every 1,000 impressions served. Also referred to as "cost-per-mille”
  • Coupon Publisher: These publishers focus on promoting coupon codes and promotions
  • CPG: consumer packaged goods (i.e. shampoo, diapers)
  • Creative: Promotional materials advertisers use to attract consumers to their websites or products. These include text links, banner ads, coupons, email copy, and videos, among others
  • CSV: Acomma-separated values (CSV) (also sometimes called character-separated values, because the separator character does not have to be a comma) file stores tabular data (numbers and text) in plain-text form. Plain text means that the file is a sequence of characters, with no data that has to be interpreted as binary numbers. A CSV file consists of any number of records, separated by line breaks of some kind; each record consists of fields, separated by some other character or string, most commonly a literal comma or tab


  • Deep linking: Deep Linking occurs when a publisher takes an existing affiliate tracking link and changes the destination URL to direct to a specific landing page within a merchant’s website.  For example, if a publisher wants to promote a specific product or category page that does not already have a corresponding tracking link available within the merchant’s affiliate program, the publisher will change the destination of another tracking link to direct to this preferred page.  Deep Linking can be enabled or disabled for each and every creative within the affiliate program
  • Demand Pixel: A type of tracking integration that Ascend offers advertisers.  This allows the advertiser to place a pixel and track in real time, but they will not pay out commissions to publishers until the order is confirmed/shipped.  This is a hybrid tracking approach and the client also needs to provide daily transaction feeds confirming all orders in the channel
  • Direct Linking: Direct linking occurs when an affiliate uses your web site address as its display URL in search ads
  • Dynamic Pixel: Latest tracking type offered by Ascend



  • Earnings per click (EPC): commission/clicks
  • Exclusive Offer: An offer that is provided to only one select publisher




  • Generic link: The Generic Link is the URL for the homepage of a merchant’s website.  It is available to publishers at any time and does not expire.  The Generic Link should include any additional tracking parameters that the merchant wants to capture and track within their own analytics software.  The Generic Link is one of the most frequently used creatives within a merchant’s affiliate program and, as a result, a significant portion of the program’s revenue and traffic activity may be tied to this creative
  • Geo-fencing: Geo-fencing, location based targeting, is a technology that allows an advertiser to select a geographic point using latitude and longitude information and then to create a virtual "fence" around that point of a given radius
  • Geo-targeting: A method of marketing that identifies potential visitors and provides them with content based on their location, including country, state, and city. For instance, an ad that is served on a user’s smart phone for a store within five miles of their present location





  • Impression: occurs each time an ad is displayed to a consumer
  • In-Cart Attribution: Determines when visitors leave an advertiser’s cart to find a promo code before completing the sale and therefore, shifts the attribution of commission from closers to introducers or influencers
  • Invalid Click: Invalid click activity includes any clicks or impressions that may artificially inflate an advertiser's costs or a publisher's earnings
  • Item ID: An identifier for a specific item or SKU that the advertiser (merchant) pass through the tracking pixel to allow item-level commissioning and reporting. Typically, the item ID that is passed through the pixel can also be used on the merchant site as a search term to locate the specific item





  • Lead: A type of transaction, where the publisher is paid out for a specific action, such as filling out a membership form, online registration, or subscription, for example. Publishers are paid flat dollar amounts for these actions
  • Locking Period: Locking period is the amount of time in which a transaction is eligible to be corrected or reversed by the advertiser before a payout for that transaction is dispersed
  • Loyalty Publisher: Loyalty publishers promote advertisers by offering their users an incentive to shop using their links. Traditionally, these incentives are in the form of cash back (where the user receives a percentage of their purchase amount) or points that can be redeemed elsewhere (Air miles, for instance). Example of loyalty publishers are,, or




  • Network Commission: Ascend Network Transaction fees.



  • Order ID: an advertiser’s unique transaction identifier (i.e. AERO-3738977456)



  • Paid Placement: An ad that is placed for an upfront fee
  • Pay per call: A form of affiliate marketing where the advertiser pays publishers who refer customers to their call center, and can be customized to pay for leads based on a number of conditions, including call time, in-call actions, call location, and more. Ascend utilizes a third party solution called Invoca to manage these programs
  • Pay per click (PPC): A form of affiliate marketing where the advertiser pays a publisher based on the amount of clicks that are referred, as opposed to the number of sales or leads. The amount that is paid per click varies based on the advertiser and the specific campaign
  • Pixel: the Ascend Network utilizes Pixel-based conversion tracking. The pixel, An iframe or image (1x1 pixel), is used to place tracking information on a visitors computer and is located in the HTML of a merchant’s confirmation/thank you page that is displayed after a successful sale or lead. Pixels are very flexible and can be used with many programming languages, including (but not limited to): PHP, Javascript, CGI Scripting, ASP, Perl, and Java
  • Process Date: The date by which a transaction processes in our system. This is used in the transaction history report.  When there is a sale or lead that has been corrected, revised or batched in, this will be shown under the processes date.  If no activity has been made to an order, the process date will match the sale date.  See transaction history report for more information
  • Product Feed: A product feed or data feed is a file made up of a list of products and attributes of those products organized so that each product can be displayed, advertised or compared in a unique way. Some publishers in Ascend require a product feed in order to promote a merchant’s affiliate program
  • Program Metrics: A set of metrics established to determine the success of a program
  • Program Terms: The terms of a program refer to the Terms and Conditions that an advertiser allows for promotion. This includes restrictions (i.e., no email marketing and/or PPC allowances, US traffic only) as well as suggestions for promotion (i.e., suggested keywords, top selling products).
  • Publisher ID: the numeric identifier to identify  
  • Publisher/Affiliate: A publisher (also known as an affiliate) is an individual or company that promotes an advertiser’s product or service in exchange for earning a commission through links referring back to or directly to an advertiser’s website




  • Return on Ad Spend: The amount of money expected to be made based on ad spend
  • Revenue: The amount of money made by a company or organization
  • RSS feed: An RSS feed (Rich Site Summary), uses a family of standard web feed formats to publish frequently updated information such as blog entries, news headlines, audio, and video. Many news-related sites, weblogs and other online publishers syndicate their content as an RSS Feed to whoever wants it



  • Sale (Transaction): When a purchase is made through an affiliate link
  • Sale (Discount): A decreased cost of a particular item or purchase amount
  • Sale date: The date the actual purchase occurs firing the pixel
  • Search engine marketing (SEM): also known as Paid Search. The process by which advertisers increase their visibility in search engine results. This includes bidding on and winning placement for the links that appear on the top or right-hand side of a search results page
  • Search engine optimization (SEO): also known as Organic Search. The process by which advertisers improve their ranking in a search engine's unpaid search results – the links that appear in the center of a search page. This includes editing the content of a site so that more keywords appear on it
  • Semi-Exclusive Offer: An offer that is provided to a few select publishers
  • SID: An SID is a custom URL parameter that publishers can use to uniquely identify click and sale information. An SID is most accurately described as a source ID as it used to identify the source of affiliate clicks and ultimately sales. Also called a Sub-ID, this is typically assigned by a loyalty publisher who needs to capture member level detail in order to reward points or cash back to their consumers
  • Site commission: The percentage of the purchase that Ascend keeps from each referred sale/lead
  • SKU: Stock keeping unit, typically found within a product feed (not required). This is unique to each advertiser and customarily relates to each individual item purchasable on the advertiser’s site
  • Sub-affiliate network/syndicator: A publisher account which manages their own network of sites. For example, rewardStyle is a single publisher account which manages a network of bloggers



  • Term: A payout and rules associated with it
  • Text link: A text link is a contextual creative that may feature a promotion/offer, or simply contain the name of the advertiser or a category they want to feature
  • Time Threshold: The amount of look back time the advertiser sets for in-cart attribution between publisher clicks
  • Tracking Pixel: the Ascend Network utilizes Pixel-based conversion tracking. The pixel, An iframe or image (1x1 pixel), is used to place tracking information on a visitors computer and is located in the HTML of a merchant’s confirmation/thank you page that is displayed after a successful sale or lead. Pixels are very flexible and can be used with many programming languages, including (but not limited to): PHP, Javascript, CGI Scripting, ASP, Perl, and Java
  • Trademark Bidding: a form of search marketing in which the publisher bids on the advertiser’s trademark (i.e. GNC)
  • Trademark Plus Bidding: a form of search marketing in which the publisher bids on the advertiser’s trademark followed by a keyword (i.e. GNC coupon)
  • Transaction: When a purchase is made through an affiliate link
  • Transaction Fee: The fee Ascend earns from each transaction generated in our system
  • Transaction ID: Ascend's internal unique transaction identifier
  • Transaction Inquiry: Publishers typically submit transaction inquiries if they did not receive commission for a sale/lead that they believe should have been credited. Transaction inquiries help publishers determine why they did not receive commission for a transaction, as after they are submitted and reviewed by the advertiser, the advertiser can accept or reject the inquiry. If it is rejected, it is typically because the sale/lead was attributed to another publisher or channel outside of affiliate. Publishers can upload a transaction inquiry individually or bulk upload inquiries all at once via CSV in the publisher interface



  • UPC: universal product code