The affiliate business, just like any other business, has own vocabulary. Every aspiring affiliate needs to learn at least the basic terms in order to crack the code.
We already have a glossary of abbreviations and acronyms in another post, but we think it's about time to update it, add some things and explain some in a more detailed way. we will also focus not just on abbreviations but include affiliate terms and vocabulary.
We wanted to write one large thread with all the terms explained, but since there are too many, we decided to divide them into multiple threads. This first one will deal with the OFFERS.
These terms are like the foundation of affiliate marketing.
- OFFER – What do I mean exactly when I say “offer?” Basically, this is the product you will promote. It might be a physical product, a service or just access to specific content.
- LEAD– A lead is a prospective buyer of a product or service. For example, if you register for the email list of a tech review blog, you are now a lead for laptop, smart phone, etc. marketers. They are interested in you because you’re likely to be interested in their products.
- LEAD GEN– Lead generation offers attract new clients and turn them into leads. They usually collect some kind of information about the customer in exchange for some benefit or access to a service. The majority of all offers are actually lead gen offers: affiliates locate potential customers based on certain criteria – interests, age groups, niche/vertical – and deliver them to advertisers.
How does it work? Paths from viewing to conversion
The user viewing an ad is the beginning of a sequence which, as affiliate marketers, we want to end in us earning money. There are a few different ways this sequence can play out.
- SOI – Single Opt-In. These affiliate offer types require only one action from the user to be completed. Usually it is filling out a form or entering an email address.
- DOI – Double Opt-In. These offers require more than one action from the user. Originally, this concept required users to enter their email address and then click a confirmation link in the “welcome” email. These days there can be more requirements, like filling out a profile, defining interests or uploading a photo. DOI provides better list protection, communication with subscribers and user relevancy than SOI.
- PPS – Pay Per Sale offers pay a straight amount of money per conversion.
- REVSHARE – Revshare (revenue sharing) offers will pay you certain percentage of every sale. These are often called rebills or ecommerce offers.
- PPCall – Pay Per Call offers pay for each phone call that meets some conditions. Usually they have to exceed a certain duration, so it doesn’t count if the prospect hangs up after two seconds. These can be all kinds of lead gen offers resulting in the sale of some product or service. It could also be a "premium number" call that bills the user per minute, like those infamous “tech support” offers.
- REBILLS – Rebills can be a wide range of products across many verticals, both tangible products and services/information. The basic principle is a repeating charge to the customer. The billing cycle often starts with a free trial membership and then recurs at a set rate every 30 days, for example. Any type of subscription would fall into this category.
- PIN SUBMITS – These are primarily aimed at mobile phone users, because the billing is done via premium SMS charges. That's why they are also called carrier billing offers. This is a very popular billing method covering a wide range of verticals and offers, including app installs and antivirus programs.
- 1 Click/ 2 Click / MO Flow – These are all types of pin submits but with a different registration process. “1-Click” takes just one click on the Agree button, while “2-Click” is like a DOI requiring confirmation. MO-Flow means the customer has to type the SMS and manually send it to some premium number. 1-Click converts the best, MO is the worst.
Verticals: finding your niche
A “vertical” is the category or market that an offer falls into. The term “niche” is often used as well, though this usually refers to a more specific market within a larger field.
- ECOMMERCE – This is a blanket term covering any vertical that deals in tangible products. Pretty much any e-shop falls into this category. Two of the most popular platforms used by affiliates are Shopify and Teespring.
- MAINSTREAM/ADULT – Basic qualifications that determines if an offer can be promoted to adult traffic or not. Adult traffic is traffic on porn/erotic sites, as well as gambling or alcohol sales. Offers for a general audience are referred to as mainstream.
- NUTRA – Another large vertical, these are health supplements, diet pills, vitamins, skincare products etc. There are also adult products like muscle or penis pills in this vertical. Nutra offers can be a straight sale or rebill based.
- DATING – One of the evergreen verticals, dating can be both mainstream and adult. These are often SOI/DOI lead gen offers: users get free access to the members area, but when they want to contact someone they might need to pay a monthly fee. In this sense, the online dating market is based on rebills. These offers are also available as revshare or PPS.
- APP INSTALLS – This is a mobile vertical: conversion is when the user downloads an application for their smartphone. There can be more requirements like opening the app or using it for a set time. Apps can be downloaded both from official stores like Google Play or the Apple App Store, or from alternative stores like Apptism, Lima or PremiumAppShop.
- INFO PRODUCTS – Information is the most valuable commodity in the internet age. The info product vertical includes e-books, guides, educational videos, audio courses, recordings of seminars, etc. These are being sold for pretty much anything you can think of, mostly using the revshare or PPS payout model. Clickbank is a typical representative of this vertical.
What are you offering the user? Just the product, or do you hook them with something more?
- INCENTIVE – This is a specific approach to getting user engagement. These offers give something to the users to make them do something in return. The compensation can be a small payment, some freebie or virtual currency. Virtual currencies are widely used these days, since the rise of mobile games. If you’ve ever been asked to watch an ad in exchange or download an application to get some gold nuggets in the game you were playing … that’s a virtual currency incentive. Offers based on incentives usually pay less and this traffic is of lower quality.
- SWEEPS – Some products give the user a chance to win something. These are called sweeps The most popular prizes these days are iPhones and other smartphones or shopping vouchers. Sweeps can be either lead gen (SOI or DOI) or PIN submit offers.
- CONTENT BILLING – These offers give the paying user access to some members area when they can download some content, usually videos, ring tones, wallpapers or games.
- SURVEYS – Similar to sweeps, sometimes they will actually turn into one. The user has to fill out a survey in order to get a chance to win something – it’s a form of incentive (see below). The survey provider compensates the user either with a small payment, access to additional content or the chance to win a prize.
I think that’s enough for now. There are many more terms I could go into, but these are the most important (and least self-explanatory).
Do you think I missed something important? If so, please post about it! I’ll happily add it. Or if you find a mistake or disagree with something, let me know.
Up-to-date information is everything in online marketing. It’s not just about knowing the right lingo – you have to understand how clients interact with monetization channels, what they’re looking for and how the money flows. It’s the foundation of marketing success. I hope this list helps you with this!