Shopify Affiliates glossary

Here are some common terms you might encounter as a Shopify Affiliate.

Above the fold

The section of a website or blog that is visible in a user's browser without scrolling when they first land on a page.

Advertiser

This is the company that produces the products or services that you promote as an affiliate. More commonly referred to as the merchant.

Affiliate

An individual who promotes products or services for a merchant in exchange for receiving compensation for the sales or leads that they drive.

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.

Affiliate manager

The person who manages an affiliate program for a merchant. They are responsible for affiliate recruitment, ensuring that the affiliates are using above board promotional methods and for increasing affiliate sales for the merchant. They also act as the liaison between the affiliate and the merchant. The affiliate manager might work directly for the merchant or be an independent service provider (also referred to as an OPM) contracted by the merchant to run their affiliate program.

Affiliate program

A program that allows individuals (also known as affiliates) to recommend or refer shoppers to a merchant's products or services. In exchange, the affiliate will receive a commission based upon a predetermined desired outcome generated by the referral.

A graphical ad that an affiliate puts on their website to advertise a merchant.

Click-through

Sometimes spelled "Click thru". This refers to the act of someone clicking on your affiliate link and being taken to the merchant's website.

Commission

The predetermined amount or fee a merchant pays an affiliate for generating a predefined, desired outcome for the merchant.

Conversion

Getting a user to take a specific, desired action. It could be buying a product or service, filling out a form, signing up for an email list, or whatever the intended goal might be.

Conversion rate

A metric used to show the number of times your affiliate link has generated a predetermined conversion compared to the number of times the link has been clicked on, the result is displayed as a percentage. To find your conversion rate take the amount of sales a link has generated and divide it by the number of clicks the link received. Example – if your link was clicked on 100 times and generated 2 sales, then you would take 2 (sales) and divide by 100 (clicks) to get .02 (result), a conversion rate of 2%.

Cookies

Cookies are used to assign an ID to a user that has clicked on your affiliate link to get to a merchant website. Cookies are only valid for a predefined period (varies by merchant). If the user returns within that predefined period (whether or not they click your affiliate link again) then you will be credited with the sale. For example: a user clicks your affiliate link (a cookie gets is added to their browser) and then bookmarks the merchant's website to buy later. The user returns before the cookie expiration and makes a purchase. You would receive credit and the commission on the sale.

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.

Typically, your affiliate link goes to a destination URL that the merchant provides, such as the website's homepage. If you'd like to edit the destination URL in your affiliate link to send traffic to another page on the merchant's website, you can create a deep link to a different URL.

EPC

Earnings Per (100) Clicks. Your earnings per click is the average amount you earn every time someone clicks on your affiliate link. To find your EPC you would take the amount you have generated in commissions from an affiliate link and divide it by the total number of clicks that link received then multiply it by 100. For example: if an affiliate link has generated $4,000 in sales and the same link was clicked on 12,000 times, then you would divide $4,000 (sales) by 12,000 (clicks) then multiply by 100 to get an EPC of $33.33. This means you earn an average of $33.33 for every 100 clicks on your affiliate link.

Manual approval

Merchants approve or deny affiliates entry to their program in one of two ways: automatic approval or manual approval. Manual approval means that the merchant or affiliate manager for the program looks at each individual application before deciding whether to approve them for participation in the program.

Merchant

The company that produces the products or services that you promote as an affiliate. Less commonly referred to as the advertiser.

Niche

A specific topic or vertical. For example, if you own a site about dogs, then your niche would be dogs — as well as pets in the broader definition of a niche.

OPM

Outsourced Program Manager. Also known as an affiliate manager.

Sub ID

Typically used by extremely experienced affiliates, a sub ID allows you to enhance tracking on your affiliate campaigns.

A link that is formed by linking text to a webpage versus using a banner ad or other image to link to a webpage.

Tracking code

Also known as affiliate tracking. A unique ID attached to the links you use to send traffic to the merchant that is specifically for you to track your sales for or referrals to the merchant.