Shopify Affiliates glossary

This glossary defines some common terms that 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.

Active promotion

Active promotion involves creating content that helps drive traffic through your affiliate link, as well as setting up and running marketing campaigns to drive traffic to Shopify through your affiliate link. This type of promotion yields more results than passive promotion, but it also takes more effort and time.


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


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 recruiting affiliates, ensuring that the affiliates are using approved promotional methods, and 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.


Sometimes referred to as a commission. The predetermined amount or fee a merchant pays an affiliate for generating a predefined, desired outcome for the merchant.


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


Sometimes referred to as a bounty or revshare. The predetermined amount or fee a merchant pays an affiliate for generating a predefined, desired outcome for the merchant.


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, with the result 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. For 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 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 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. As the affiliate, you would then receive credit and the commission on the sale.

The amount of time a cookie is set for after someone clicks on your affiliate link. If the customer does not convert within the set cookie duration for the program, then you will not receive credit for the 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 want to edit the destination URL in your affiliate link to send traffic to another page on the merchant's website, then you can create a deep link to a different URL on the merchant’s website.


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, take the amount you have generated in commissions from an affiliate link, divide it by the total number of clicks that link received, and 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), and multiply the result 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 reviews each individual application before deciding whether to approve them for participation in the program.


The company that produces the products or services that you promote as an affiliate. This concept is sometimes referred to as the advertiser.


A specific topic or vertical. For example, if you own a site about dogs, then you might consider your niche to be either "dogs" or "pets."


Outsourced Program Manager. An OPM is typically an Affiliate Manager who is not employed by the merchant whose affiliate program they are managing.

Passive promotion

Passive promotion can include placing banner ads on your blog or website, or including affiliate links in your content or blog posts.

Sub ID

A sub ID is a parameter that you can add to your tracking URLs to track your affiliate campaigns in greater detail.

A link that is formed by linking text to a webpage, instead of 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.

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