"Finally, I can track clicks and views for all of my website banners in one place! Thanks for the great service!" Robert T. - Belleview, FL
Many of our link tracking users are new to tracking and Internet marketing. When you're first starting out, there can be a lot of information to absorb and it can become confusing at times.
So we wanted to give you a simple list of some of the terminology and abbreviations that you may come across when you're in the link tracking and affiliate marketing industry.
This is by no means a FULL list of them! New ones seem to pop up all the time. But we thought this might be helpful when you're viewing your stats here at ClixTrac or viewing stats on an affiliate network or on an ad network.
Also called "Split-Testing". This is the process of comparing two similar offers against one another, in order to see which version performs better. You're goal is to see which one has better sales copy or graphics and generates the most customers from the traffic you send.
A special link that's provided by the merchant and assigned specifically to you, for the purpose of promoting that merchant's product or offer. The link usually contains a unique ID that enables the merchant to track the sales or leads you have generated.
A company that manages affiliate programs for a variety of merchants. They sort of play the middleman and provide all the tracking required. They will bill the merchants when sales are generated for their products or services and pay commission to the affiliates who were responsible for generating those sales. The affiliate network will often call the merchants "advertisers" and call the affiliates "publishers".
Also known as "Robots", "Spiders" or "Crawlers". These are computer programs that troll the Internet, visiting websites and following links on those website, in search of something tha they were designed to find. For example, sometimes, they are malicious and are used by spammers, in order to find email addresses to send spam to. Sometimes, they are indexing robots that are trying to determine where that website should be indexed on search engines, like Google. Sometimes, bots find a tracking link that's posted on a website and follow it, which in turn generates false "Clicks" within your tracking stats.
When a person presses on a computer mouse or taps on their smartphone screen, in order to visit your tracking link or interact with your banner ad. It's what happens when the prospect wants to get more information about whatever you're promoting.
When you get a prospect to take a specific, desired action, after clicking on your ad. It could be buying a product or service, filling out a form, subscribing to an mailing list or whatever the intended goal may be.
This is a metric used to show the number of times your ad has been clicked, as compared to the number of times prospects have purchased the product being offered (conversions). The result is displayed as a percentage. The formula that is used is Conversions divided by Clicks times 100 equals the Conversion Rate (Conversions/clicksx100=Conversion Rate). For example, if your link has 100 Clicks and 5 sales, it has a 5% Conversion Rate (5/100x100=5%). The higher the Conversion Rate, the better that website is doing at converting clickers into sales.
A text file that is sent from a website to a visitor's web browser. This file usually contains a small amount of information about that visitor, such as what website they came from or which affiliate referred them to the website and how long the cookie should remain valid. It's simply stored on their computer for later use. The originating website can then use this file for various reasons. (In regards to affiliate marketing, Cookies are used to assign an ID to people that have clicked on your affiliate link and visited the merchant's website.) Cookies are only valid for a predefined period. They then expire and become invalid. If that person returns to make a purchase before the cookie expires, the affiliate will be credited with the sale and receive commission.
When cookies are sent to a visitor's web browser by a website, the website also places a date on the cookie and tells the web browser how long that cookie should remain valid. It stamps it with an expiration date. This is typically 30-90 days after the date it was given to that visitor. Once that time has passed, the cookie expires and becomes invalid. Meaning, it's no longer read by the website and gets ignored. Depending on the web browser being used and the visitor's browser settings, expired cookies may then be deleted from their system.
Also called "cost-per-action". Merchants will often use this term to refer to the amount of money they had to pay to run ad campaigns before someone finally completed a desired action, such as making a purchase or becoming a lead. This term is also used on affiliate networks to describe how much you'll earn per action. For example, if a merchant on the network is paying $4 for each lead you generate for them, they might state the offer has a $4 CPA.
CPC (Cost-per-click)This refers to the amount of money you had to pay to display an advertisement before someone finally clicked on that ad, in order to proceed to your website for more information. For example, if you paid $100 to run an ad campaign on someone's website and 20 people ended up clicking on your ad there, you could say that your CPC for that campaign was $5 (100/20=5). This term is used to measure your expenses.
This is the amount of money that it costs you to display a banner advertisement 1000 times (aka 1000 impressions). For example, if a website is selling ad space and offering a rate of $7 CPM, it means they will show your ad 1000 times for $7. Meaning, if you wanted your ad to be show 20,000 times, it would cost you $140 (7x20=140).
This is a metric used to show the number of times your banner has been clicked, as compared to the number of times your banner has been viewed. The result is displayed as a percentage. The formula that is used is Clicks divided by Views times 100 equals the CTR (Clicks/Viewsx100=CTR). For example, if your banner has 1000 views and 50 clicks, it has a 5% CTR (50/1000x100=5%). Usually, the higher the CTR, the better that banner is doing at enticing people to click on it. That may then result in a higher number of sales or leads on the merchant's website.
Similar to the way CPC is used to measure click expenses, except this one is used to measure your affiliate earnings. You take the total number of clicks you generated for a merchant and then compare that number to the revenue that those clicks created for you. For example, if your ad campaign generated 200 clicks for the merchant and those clicks led to you earning $70 in affiliate commission, your EPC would be $0.35 (70/200=.35).
HTML is actually an abbreviation for "HyperText Markup Language". HTML code is the code that is used to create webpages on the Internet. With special HTML code, you can specify that certain images or text are linked to other websites and control where people go when they click on certain items. Web browsers use that HTML code when they load the web page and display it to the user.
Also known as "Views". This is the number of times that your banner is shown on a website. Each time someone loads that page, it will load your banner and add another view count to that banner's stats. It doesn't necessarily mean that person ever physically looked at your banner. For example, if the banner is down near the bottom of the page, they may have never scrolled down far enough to see it. But, since it loaded, it still counted as an impression/view. This data is often used in conjunction with the banner's click counter, in order to determine how effective each banner is performing.
A unique string of numbers separated by periods (like 126.96.36.199) that identifies each computer or device using the Internet. These numbers are assigned by that person's Internet Service Provider and it allows their device to communicate over a network. Software such as web browsers use these to request websites from web servers and then display those websites for the user.
In most affiliate programs, the "last click" is often used to describe where the last affiliate to get a customer to click on their affiliate link and make a purchase is the one that will be credited for that sale or lead. That affiliate's cookie will usually replace any other affiliate's cookie that already existed on the customer's computer.
Also called a "Destination URL". This is the website address that you want people taken to after they click on your tracking link or banner ad. If you're an affiliate marketer, for this setting, you will usually enter your special affiliate link that the merchant provided you.
A pixel is the smallest unit of a digital image or graphic that can be displayed on the screen. Pixels are combined to form a complete image, video, text or any visible thing on a computer display. When it comes to ad tracking, a pixel is a tiny 1x1 image that is used to count views. For example, since text ads don't have an image to display as banner ads do, you can embed a 1x1 pixel next to the ad's text and use that pixel to count the views.
This term is usually used to describe an ad campaign where the advertiser has to pay a certain amount of money each time someone clicks on their ad. This is a common scenario when dealing with ad networks, such as Google AdWords. The goal of the advertiser is often to convert a certain percentage of those ad clickers into paying customers. The term PPC is also sometimes used to in affiliate programs. The merchant may pay the affiliate for clicks on their affiliate link, even if those clicks don't turn into a sale or lead.
Also called the "Referring URL". It's the website URL that a visitor came from, in order to reach another website. If you're running a banner ad on Facebook.com, Facebook.com (or the exact webpage URL from Facebook.com/whatever/whatever) will show up as the "referrer" for that banner's clicks.
Also called "A/B testing". This is the process of comparing two similar offers against one another, in order to see which version performs better. You're goal is to see which one has better sales copy or graphics and generates the most customers from the traffic you send.
Also referred to as CID tracking, SID tracking and TID tracking. Many ad networks will refer to it differently. For example, Commission Junction calls them SID and ClickBank calls them TID. What Sub IDs do is allow you to manually create and add extra tracking IDs to your existing trackers. You can use that extra ID to track the combined results that are coming from a specific traffic source. For example, if you have multiple ads running on Facebook, you can add something like &subid=FB to the end of all of those trackers. So while each tracker is monitoring it's own clicks and results, you'll now have a Sub ID called "FB" in the mix that will tell you the combined number of clicks and conversions that are coming from Facebook. Those stats will be displayed in the Sub ID stats area and kept separate from the normal stats.
Sub ID Forwarding allows you to take Sub ID data that is being captured during the tracker's click process and forward that data over to your destination website, as the clicker is being redirected to that website. It simply attaches the extra data to the end of your landing page URL and takes the clicker to a slighly modified destination URL. The destination website can then also capture that same Sub ID data and carry it into your sales data for you. If you're an affiliate marketer, you usually have no access the the merchant's website code and can't make use of our normal conversion tracking feature. So this special Sub ID Forwarding feature gives the merchant the ability to tell you where your sales are coming from. They can often carry the Sub ID data into their sales stats for you. You may need to check with them and make sure you're using the proper identifier in your trackers. For example, ClickBank uses TID, so you'd add &tid=[word] to your ClickBank trackers, instead of &subid=[word].
This is an advertisement that consists of words or sentences and has no image or graphics associated with it. Rather than using a flashy image to catch the prospect's attention, you use words that entice them and make them curious enough to click on the ad for more information.
Also called a "tracking link". This is simply a website link that is being used to count the number of times people use it. The tracking system counts the click and then redirects the clicker to the real destination website.
Refers to a term often used in stats that allows you to see how many unique people have clicked on your link versus seeing all clicks that were counted on your link. For example, if a person clicks on your tracking link 5 times today, then 1 of those clicks would be considered a unique click. So your stats here would show 5 Clicks and 1 Unique. What is defined as a 'unique click' starts over each day. If that person clicks the link more during that same day, they won't add anymore "unique" click counts to your stats for that day. They'll only increase the general "click" count. However, if that same person in the above example comes back 4 days later and clicks on your tracking link once more, they would now account for a total of 6 Clicks and 2 Uniques.
URL is the abbreviation for Uniform Resource Locator, which is just a fancy way of saying website address. It tells the web browser where to go, so it can then locate that website and display it to the person that's trying to view it.
Also known as an "impression". This is the number of times that your banner is displayed on a website. Each time someone loads that page, it will load your banner and add another view count to that banner's stats. It doesn't necessarily mean that person ever physically looked at your banner. For example, if the banner is down near the bottom of the page, they may have never scrolled down far enough to see it. But, since it loaded, it still counted as a view/impression. This data is often used in conjunction with the banner's click counter, in order to determine how effective each banner is performing.