A Glossary of Terms

William Harper Updated by William Harper

The following glossary of Friendbuy terms is listed in alphabetical order:

Advocate: In a referral program, an advocate is the person who is referring a friend to your business; also sometimes called a “referrer”.

Advocate Reward Email: This is the email an advocate will receive containing their reward after one of their referred friends has successfully converted through the referral funnel.

Advocate Share Email: This is the email a referred friend will receive when an advocate enters their friend’s email address in a share widget. The email appears to be coming from the advocate and acts as an introduction to the merchant’s product or service while commonly containing a customizable message from the advocate encouraging the friend to become a customer.

Advocate Thanks for Sharing Email: This is the email an advocate will receiving thanking them for participating in your referral program. It is sent after an Advocate referred a Friend and typically includes the Advocate’s unique referral link to encourage them to share again. 

API: Application Programming Interface.  The broad definition of API is any software protocol that allows two applications to talk to each other. In the context of Friendbuy, the Rest API, Visitor Status API and Webhooks are all forms of APIs. The Rest API and Visitor Status API send information to a merchant in response to a request - i.e. a merchant uses these APIs to make explicit requests to retrieve information from Friendbuy. In contrast, webhooks are event-based APIs in which Friendbuy automatically sends information to a merchant when specific events occur within the Friendbuy platform.

Attribution: In a referral program, attribution (or referral attribution) is the identification of which advocate referred a friend. Attribution between advocate and friend can be established using a cookie, a coupon code or a referral code. In addition to identifying the advocate, attribution also specifies the referral campaign if a merchant is running multiple campaigns or an AB test.

Attribution Window: Attribution window refers to the amount of time (usually in days) that an offer is valid once attribution is established. For example, if a friend clicks on an advocate’s referral link on day 0, and the attribution window is 90 days, the advocate’s referral reward would only be valid if the friend completes the desired action within days 0 through 90. On day 91 and later, the referral reward may no longer be valid as determined by the marketer’s attribution window. Note: attribution window is a business rule pertaining to issuing rewards; it may still be possible to retrieve attribution information after 90 days, such as which advocate referred this friend and which campaign led to the referral.

CAC: Customer Acquisition Cost: CAC measures the cost to acquire a new customer for a given campaign or marketing channel. For example, if you spend $100 on a display ad campaign and you acquire 4 new customers as a result, your CAC for this campaign is $25.

CPA: Cost Per Acquisition: CPA is similar to CAC, Customer Acquisition Cost, but it measures the cost to acquire any action, such as a registration, a trial or a lead. It can also refer to the cost to acquire a new customer, and for this reason, CPA and CAC are commonly used interchangeably.  While this is technically not correct and purists might object, in e-commerce vernacular it has become accepted.

Code Bank: This is a list of coupon codes or gift card links that have been uploaded into the Friendbuy platform for the purpose of distributing them to advocates as a reward or friends as an incentive, as part of a merchant’s referral program.

Cookies: Also called browser cookies, cookies are small pieces of data that are placed on a person’s computer when that person visits a website (or when their browser communicates with a web server). For Friendbuy’s refer-a-friend functionality, a cookie is used to indicate that a customer has been referred (Referred Friend) and who the referring advocate is - this is known as establishing attribution between a referred friend and the advocate who referred them.

Coupon Code: A code used to receive a discount on a purchase, commonly set up as a percentage or dollar amount off an item. In a refer-a-friend program, a coupon code can be used to reward advocates or incentivize friends to make a purchase. The code can also be used to establish attribution between the referred friend and the advocate.

Customer Profile: The Customer Profile is a holistic view of the Advocate or Friend across each device they interact with a widget. It includes all track calls, share events, emails, IP addresses, and user agents the customer uses while interacting with the Referral program.

Destination URL: The destination URL is usually a page on a merchant’s site, such as their homepage or another designated landing page, where referred friends are directed to after clicking on an advocate’s personal referral link. The destination URL is configurable at the campaign level (in the Friendbuy platform). Referred friends are taken to the destination URL by way of a redirect - the friend’s browser will first communicate with the Friendbuy server, then the server redirects the user to the destination URL.

Friend: In a referral program, this is the person who has been referred by an advocate; also sometimes called the “referee”.

Friend Incentive Email: This is the email a referred friend will receive containing their incentive as part of the referral funnel. Depending on how the referral campaign is set up, the email may be received before or after the friend completes the referral funnel.

IP Address: IP Address stands for internet protocol address and is an identifying number that is associated with a specific computer or computer network. For example, can be used to learn more about a customer’s approximate location and to detect patterns of suspect activity.

LTV: Lifetime Value: Customer Lifetime Value is the total revenue a customer will contribute to a business during their tenure. A simple formula for measuring lifetime value is average order value multiplied by the average number of purchases over the customer’s lifetime. LTV is used to assess the profitability of different acquisition channels.

Merchant SDK (Friendbuy JavaScript): An SDK is a Software Development Kit containing a collection of software tools installed in one package. Friendbuy’s SDK or JavaScript code is required to be installed on a merchant’s site to implement Friendbuy functionality. The Friendbuy JavaScript enables the serving of Friendbuy widgets and the tracking of purchases (and other events) on a merchant's site.

OG Tags: Open Graph meta tags are snippets of code that control how URLs are displayed when shared on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. Including OG tags within your referral campaign is important to help make an advocate’s shared content eye-catching on social media feeds and to more easily explain your referral offers.

PURL (Personalized URL): is a unique referral link associated with a specific Advocate. An Advocate can share their PURL with Friends to drive additional conversions for a Referral campaign. 

Example PURL: https://fbuy.io/alias/prefix-seed

Merchants can configure the anatomy of a PURL’s seed to use either a randomized alphanumeric code, advocate’s name or advocate’s email root (domain name is excluded). Merchants can also set a prefix (optional) and alias or short domain (optional).

Redirect: A redirect is the action of sending a referred friend to the destination URL after the friend clicks on an advocate’s referral link. When a referred friend clicks on a referral link, the friend’s browser will first communicate with the Friendbuy server; the server then redirects the user to the destination URL. Just prior to the redirect, the Friendbuy server will also place a cookie on the friend’s browser. The end-to-end process of clicking on a referral link and being redirected should occur nearly instantaneously, so to the end user it will appear as if they arrived directly on the destination URL after clicking on an advocate’s referral link.

Referral Code: A referral code is a unique code generated by Friendbuy to associate an advocate to a referral campaign. A referral code can be used to look up the advocate’s name, the advocate’s customer ID and offer information for that particular referral campaign. Note: referral code is not a coupon code. It solely provides information to associate the advocate to a campaign.

Referral Channel: An advocate can refer a friend through several different channels, including email, personal referral link (PURL), SMS, or social channels like Facebook, Messenger, Twitter or WhatsApp.

Referral Funnel: Also called the refer-a-friend funnel, the referral funnel represents the events starting with an advocate who shares and ends with their friend completing a desired referral action (usually a purchase).  A basic referral funnel consists of: advocate shares > friend clicks on the advocate’s referral link > friend arrives on a merchant website > friend completes a purchase > advocate receives a reward. A common referral funnel for subscription businesses consists of: advocate shares > friend clicks on the advocate’s referral link > friend arrives on a merchant website > friend signs up for a subscription trial > friend completes the trial and converts to a paying subscriber > advocate receives a reward.

Referral Link: A Referral Link, also called a personal referral link or personal URL (PURL), is a link that uniquely associates an advocate to a referral program. An advocate uses their personal referral link to refer friends to a site or business. When this link is clicked by a friend, the friend is taken to the associated destination URL. Also, the referred friend’s browser will be cookied by Friendbuy with information about the referral.

Rest API: Friendbuy’s Rest APIs are used by merchants to request information from the Friendbuy platform.  A common use case is to request personal referral links for a set of customers so that a merchant can display referral links within their mobile app. To learn more about our Rest APIs, click here.

Reward Validation Callback: The Reward Validation Callback is a Friendbuy webhook that sends information to a merchant just before issuing a reward. This webhook - or callback - allows the merchant to respond with a yes/no response as to whether Friendbuy should issue the reward. This callback is commonly invoked after a reward delay. The most common use case is to check for returns or cancellations before issuing a reward.  A less common use case is to allow a merchant to check if an advocate is in good standing before issuing a reward. The reward validation callback can be used by a merchant to incorporate any custom criteria before issuing a reward. Learn more here.

Track Call: An API track call is how a merchant records and sends an action taken by a customer to Friendbuy. A track call corresponds to a specific action or event completed by a customer and includes additional properties relevant to describe the action or event. For example, a purchase track call would be sent when a customer makes a purchase, including information such as the identity of the customer, purchase amount, currency, order ID, product SKUs, quantity, and other properties. See more examples of track calls in our developer documentation here.

User Agent: User Agent details the web technology used by the end user to access a merchant’s site. For example, the user agent would include the type of web browser (Chrome, Safari, Firefox), version number, and device (mobile or web). With this information, you can learn more about a customer and can detect patterns of suspect activity.

UTM Parameters or Query Parameters: Technically, these should be called query parameters or URL parameters, but in common e-commerce vernacular, UTM parameter has become synonymous with query parameter. Query parameters are extensions of a URL used to convey data and to potentially trigger conditional behavior on a webpage. They are appended to the end of a URL using ‘?’ as the separator. They appear as key-value pairs.  When adding multiple query parameters, an ‘&’ is placed between the key-value pairs. Below is an example:


For a referral program, query parameters are used to convey information about a referred friend who has clicked on a referral link and arrived at the destination URL. In the example below, you can see referral-specific information appended to the destination URL after ‘?’:


Visitor Status API: When a referred friend arrives on a merchant website, the Visitor Status API allows the merchant to query Friendbuy about information related to that user. Visitor Status can return advocate information, offer information and whether the referred friend has triggered a self-referral alert.  The referred user must have an active Friendbuy cookie in order for Visitor Status to return meaningful data. To learn more about the Visitor Status API, click here.

Webhooks: Webhooks are used to automatically send information to a merchant when a specific event occurs within the Friendbuy platform.  They are event-based.  Examples include the reward webhook, which sends reward information so a merchant can deposit a reward, and the email capture webhook, which sends a newly acquired email address so a merchant can add it to their CRM.  To learn more about Friendbuy webhooks, click here.

Widgets: Widgets, also known as Placements, are dynamic forms placed on a merchant’s site specifically designed for customers to interact with a referral program. Widgets can be either for advocates or friends. Advocate widgets allow a customer to enter their own information, commonly name, email, and phone number, to become an advocate. Advocates can then start referring their friends through various referral channels available within a widget. Friend widgets allow prospective customers who were referred to the merchant’s site to then enter their own information and commonly, receive an incentive to convert to being a customer with a coupon code or similar. Widgets can be designed as a triggered overlay on a webpage, an embedded element within a landing page, or as a smaller ribbon along the border of a webpage.

Widget Themes: A widget theme is a template that can be saved and reused across multiple referral campaigns. Friendbuy offers a collection of pre-build widget themes that can be used out of the box or further customized within the widget builder to match the design and branding of a merchant. Themes are made up of different widget screens or pages that a customer will be able to navigate between as they interact with a widget.

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