CPA Marketing: Low-Risk and High-ROI Method to Affiliate Marketing

CPA Marketing: Low-Risk and High-ROI Method to Affiliate Marketing

Selling products online allows your business to reach virtually unlimited audiences, but it’s not always easy to target the right leads and convert them into customers.

CPA marketing is an form of affiliate marketing that allows businesses of all sizes and industries to scale their marketing efforts, reach a larger audience, and increase their visibility.

In exchange for a commission, you will partner with a blogger, influencer or publisher to promote your products. Affiliates earn a commission if a customer buys a product from them.

An affiliate could, for example, write a review and display a banner advertisement on their website. Or post a video to social media to promote the advertiser’s product.

CPA marketing is different from other digital marketing strategies like cost per click (CPC), which requires you to pay only after a sale has occurred.

You can request a refund from the customer if you are unable to pay the publisher.

This arrangement places more responsibility on the publisher than the advertiser, as their earning potential is dependent upon their ability to attract and convert website visitors into paying customers.

The CPA Marketing Model

CPA marketing is an advertising model that includes a publisher (advertiser), a business (advertiser), and a CPA network (a platform that connects affiliates who want to make commissions by promoting businesses and products that they want promoted).

Advertisers often use a CPA network in order to find the best affiliates to promote their products. This is usually a publisher or influencer with a proven audience and similar content.

A travel blogger might be specialized in writing content about hot spots via WordPress. A mobile app developer could offer a tool that allows users to find and review restaurants. This would be appealing to travel bloggers.

CPA Network helps advertisers and affiliates match to promote products that they like. They also earn a commission on each sale. Businesses can also reach customers they might not otherwise be able to.

CPA affiliate marketing uses web browser cookies to assign customer actions to an affiliate link or referral source. Publishers can then earn a commission on any sales they help generate.

Affiliate or publisher

Affiliates are usually influencers, publishers, content creators who have a built-in audience and run a blog, website, or brand. To drive traffic to an advertiser’s website, affiliates work with advertisers.

Advertiser or business.

A business, or advertiser, is a brand that wants to increase quality traffic to their website and increase sales through partnering with affiliates who can promote their products.

CPA network.

CPA networks are intermediaries between publishers and advertisers. They typically help publishers find qualified publishers to offer leads to advertisers.

CPA networks manage the relationships between publishers and advertisers, and they are often responsible to handle payments.

Three types of CPA marketing

Pay per sale

After a customer buys an item due to the affiliate’s marketing strategies, the advertiser pays the publisher a portion of the product’s sales price. If a sale occurs, the publisher only gets a commission.

Pay per action.

A publisher is paid a commission if a customer does a certain action such as visiting an advertiser’s site and signing up for a newsletter or trial.

Recurring payments

Affiliate programs often pay a one time commission to customers who make a purchase. However, a recurring payment affiliate model guarantees that the publisher is paid each time a customer makes another purchase.

CPA Network Terminology

You will need to know the basics of affiliate marketing so that you can gauge the success of your campaigns.

Affiliate Agreement This contract defines the terms of the publisher-advertiser relationship. This agreement outlines each party’s responsibilities as well as the commission that a publisher will receive in the event of a sale. It is usually a fixed percentage.

Above The Fold: A website with visible content that doesn’t require scrolling down. Because of its visibility, “above” is the best spot to place advertisements.

Chargeback When a sale is cancelled (i.e. The item was returned to the seller or the customer requested a return.

Commission: A commission of 1% of the product’s sale price that is paid to an affiliate for an attributed conversion.

Cookies: cookies allow advertisers to track which affiliate is credited for a sale. Cookies give each visitor to the website a unique identifier that allows them to track their actions on the site, such as clicking on an affiliate link.

Contextual Link: A link that is embedded in an affiliate website and leads to the advertiser’s site.

Conversion rate The percentage of website visitors who convert into customers, divided by the total traffic.

Cost per Action (CPA: Advertising costs divided by the number taken. If a company spends $150 and has 10 actions, the cost per action would be $15.

CPL (Cost Per Lead): How much it costs to get a new prospect customer for your sales team. If you spend $1000 and 10 users convert to leads, your CPL will be $100.

Earnings per Click (EPC), This is the average amount you make each time someone clicks on one of your affiliate links. Calculated as the sum of all earnings for the period “x” and the number clicks during that period “x”.

Offer Page: This page is where conversions take place after the customer has taken the necessary action.

Return On Investment (ROI: The affiliate campaign’s profit divided by the advertising spend multiplied 100.

CPA Marketing Best Practices

Find an affiliate manager to maximize the benefits of your CPA marketing campaign. High returns can also be achieved by choosing the right offer.

With affiliate managers, form bonds

An affiliate manager manages your affiliate program. They search for affiliate partners who meet your needs and negotiate affiliate agreements between publishers.

Look for an affiliate manager that will help you establish a positive relationship and encourage your partners to promote your products. Affiliate managers can also offer creative input to help partners create the best content.

Avoid shady networks.

Affiliate fraud is when affiliates inflate engagement metrics (eg clicks or traffic), to increase their commissions. Untrustworthy affiliates may engage in unscrupulous activities such as spamming, pop-ups and using bots to flood websites with traffic.

Low-quality content can do more damage than good to your brand’s reputation. A high-quality CPA network should have a rigorous vetting process for affiliates and offer fraud prevention services.

Join a CPA network.

A CPA network allows you to select a CPA offer, and begin receiving referral traffic from other affiliate sites. A network with a strong dashboard will allow you to monitor important financial metrics.

A solid list of offers from respected publishers in your verticals is another important thing to look out for.

CPA networks are known for updating their offers frequently. You should therefore have many offers to choose from at all times. You can also get creatives from some networks, such as banners, landing pages and recommended copy, to make it easier to start a campaign.

You should also check the network’s approval process for publishers. They may accept substandard publishers if they are too relaxed.

Traffic strategies should be implemented.

Once you have found an offer and signed up for a network, it is time to drive traffic to your website. There are many ways to drive traffic to your site, including SEO, email marketing and pay-per-click ads.

Take into account the CPA marketing payment scheme.

You will need to choose a payment processor and a payment structure in order to set up affiliate commission payments. You can choose to pay affiliates per sale, per action, or per recurring sale basis.

Many CPA marketing payment processors offer both chargeback protection (a money back guarantee in the case that a customer cancels a sale) as well as fraud prevention. You can also track and manage all your CPA marketing expenses through a payment processor.

CPA Marketing Benefits

CPA marketing is a great way to reach a wide audience and maximize return on investment (ROAS).

Advertising integrated.

Partnering with publishers can help you increase product awareness to a wider audience. Influencers and content creators have trusting audiences, so it is a good idea to promote your products on their sites.

High ROI

CPA marketing is cost-effective because you only pay commissions when a sale occurs. This creates a high return of investment. You can choose to pay a flat fee or a percentage of the sale.

Low risk

CPA marketing is low-risk affiliate marketing as you only pay for conversions. CPA marketing is a low-risk form of affiliate marketing that rewards you for referring people. It also reduces the chance of an affiliate gaming the system to inflate clicks and website traffic.

It is easy to use

It is simple to start a CPA marketing campaign. All you have to do is choose a network and make an offer. A CPA marketing campaign can be set up with an affiliate manager who will negotiate affiliate agreements for you and then have the commissions paid by your chosen payment processor.

Top CPA Affiliate Networks

CPA affiliate networks facilitate the formation of mutually beneficial partnerships between advertisers and affiliates. CPA networks with the best reputation have thousands of verified affiliates, many different offers, fraud prevention services, and customizable dashboards to track campaign metrics.


MaxBounty was voted the No. OfferVault ranked MaxBounty the No. 1 CPA Network for 2021. It counts household-name brands such as Apple, Microsoft, American Express, and Microsoft as clients.

To monitor campaign progress and optimize performance, the platform provides an Advertising Tracking Interface.

Panthera Network.

Panthera Network, a performance advertising network, offers access to thousands top-tier publishers as well as CAN SPAM-compliant email marketers. Affiliates have the ability to market offers through a variety media including email, banner ads, pop ups, search, and social media.

To minimize advertising fraud, Panthera has established a strict screening procedure for publishers.

Clickbooth (now Perform[cb]).

Voted No. Perform[cb] has been voted the No.1 CPA Network worldwide for six consecutive years by mThink. It is also a Top User Acquisition company by Business of Apps. Perform[cb] was founded as Clickbooth in February 2002. It claims to adhere to the highest standards of brand protection and compliance in the industry.


PeerFly offers more than 2,000 live opportunities at any one time, and there are no monthly fees. PeerFly has over 75,000 publishers across 165 countries. It also works with brands such as Uber, Target and Fiverr.

The software is built for each advertiser unlike other affiliate networks. You can add any features that you wish to the software. PeerFly was established in 2009. However, the company has remained small and each advertiser has their own dedicated representative to help them manage their account every day.


W4 manages CPA and CPC campaigns with qualified publishers. W4 conducts its own campaign testing to ensure performance, yield, and provides track and reporting options for users.


Admitad boasts a network that includes more than 30,000 advertisers. You can advertise on social media channels, YouTube channels, messengers and cashback or loyalty programs. An order tracking system will provide detailed reports on your orders.

You can filter orders from paid sources to avoid paying twice for the same lead. According to the website, Admitad publishers processed over 162 million orders in 2020.

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