January 25, 2023

What is CPA Affiliate Marketing? – A Beginner’s Guide


What is CPA Affiliate Marketing?
How Does CPA Marketing Work?
What are the Benefits of CPA Affiliate Marketing
How to Get Started with CPA Affiliate Marketing
CPA Affiliate Marketing Practices
Best CPA Affiliate Networks
FAQS about CPA Affiliate Marketing


CPA affiliate marketing is one of the most popular marketing strategies today — because it works. 


What’s more, it’s low-risk and high-ROI. 


So if you’re looking for ways to sell your online products, you should give this marketing strategy a go. 


Hold up…


What exactly is CPA affiliate marketing?


How do you get started?


What are the benefits?


I’m here to answer all that and much more. 


So are you ready?


Let’s dive right in!


What is CPA Affiliate Marketing? 


To put it simply:


“CPA, or Cost Per Action, is a marketing strategy that creates a partnership between a business (advertiser) and a publisher (affiliate). The advertiser lets the affiliate promote their products. In turn, the affiliate will earn a commission fee if a product is purchased through their efforts.”


Let’s say you (advertiser) sell clothes online. 


You reach out to a fashion influencer (affiliate) to promote your clothing. 


The fashion influencer convinces his/her audience to buy your products. 


The audience (customers) goes over to your website and purchases items there. 


You get a sale – the influencer gets a commission – the customer gets new clothing. 


Everyone is happy. 


What are CPA Networks?


Where do you find affiliates?


And for affiliates, where do you find advertisers?


Introducing CPA networks. 


CPA networks are companies that bring advertisers and affiliates together. 


Advertisers can go to a CPA network to find legit influencers, bloggers, or publishers that are most likely to generate leads and sales for them. On the flip side, affiliates find products to promote. 


Some other responsibilities of a CPA network include: 


  • Managing relationships between advertisers and affiliates
  • Handling payments
  • Offering marketing tools, i.e. banners, ads, campaigns, etc.


How Does CPA Affiliate Marketing Work?


When an advertiser and affiliate team up, the CPA network will provide an affiliate link.


When customers purchase items through that link, the affiliate will earn a commission. 


Source: kjrocker.com


Now, the advertiser can choose to pay the affiliate in 3 ways. These are: 


  • Pay per sale – The affiliate will earn a commission when a customer purchases an item through their link. This is what I’ve been talking about mostly here. 


  • Pay per action – the affiliate earns a commission when their audience clicks on their affiliate link and performs an action. For example, signing up for a trial, subscribing to a newsletter, downloading software, etc. 


  • Recurring payment – This is the same as pay per sale. However, if the customer comes back to purchase another item, the affiliate will get paid again — even if the customer didn’t use the affiliate link. 


And thanks to cookies (no, I don’t mean the delicious treat!), the advertiser can track which affiliate generated a sale/action.


What are the Benefits of CPA Affiliate Marketing?


Why choose CPA affiliate marketing over other marketing strategies?


This is because it comes with so many great benefits. 


Let’s take a look at these. 


It’s Low Risk


Imagine spending a lot on ads and campaigns — with no conversion results. 


That’s not great, right?


However, with CPA affiliate marketing, there is no upfront payment. The only time you pay is when your affiliate convinces someone to do an action (for example: purchasing something).


Since it is performance-based, you only pay when there is a conversion. 


You don’t need to worry about scam affiliates, too. 


It Has a High ROI


Because there is no upfront payment — and because you only pay a commission when an action is performed — you can always expect high ROI with CPA affiliate marketing. 


Plus, you get to choose your commission rate. You can pay your affiliate a flat rate or percentage of the sale price. 


Of course, you may have to invest a bit to join a CPA network and to have a payment processor. But that will only cost you a few dollars.


It Expands Your Marketing Reach


Remember that affiliates, whether influencers, bloggers, or publishers, already have an audience. 


CPA marketing allows you to reach that audience. It also gives you better marketing distribution – especially if you plan on advertising to a new demographic. 


With this, you can quickly build up your customer base, as well as your business. 


It Boosts Brand Reputation 


Yes, many marketing strategies help you reach more people — but only a few that make your brand trusted right away. 


What do I mean?


Affiliates not only have an audience — they have an audience that trusts them. 


This means that if the affiliate trusts your brand enough to promote it, their audience will trust it, too. 


It’s So Easy to Get Started


What’s the best part about CPA affiliate marketing?


It’s so easy to get started!


You only need 2 things – a website and a CPA network. That’s it. 


You can make it even easier by hiring an affiliate manager and choosing an automatic payment processor. 


How to Get Started with CPA Affiliate Marketing


So you’re convinced to try CPA affiliate marketing? 


Then you should get started right away!


Here are the steps. 


How to Get Started with CPA Affiliate Marketing Step 1: Create a Website


One of the two necessities of CPA affiliate marketing is to have a website. 


If you don’t already have one, check out the video below on how to create an eCommerce website with WordPress:




How to Get Started with CPA Affiliate Marketing Step 2: Choose a CPA Network


In order to reach affiliates – and for affiliates to reach you – you need a reliable CPA network. 


To be sure, each CPA network will offer something different. Don’t worry, I’ll show you a few of the best CPA networks later on. 


Some networks have a solid list of reputable affiliates with huge followers. 


Other networks offer an intuitive dashboard that tracks important information.


Still others networks provide banners, landing pages, and other creatives. 


It’s up to you to choose the CPA network that suits your needs and preferences. 


How to Get Started with CPA Affiliate Marketing Step 3: Join a CPA network


Once you select your chosen network, it’s time to apply. 


Of course, the application process will differ for every network. But let’s give you a general idea:


  • You have to go to their website and fill up a “form”.
  • The network manager will contact you to arrange a meeting. This can be through Skype, Zoom, Telegram, etc. 
  • Wait for approval. 
  • If approved, you will be assigned an affiliate manager. If you’re not assigned any, it’s best to hire one. 


It’s that easy to join!


And yes, you can join more than one network.


How to Get Started with CPA Affiliate Marketing Step 4: Pick a Payment Processor and Structure


For your commission payments, you need to pick a payment processor and structure. 


Now, when looking for a payment processor, it’s great to have features such as chargeback protection, fraud prevention, easy payment tracking, convenient expense management, etc. 


Here is a list of the most popular payment processors:



As for payment structure, ask yourself:


    • How will I pay my affiliate?
  • With a flat commission rate?
  • Maybe a percentage of the sale price?
  • Will it be a one-time payment or a recurring one? 


How to Get Started with CPA Affiliate Marketing Step 5: Find Affiliates


Once you’re all set up, it’s time to find affiliates you want to work with. 


Look through the list of offers from your CPA network and partner with affiliates that match your niche — or even those that don’t. 


CPA Affiliate Marketing Practices


Let’s say you already created a website, joined a CPA network, and found great affiliates…


…you don’t just leave everything after that. 


Here are some good CPA affiliate marketing practices:


  • Form a relationship with your affiliate manager – Trust me, this will benefit you greatly. Your affiliate manager is the overseer of everything, including managing your affiliates and recruiting new ones. The better bond you have with them, the more they will work hard to give you the best offers. 


  • Research is key – Researching niches that will work well with your brand is a very good practice. From there, you can partner with affiliates that have the same niche and get even more conversion rates from their audience. 


  • Utilize traffic strategies – Even if affiliates already have a following, it’s a good idea to get traffic from different areas. Some of the best strategies include SEO, social media, Pay Per Click ads, Google ads, and email marketing. 


  • Avoid low-quality content – Not all affiliates are good advertisers. Some simply don’t care and publish low-quality content. This can do more harm than good to your brand. So make sure to always check how an affiliate advertises. 


  • Create an attractive landing page – So your affiliate is able to convince someone to click their affiliate link. But when they get to your landing page, it’s all so confusing they decide to click away. An attractive landing page that’s easy to use and to the point will lure customers even more. 


  • Track your affiliates – If you track your affiliates, you will be able to see who performs best and who doesn’t perform. The ones who bring in more conversions are great partners that you can continue to work with. The ones who hardly make any conversions can be replaced with better ones. 


Best CPA Affiliate Networks


Can’t decide which CPA network to join?


Well, let’s do a quick rundown of some of the best ones.



Key features:


  • Has detailed statistics 
  • Easy to analyze your data
  • Offers customized tours and landing pages
  • Has a responsive platform that can be accessed by laptops and mobiles
  • Has a dedicated team to help you



Key features:


  • Has real-time reporting
  • Has rigid affiliate screening
  • They are upfront and honest with clients
  • Help maximize your profits
  • 24/7 support 



Key features:


  • 20,000+ affiliates on its platform
  • Has household name brands as clients – Apple, Microsoft, American Express, etc. 
  • Comes with Advertising Tracking Interface 
  • You can easily monitor your progress
  • Has optimized campaign performances 



Key features:


  • Affiliates are checked regularly
  • Has global traffic
  • Provides a dedicated account manager
  • Has multilingual support
  • Offers customized targeting



Key features:


  • Merges CPA networks – Clickbooth, Adperio, and Ignite OPM.
  • Strict brand protection standards
  • Works across channels, such as videos, installs, influencers, etc.
  • Provides high-quality partners 
  • Specializes in vertical-specific performance marketing strategies




Got some questions about CPA affiliate marketing?


I answer some of the most frequently asked ones below. 


Is CPA Marketing Better than Affiliate Marketing?


I wouldn’t say CPA marketing is “BETTER” than affiliate marketing. However, I will say that it’s definitely easier and safer. You only need a few steps to get started, you only pay when there is a conversion, there are high-quality CPA networks that offer a list of affiliates to partner with… And I could go on. 


Is CPA Affiliate Marketing Legit?


YES! CPA affiliate marketing is a legit way to reach a wider audience, boost brand reputation, and gain more customers. Here, you’re simply advertising your brand through an affiliate, either an influencer, blogger, or any publisher. 


What Does CPA Stand for in Marketing?


CPA stands for Cost Per Action. This means the business only pays when a desired action is completed. Let’s say you sell a product – you let an influencer promote that product – a customer goes and buys the product – you get a sale – you give the influencer a commission. 


What is CPA Payouts?


Simply put, CPA payouts are the commission that affiliates earn. So if a business offers a high payout, that means affiliates can earn a large amount if they can complete a desired action — like selling a product. 


CPA Affiliate Marketing: It’s Easier Than You Think!


So what is CPA affiliate marketing?


In a nutshell: It’s a great marketing strategy that partners a business (advertiser) and publisher (affiliate). The affiliate promotes the advertiser’s brand. In turn, the advertiser pays the affiliate a commission for products sold or actions performed. 


Now that you know everything you need to know about CPA affiliate marketing, why not give it a try?


Remember, it’s very easy to start. 


It’s low-risk and has high ROI, too.  

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