The Ultimate Guide to CPA Marketing.

The Ultimate Guide to CPA Marketing.

The Ultimate Guide to CPA Marketing

If you’re reading this, it’s probably because you’re weighing your options about whether you should invest in CPA marketing for your affiliate marketing campaign. You might be asking yourself things like: What is CPA marketing? Is it worth investing in? And how do I know if it’s the right fit for me and my business? These are all valid questions, and we get plenty of them from our readers.

What is CPA Marketing?

The central question is, what is CPA marketing? Have you heard about it before?

CPA stands for “cost per action” or “cost per acquisition,” which refers to the amount a publisher (or affiliate) receives for every action that happens as a result of driving traffic to the advertiser’s campaign. 

“Cost per acquisition” (CPA) is the amount an advertiser pays for every new customer acquired through an affiliate campaign. 

CPA marketing is a form of performance marketing where affiliate marketers are paid for each successful conversion. Unlike most forms of performance marketing, where you are charged based on impressions or clicks, in CPA marketing you’re charged when someone completes the conversion goal set out in your contract. As an advertiser, you don’t need to worry about unqualified traffic, and you pay only for valuable conversions such as sales, installs, email signups, etc.

How to Calculate Affiliate Marketing Commissions?
Learn how

CPA marketing structure involves the traditional affiliate structure: advertisers, affiliates, and CPA networks. Let’s have a closer look at all three components.

  • Affiliate or Publisher: A marketer or a blogger that promotes a product or a service, implementing different strategies for a specific conversion to happen for an affiliate product.
  • Advertiser, also known as a merchant or a brand, a company that partners with affiliates to generate leads and sales for their products. 
  • CPA network or affiliate network: The platform that connects advertisers and affiliates. For the first, the CPA network allows them to create and manage their affiliate program; for the latter, it provides the database with possible offers affiliates can promote and earn commissions. 

CPA Marketing for Advertisers

As an advertiser, you create a campaign that targets your ideal customer. You then create a landing page with a direct call-to-action (CTA) that will prompt the user to take the desired action. You can choose from various offers such as ebooks, online courses, webinars, and even digital coupons. 

You might have a question about how you create a campaign and which tools you use for it. You can either check this article, where we describe how to start a CPA program, or read on; we will explain it further down the article.

CPA Marketing for Affiliates

As an affiliate, you choose a network or an affiliate program and then search for relevant offers to your audience. Once you’ve found a suitable offer, you create an account with the advertiser and promote their offer via your landing page. As soon as a conversion is triggered, you get paid. The networks and partner programs vary in the way they pay you, so make sure you read the affiliate contract carefully, so you understand how much you’ll be paid and when.

How Publishers Make Money With CPA Marketing

As we have described above, the process is quite simple: you join a program and start promoting a product, and then bang, a sales happens, and you get your commission. However, there is a vast difference between approaching CPA affiliate marketing as an amateur or a professional aiming big in the industry. If you aim to make big money in the industry, you need to know many affiliate marketing tricks and be highly proactive.

Here is a list of things you need to review periodically:

Learn & get tips from professionals

At first glance, it might appear that affiliate marketing is mainly about getting started and testing the best offers and promotional strategies. However, it is a bit of a misleading impression. It is though true that you can’t get an official degree in affiliate marketing. Not a single university offers it. But trust us, it is not the way one learns affiliate marketing. There are many short online courses and educational blogs from successful affiliates who mastered affiliate marketing and are willing to share their knowledge. It is a way to start. Check affiliate forums, attend industry events and extend your networking.

Choose The Traffic Sources

You need to find high-performing traffic sources to succeed as an affiliate marketer. For example, websites and blogs where your target audience spends time checking content. The better quality traffic you have, the more sales you will make and the more money you will earn. So the trick is to find the right traffic source and direct it to the right offer. 

While you can use many traffic sources and strategies, some are better than others. They are more likely to lead to conversions and help you achieve your business goals. These are the sources of traffic you need to focus on and direct to your offers. You can use other traffic sources for testing and exploring your options. But don’t waste your time on traffic sources that are unlikely to generate results for your business.

The top 8 traffic sources:

  • Organic Traffic 
  • Email Marketing
  • Social Media 
  • Social Media Advertising
  • Online Forums
  • Pay-Per-Click (PPC) 
  • Digital Media Buying & Display Advertising
  • Contextual Advertising  
  • Native Advertising 

When choosing traffic sources, remember that depending on the niche and offer not all traffic sources are accepted. You will find the allowed traffic in the program terms and conditions every time you choose an offer.

Promote your social platforms

Social media platforms account for a significant share of affiliate marketing traffic. The better you promote your social platforms, the higher your chances of using them for affiliate offers promotion. Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Youtube, and other platforms might not be the only social media you use in CPA marketing. Still, they give you more opportunities and a better competitive angle.

Define your niches

You can’t work with vastly different offers. For your business to make sense and bring profits, you need to define niches you can work with. You don’t necessarily need to stop only at one niche. Some niches can easily correlate and make a great combo as a primary and supplement product. It goes without saying that the niche you promote should be based on your interests and your social media agenda. 

Join affiliate programs to find affiliate offers

To get access to a comprehensive database of offers, you need to join several affiliate CPA networks and separate affiliate programs. Besides the access to the offers database, affiliate networks and separate partner programs provide you with a separate affiliate dashboard where you can track campaigns’ results and monitor when the payments are due. 

It’s essential to understand the difference and why you should look for both affiliate networks and stand-alone partner programs as a publisher. Affiliate networks allow advertisers to host their partner programs on the network’s infrastructure. In this way, advertisers don’t need to look for software themselves. However, there is a number of benefits from hosting and managing own partner programs on SaaS affiliate platforms or partner platforms. Hence, many companies choose this solution. It means that affiliates won’t find them at any affiliate networks.

If you are interested in a particular product and want to cooperate with them, you can check their website to see if they have a program. Alternatively, you can just google “Name affiliate program / Partner program.” 

Start running campaigns

Once you have chosen a new offer and checked the requirements for allowed traffic, you can start running campaigns and earn commissions. 

If allowed by the affiliate program guidelines, try to combine accepted mobile and website traffic sources and see which traffic strategies perform better:

  • Direct traffics. Users get to the offer’s domain while looking for the product online, in Google, or in other browsers. 
  • Organic traffic/ SEO traffic. Users find your website or another product page from a search engine when they input relevant keywords.
  • Paid traffic. Users click on a paid link or ad leading to your website/offer. Traffic to affiliate offer generated through paid advertisements: links or banner ads. Users can click on paid ads when searching for something on Google, surfing social media, checking websites, using mobile apps, or any other place they may see online ads.
  • Referral traffic (backlinks). 

How Much Money Can Affiliates Make?

Saying that everyone on affiliate marketing earns a six-digit salary would be wrong. Obviously, some earn less. Especially if we speak about beginners, usually they don’t make a lot. Their earnings might be significantly lower than their region’s average salary, which might still be attractive if they are not doing affiliate marketing full-time, but have it as a passive income. More experienced affiliate marketers earn considerably more. And this is the beauty of affiliate marketing – there are no corporate or bureaucratic limits. The harder and more you work, the higher return you should expect. In CPA affiliate marketing, it is only ourselves that can set limits.

The income of affiliates can be categorized into intermediate, advanced, and super-affiliates. Here is what this categorization means:

  • Beginner – from $0 to $1000 per month
  • Intermediate – from $1000 to $10,000 per month
  • Advanced – from 10k to $100k per month
  • Super Affiliate – from $100k+ per month

When an affiliate is only at the beginning of the journey, it might seem unrealistic to reach an income of $100k per month, but people proved that it is real. It goes without saying that it requires effort and constant education in the affiliate marketing field, but as with any entrepreneurship, hard work pays off.

Super-affiliates usually have an extensive network of contacts and followers, detailed knowledge of the CPA marketing space, and extensive experience with different types of brands. They can charge brands a premium fee to manage their campaigns because they know how to get results.

Find inspiring examples of super affiliates and learn what you can do to increase your earnings.

How business can use CPA marketing to drive sales

Now let’s look at the advantages of CPA marketing for advertisers to learn how advertisers could use CPA techniques for their benefit. In the following paragraphs, we will highlight the most significant results CPA marketing brings to brands and advertisers.

Increase targeted traffic to your website

The digital age has created the need for all businesses to establish a robust online presence to drive traffic. Ranking a website in Google’s search results is a lengthy and complicated process, which makes it challenging to maintain an SEO strategy. Working with affiliates who understand your target audience allows you to generate more targeted traffic. Maintaining relationships and engaging with prospects becomes more manageable as your affiliates already have qualified traffic. It’s also possible to keep your audience engaged by posting authentic and visually appealing material. However, your marketing efforts still need to draw good traffic. In other words, your visitors should return to your site rather than bounce away.

Increase your product reach & build brand awareness

Affiliate marketing can be an easy way to increase your product reach and build brand awareness without spending much on advertising. It can be beneficial if you are looking to get to market quickly and don’t have the budget to spend on paid ads. Affiliate marketing can also get people to talk about your products and create content your customers can use for further native promotion.

Build & maintain consumer relationships

Although the actual sales and profit from affiliate marketing come from a one-time transaction, you can use affiliate marketing techniques to build better relationships with your customers. Affiliate marketing is a great way to build trust with your customers and potential customers by showing that you care about what they need and want. As a part of your marketing partnership strategy, you can introduce a loyalty program to retain and reward your customers.

Get more sales for lower costs

As we have already emphasized above, with CPA affiliate marketing, advertisers can get more sales as more channels and users are involved in the promotion. This approach is directly correlated with the investments brands need. The affiliate marketing model is cost-effective for them as they don’t have to spend a cent until affiliates generate results. 

Grow reliable, long-term partnerships

Having a reliable media partner always means extra resources to achieve higher results, such as better brand recognition or more sales. Affiliate partners can become your long-term partners who will constantly help with product promotion. The same as advertisers are interested in well-performing devoted affiliates, in the same way, affiliates are interested in partnering with high-paying CPA programs with compelling products. You will have to invest time and human resources at the start. You might need to hire a dedicated affiliate manager. Still, it will pay back with multiplied ROI and a higher conversion rate.

How to find the right platform for managing CPA marketing programs

Partner Platform 

You can launch your program and seamlessly manage it on a dedicated SaaS platform. Nowadays, it is the most popular choice to keep track of all partner marketing efforts and report their results consistently. Platforms come with many must-have features, and usually, there is a place for customization. The price for a SaaS partner management platform usually ranges from $500 to thousands of dollars. The price is defined by the monthly number of events, conversions, for example, and extra automation features platforms may offer.

With SaaS platforms, you always get a support team member to help with set-up processes and recommendations on overall campaign management along the way. In this way, you get advice both on the technical and business sides. 

If you look at the IREV partner platform it provides a complete infrastructure to manage, analyze and optimize campaigns that affiliates run under your partner program. You can launch your first campaign and grow your network of affiliates. With the extensive analytics & reporting tools, you can collect and monitor your data in real-time, reviewing it in the customizable for your needs dashboards. Additionally, there are plenty of smart features that could distribute traffic to the best-match offer and thus monetize your traffic at a higher rate.

Affiliate Network

​The other option you have as an advertiser is to join an affiliate network and create a partner program on the network’s premises. It will guarantee you a quick start with access to analytics, dashboards, report, affiliate profiles, and other features a chosen affiliate network provides. Carefully check all features before signing up. Make thorough research and ask their sales representatives all possible questions, because with an affiliate network there is no option to customize the platform and add missing features.

You will be assigned an account manager (affiliate manager) who will be helping with set-up and ongoing support. The level of support and an average answer speed could vary from one CPA network to another and depend on the package you pay for. 

The price for running a partner program on the affiliate network premises consists of several variables: 

-Set-up fee that varies from $500 to $2000;

-Commission from your revenue ( on average 20 – 30%);

-Monthly fee;

-Any additional fees for extra services. 

Sometimes, a network might also require a first-time deposit to guarantee an advertiser’s intention to work on the platform and actively promote the affiliate program. The practice of warranties is relatively common in the gambling niche.

Instead of Conclusion

If you are wondering how you can keep track of your partner program efforts and report the performance consistently, let us show you how you can rapidly launch and easily manage a partner program on the IREV partner platform. We will demonstrate how you can keep track of all your affiliate marketing activities, and see exactly whose efforts have brought you a new sale.

Just fill out this short form on the main page and we will get back with a customized for your needs demo.

Ready to boost your affiliate business?

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