CPA Marketing: How it Works & 6 CPA Networks To Join

If you’re looking for a new way to increase your income with affiliate marketing, you don’t want to miss out on CPA marketing. 

But what is CPA marketing… and how do you do it? 

In this article, we’re exploring CPA marketing for affiliates, including: 

  • How to get started with CPA marketing
  • Top CPA marketing networks
  • Tips and best practices
  • And more…

Let’s dive right in.

What is CPA Marketing?

CPA marketing (cost per action) is a type of affiliate marketing where you get paid for driving people to take a specific action. The action could include filling out a form, signing up for a trial, submitting an email, purchasing a product, and more. 

The main models you’ll see with CPA marketing are ‘pay per sale’ and ‘pay per lead’. 

Pay Per Sale

Pay per sale is exactly what it sounds like – you get paid every time you drive someone to purchase on the advertiser's website. This is the traditional affiliate marketing model and is a common type of CPA marketing.

Pay Per Action

Pay per action is a type of CPA marketing model where you get paid for driving someone to take a specific action. Typically, these actions are things like

  • Requesting a quote
  • Filling out a form
  • Signing up with their email address
  • Starting a trial
  • Video views

Pay per action or pay per lead makes the CPA marketing model stand out from traditional affiliate marketing methods.

CPA Marketing vs Affiliate Marketing

The main difference between CPA marketing vs traditional affiliate marketing is that in traditional affiliate marketing, the affiliate only earns money on sales. With CPA marketing, affiliates can earn money for various actions… not just sales!

In short, CPA marketing is affiliate marketing… But it has more opportunities to earn commission than traditional pay-per-sale affiliate marketing. 

How Does CPA Marketing Work?

CPA marketing works like other types of affiliate marketing. As an affiliate, you promote offers from your CPA networks to individuals who are most likely to be interested. You earn a commission when an interested party takes the required action through your link or landing page. 

Here’s how it works in a nutshell. We’ll dive deeper into these steps later. 

  • Find and sign up for a CPA network.
  • Browse offers on the network and choose the offer(s) you want to promote. 
  • Create a website or landing page for the offer. 
  • Drive traffic to your website or landing page.
  • When a person clicks the link on your website or landing page, they will be directed to the advertiser website, where they can choose to take an action. 
  • If the customer takes the action required for the offer, the advertiser will pay you a commission. 

Examples of CPA Marketing

CPA Marketing: How it Works & 6 CPA Networks To Join

As an affiliate you can do CPA marketing in many ways. You can promote CPA offers in the content on niche websites, ads on your website, or on dedicated landing pages. 

Niche Website Content: Promoting CPA offers on niche websites often involves writing content about the offer itself and putting your affiliate link in the content. Reviews, case studies, and tutorials are all effective types of content for promoting affiliate products and offers. 

Ads on Your Website: Another way to promote CPA offers on your website is through ads like pop-up ads, in-content ads, banner ads, and sidebar ads. 

Dedicated Landing Pages: Many CPA marketers use landing pages to drive paid and free traffic to the CPA offer of their choosing. Landing pages are simple and effective strategies to drive targeted traffic to your CPA offer without having to build an entire website. 

Benefits of CPA Marketing for Affiliates

CPA marketing is popular with both new and experienced affiliate marketers alike. Here are a few reasons why. 

  1. Higher Conversion Rates: Offers found on CPA networks typically have a low barrier to entry for potential customers, such as filling out a simple form. It's easier to get someone to complete an action that doesn't require money than it is to get a sale upfront. This means you can earn more money from the same amount of traffic compared to other marketing models.
  2. Predictable Earnings: CPA offers usually have a fixed payout rate, which lets you know exactly how much you will earn for each conversion. This can make planning your affiliate marketing campaigns easier, especially if you use paid ads to get traffic to your offers.
  3. Diverse Offers: Since CPA networks typically have a wide range of offers available, you can promote various products and services across different niches and industries.
  4. Low Risk: This marketing model is generally considered a low-risk form of affiliate marketing. You don't have to invest money upfront in promoting offers – so you could get started for free. This makes it an attractive option for new affiliates just starting in the industry.
  5. Flexibility: You can choose the offers you want to promote and the traffic sources you want to use. This is great if you’re a new affiliate marketer, and it’s also a great way to experiment to find which promotional methods work best for you.

How to Make Money with CPA Marketing

how to make money with cpa marketing
CPA Marketing: How it Works & 6 CPA Networks To Join

From joining a CPA network to browsing available offers and promoting them, here's how to get started with CPA marketing.

1. Join a CPA Network

To get started, you first need to do some research and choose a CPA network to join. There are a lot of CPA networks out there, so it’s important to do your research and find one that fits your preferences. 

Look for a network that offers high-quality offers, good payouts, and reliable tracking and reporting. 

The best CPA networks require an application or even a phone or Skype call to get in – these platforms don’t accept everyone. 

They do this to ensure they’re keeping their platform free of spammers and anyone who could cause their advertisers to be seen in a negative light. 

Depending on your chosen CPA network, you may have to wait a few hours or a couple of days for approval into the network.

What Are CPA Networks?

A CPA network is a platform that connects advertisers who want to promote their products or services with publishers (affiliate marketers) that are interested in promoting them. 

The network acts as the middle-man who vets publishers to ensure they are qualified to promote the advertisers' products. 

Most CPA networks have a wide variety of advertisers and offer in many different niches and industries with a wide range of commission types, which you can browse and filter once you have an account with the network. 

2. Complete Your Profile and Find Offers

Once you are approved for your chosen networks, the very first thing you should do is log in and complete your profile. Fill out your promotional methods and tax a payment information. 

Once you have everything all setup, you can start browsing and find offers you’d like to promote. 

Most CPA networks have the ability to sort offers by type: cost per lead, cost per action, or cost per sale, as well as by the commission rate. 

3. Create a Website or Page Around Offers

Once you have one or multiple offers that you’d like to promote, it’s time to choose your promotional methods. 

You can promote your offers with a niche website in your website content and ads on your website. 

You can also create a dedicated landing page to send targeted traffic to promote your CPA offer. 

4. Create Content Around Your Offers

If you choose the landing page method, you can skip this step. 

To promote CPA offers on a niche website, you need to create content that promotes the offers. Effective content for promoting CPA offers includes articles like: 

  • Reviews
  • Tutorials
  • Comparisons
  • Case studies
  • X vs Y

It’s a good practice to write as many article types as possible about each different offer that you’re promoting. 

5. Drive Traffic To Your Content

Two types of traffic drive all sales online: free and paid. 

Free traffic strategies include organic promotional methods like: 

  • SEO 
  • Social Media
  • Forum and Q&A sites (like Reddit and Quora)
  • Social publishing sites (like Medium and LinkedIn)

Free traffic takes a while to grow, but when done right, it becomes an effective form of passive traffic and is a great long-term strategy. 

If you need or want traffic right away (who doesn’t?!), paid ads are your best bet. 

You can run paid ads on any platform and drive traffic to your CPA offer landing page or articles, depending on the purpose of your ad. 

6 Top CPA Networks to Join

Here are 6 of the best CPA networks on the internet today.

Skimlinks

skimlinks
CPA Marketing: How it Works & 6 CPA Networks To Join

Skimlinks is an excellent affiliate and CPA marketing platform for beginners. Simply sign up for free and access 48,500 merchants and 50 demand partners of Affiliate, CPA, CPC, and other ways to earn.

  • Minimum Payout: $65
  • Payment Frequency: 90 Days

CPALead

cpalead
CPA Marketing: How it Works & 6 CPA Networks To Join

CPALead is a top CPA network for all types of offers, but they have a big focus on mobile offers specifically. 

If you want to promote app installs, CPALead is the place to go.

CPALead partners with huge names like Amazon, Netflix, Spotify, and more.

  • Minimum Payout: $50
  • Payment Frequency: Weekly

MaxBounty

maxbounty
CPA Marketing: How it Works & 6 CPA Networks To Join

MaxBounty is one of the OG affiliate networks. This platform dates back to 2004 and is highly regarded by affiliates and advertisers.

MaxBounty is a global network with more than 2,000 offers to choose from and an easy-to-use interface. 

  • Minimum Payout: $100
  • Payment Frequency: Weekly 

Perform(cb)

performcb 1
CPA Marketing: How it Works & 6 CPA Networks To Join

Perform(cb) is one of the highest-rated CPA marketing networks on the internet today, with thousands of offers in many highly profitable niches. 

You’ll find offers from some of the most legit companies in the world on this platform like Eharmony, Blue Apron, Apartment List, HBO, and more. 

  • Minimum Payout: $50
  • Payment Frequency: Weekly

ClickDealer

clickdealer
CPA Marketing: How it Works & 6 CPA Networks To Join

This platform has offers in all the most popular and profitable CPA niches like dating, mobile apps, retail, gaming, surveys and sweepstakes, and more. 

ClickDealer has big-name partners, too, like Candy Crush, AliExpress, Booking.com, Gameloft, and more. 

  • Minimum Payout: $100
  • Payment Frequency: Monthly for new affiliates, weekly for established affiliates

Toro Advertising

toro advertising
CPA Marketing: How it Works & 6 CPA Networks To Join

Toro Advertising is another top CPA affiliate network. This platform has thousands of offers and operates in 90 different countries. 

Toro Advertising works with both established marketers and newbie affiliate marketers – so they’re worth a try no matter where you’re at. 

  • Minimum Payout: $500
  • Payment Frequency: Monthly at first, and you can move to weekly after the first month. 

CPA Marketing Tips and Best Practices

Here are some tips and best practices for your CPA marketing endeavors.

Avoid Spammy Networks & Promo Methods

If you want the best chance at success with CPA marketing, you will do well to avoid the spammy affiliate networks and black hat promotional methods. And there are a lot of spammy affiliate networks out there. 

If it seems like something you’d be upset your grandma fell for, you probably shouldn’t promote it. 

You can read real CPA network reviews on oDigger here. 

Experiment With Promotional Methods

As with almost any type of marketing, there are various ways to promote CPA offers. 

If you’re just starting out, you may feel overwhelmed about choosing “the right” way to promote your offers. 

There is no one right way – different people prefer different methods. As your time and budget allow, experiment with different promotional methods to find the best for you. 

Track Your CPA Marketing Campaign

“You can’t improve what you don’t measure”. 

Tracking your affiliate marketing campaigns is key to improving and scaling them over time. 

Track things like your: 

  • PPC ROI.
  • Keywords that send the most traffic.
  • Highest converting posts, forms, or landing pages.

Work With Your Affiliate Manager

You will be assigned an affiliate manager when you join a CPA network. Affiliate managers manage the program and affiliates and can be great people to build a relationship with. Your affiliate manager can help you increase your campaign performance and in some cases, they can help you get a better commission for your offers.

CPA Marketing Wrap-Up

CPA marketing is a great way to start as an affiliate marketer or increase your income streams as an established affiliate. 

With so many opportunities and methods for promotion, there’s something that will work with every marketing strategy. Sign up for some CPA networks and get started today!

Jos Tran
Show full profile

Jos Tran

I'm Jos Tran, the author behind Smart Passive Income (SPI), a blog dedicated to online business and entrepreneurship. I started this blog in 2008, following in the footsteps of Pat Flynn, the founder. Being one of the leading business blogs globally, SPI attracts over 2 million readers each month. Through my content, I aim to assist individuals in generating passive income from various online sources. Join me on this transformative journey as we delve into the world of online business and uncover the strategies and tactics that have led to tremendous success for myself and countless others.

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply

Smart Passive Income
Logo