cpa marketing

What Is CPA Marketing: A Beginner's CPA Marketing Blueprint

Designing the right marketing strategies is tough for every business owner. There is a return on investment (ROI) to think of. It’s a crucial consideration since you are shelling out money to get actual results. And if you want to pay just for the successful results, CPA marketing is the way to go. If you don’t precisely know what CPA marketing is, here’s your guide to know it all.

What is CPA marketing?

Cost per action (CPA) marketing refers to an affiliate marketing model that pays a commission for every demanded action completed. A lead doesn’t necessarily have to purchase for the affiliate to earn his portion. As long as the leads performed the brand’s intended action, the affiliate will receive the commission.

Some of the actions that leads must do include:

  • Signing up for email list
  • Watching a video
  • Filling out a form
  • Downloading an app
  • Getting the lead magnet provided
  • Redirecting to the website
  • Following social media pages

The different parties involved in CPA marketing

Before sharing with you how CPA marketing works, here are the parties involved in the process:


The company that seeks business partnership with affiliates to help promote the brand, products, or services.


An affiliate is an individual with the power to influence others on driving the action intended by the brand. They mostly consist of influencers, industry leaders, niche websites, review blogs, and more. 

CPA Network

This is the common ground for both the brands and affiliates. It manages the brand’s affiliate program while also handling the payment process for the affiliates.

How CPA marketing works

Wondering how CPA marketing works? It follows the affiliate marketing framework, but with a less demanding objective in mind. Here’s a quick breakdown of what goes on in a CPA marketing:

  1. A brand looks for a CPA network to take over the affiliate program. The brands will provide the product details and required action to the CPA network.
  2. The CPA network will post the offer on its library of available affiliate programs. This is where the affiliates will pick and apply for the offers they are interested with.
  3. Once approved, the affiliate will promote the said product through various forms like a blog, review, a social media post, and more. The content has an affiliate link that allows tracking of the actions made by leads.
  4. When leads click through, it will be directed to the brand’s website or any page that requires the intended action.
  5. The unique affiliate link tracks the leads’ activities until they make a purchase or complete the required action.
  6. Once completed, the marketing is a success. Thus, the affiliate will receive the commission from the action made.
cost per action marketing

The difference between CPA Marketing and Affiliate Marketing

CPA marketing falls under the subtypes of affiliate marketing. The stark contrast lies in the objectives of the two. CPA marketing is an easier advertising model since it only requires to complete the action to count as successful. Whereas Affiliate marketing requires a sale to be considered a success.

Affiliates reap more success in CPA marketing as compared with affiliate marketing since there is no purchase involved. It’s a promising venture for affiliates since it lets them earn more at a quicker pace. This then results in the increased number of affiliates that brands can work with.

CPA marketing promotional methods

We brushed over the kinds of actions that can be completed in CPA marketing. Here, we shed light on the various methods to capture leads and make them do the intended action.

Review sites

Review blogs have a significant power to influence readers. When reviewing your product or service, these affiliates will include an affiliate link for leads to click through. They can even add a call-to-action (CTA) to direct leads to do the intended action specifically. 

Landing page

A landing page is where leads redirected upon clicking through the link. It contains info about the product and some content to lure leads to sign up for an email list, get a free trial, download a freebie, or even make a purchase.

Splash page

A splash page is a page that has a punchy headline and compelling copy to lure leads in. A product description is placed along with engaging content like graphics or even videos to convince people to engage with you and do the intended action.

Quiz/Survey/Fun landing page

This is a one-time pop-up that flashes on screen to ask leads some questions or surveys. When the lead answers or clicks through, the action is completed.

Other terminologies to know about

Here are some terms in CPA marketing that you need to familiarize yourself with:

  • Affiliate manager – the person-in-charge of managing affiliate programs for companies. They recruit and engage with affiliates while earning the revenue for the brands.
  • Category – the niche where brands or products fall into.
  • Chargeback – when an affiliate is already paid for a sale that has been returned or never finalized. The paid commission gets deducted.
  • Commission – the flat rate or percentage paid to affiliates for every successful conversion or completed action.
  • Contextual link – the link placed in the affiliate website to redirect lead to the brand’s website.
  • Conversion rate – percentage rate of completed actions made by leads. It is computed by dividing the successful conversions by the total traffic.
  • Earnings per click (EPC) – the average amount an affiliate earns for every affiliate link click throughs.
  • Offer page – the web page where conversion occurs after making the intended action.

The benefits of CPA marketing to your business

To convince you to try CPA marketing on your business, here are the reasons why you can’t go wrong with it:

1. It is easy to launch.

CPA marketing is pretty easy to set up; you only need your website and a CPA network. There are tons of CPA networks offering their services that you can avail with a minimal upfront fee.

2. You only pay for completed actions.

Whatever your intended action is, the only time you will pay out your affiliate is when a lead completed it. You save up from unsuccessful results while assessing which affiliates are making the most conversions and actions.

3. It has a higher ROI.

CPA marketing drives actual actions and conversions. This means that for every cent you shell out, there is success behind it. You gain results from every penny you spent. Also, you have a wider variety of sources driving traffic and converting leads since you have several affiliates working with you.

4. It has a broader reach.

The affiliates you work with tap various markets and industries. You expand your reach when all these partners share the word about you. The affiliates create brand awareness and encourage people to check out your brand. Even when some people are not your target market, you still leave an impression by being recommended by the affiliates they trust. 

5. You can pinpoint your target market.

Since you have the capability to choose the affiliates to partner with, you can select the ones that perfectly match your niche. Tapping the right individuals will ease the process of finding your target market and converting them into your customers.

6. It is very low-risk.

Since you only pay when the action is successful, there’s not much at stake here. There is a lesser risk, and you can ensure secure advertising and results. If you are contemplating risks, CPA marketing assures you that you won’t have to pay affiliates unless actions are made.

In conclusion, CPA marketing is a reliable yet cost-effective advertising model that you should explore for your business. It speeds up the process while amping up all your marketing efforts. If you are interested in trying it out and getting more in-depth knowledge about what CPA marketing is, here’s a well-recommended online courses to take with you: CPA Marketing.

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