Affiliate marketing is one of the most effective ways to advertise online. It lets brands reach customers organically, requires relatively little investment, and has very low risk.
At the same time, CPA marketing is a great deal for publishers and content creators looking to monetize their content. Creators can earn large commissions for introducing their audience to products and services that interest them, even if they’re just beginners.
What are CPA Offers?
Cost-per-action (CPA) offers are a way that brands can advertise their product or service and an opportunity for publishers to earn income.
With CPA marketing, advertisers determine a desired action they want people to take. This can be as simple as making a purchase or something else, such as signing up for an email newsletter or installing a phone app.
The advertiser then looks for affiliates related to their market, also known as a vertical, in the form of bloggers, video makers, social media influencers, and other content creators. The advertiser offers payment for each person the creator convinces to take the desired action.
A CPA offer is a specific advertising campaign to promote a product or service.
For example, an advertiser selling a subscription service may offer a $20 payment for each person a content creator convinces to subscribe. That’s where the name cost-per-action comes from—the advertiser pays a specified amount of money for every instance of a desired action.
What is a CPA Affiliate Network?
One of the most challenging parts of CPA marketing is finding a good match for a campaign. Advertisers need a way to find content creators with an audience likely to buy their product or service. Similarly, creators need some way to discover brands that want to advertise and help them monetize their content.
There are also technical complications, like tracking referrals and properly crediting affiliates for the sales they help generate.
An affiliate network is a third-party company that helps to solve these problems.
Both advertisers and content creators can make accounts on CPA networks. Advertisers post CPA offers on the network, describing the type of product or service they want to promote and providing information about conversion rates, how tracking is handled, and the payouts creators will receive for each referral.
Creators can browse the campaigns on these CPA networks to identify the best CPA offers for their needs. Then, they can sign up for relevant offers and start promoting them on their website.
How Do CPA Offers Work in Affiliate Marketing?
In the world of affiliate marketing, CPA offers involve content creators promoting a product or service within their content in exchange for a commission or other payment. For example, the affiliate may briefly mention a product in one of their videos or dedicate an entire review to talking about the product and its benefits.
The content creator provides the audience an affiliate link to click so they can browse the advertiser’s website and ultimately make a purchase.
When someone clicks on the affiliate link, internet trackers monitor that person and their shopping. If that person ultimately makes a purchase, the affiliate program uses the tracker to attribute that purchase to a specific CPA offer and the content creator who referred that customer.
The advertiser then pays the affiliate network, which pays the affiliate based on their internal rules and the terms of the CPA offer. Often, these networks also have affiliate managers that can help content creators optimize their promotions to attract quality traffic.
Types of CPA Offers
CPA offers rely on paying a specific commission, or cost, for a desired action. However, a few different marketing strategies fall under the CPA marketing umbrella.
Pay-per-sale. This type of CPA offer is the most straightforward. The advertiser pays a commission only when the content creator helps generate a sale.
Pay-per-action. This is a more generalized type of CPA offer. Along with sales, the advertiser offers payments for other actions, like signing up for an email list or providing contact information so a sales representative can contact them.
Subscription-based. Some CPA offers provide an upfront commission when a publisher convinces someone to sign up for a subscription service, then recurring payouts each time that customer renews their subscription.
The amount paid by each offer will depend on the product's value and the difficulty of converting customers. Pay-per-sale offers, for example, might pay more than an offer that only asks people to sign up for a mailing list, which is a much easier task.
How to Run a CPA Offer
If you’re a content creator or looking to make money using CPA marketing, there are many strategies you can use.
Instagram Posts and Bios
Instagram is a great way for content creators to reach their audience. You can place affiliate links in your posts or add a call to action to click a link in your bio to help drive traffic to the brand’s landing page.
Twitter is great for short-form posting and viral content. You can add affiliate links to the end of informative threads or in a follow-up to a viral tweet or popular meme you’ve posted.
Bloggers often post helpful or informative content on their websites focused on a specific topic. They can include affiliate links to relevant products or services in their posts to monetize content.
For example, a food blogger may add affiliate links that direct users to an ecommerce landing page where they can buy high-quality cookware.
Like bloggers and written content, YouTubers often focus on a specific niche and create video content related to relevant topics. Video creators can add affiliate links to their video descriptions and place ad segments within their videos to encourage viewers to click the link and make a purchase.
CPA marketing is one of the most popular and effective types of affiliate marketing. It’s a mutually beneficial partnership for both publishers and content creators, helping brands advertise with low upfront investment and giving creators a great way to monetize their content.