The Ultimate Guide to CPA Marketing

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By  •  7 min read

We know why you’re here.

You’re not the first person looking to monetize their passions or niche audience.

And you won’t be the last.

CPA marketing is one of the most intuitive ways to monetize your audience, and is what you’re going to learn about today.

Whether you’re a blogger, social media influencer, or ad wizard, CPA marketing is as simple as finding offers in your niche and sending qualified traffic their way.

It’s that simple.

Below, we’ll cover everything there is to know about CPA marketing, and why it’s the hottest digital marketing monetization strategy.

What is CPA Marketing?

Cost Per Action (CPA) Marketing, also known as Pay Per Lead (PPL), is one of the most attractive and lucrative ways to make money online, and a popular branch of affiliate marketing.

Depending on the offer you’re running, the specific action will vary. The actions can be anything from generating a sale, driving a click, account signup, completing a form, or even something like watching a video.

These offers are found on affiliate networks and CPA affiliate networks, and allow for the sorting, searching, and processing of offers.

Why CPA Marketing?

There’s several advantages to cost per action marketing.

The first, is that it’s one of the most efficient ways to monetize a project.

There’s no need to deal with complicated code, terminology, or tutorials. Simply promote offers through in text links, images, banners, and you’re good to go. A simple landing page can be all that you need.

Compared to something like running advertisements, where you’re taking up digital real estate, pointing DNS servers places, and making your site ugly, CPA marketing is pretty seamless to get started.

All you need is a website (hopefully with traffic), and some offers to promote.

Compared to something like Adsense, CPC, PPC, or CPM, promoting offers directly and getting paid per lead, is going to lead to much bigger pay days.


Because think about the end results you’re getting for the offer provider. They specify an action they want to optimize for, any only pay when it’s reached.

Compared to other methods, like advertising based on impressions or clicks, there are no guarantees.

Last but certainly not least, CPA is also the least susceptible to fraud.

How to Get Started CPA Marketing

In order to get started CPA Marketing, you’ll first want to find an offer to promote. There are endless ways to find these offers, but some of the simplest ways involve aggregators like OfferVault and oDigger.

On these sites, you can enter keywords, niches, and other factors to narrow down the offers to ones that fit your audience.

For example, say we have an audience of people hungry to make money (no pun intended).

We can promote offers like the one shown below, where DoorDash will pay us $35 for any driver lead we get for them.

In order to view the landing page of the offer, we can click the image or where it says full landing page preview. This is what our doordash offer looks like:

Put yourself in your audience’s view.

Would you sign up to become a DoorDasher?


If so, we’re ready to start running the offer. Click run offer and join the network. Depending on the network the next steps will vary.

Most networks will make you fill out detailed forms with some personal information like your full name, address, and phone number. Most companies will call you, so make sure it’s an actual working number.

The next step would be to drive traffic and clicks to the offer. There’s tons of ways to drive traffic. Anything from search engine optimization (SEO), Social Media, Google Adwords, Facebook Ads, or email marketing.

We’ll leave the marketing strategy for you to figure out!

In order to get a payout from different offers and affiliate networks, you’ll need to add your personal finance info like bank accounts, as well as hit their minimum payout threshold. We’ll cover some affiliate CPA networks later on in the article.

Affiliate Marketing vs CPA Marketing

The main distinction between affiliate marketing and CPA marketing is that in CPA, not all actions trigger upon sales. Whereas in affiliate marketing, commission is only credited when something is paid for.

For example, Amazon is one of the largest affiliate networks and programs in the world. When someone converts through an Amazon affiliate link, the referrer or affiliate is rewarded with a commission. No other event will earn an Amazon affiliate income.

In the example offer above where the offer was paying out per DoorDash driver lead. This would qualify as CPA marketing, but not affiliate marketing.

It just comes down to terminology. Think of the example in school with squares being rectangles but not all rectangles are squares.

Benefits of CPA Marketing

The main benefits of CPA marketing are how easy it is to get started, how great it is for mitigating risk, and that you don’t pay unless the traffic converts.

Downsides of CPA Marketing

One of the main downsides to CPA marketing is that it’s a space that gets riddled with scammy and shady offers. It’s part of the reason affiliate marketing has gotten such a bad wrap on the internet. If an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is.

How to Have A Successful CPA Campaign

Befriend Affiliate Managers (AMs)

It goes without saying, but be nice to your affiliate manager. Build a relationship with them. That’s right, ask them how their weekend is going. They are people, and will do you favors.

Traffic Talks

One of the most important things in this world is traffic. If you have it, you can get the attention of anyone. As I always say, “Traffic Talks”. If you have lots of niche traffic, leverage it. Ask your affiliate managers for commission bumps, backlinks, social shoutouts and shares. Whatever you need, that will benefit the both of you. It’s a partnership afterall.

Ask for a commission bump. Seriously. If you have traffic and have been working with an affiliate offer or manager for some time, don’t be afraid to go get your bucks. These companies have set cost per acquisition costs where it’s profitable for them. And most likely you’re well under it. So get out there and ask for a raise!

Keep an Eye on Conversion Rates

While you’re running your CPA offers, it’s important to keep an eye out on your conversion rate. If the information is not readily available to you, ask your affiliate manager questions.

What conversion rate are other affiliates seeing?

How can I improve my conversion rate?

Common conversion rate issues include offers that don’t align with your audience, poor calls to actions, or maybe just a poor offer.

What are the Best CPA Networks?

Some of the most popular CPA networks include MaxBountyClickbooth, and Peerfly, and Admitad, and Panthera Network. For the most part all of these networks are relatively the same with varying minor features.

The main distinction between them is if your offers are there, payment methods, minimum payment threshold, and how trustworthy they are in the community. For most of our audience, we’d recommend Paypal, as it’s one of the simplest ways to payout.

Concluding Thoughts

Overall, CPA marketing is a fantastic way to monetize your blog, social media accounts, or email list.

What do you think about CPA Marketing?

Are you going to try it after reading?

Are you doing it already?

Let us know in the comments.

Austin manages a portfolio of niche websites. He has been building and selling websites for many years now. Connect with Austin on Twitter and LinkedIn.