CPA (cost-per-action) marketing is a method which pays once an individual completes a specific action such as:

  • Filling out a zip code
  • Downloading a program
  • Rating an application

A CPA ad, for example, could send someone to a landing page and upon sign up you may receive a set amount. Compared to affiliate marketing where you often need to nurture the lead, setup custom landing pages, wrap the offer around content, and tweak call-to-actions the CPA offer is generally completed for you by the advertiser.

In the basic sense … CPA marketing is often easier to earn with.

Consider what you’d find easier:

A. Landing on a page to enter a sweepstakes that only requires your email address.

B. Landing on a page where you’re expected to pull out your wallet and make a purchase.

Though payout for the conversion isn’t as great as affiliate offers the amount you can earn through CPA marketing is quite astounding if you know how to put it into effect. Even better is when you mix CPA with your affiliate efforts. The combination of these two can create an excellent balance of income sources through your online assets.

Let’s take this time to go over the basics of CPA marketing (which is surprisingly in-line with what you already do) and a few strategies to mix the two methods into a perfect, income-generating harmony.

A Quick Start Guide to CPA Marketing

There are many different CPA networks where you can find great opportunities but the general consensus is that the following three are your best bet to find the largest selection;

  • MaxBounty
  • NeverBlue
  • PeerFly

These networks do require you to apply before you’re accepted. To expedite this process it’s highly recommended that you are able to put together a portfolio to show what you’re capable of in terms of marketing an offer. Once you’re ready it’s a matter of filing out the application and patiently waiting to hear back from a manager which may ask you relevant questions about promotions and marketing.

Once you’re in the network you’ll notice a whole slew of ads at your disposal.

Finding the right one for your campaigns can be somewhat tricky when you’re first giving CPA marketing a go so here are some things to keep in mind when selecting them:

  • Does this fit my community?
  • Does this offer work well with other, existing offers?
  • What process does the person take to complete the offer?
  • Is the advertiser legitimate?
  • What’s the payout?

You can get a lot of this beginner information by talking with your manager who are there to help you through every step of the process (so make sure you’re asking those questions!). Of course with your previous knowledge of affiliate marketing you should know that you need to test and optimize campaigns to see which are best before ramping up the promotion.

CPA & AM: A Match Made in Marketing Heaven

Integrating CPA into your affiliate marketing is actually quite easy.

In a lot of ways you can look at it as if you were switching out a Google Adsense block for a CPA offer.

The big items to look out for follow much of the same best practices of other ads:

  • Placement of the unit
  • Design of the ad
  • Call-to-action
  • Tracking

You’ll also want to put a plan in motion which ties the two together so you’re not doing double the amount of work and having your campaigns clash.

For example:

  • You could create a top 10 list used a guest post which funnels people to a landing page which offers a review of a product linked within the guest post. On the sidebar there could be a relevant CPA offer (such as a giveaway) for the same (or competitor) product.
  • You could create a video series related to a product/service/entertainment that could link to one of your landing pages with a CPA offer to try the item. You can then surround that video with bonus content that breaks it down into specific sub-topics each with new, specific offers you find through the CPA or affiliate network.

Begin to scale your advertising and marketing efforts once you land on a converting campaign. Invest some money in PPC ads for quick spikes in traffic. Hire writers to create guest posts to drive traffic from authority sites and raise your organic listings.

You already know what to do since you’re experienced with affiliate marketing so put those skills to work!


The only real downside I would have to say about CPA marketing is that you don’t have the same freedom and flexibility as you would with affiliate offers. The CPA ads you find on networks are plentiful but there are a great deal that are simply lackluster.

Every once in a while, though, you’ll find a gem. You’ll discover the one that fits right in line with your project and what’s in demand from your community. If you can get that ad paired into your existing affiliate work you should have no problem picking up additional earnings.

So go on and give it a try. Sign up to one of the networks. Place an ad or two where you might have already run other offers or advertising units. It never hurts to try. It might actually become one of your favorite monetization methods from here on out!