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What Is CPA Marketing and How Does It Work?

What is CPA Marketing

CPA marketing is an affiliate marketing approach in which a commission is provided when a user completes a certain task.

If done effectively, CPA marketing is one of the quickest online cash sources.

If you want to monetize your audience through your website, social media profiles, or email list, CPA marketing is a great way to do it.

But, with all the monetization methods available, why would you select CPA marketing?

What Is CPA Marketing and How Does It Work?

AdSense offers the lowest cost per click (CPCs), but marketing affiliate items necessitates a lot of traffic and a ready-to-buy audience, something you can't always count on as a digital marketer.

Let's start with the basics before we look at how to get started with CPA marketing and even discuss CPA perks, suggestions, and best practices.

What is CPA Marketing Exactly?

What is CPA Marketing

Cost per Action (CPA) marketing is the abbreviation for cost per action marketing.

It's a type of advertising payment and an important aspect of affiliate marketing.

When a user or target audience does a specified action, CPA marketing allows marketers to earn money through a commission.

The particular activity will vary depending on the product or service you are advertising. Users may be needed to purchase a product or service, drive a click, submit an email, or zip code, sign-up/create an account, fill out a form, view a video, and so on.

Payment periods and charges will differ based on the goods and the activity required.

Why not go straight to the source?

Affiliates can approach advertisers directly, but finding reputable advertisers can be tough, and if publishers go it alone, they may not be able to negotiate the best prices.

go straight to the CPA Marketing source

Top publishers can acquire exclusive arrangements if they prove they can generate high-converting traffic with the help of a network. 

Although affiliate marketing is no longer as wild as it once was, it is still preferable to ride with a posse than to go it alone, since the advantages greatly outweigh the network's portion.

How CPA marketing works?

CPA marketing, or Cost Per Action marketing, is an affiliate marketing business model in which affiliates are paid when people take on certain activities.

It's crucial to understand how affiliate marketing works before diving into CPA marketing.

There are three key participants in affiliate marketing. Advertisers (businesses with products, services, or deals to advertise), Publishers (affiliate marketers), and Networks (the bridge between Publishers and Advertisers). 

CPA marketing is the most popular type of affiliate marketing since it allows publishers, advertisers, and networks to work together toward a common objective.

We'll look at who's involved and what their tasks are to better understand how CPA marketing works.

How CPA marketing works

As a result, there are three important participants in CPA marketing:

The influencer, blogger, or marketer who advertises a product or service to an audience is known as an affiliate/publisher.

Affiliates bring customers to the company and receive a commission for each action they do.

A brand that wants to collaborate with an affiliate to assist them to drive traffic, attracting leads, producing sales, and improving the discussion is referred to as a business or advertiser. These companies are willing to pay commissions to affiliates.

CPA Network:

CPA networks link affiliates with businesses, and they act as intermediaries in this scenario.

CPA Marketing Network

If you're new to CPA marketing, you'll need to familiarize yourself with a few industry phrases. The list below isn't exhaustive, and these phrases may differ from one CPA network to the next - but they'll all signify the same thing.

An affiliate Manager, or AM, is the person in control of a merchant's affiliate program. AMS is in charge of attracting and retaining affiliates, as well as producing money for the company or merchant.


When you've already been paid for a user/audience activity but haven't finalized the results or the customer has returned the product, you've received a chargeback. 

After that, the commission you paid is withdrawn from your account.

This is the exact area to which the CPA offer applies, such as health, sports, gaming, and so on.

Sale/Revenue Share:

This means you earn a percentage of every sale you make, whether it's a one-time or recurring transaction.


An abbreviation for incentivized. It implies you may entice visitors to take action by offering free items or downloads.

The CPA Formula and Method are Described

The formula used to calculate the profitability of a campaign is CPA = Cost Per Actions.

Here's an illustration:

Tim has a Facebook fitness page that he wants to monetize. He aims to promote healthy lifestyles and goods. Tim looks for an affiliate network that offers a vegan protein drink.

They add him to the network once he contacts them. They give him permission to conduct the promotion and provide him with his own unique affiliate link, which will monitor and credit every visitor that clicks on his link to his account.

  • Tim will receive $50 from the network for every individual who purchases the vegan protein drink through his link.
  • Known as CPA. You may use the formula to figure out how much it costs to persuade someone to do something. 
  • To calculate your CPA, just divide the amount spent on advertising by the number of actions taken.
  • Tim scribbles the shake on his paper and prays for the best. Tim hasn't sent any traffic for a week or two.
  • Tim's affiliate manager advises him to employ paid advertising, but he is concerned that he may lose more money than he earns. 
  • As a result, he must find out a way to earn more money than he spends on advertising.
CPA Affiliate Marketing Formula

Tim makes the decision to build some Facebook advertising and promote them to a targeted demographic.

  • He pays $100, but just one person uses his link to purchase a shake. He understands that if he continues in this manner, he will lose money, but how much will he lose?
  • Tim's CPA is $100 in his present employment. He paid $100 on conversions and only received one. As a result, a single action cost him $100. 
  • He made $50, but at the present exchange rate, getting a conversion will cost him twice as much.
Tim consults with his affiliate manager, who advises him to optimize his efforts. Tim's manager proposes that he perform in front of a doppelganger crowd. Tim launches a new campaign, this time for $100. Tim gets four conversions this time.

Tim paid $100 on advertising and received four conversions, thus his cost per acquisition (CPA) is $1004 = $25!

Tim will be paid $50 for completing the conversion, which will cost him $25. That implies Tim's campaign has turned a profit!

Final Thoughts

The CPA Marketing model is the industry standard, and it helps publishers, advertisers, and networks achieve common goals.

It has the potential to be a terrific way for you to monetize your sites, but it is not without danger.

Publisher efforts aren't always successful, and optimizing a top-tier campaign requires time and money. However, if you stick it out and learn from your data, the sky truly is the limit.

Join Converting Team today and chat with one of our affiliate managers to have access to tons of fantastic offers to monetize your site.

You may be interested in reading: How to succeed in Email Marketing Business

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