What is CPA Affiliate Marketing? + Tips For Success

When you start digging around affiliate marketing, you find that there are more than just the usual affiliate marketing where you earn commission for selling a product.  Today, we’re going to focusing on answering the question – What is CPA Affiliate Marketing?

We’ll go through how it works, what the benefits of this type of marketing is, and how you can get started with it if you decide it is the right move for you…

CPA stands for cost per acquisition, commonly called Cost Per Action.  This is where you earn a commission for someone taking an action rather than making a purchase.  Acquisitions range from requests for service, filling out forms to installs or downloads.  It is a multi-billion-dollar industry and many affiliate marketers are using CPA Affiliate Marketing without even realising it.

Just to be transparent, we use affiliate links to help support our site.  If you click a link and make a purchase, we may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you… For more details, click here

Table of Contents

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

What’s CPA Affiliate Marketing & How Does It Work?

CPA Marketing is where you can earn revenue without actually making a sale.  A simple example would be, an insurance company paying you just for a lead.  You send someone from your website to a website or comparison site where they fill in an insurance quote.  They might not necessarily take out the insurance policy, but that doesn’t matter you get paid for the lead either way.

The most common example you may have come across is display advertising through Google Adsense or MediaVine.  Whilst these are common across many sites, they are best left until the point where you are getting a ton of traffic.  You need high levels of traffic to earn decent money from CPA Marketing via these routes.  MediaVine won’t even accept you until you are getting 30,000 monthly visitors – so definitely one to target when you reach those levels, but not if you are just starting out.

CPA Affiliate Marketing is definitely worth it in the long run but starting out it will be hard to just target it, you are best off using it alongside normal affiliate marketing.

What Differences are there between Affiliate Marketing & CPA Affiliate Marketing?

There are some key differences between Affiliate Marketing and CPA Affiliate Marketing.  Affiliate Marketing is typically promoting a product or service, and you receive a commission if someone buys that product or service. Most new affiliate marketers will target Amazon.  It is the world’s largest marketplace and has an affiliate program that is easy to join.

CPA Affiliate Marketing does not necessarily rely on the sale.  If you lead them to a company, that is enough to earn the commission.  If someone sees an ad on a website that they click onto, but don’t buy anything you will still earn the commission.  CPA is often compared to lead generation, not direct sale.

The Benefits of CPA Affiliate Marketing

CPA Affiliate Marketing has many benefits.  Mainly down to it be truly passive.  You need to put in a lot of groundwork to build up the traffic and monetise your website.  But writing an article and then taking a couple of seconds to add a Google Ad onto it, means all your work is done.

Other types of CPA affiliate marketing, where a specific task is required, can also have substantial pay-outs.

Let’s say you have a website that compares home or car insurance.  Instead of promoting one brand, you could incorporate a number so that people will get a quote from 5 or 6 to see which the best deal is.  Having a CPA affiliate partnership with each will result in them all paying you for the lead. Even if none of them get a sale.

CPA Affiliate marketing done right can be extremely profitable, even without selling anything.

Which Is Best? Which Should I Choose?

I wouldn’t even thing of it that way, I would suggest anyone to utilise both.  The best part about CPA Affiliate Marketing is it will work on pretty much any blog or website.  No matter, what your current monetisation methods are.

You could easily use both methods on any website, and as long as you focus on creating great helpful content that builds up high levels of traffic, you could see that both methods will earn you decent amounts of return.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

How to Get Started in CPA Affiliate Marketing?

Like anything, research is going to be key to success with CPA Affiliate Marketing.  You are going to want to search for CPA Affiliate Networks out there and check them out.  Just like joining a normal affiliate network you are going to want to review the services they offer, pay structure and the variety they offer.

You also need to check out the criteria for applying to these networks.  Many of them are looking for websites that are already drawing in high traffic already and if you are not there yet, you will not be accepted.  Don’t apply too early, focus on creating great content and getting organic traffic and then applying later.

It is the same regardless of the strategy you follow, build content, attract visitors and then monetise your site.

CPA Networks are really particular about who they accept, because their model is based on your legitimacy, so you may get turned down.  The key is to not get discouraged and follow these tips on being accepted when applying for a CPA network.

  • Even though CPA Marketing doesn’t rely on having a website, having an established website with a daily stream of visitors will definitely tip the balance in your favour.
  • Have a domain specific email address will show you are credible.  Compare John@bestaffiliatemarketingtools.orgto John@gmail.com.  there is a key difference between them.
  • Be totally honest about you past history, site traffic and conversion rates.  They will check out your traffic volumes anyway, so lying about it will not work and ruin any future applications you try with them too.
  • Don’t give up.  If you are not accepted at this point, carry on working on content and try again later down the line.

If you are just starting out with affiliate marketing, I would totally recommend you work with a platform such as Wealthy Affiliate.  It is the only training program I would recommend for learning effective ways of creating awesome content that gets you regular traffic to benefit from normal affiliate marketing or CPA Affiliate Marketing.

Here is a list of 5 CPA Networks to consider:

  1. MaxBounty
  2. PeerFly
  3. Clickbooth
  4. Cash Network
  5. Adscend Media

Helpful Tips for Successful CPA Affiliate Marketing Campaigns

Once you are finally accepted into a CPA affiliate network, it is time to set up your successful campaigns.

Whilst blogging and creating content to gain traffic works, there are also a few other strategies that will work for CPA or PPC marketing campaigns.  Remember the key is relevance.

  • Creating a Landing Page – Landing pages differ from normal blog posts as it is a specific page where you funnel your website traffic into.  A normal blog post will typically be there to help the reader, answer a question or educate or inform.  A landing page is optimised to get the reader to follow the direction you want – clicks and conversions.  Find ways to link to your landing pages from your blog posts and you can have an effective strategy.  This will work for normal affiliate marketing too.
  • Have fun with a Splash Page –This is a page that a visitor to your site lands on before hitting your website.  It is often a fun page which can contain music, animations or graphics.  It can be used to get visitors excited to engage in your site or a way to get them to take a specific action.  Anytime someone hits a new site, they can have their guard up.  This can sometimes let them relax before they hit your content.  It also adds a bit of personality to your site too.
  • Using Paid Ads (Carefully) –Paid Ads is a very effective marketing campaign and can be highly profitable… if you get it right.  Otherwise it can end up costing you a fortune.  But using places like Facebook Ads or Google AdWords can drive high levels of traffic to your website.  If they take action with your CPA campaigns, then it can end up being a great cycle and strategy to use.  But the key to this is setting yourself sensible budgets.  Start small and only expand on the campaigns that are working.

These are just three of the many different strategies CPA Marketers use, but they are very effective.  Affiliate Marketing and CPA Affiliate Marketing are definitely two campaigns that you can utilise together to grow your earnings online.

Whether you are just starting out or looking to expand your current online business, I would definitely recommend CPA Affiliate Marketing – just don’t rush ahead of yourself.  Once you have consistent traffic then that is the time to start monetising your website.  Some places like MediaVine expect 30k page views a month before you can join but others are more accepting of lower traffic thresholds.  Start with creating great content and explore these avenues at the right time.


Hopefully you have a better understanding of what CPA Affiliate Marketing is.  But if you still have any specific questions, then feel free to drop them in the comments section below and we will get back to you as soon as we can. 😉

Get It Now!!

Get Your FREE Affiliate Marketing Blueprint

Learn How to Create Your Own Passive Income Making Machine – 4 Steps to Success

12 thoughts on “What is CPA Affiliate Marketing? + Tips For Success”

  1. Hi John. Great post here and nice selection of CPA networks to work with but what do you think about Ogads. I’ve been with Ogads for roughly 2 years and I’ve been making some cool cash using some paid traffic and Pinterest.  I think Ogads is also a good try, I applied for Max bounty but I always get rejected, any suggestions on how I can get into the maxbounty CPA network.

    • Hey Lok,

      thanks for checking out my guide.  I have had a look at Ogads, and want to learn more about it before offering an opinion – but it looks like it is one of the smaller networks and is easier to sign up with.

      Max Bounty has a layer where an accounts manager will actually check your website and make a decision.  I wouldn’t want to speculate why you are not getting accepted.  But it may be your traffic levels or your content is not relevant to the brands they specialise in.  It states a phone conversation around it, have you made sure you have added a phone number.  this may be a blocking factor.  Let me know, how you get on



  2. Hi John,

    being paid for generating leads for others is a great way to make some quick cash at the beginning of an online business. What types of commissions or returns are associated with this type of marketing?

    Is this also similar to the Pay-Per-Click concept of google adverts? It appears to me like a good option to add to my website but I get the feeling that I might be focusing on redirecting traffic for others to benefit from rather than them befitting from my site – is this right?


    • Hey Richard,

      I would say it is similar to the concept of Pay per click.  But that is more to bring traffic to your site.  CPA is typically to send them away and earn money.  Commission rates vary depending on the marketplace, much like normal affiliate marketing.  Google Adsense is quite low, whereas some of the others are higher.



  3. I am glad to see an article about CPA marketing. Everyone seems to focus on affiliate marketing instead. But anyone with lots of website traffic can monetize and do well with CPA marketing. I think the key is to focus on keywords that are premium priced in Google Adwords. Insurance and legal services are two industries that advertise extensively and are willing to pay premium prices for ad keywords. 

    • Hey Glen,

      if they are relevant to your niche, then yes they are great choices to choose to advertise.  An established affiliate marketer will definitely explore both options, as it is a great way of building up your earnings with passive income.



  4. This article makes a lot of sense. I’ve always wondered by CPA networks asked me so many questions and even wanting to initiate a phone call whenever I try to apply. I’ve never actually followed through the process because I wasn’t sure what type of CPA would suit my niche. I am thinking if you’re helping a company get a new lead, it should have something to do with services. If so, where can I find the type of service that best fit my blog when it comes to choosing the right CPA? Thanks for your guidance.

    • Hey Cathy,

      thanks for checking out my guide.  The bigger established CPA networks do the right thing by checking that any new affiliate fits with their client base.  They need to pair up the right partners, hence they do the phone calls, etc.

      Relevance is the key to any decision.  When you have a niche, think about what services you would want to find advertised when looking at a site.

      It has to fit in totally with your site and brand.  Not because it has a high commission rate. The CPA sites will typically list the partners you will gain access to when you sign up, check them out.  if one fits your niche, then it is worth applying for it.  If nothing fits, I wouldn’t waste my time.

      hope that helps


  5. Hi;I have leart something about CPA from reading your blog. I already knew about Affiliate Marketing which I consider a good business.  I now take your word for CPA Affiliate Marketing. Because you have given clear instructions, any one can understand. Wealthy Affiliate training is extraordinarily good for online affiliate marketers. 

    What about CPA is there a training platform for cpa? Keep up your good work giving helpful information.


    • Hey DorcasW,

      thanks for checking out my guide.  A lot of the methods used for CPA Marketing is the same as Pay Per Click and Wealthy Affiliate offers great training for that.



  6. Hi John,

    Another outstanding article from you.

    You have a knack of being able to readily explain things in a way which is manageable to the brain.

    This is a mammoth topic broken down into small chunks that almost anyone can understand.

    I have often thought about doing CPA as an income source, but never really knew which program is the best.

    What are your favorites out of the 5 you recommend and why would you recommend them?


    • Hey Tim,

      thanks for checking out my guide and your feedback.  We try really hard to make sure anyone can understand what we are talking about.  

      That question is a tough one, as they all have different factors.  I go back to a previous point, they need to be relevant to your niche for two reasons.

      1. If none of their partners is relevant to your readers, then it isn’t worth it.  You will just put off your readers.

      2. They won’t accept you if you are not going to raise any conversions.  They want to make money from this too.

      So whilst MaxBounty looks a great partner, I wouldn’t use it for Gem’s wedding stationary business as it would not fit into the wedding space.

      There will be benefits to each, depending on your niche. But I wouldn’t discount any of them as it would be down to personal preference.




Leave a comment

Get Our 7-Day Passive Income Bootcamp For Beginners,
Absolutely FREE!

The Free 7-Day Course + Our Blueprint will be sent to the email address you submit below: