What Is CPA Marketing – An Easy Guide To Get You Started

If you are new to making money online and more so affiliate marketing then before you continue with this overview explaining what is CPA marketing make sure you grab your free 7-day email Bootcamp where I will show you how to start your own online affiliate marketing business.

You may also what to check out my no1 recommendation for making money online too.

Okay, so let’s go through what is CPA marketing and how you can use it within your affiliate marketing business.

What Does CPA In Marketing Mean

The first thing we need to cover is what most people new to this type of marketing ask, “what does CPA stand for?”

Well, the letters CPA stand for Cost Per Action or also used Cost Per Acquisition both describe well what this type of marketing involves.

So what is the process…

CPA for advertisers is a fairly risk-free marketing strategy as they only pay out when a potential customer

How Does CPA Marketing Work

CPA is a form of affiliate marketing where you get paid commissions when customers take a specific action. This could be filling out a form, signing up for a free trial, getting a quote, even downloading browser extensions.

Advertisers like CPA as it is a fairly low-risk marketing model because they only pay out when a specified action is taken. They then make their money on the back end of the deal.

As an affiliate marketer, this provides us with unlimited niches where you can make money without it costing anything. It has become very popular as the customer doesn’t have to make any purchase for you (the affiliate) to receive a commission.

How Do You Get Started In CPA Marketing

There are a few things you will need to follow if you are thinking of venturing into CPA marketing. The order of these could be different but this is what most people would do.

  • Build A Website – Most CPA Networks desire that you have a website so building a simple but, a professional website will need to be done. With platforms such as WordPress, this is very easy to do.

If you need a website then read my article on how to build a website in under 10 minutes

  • Training – There are many things you will need to know about affiliate marketing, CPA and generally making money online. Having a website you can visit on a regular basis to continually learn is vital.

The website I use to keep me updated is Wealthy Affiliate read my overview of their university here 

training hq in wealthy affiiate

  • Joining CPA Networks – All networks are free to join but, most will need you to meet certain criteria
  • Find An Offer – Once accepted you can search for a relevant offer to promote.

cpa network offers

  • Drive Traffic – The final step in the process would be to get some eyeballs on your product or service. This could be achieved through various means. Here are the main ways.

Search Engine Optimization

Creating content and optimizing it for SEO is a great way to drive traffic to your offers. Check out our best practices SEO post. It is also totally free so ideal if you are starting on a low or zero budget.

Pay Per Click

PPC can give you nearly instant results, but you will need to keep tight control over your ads as these could easily mount up. Set a small daily budget, and tweak your ads accordingly to get the best return on your investment.

YouTube Marketing

YouTube is not only the second largest search engine on the planet, but video is also just rocking it at the moment and only going to grow over the next few years. Make videos and then promote them across all your social platforms, you can also embed them into your blogs too.

Read my 5 tips to success on Youtube post here

Social Media

As I have just mentioned social media has never been so big. I would test various platforms against each other as certain niches could perform better on different platforms. Create accounts on them all and then test and tweek to find the best ones to focus on. I would not focus on more than two at a time.

Note:- Always read the terms and conditions when promoting on any websites

Read this article for more ways to promote your affiliate links

Terminology You Need To Know For CPA Networks

If you are brand new to CPA marketing then read through this section on the terminology that is used by the CPA Networks.

In no particular order let’s go…

  • Affiliate Manager – With most networks, you will be assigned an affiliate manager they are there to help you. So ask questions if needed, they should have a wide range of knowledge that you can tap into.
  • Commission – This is another word for the money you will make once your customer has taken the necessary action required to trigger a payout.
  • Conversion Rate – These are the percentages that will show you how your promotions are going. These will be found in your account stats and can prove a vital part of your success. For example, if you are promoting a product to a particular audience and the conversion rate is very low, you can then look at changing things to improve this.
  • Chargeback – On some offers, the customers may choose not to go ahead and you may then lose the commission. This would show up in your account as a chargeback. We don’t want any of these LOL!
  • Cookies – Not an oat-based biscuit covered with choc chips, but a small piece of coding that is dropped on your customers PC, Laptop or mobile device that is linked to you the affiliate. When a commission is then triggered the company will know it is you that needs to be paid the commission. Cookies can vary in length from just a day to a whole year.
  • CPA – We have already covered this one earlier but for those that can’t remember it stands for “Cost Per Action”
  • ROI – Another term that is commonly used and means “return on investment” you always want to keep these high in any business.
  • Offer Page –  These are the pages that you are given by the company of the product you wish to promote.
  • EPC – Earnings Per Click, is the amount of which an affiliate makes for every click on their affiliate links

Tips To Getting Accepted Into CPA Networks

Sometimes with CPA networks, you do have to jump through a few hoops before they will accept you as an affiliate some will even want to have a phone call with you to verify everything before you’re okayed in.

In this section, I have a few tips that you can do which will help you get accepted, although every network is different so there are no guarantees at all.

Recent Great Content

I have already covered about needed to have a website. You will need to supply them with your URL within the application. They will go and look at it…

So, my first tip is to make sure you have plenty of great content on your site, if you have a brand new site then I would add a few posts before you apply to be sure. Make sure your site looks professional and has all the correct disclaimers and privacy notices, this will give you some advantage.

Read more on keyword research for content marketing

Join Other Affiliate Networks

By joining other affiliate networks this tells the CPA network that you are already active within the affiliate marketing space. If you have already received checks from these networks then this is a big plus as it tells them that your marketing has been successful.

If you are not a member of any other affiliate networks the one I would recommend is Clickbank mainly because it’s one the oldest trusted platforms, its simple to get started and you can promote across a wide range of niches.

Read how to make money on Clickbank 

clickbank affiliate network

Socially Pro-Active

Not only having a presence across all the social platforms but being proactive on at least two will be more beneficial, especially if you are going to using these to promote your offers.

Be sure to read the individual offers as not all allow promotion on social networks, but if this is preferred route then just promote the offers that allow this.

Make sure your accounts look professional with great profile pictures, descriptions and content. Again these could be looked at and first impressions count.

It goes without saying that more followers will stand you in a better position but if everything is in order and you are active then this should be okay.

Now, I am not saying that you will or will not be accepted by any CPA network but in my experience ticking all these boxes can only help your application.

Finishing Up

WOW! There is a lot of information to get your head around in this article, if you have information overload don’t panic just start piecing together everything you need to do.

If you are starting from ground zero then get a grip with the basics like setting up social accounts, start building followers. Maybe look at joining a network like Clickbank first and dipping your toe into affiliate marketing.

Look at building your website, and creating content around some offers… when you feel comfortable then look at applying to a CPA Network, there are plenty on the internet but if you want my recommendation I would look at Max Bounty, I found them easy to get accepted.

If you want a step by step guide as a complete beginner then sign up to my free 7-day email course where I show you each day how to start your own online affiliate business. Just use the optin boxes on this page to sign up.

Disclosure:- Affiliate links may be used within this post. This means that if you purchase through my site after clicking a link when I get a small commission, at NO extra charge to yourself. This helps me to continue giving great free content. Thanks
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12 thoughts on “What Is CPA Marketing – An Easy Guide To Get You Started”

  1. Hi Martin,

    Thank you for this post on introduction to affiliate marketing and I found it very helpful. I am a total beginner and still finding my ways to improve and be better at creating content and attract traffic. I appreciate you reiterate the fact that affiliate marketing takes time and patience. We do need this reminder constantly to be on track. Good luck and best wishes to you!


  2. Wow! Your article has given me lots of useful information! I’m glad I signed up for Clickbank, I already tried it out and it is easy to use once you get the hang of it. There are indeed so many products on it. I hadn’t heard of CPA, but it is also something I want to do, now that I’ve read your post. I just have one question, are you required to promote or post ads on your website every day? Could I also use a link directly in a post on social media or only in an article on my website?

    • Hey, Christine glad you found it useful. As regards to your questions, you can promote as and when you like, each individual offer will say where and how you are allowed to promote. 

  3. Since I am fairly new at affiliate marketing, I have not heard of CPA.  Would you recommend having good traffic before joining one of these marketing groups?  Does CPA work with all niches?  

    Thank you for bringing this to my attention!  I will definitely look into it and see if it can help me on my site.


    • Hey Karen thanks for your questions. Having lots of traffic will always help but you can join CPA networks at any time. There are normally offers in many niches.

  4. Hello, I really want to first appreciate your effort in putting this great website together and writing this article. it is just much of a process that so much verification needs to be done before acceptance. although it is a very good platform, i would still prefer wealthy affiliate. i followed your link

    • Thanks for your comment Benny, Look forward to working with you 🙂

  5. Thank you for this complete guide on CPA marketing for beginners!

    I agree with you that having the right training that will give you the knowledge and skills are really vital to the success of affiliate marketing. In fact, the lack of knowledge is one of the causes that make 95% of affiliate marketers to fail.

    Building a website is also important because it is the means by which you can not only attract customers and as you mentioned allow companies to approve our application.
    Thank you for sharing!

  6. This is great, you’ve put everything together in a single place. It took me a while to read it, but it’s easy when you have a genuine interest. 

    I really loved your post on “how to build a website in under 10 minutes”. I’ve also taken a look at your “No.1 Recommendation to make money online” become a Wealthy Affiliate member (it’s free to try and you get 2 free websites). I also love how responsive is the community. There is always a lot of people in the chat-room and forums, answering your questions and willing to help you,

    Thanks for sharing this very informative post!

    • Thanks for your comments Juan glad you liked the posts,and wealthy affiliate 


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