How CPA Marketing works

Ultimate Beginners Guide To CPA Marketing in 2024


CPA Marketing or Cost Per Acquisition/Action Marketing is one thing you must have heard a lot about. You must already know it is a type of online business through which you can make money by promoting affiliate offers on social and advertising them through the advertising networks. We are sure, this must have left you with a bit of excitement. Who does not want to make money? While you are at it, CPA Marketing might be an attractive business model for some, but it takes a lot to start out. But, you need not worry, we are here to help you out.

Affiliate marketing has made businesses millions and ordinary people millionaires. 

-Bo Bennet

Here is your complete CPA Marketing Guide to walk you through the nitty gritty of how it works.


First things first. What exactly is CPA? How does it work and how do you earn through it? CPA Marketing is an affiliate marketing model through which a publisher gets paid for the actions taken on the advertiser’s product or service by the user. These actions can be anything; from buying a product to signing up for any service.

For example, If I you book a hotel on through me, I will get a set percentage of commission from for sending you to their website.

When you register as an affiliate on a network or affiliate program, you get your own tracking link. This link is the way through which you promote the offers and earn your share. You can pick your own traffic source on which you can create campaigns to promote affiliate offers. These campaigns must be planned in such a way that they can send the desired audience to the advertiser’s page. As per your agreement, you will be paid a certain amount every time a user completes the desired action on the advertiser’s website or service. It could be filling up the form, purchasing a product or signing up for any product or service.

How CPA Marketing Works by
How CPA Marketing Works

It sounds easy in theory, but it isn’t. You have to make sure the customers are being targeted by your promotional efforts belong to same the demographic the advertiser or the merchant wants. You have to keep the campaigns optimized all-day long. From your ad copy to the landing page’s content, design and overall outlook, everything has to be optimized in such a way that you get a positive ROI.

CPA Marketing is a hot topic in the marketing world these days. Just like a lot of other people, you can, and you should benefit from it as well. So, the million-dollar question… How can you find the offers that match the exact audience you have already so carefully curated? This guide is essential for beginners, so what we are going to tell you right now is what you should follow.


First of all just like running other businesses online, CPA Marketing gives you freedom of working from home, or anywhere you want. I personally work from home and have many colleagues who are traveling around the globe while running their CPA Marketing campaigns from comfort of their hotel rooms.

CPA is a cost model that has a high payout as compared to other models of affiliate marketing. As mentioned, you get rewarded by the advertiser every step of the way. The more traffic you generate, the more you are going to earn. It all depends on the source you have created and how effective it is. If you already have a high-running Facebook page, website or a blog, then this is the best thing you can do to generate some extra money.

If you find unique angles for promoting your campaigns and maintain high quality traffic then more and more advertisers will be interested in working with you.  In a nutshell, all the effort you put in to make your CPA campaign a success reaps benefits to you with a payout for every single acquisition or action. What could be better than that?


STEP 1: Sign Up for  Affiliate Network Account

To get started, it is a must to create your affiliate network account. An affiliate Network is a middleman between the affiliate and the advertisers that facilitate both to pitch together for the services. They communicate with both and help in maintaining the high-quality and standards on both sides. They help advertisers in finding the right publishers and generate sales, while they help affiliate marketers find high converting offers for their campaigns and making sure publishers get paid on time every time.

Moreover, these networks are way more than just a pitching platform. They offer further perks like dedicated support, relaxed payment options, advanced tracking, training and much more. Once you join a CPA network, it is only the first step towards getting your CPA campaigns and making the most out of them.

When you approach any network, keep in mind you must be honest about your expectations, past experience, and your capabilities. As they say, honesty is the best policy. So, having the right attitude will work wonders. Don’t be conscious about being a newbie, because professionals were a newbie once. Hence, just be professional and enthusiastic in your conduct and we are sure you will land an opportunity with the network.

How to get accepted into a cpa network

Photo by Edho Pratama

Real Challenge starts Once you have your accounts ready! Creating CPA Network Accounts is easy, Its generating traffic and leads that is the most difficult task

Kj Rocker

STEP 2: Choose Your Offers Wisely

When you have decided which network to move forward with, the next step should be to find the offers that best suit you. Don’t go starry-eyed on all the offers you see. Be picky and specific about what you choose. Review the offers you have access to, and decide which ones would suits your traffic source and audience. It will always be beneficial to promote those products, services or offers that resonate with your audience. What I mean here is that you should pick offers related to a niche you know most about as this way you would be already familiar with the audience. In other sense, it would be easier for you to design the campaigns because the effective targeting is the key here. Moreover, you should consult your affiliate manager to see if the offer you are selecting is best offer as per your niche or not. As mentioned, the traffic you bring is the major decision-maker of the offers you should work on.

Another element while deciding your offers will be being aware of the what kind of information and support your affiliate manager and advertiser can provide. Don’t end up working with non responsive affiliate managers who cant provide you enough data which can help you to promote offer. Also asking your advertisers for the access to best converting offer pages is another thing which most of affiliates never do when picking up an offer.

Lastly, you should be aware of the effective CR or conversion rate. If you want a clean offer, it is necessary to take conversion rate into consideration. Payout is not everything, Unlike avg affiliates don’t pass on highly converting offers because you feel their payout is very low. It should be one of the most important things you should consider while planning your campaign. When in doubt, speak to your network’s manager and he will help you align advertiser’s target with your goals.

STEP 3: Working With The Traffic Sources

By the time you choose your offer, you will also have to decide which source you want to use to to generate traffic with. You could either use organic traffic methods or take advantage of paid traffic to see instant results. That is your own choice however you have to know about the offers in-depth completely before you make your move and start promoting them. Different offers allow different promotional methods. Once you start working, you will find out that various traffic sources which works great for product A, may not be as profitable for product B and vice-versa. You just have to decide, which traffic source is expected to give you the better quality traffic . So, you will have to dig deeper to find out, which offer suits which medium and then you will have to use the traffic source accordingly.

The marketing mediums and methods should be tailormade for every offer and product. Spot the advertising networks that convert more than the others and focus your time on them more. Keep testing your strategies along the way too. You can ask your Advertising network account manager about what works best on their traffic source. If you have an account manager on your advertising network, Ask them about what niches work best, What kind of offers are converting better and also get more information about how your ads are being displayed to your audience, Learn about traffic inventory of your traffic source and see who are they.

There are many ways to promote CPA offers using paid traffic sources, You can read more on my blog, However in today’s article I will try to cover mobile advertising.

Mobile Advertising

CPA Marketing in the mobile world is no less or different than the other conventional means. More than half of the internet traffic and users are coming through the phone, and this is the reason you should never ignore mobile marketing. In fact, affiliate marketing has become better than ever because you and the advertisers, both, can reach the target audience easier than before. Read More : Top 10 Mobile Advertising networks in 2019

You can reach to people through different ways via mobile ads, including; push notifications, pop-ups, native ads, display ads, and banners, etc. However, you will have to be extra careful when you are running an ad at both desktop and mobile. The cross-platform advertisement can sometimes end up working on only one platform. So, be vigilant and always test your campaigns before launching them.

Ultimate Beginners Guide To CPA Marketing in 2024

“The adoption rate of mobile is twice that of the internet, three times that of social media, and 10 times faster than PCs.” ~Emma Crowe, Senior Vice President of Client Strategy

If you are confused about which formats you should opt for in mobile advertising, they are the same as the desktops. You will have to tweak here and there to support the mobile showcase, otherwise, they are almost the same. Let us give you a list of the top formats:

  • –          Instant Messaging
  • –          Push Notifications
  • –          Banners
  • –          In-stream Videos
  • –          Interstitial
  • –          Native Ads
  • –          Mobile Popups
  • –          Redirect traffic

Though we haven’t mentioned in the list here, social media advertising is a part of it too. Remember that once you start, it will be trial and error. You will have to experiment with multiple formats to check out which ones work the best for what format. These are just a few ad networks, but there are hundreds and thousands of more out there. Some convert more than the other, so you have to find the former ones.

Push Notifications

Push Notifications aren’t as old as the entire affiliate marketing concept. They are relatively new but have given birth to new strategies like no other. They are best for all those who want to acquire as many customers as possible, because of their magnanimous reach and performance. Unlike social media and many other ad networks, these push notification traffic is dirt cheap and very effective.

If your push notification creatives are well researched, the users engage with them even more. As per the collective statistics achieved, the retention rates can increase up to 20 percent with them. How cool is that?! The cherry on top, they allow you to customize as much as you can. You can deliver them instantly and schedule to reach the audience whenever you want them to.

Lastly, It isn’t hard to reach to the audience. You can either use advertising networks or build your own push notification lists. The push delivery notification service has now given marketers the capability to independently reach as much audience as they want.

The top performing offers for us have been those related to e-commerce, Sweep-takes, App installs and health

The ultimate Guide to Promote CPA Offers with Push Notification Network

Mobile Popups

These ads display either above or below the active window of the user. As the name suggests, they pop on the screen with all the information provided. If you have chosen pop-unders, users will be able to see the ad when the window is minimized.

On the other hand, pop-ups are pop-ups. Yes, we know that didn’t help. What we mean here is that a user has to close the ad necessarily if they want to get back to the page they were at. Hence, it is very effective and if your popup content was interesting, you are definitely going to grab the customer. Just so you know, they have outdone the standard mobile ads on customer interaction, engagement, and CTR in performance.

Native Advertising

In this format, the publisher’s content is being used in the same way it is otherwise used. The only catch is that it links to the affiliate’s intended offer or the landing page. You can download my Native Advertising Guide Free Of Cost Here

Ultimate Beginners Guide To CPA Marketing in 2024

“If you know how to talk to the readers you will sell more”

– Maria Marteleur (Head of Native Advertising and Commercial Editor at Dagens Industri)

Display Advertising

As simple as the title sounds! You buy inventory of ad space from the publishers. Space is then used to promote your own creations that in end promote the offer or product.

Search Traffic

The very basic thing that even those who aren’t interested in CPA Marketing know. The traditional pay per click method, where you will pay the publisher every time you get a click on your promoted content.

Social Media

The last in our list, but definitely not the last in general. There are multiple other platforms, but we have described the ones that will be enough to get you going. Coming to social media, we don’t think we have to make any point here.

Social Media advertising can be targeted as per the campaigns you design. If the demographics are good and the campaign is designed keeping your audience in mind, it will be the best way to get conversions.

STEP 4: Tracking Your Traffic

You can’t work in the long run, if you don’t track your visitors properly. That might be harsh, but that is what you should know while starting. Affiliates must track everything; from ad copies to creative, placements and landing pages. If you want to continue running effective campaigns or make any profit, it is necessary you should know which mediums convert more and are more effective than the others.

Some of the elements you should track include:

  • –          Traffic
  • –          Landing Pages
  • –          Creatives (Banners and other design content, etc.)
  • –          Offers

If you are confused at the metrics should be analyzed, those include:

  • –          Impressions
  • – placements
  • –          Total Visits
  • –          Total Clicks
  • – CTR
  • –          Conversion Rate
  • –          Earnings Per Click/ Earnings Per Visitor
  • –          Return on Investment
  • –          Profit

You must know how to track these metrics in the right way, so all your efforts don’t go down the hill. You won’t have to put any extra effort or do anything additional here. Your campaign manager will have everything stated right there for you.


So, what more to know? For now, we think you have got everything covered. Congratulations! If you have really understood every point here and are excited to move further, you deserve to be congratulated. We think you are pretty ready to take on your first campaign and start experimenting with CPA Marketing.

Remember that venturing into CPA Marketing and slowly acing it is very exciting. While you get new opportunities every day, you get new challenges too. But that is the case with every business or job. You just have to keep yourself updated with the latest knowledge, techniques, and changes in the CPA world. If you are well aware of how things are being done and how you should do them to earn yourself a good profit, keep experimenting and finding out ways through which you can stay on top. As with everything, if you want to stay on top, you have to be aware of everything happening.

The shiny side of having your own CPA Marketing business is that you will be working for your own self and working your own hours too. It is a business that will allow you to have no investment as such and utilize your love for social media. Use the right platform, right audience, and right method. We don’t see how you wouldn’t be able to succeed.

Need more help ? Check out my one on one CPA Marketing Coaching here

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