#1 Ultimate Guide to CPA Marketing – Fastest Way to Make Money [Updated 2023]

Want to create wealth from CPA Marketing Campaigns? This CPA Marketing Guide is going to explain step by step everything you need to know for generating tons of leads and sales using CPA Marketing as an affiliate or business.

We are going to take a dive deep into CPA marketing and explain every aspect of how it works, and the fastest way to make money online from CPA marketing.

What is CPA Marketing?

cpa marketing
cpa marketing

Cost per action (CPA) marketing is a type of online advertising that allows businesses to focus on buying customers or leads who take specific actions, such as making a purchase or filling out a form. It is sometimes referred to as Performance Marketing.

CPA marketing is different from other forms of online advertising, such as pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, because businesses only pay for results, rather than simply paying for clicks.

CPA marketing can be an effective way to generate additional leads and sales for less than what it currently costs to advertise. It allows businesses to target specific actions that are most likely to lead to a sale or conversion.


A business that provides services such as tax preparation may currently spend $100 on Google search ads to acquire one lead in need of such services. Their CPA for that lead is equal to $100.

If the business can find ways to lower its CPA through other performance marketing channels, it can increase its return on investment. (ROI)

CPA marketing can be used to generate revenue from both new and existing customers.

What Is CPA Affiliate Marketing?

CPA affiliate marketing is a type of affiliate marketing in which affiliates are paid based on the action they drive, rather than simply for clicks or sales. This means that affiliates can be rewarded for driving leads, registrations, or even simply for having visitors fill out a form.

CPA affiliate marketing programs can be highly lucrative, as affiliates can earn a significant commission for each lead or sale that they generate. And because CPA affiliate marketing is performance-based, affiliates are typically motivated to drive as much website traffic as possible in order to maximize their earnings.

Who Benefits the Most from CPA Marketing?

There are many different players when it comes to CPA Marketing and all of them stand to benefit immensely from this industry.

The Merchant (Advertiser)

CPA marketing is a cost-effective way to generate leads and sales for businesses. By offering a commission on each sale or lead generated, businesses can encourage affiliates to promote their products and services.

This type of marketing can be particularly effective for small businesses that may not have the budget to invest in other forms of marketing.

Additionally, CPA marketing can be used to target specific demographics, making it an effective way to reach potential customers.

The Publisher (CPA Affiliate Marketers)

Affiliates can benefit from CPA marketing in a number of ways.

For one, they can earn a commission on every lead or sale that they generate for the merchant. Additionally, they can often receive bonuses or other incentives from the merchant for generating high-quality leads or sales. And finally, by leveraging the power of CPA marketing, affiliates can build up a loyal following of customers who are more likely to purchase from them in the future. All of these factors combine to make CPA marketing an extremely lucrative opportunity for affiliates.

The Network (CPA Affiliate Networks)

Affiliate networks exist to bring together businesses (merchants or advertisers) with affiliates (publishers).

CPA marketing is a great way for affiliate networks to generate revenue. By working with advertisers who are willing to pay per action, networks can attract affiliates who want to earn a commission on every lead or sale that they refer.

CPA marketing as an affiliate is often more profitable than traditional affiliate marketing programs. CPA affiliate networks tend to attract more high-scale affiliates and media buyers. By partnering with CPA networks, businesses can get access to a wider range of affiliates, and scale faster.

Ad Platforms & Tools

In addition to the 3 main players above, there are other companies that benefit immensely from CPA Marketing indirectly. There are many affiliate marketing tools such as competitive spy tools, ad platforms like push ads and native ads, and tracking software companies.

As you can see everyone benefits from CPA Marketing when it is done right!

How to Make Money as a CPA Marketing Affiliate

Let’s talk about CPA affiliate marketing and how just about anyone can earn commissions using this model.

The job of an affiliate marketer is to acquire an action (typically a lead, a call, an install, or a sale) for a specific cost. Affiliates have to be able to get people to complete this action for less than the cost they are paid or it becomes un-profitable.

CPA marketing is typically an easier form of affiliate marketing since you can earn commissions without selling anything.

Here is an overview video of how to start as a CPA Marketing Affiliate.

How to Start CPA Marketing

The 5 Steps of CPA Affiliate Marketing

1. Choose a niche:

As with any business, you’ll need to choose a niche in which to operate your CPA affiliate marketing business. This can be any topic or industry that you’re passionate about, but it’s important to choose something that you have some knowledge of so that you can hit the ground running.

2. Find a CPA network:

Once you have your niche chosen, the next step is to find a reputable CPA network to partner with. This is where you’ll find the best affiliate offers that you’ll promote as an affiliate. There are a number of things to consider when choosing a network, such as the quality of their offers, the support they provide, and the commission payout.

You will also need to get accepted into the CPA Network. Check out the Performance Marketing course and Powerhouse Affiliate to learn details on the process for getting accepted.

3. Promote your offers:

The next step is to start promoting your chosen CPA offers. The most common strategy is to build a landing page and send traffic to that landing page. Building a landing page can be done using landing page creators.

As for generating traffic check out our post on traffic sources for affiliate marketing to get a list of the best places for traffic. This can be done through a variety of methods, such as social media, email marketing, or even paid advertising. The important thing is to get creative and get your landing page in front of as many people as possible. We will cover common promotional methods below.

4. Convert leads into sales:

Once you have the traffic coming to your offers, it’s time to start converting those people into the desired action you are going for. This is where your marketing skills will come into play, as you’ll need to create persuasive landing pages and effective sales funnels in order to close the deal. If you need specific examples check out all of the case studies inside the Powerhouse Affiliate training program.

5. Get paid:

The final step is to get paid! Once you’ve made a sale, you’ll receive a commission from the CPA network. This can be payments per lead, per install, or per sale, depending on the offer.

Everything to Know About CPA Marketing Networks

A CPA network is an online advertising platform that connects advertisers to affiliates who will promote their products on a CPA commission structure.

By signing up to a network advertisers can promote their products or services to a wide audience of potential customers. Advertisers typically pay the network for every conversion on a CPA (cost per action) basis.


An insurance company wants to gather qualified leads for their business and they are willing to pay up to $20.00 per lead. The insurance company would negotiate a deal with a CPA network that would send them qualified leads that meet certain criteria.

The network would in turn reach out to potential affiliates on the network and offer to pay those affiliates a commission of $17 per lead for gathering those qualifying leads.

The network would keep the $3 difference as their fee for bringing the two parties together and providing the software and services to make the deal happen.

CPA Marketing networks provide a way for advertisers to reach a large number of potential customers and track the performance of their ads. They also provide a way for publishers to earn revenue from their website traffic.

All of the tracking and affiliate management is done through affiliate networks software programs like Everflow, Cake Marketing, or HasOffers (Tune).

Publishers (affiliates) can sign up for a CPA marketing network, and then get access to hundreds, and sometimes thousands of offers under one network.

Commission rates vary from CPA network to CPA network, and from advertiser to advertiser. Some networks offer higher commissions for specific types of traffic, such as mobile traffic or email traffic.

CPA networks usually have strict guidelines for publishers, to ensure that the ads are displayed correctly and that the traffic is of good quality. There is usually a lengthy application process for affiliates to join. This is to ensure their traffic is of top quality.

Publishers who do not follow the guidelines may have their accounts suspended or terminated.

If you are thinking of working with a CPA network, it is important to research the different networks and to choose one that offers good terms for both advertisers and publishers. You should also make sure that you are familiar with the network’s guidelines, to avoid having your account suspended.

How to Pick Good CPA Affiliate Offers

There are many factors that come into play when choosing the best CPA offers to run. Most CPA offers will have some restrictions in place that limit the way you can promote them. For example, some offers will only pay you when you get conversions from specific countries or specific traffic sources.

One common strategy is to test multiple similar offers that you think would perform well inside your specific niche. Not all offers are created equally and some convert better than others. The only way to really know which offer will perform well is to test it with your traffic.

It is also very important to consider of the offer itself has been brokered many times.

What is CPA Network Brokering? (brokered offers)

When an offer has been brokered it means that it has been passed on through more than one network.


An insurance company wants to gather qualified leads for their business and they are willing to pay up to $20.00 per lead. The insurance company would negotiate a deal with CPA network A that would send them qualified leads that meet certain criteria.

Network A would make the offer available to the affiliates on their network and offer to pay those affiliates a commission of $17 per lead for gathering those qualifying leads. The network would keep the $3. (15% Profit margin).

Network A could also give another network (Network B) access to this offer and Network B would receive $17 per conversion. This means network B can only pay its affiliates $14.50 if they want to keep a 15% profit margin.

As you can see affiliates on network B may not even know that the offer has been brokered and would be paid less than affiliates on network A. The network A affiliates would have a huge advantage over affiliates on network B.

This is why it is very important to work with reputable CPA networks that have direct relationships with merchants, and “exclusive” offers. Do not work with networks that have a majority of brokered offers.

CPA Affiliate Managers

Good CPA marketing networks offer affiliates access to an affiliate manager.

An affiliate manager is a professional who manages relationships with affiliates in an online capacity. They are responsible for recruiting new affiliates, maintaining existing relationships, and providing support to both affiliates and merchants.

As an affiliate who wants to earn money promoting specific offers, it is important to form a relationship with your affiliate manager.

Affiliate managers typically have a strong understanding of the affiliate offers on the network and the various promotional methods that are converting well.

Here are some typical questions to ask your affiliate manager.

1. What are the most effective promotional strategies for this offer?

2. What are the best ways to drive traffic to this offer?

3. How can we improve our conversion rate and earn more commissions?

4. What are the most common mistakes other affiliates make, and how can we avoid them?

5. Is this offer brokered or do you have a direct relationship with the merchant?

Common CPA Marketing Terms You Need to Understand

Before talking about how to scale revenue with CPA marketing it is important to have a solid understanding of some of the most common terms and acronyms in this industry.

Earnings Per Click (EPC)

This is a metric that is used both at the network level and the affiliate level. For example, many CPA networks will display an EPC for each offer.

CPA Marketing EPC

The earnings per click on the network are calculated by dividing the amount of total revenue by the number of total clicks for that offer. So if the network received $10,000 in revenue over 2000 clicks then the EPC is equal to $5.

A higher EPC generally indicates that the offer is converting well for affiliates.

Affiliate marketers should consider the network EPC when deciding on offers to promote; however, EPC is not the only number to consider since it can often be inaccurate.

For example, one affiliate could have a lot of poor quality traffic with no conversions to an offer and therefore skew the calculation of the EPC at a network level.

Affiliates should calculate their own EPC by testing the offer with their own marketing strategy and traffic sources to get a more accurate EPC.

Return on Investment (ROI)

This term is used a lot in the CPA marketing industry to help determine the best ad channels to focus efforts on. It is a percentage of profit or loss on the amount of money you spend on your marketing efforts.

For example, if you spend $100 on Google Ads, and you earn $150 in commissions from your CPA network, then Google ads are giving you a %50 ROI.

Typically affiliates can earn anywhere from 10 – 200% ROI daily on CPA Marketing. *(sometimes higher)

Common Acronyms:

CPI – Cost per install – you get paid when someone installs a mobile app.

CPS – Cost per sale – You get paid when someone buys something

CPL – Cost per lead – You get paid when someone completes a signup form.

PPC – Pay Per Call – You get paid when someone calls a certain phone number.

CR – Conversion Rate – The percentage of people who take the desired action.

LP – Landing page – The page created by the marketer to entice visitors to take an action on the offer.

ROAS – Return on Ad Spend – The amount of money earned on every dollar you spend on an advertising campaign.

Geo – This is the country that the offer accepts traffic from.

Most Common CPA Marketing Traffic Types

Many CPA networks and advertisers only allow certain types of traffic to be sent to their offers. there are many reasons these restrictions are in place. Often times it is for brand protection, or for ad network policies, or for companies to avoid competing with their own affiliates.

If you plan to start making money from CPA Marketing you need to understand all of the traffic types in order to ensure you get paid in a timely manner with no compliance issues.

Email Marketing

Email marketing is sometimes considered free traffic, and involves sending promotional or commercial messages to a group of people using email. It is a form of direct marketing that can be used to generate leads, build customer loyalty, or increase sales. Email marketing is a versatile tool that can generate the highest ROI. CPA marketing affiliates who focus on email typically buy lists or generate email lists through a lead capture funnel. Once they have acquired the email list they can send as many emails as they wish to the list.

Contextual Advertising

Contextual advertising is a form of online advertising that uses information about the user’s current context, such as the search terms they have entered or the content they are viewing, to select and display ads.

Contextual Ads

Contextual advertising can be used in a variety of ways but is most commonly associated with popunders, popovers, in-text ads, or full-page ads in the context.

Contextual advertising is a powerful tool for marketers, as it allows them to target their ads to users who are most likely to be interested in what they are selling. However, it is also a controversial practice, as it can be seen as a form of invasion of privacy.

Some top places to buy contextual ads include Rich Ads and Propeller Ads.

Search & Brand bidding

Search advertising is a form of online marketing in which businesses can purchase ads that appear on search engine results pages (SERPs). The top 2 places to buy search ads include Google and Microsoft Ads.

These ads are usually displayed above, to the right, or at the bottom of organic search results and can be targeted to specific keywords or demographics.

cpa search ads

Search advertising can be an effective way to reach potential customers who are actively searching for products or services like yours. When done correctly, it can be a cost-effective way to drive traffic and generate leads or sales.

When a CPA allows for brand bidding this means affiliates can target the brand name as a keyword in their search ad campaigns.

For CPA Marketing affiliates this traffic type can be very easy to get started with. Check out our post to learn more >> How to Make $100 a Day With Microsoft Ads

Display Advertising

Display advertising is a type of online advertising that involves the use of images, videos, or other forms of rich media to promote a product or service. Display ads are typically found on websites or apps and can take the form of banner ads, video ads, or native ads.

cpa display ads

Display advertising is an effective way to reach out to potential customers and can be used to promote both products and services. Display ads can be targeted to specific demographics, interests, or even locations. When used effectively, display advertising can be a powerful tool for driving traffic to your website or app.

The most popular place to buy display ads is through Google Ads.

Incentive Advertising

Incentive advertising is a CPA marketing technique used to encourage customers or prospects to take action by offering them an incentive. The incentive can be anything of value, such as a discount, free shipping, or a free product or service.

Incentive advertising is most effective when it is targeted at specific demographics and/or psychographics. For example, a company might offer a discount to customers who are new to the brand or who purchase a certain amount of product.

Incentive advertising can be used to increase brand awareness, drive sales, or promote customer loyalty. It is important to carefully craft the incentive so that it aligns with the company’s goals and desired outcomes.

Companies who wish to have affiliates promote their products should be careful to define the types of incentives affiliates are allowed to use. For example, some affiliates may abuse this type of traffic by offering cash incentives for people to fill out forms.

Social Media

Social media advertising can involve both organic and paid advertising methods. Some companies benefit from creating an organic social media following on places like TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, and others. Many influencers monetize their audience through the use of CPA Marketing as an affiliate. They may mention certain products in their posts and link to them.

social ads cost per action
Social Ads

Other companies benefit more from the paid advertising channels. Lead generation and eCommerce are very popular on social media channels like Facebook ads, TikTok Ads, Snap Ads, and Twitter Ads.

Native Advertising

Native advertising is a form of online advertising that is specifically designed to blend in with the surrounding content on a website or app. Unlike traditional banner ads, which are often intrusive and disruptive, native ads are intended to be non-disruptive and seamlessly integrate with the overall user experience.

Native ads can take many different forms, but they all share one common goal: to blend in with the surrounding content and appear as natural as possible. You have probably seen native ads before on major news websites below the articles. See the example below.

cpa marketing native ads
Native Ads

Native ads have become with CPA Marketing Affiliates since they are more lenient than major ad platforms like Facebook and Google Ads.

If you want to learn more about how to run native ads check out our post on Native Ads vs Push Ads.

Push Notification Ads

Push notification ads are a new way for advertisers to reach their target audience. By using push notifications, advertisers can send messages directly to users’ devices, even when the users are not actively using their apps. This allows advertisers to catch users’ attention at any time and get their message across more effectively.

push ads cpa
Push Ads

Push ads are probably one of the lowest cost-per-click forms of paid traffic online. Many affiliates use Push ads since they are low-cost, and very lenient towards compliance.

Check out this video explaining push ads:

Now that you are familiar with paid traffic sources associated with CPA Marketing let’s talk briefly about Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

Is SEO a Good Traffic Source for CPA Marketing?

SEO is an important traffic source for any website, but it is especially important for CPA marketing. CPA marketing is all about generating leads and conversions, and SEO can help you do just that. By optimizing your website for the search engines, you can attract more visitors to your site which will lead to more leads and conversions.

If you’re not using SEO to drive traffic to your CPA marketing campaign, you’re missing out on a valuable opportunity.

One important thing to consider as a CPA marketing affiliate is that CPA offers often expire over time. Affiliates who wish to use SEO as a marketing tactic should really consider building evergreen content and collecting leads for themselves first. By focusing their content too much on specific products affiliates risk the chance of offers expiring and their content being irrelevant.

Does CPA Marketing Work?

Yes, it certainly does! CPA marketing is an effective way to generate leads and sales for your business. In fact, many businesses use CPA marketing as their primary source of income.

Recent statistics show that CPA Marketing is growing at an alarming rate, with over $12 billion being spent on CPA Marketing in the United States alone.

CPA marketing works by having advertisers pay publishers (affiliates) for each action that is taken by a lead or customer. The actions that are typically paid for include sales, sign-ups, and form submissions.

CPA marketing is a great way to make money, but it’s not a get-rich-quick scheme. You’ll need to put in the time and effort to generate leads and sales. However, if you’re willing to put in the work, CPA marketing can be a highly effective way to make money online.

To learn more check out the in-depth CPA Marketing Course at Powerhouse Affiliate!

Joey Babineau

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