What the Heck is CPA Marketing All About Anyways?

Often times, we'll run across people who've heard of affiliate marketing but in a slightly different sense than what we're used to.

You see there are different ways to earn affiliate commissions and although we prefer the content publishing model and Amazon associates program, it doesn't mean that other monetization methods don't work.

In fact, they do.

In the following post, we're going to go over the nuts and bolts of CPA affiliate marketing and how you can add it into your current revenue stream or perhaps start creating one.

What Is CPA Marketing Today?

Cost Per Action (CPA) Marketing works when an affiliate (you) earn a commission after a site visitor takes a specific action.

This includes signing up on a form, getting set up with a trial, obtaining a quote, etc.

CPA Marketing vs Affiliate Marketing

The main difference between affiliate marketing and CPA marketing is that CPA is often associated with creating leads.

Rather than converting a sale.

With many affiliate programs, you're often left to your own devices. 

However, with a CPA network, you'll be assigned a dedicated affiliate manager.

There are benefits to forming a better relationship with your affiliate manager but you also have to understand that sometimes they'll push you towards an offer that also benefits them too.

For example, they might be rewarded with a better incentive for specific offers they present your way.

Who's Involved With CPA Marketing?

Essentially, we've got 4 parties involved:

The Advertiser – They're the ones who own the product/offer that you'll be driving leads to.

The CPA Network – This a third party that advertisers are working with to attract the best affiliates for their offer.

The network also ensures that the advertiser's rules are being followed (where you can advertise, what you can't say or claim, etc.)

The Affiliate – The person or team that is creating content and using their own funds to promote the advertisers offer to their audience.

The affiliate is responsible for turning a visitor to a lead.

The Lead/Visitor/Potential Customer – The person whom ultimately purchases the product or service from the advertiser and was encouraged by the affiliate to sign up.

That's pretty much it.

Now let's get started with finding the right offer.

1) Search For An Offer

Assuming you've already got a niche built out then head over to OfferVault or oDigger and start typing in phrases and products in your niche.You may also want to check out the spy tools available for CPA affiliates too. Adplexity or AdSector are some of the most popular ones (they're not cheap though.)

From here, you'll be able to screen most of these offers by looking at the requirements & restrictions.

Some offers won't let you run ads in certain countries, while others may require that you use certain wording that can mess up your SEO, so be mindful of this.

If you're not familiar with OfferVault or oDigger, then let's take some time to familiarize yourself before moving forward.


This is a search tool that helps you sort through 40,000+ CPA offers.

It's free to use and can organize based on several features: Payout, Type, Category, and Network.

offervault popular pages
Offervault Categories

Their site even shows you what other people are searching for live and also the most popular searches in the last 10 days.

I think my favorite feature is the landing page thumbnails.

You can quickly glance through tons of offers by hovering over the magnifying glass beside the titles.

You want to find something that at first glance looks trustworthy and isn't spammy.

Keep in mind that you can create your own landing pages too.

A lot of hilarious CPA offers exist, so enjoy yourself a bit and cruise around to see what you SHOULDN'T offer.

Offervault landing page preview


oDigger is another CPA search tool like OfferVault.

It's quite similar to OfferVault but you should always check on both sites to see how much an identical offer will pay you.

oDigger and OfferVault aren't perfect but work well in seeing payout discrepancies.

With a bit more offers in their engine, oDigger carries around 60,000 CPA payouts.

You can look through every network's reviews and they also have an area that highlights trending searches as well.

odigger search

2) Apply To A Network

Although there are hundreds of networks out there, some of the most popular platforms are Maxbounty, Panthera, and PeerFly.

Be sure to fill out all the information they ask for and provide a working phone number because they will call you to make sure everything is legitamite on your end.

3) Strategically Create Your Content

Once you've narrowed down a niche, offer, and also a network the offers are on…

It's time to start creating the content.

It's unlikely that you'll be accepted into a network without a website, so that's the first thing.

Review Websites – This is personally our bread and butter. We like the ability to build websites that can attract organic visitors from SEO. This is very targeted and passive. Our sites don't only have reviews on them but also contain plenty of informational articles.

For more info, check out our selection of done-for-you sites here.

Landing Page – This is simply a page on your site that explains the offer and is meant to drive people to convert into a lead. The one thing we love about this strategy is that you can utilize the spy tools we mentioned in step #1 and reverse engineer the pages that they've built out.

Here's a video from our friend Paul explaining exactly what we mean:

Quizzes – This is an effective way to build a funnel within an ad. You can build a quiz that eventually leads to an offer to sign up. For example, you might create a quiz on “what treats does your dog enjoy the most?” and have the end of the quiz lead to a signup for Barkbox (a subscription to dog products each month)

4) Get Visitors To Your Page

There are plenty of ways to get traffic to your site but let's go over the most common ones:

SEO – This is where we're reverse engineering topics that your offer would align nicely with and creating content to rank in Google for. This process isn't the quickest but it's more passive and consistent once you get there. Assuming your niche is evergreen.

PPC – Most CPA affiliates go this route because they're looking for a quick hit. I'm not saying this in a negative manner either. The fastest way to see if your content and messaging works is to run ads and pay for traffic.

Social Media – If you have a large social media following then this could be your golden ticket. Many people have built massive revenue streams from building an audience on social media. You can also hijack your way into other Facebook groups too, that you don't own. You can even borrow another Facebook groups pixel.

5) Converting Visitors Into Leads

At the beginning when you're choosing an offer, you'll be told by the advertiser and network how they'll be tracking your conversions.Usually, this happens in three ways: by cookie, telephone, or promotional codes.A cookie is a file placed onto your browser for a limited time.

The telephone conversion happens when someone calls a number and stays on the line for a certain length of time.

Finally, a promotional code is something used in the checkout that helps identify the affiliate.With that in mind, let's talk about the levers you can turn to increase conversions:Copywriting – This is an essential skill if you're going to be earning a living online. It's defined as the art and science of selling through words (either text or spoken.) Advertising and copywriting go hand-in-hand.Video – If you can whip up a professional video it'll help move people along. Especially if you're just asking for a little information so the advertiser can follow up with their own team. Copywriting also blends in with video because that's where you'd hear the term “video sales letter (VSL)” come in. Copywriting is part of the script you'd be using to sell the visitor to sign up.Emails – You can also increase your conversions and also decrease your costs by grabbing the visitors email first and then asking them to because fill out the lead form later. This way you can keep their email and tighten the relationship. Making it a lot easier to stay in the niche with relatively low marketing costs, when compared to starting fresh.

Landing Page Arrangement – If you are completely failing at this, then I urge you to reexamine how your content is arranged. Take a look at how the top performing landing pages are created and then reverse engineer them. Breaking down each section into something replicable.

An image created by Synapse Media

Segment Your Funnel – Try breaking up your funnel and place content pieces that are more engaging at the top of the funnel. For people that visit those initial pages, remarket to them with even more relevant content and eventually make your ask once they are warmed up.

Do this instead of coming up and asking them to get married first. Ask for the date first.

Get what I mean?

Quick Tips Before Getting Started

Now that we've gone through the nuts and bolts of CPA marketing, I wanted to invite Evan Maslennikov, the CEO of RunCPA to share some final words of advice:

There is no offer, market field or advertising strategy that will work forever. That’s why you should be constantly expanding your horizon, follow the ever-changing best practices, test new tools and approaches and split-test everything you can.

Like everything.

Start expanding to adjacent verticals with small budgets. Subscribing to a couple of forums or discussion boards would help a lot – casual chitchat with like-minded people won’t take a lot from your day, but it’s a consistent source of fresh new ideas on how to increase your ROI.

I guess it's time to go and track down an offer on oDigger or OfferVault.

If you've already built a site where the offer would fit nicely, then apply with your full details to the affiliate network of the offer.

If you don't have a site set up then let us help you by creating content that can soak up the SEO & is written well enough that you can be confident to run ads to it.


  • Custom Built Affiliate Sites
  • Done-For-You Starters
  • Aged Domain Starter Sites

2 thoughts on “What the Heck is CPA Marketing All About Anyways?”

  1. yashika sharma

    Hi Kelvin,
    Thanks for sharing details of Cost per Action Affiliate Marketing,
    Growth of CPA affiliate networks over the last one decade has been increasing at an alarming rate. Due to the influx of new ad networks, competition has leveled up. CPA Affiliate Network can be beneficial for publisher as well as advertiser as the former gets commissions per sale and the latter sells products with ease.Youc can partner a Mobile ad network https://appsdiscover.com for Being a Part of CPA Affiliate Network.

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