What Is CPA Marketing?
And Is Promoting CPA Offers Good For Beginners?
If you’ve been around affiliate marketing for any length of time, chances are you’ve heard of CPA Marketing.
If you haven’t heard of it, well, you have now.
So what is it?
CPA stands for Cost Per Action marketing.
You might be wondering if it’s the same as affiliate marketing…
Well, sort of.
It’s similar but there are few key differences.
With Affiliate Marketing you get paid on the SALE of a product.
For example, if someone clicks one of your affiliate links and actually BUYS the product, you get paid.
I talk a lot about Affiliate Marketing and why it’s such a good income stream in my Affiliate Marketing mini-course.
With CPA Marketing you get paid when somebody performs an action.
A CPA ‘offer’ is the product being sold.
That ‘action’ doesn’t necessarily mean money is spent.
Here are some examples of CPA (Cost per action) actions:
- Somebody submits their email address on a form
- Somebody makes a phone call enquiry
- Somebody returns a physical form
- Somebody submits a survey
- Somebody orders a sample or a trial of a product with their credit card
Each of the above things are examples of CPA ‘actions’ somebody might take which results in you getting paid.
There are more examples, but those are the most common ones.
What Are The Highest Paying Types of CPA Offers?
I’ll put them in order of, generally speaking, the highest paying actions:
As a rule of thumb, the more information asked for, the higher the CPA payout.
So here’s #1.
- Anything that involves somebody ordering a trial or a sample of a product with their credit card, will usually be the highest CPA offer payouts.
These will also usually be multi-step forms.
The payout for these types of offers is usually about $35 dollars, irrespective of the amount the customer actually spends.
This is another difference between CPA Marketing and regular affiliate marketing.
With regular affiliate marketing, the amount you get paid is entirely dependent on how much the customer actually spends.
With CPA Marketing if the customer spends $1 on a trial of a product, you will still be paid $35 dollars for it.
How can this be? You ask…
CPA companies know their numbers very well, in fact, they know their numbers insanely well.
So, if somebody orders a $1 trial, they know on average a certain number will become regular customers.
If the trial is $1 and the product costs $150 dollars, then this would mean the vendor (product owner) makes $115 – AFTER the $35 they pay you for sending them the customer in the first place.
And also, most CPA offers are recurring subscriptions, however, you only get paid the initial $35 dollars for the customer taking the trial.
Which is another key difference between CPA Marketing and regular affiliate marketing, with regular affiliate marketing with any good Affiliate Marketing network you’ll continue to be paid for the duration of life of the customer, usually until they cancel.
The trade off between regular affiliate marketing and CPA Marketing is that $1 trials are an easy sell, that’s why so many CPA affiliates love promoting these CPA offers.
#2 survey submission
Surveys are another popular and relatively high paying CPA offer.
Surveys are extremely valuable to large brands because they are usually centred around consumer research.
Consumer research is gold dust for large companies, because it allows them to keep ahead of the curve and give them an ‘edge’ on their competitors.
Most surveys are highly incentivesed to the person taking the survey, what that means is, people are usually offered some kind of reward for taking it such as:
- free tickets to an event
- Money off vouchers
- Entry into a desirable prize draw
This is good for CPA marketers as it makes it an easy push.
However, most surveys are multi-step, meaning there might be several pages of survey to complete.
This brings me to my next point, generally speaking, the more ‘in depth’ the survey is, the higher the payout.
The flip side to that is, the more questions there are, the more people will bail out before completing it, unless the incentive to complete it is worth the time it will take the person to complete the survey.
Remember, CPA stands for Cost Per Action.
You only get paid on a completed action.
In this case, that ‘action’ is a completed survey.
So, if the person doesn’t complete the survey and bails, yep you guessed it, you don’t get paid.
So you need to strike a balance between a good payout and the amount of information asked.
You need to be careful, a lot of surveys are outright scams and should be avoided.
Later in this blog post I’ll show you were you can find legitimate CPA offers to promote.
So how much do Survey type CPA offers pay?
As I already mentioned, the more ‘in depth” the survey is and the more questions there are, the higher the payout.
But generally speaking, Survey offers will pay between $10 -$25 per completed survey.
So not too bad.
#3 Physical Response Offers
The next one, is really two.
I’m going to put them both together for 2 reasons, they’re the hardest to make money from and they’re also near impossible to track.
Phone call enquiries and physical form returns are the hardest CPA offers to make work and I don’t recommend them.
In fact, I would say stay away from Phone Call Enquiry offers altogether, unless you trust the company with your life to pay you.
These types of offers pay around $10 per form return or phone call enquiry, but as you’ll soon read below, it’s not worth the aggravation, in my opinion.
Note: Phone call enquiry payments varies and are usually dependant on the quality (likelihood of it leading to a sale) and they are usually very high pressure.
People are lazy, so anything that requires any physical activity (yes, picking up the phone is a physical activity) is very difficult to motivate people to act on, unless the incentive to do it, is a ‘no-brainer’.
By ‘no brainer’ I mean something that’s worth about 10x the time it would take them to do it.
Even then, it’s still difficult to get people to physically do anything.
Returning a physical form in the post is even harder, I’d go as far as to say damn near impossible.
Think about it, someone has to 1) sit there, 2) complete the form, 3) buy a stamp and THEN go and 4) post it.
In principle, it’s relatively simple.
But in the CPA Marketing world, that’s near impossible.
However not impossible, but it’s a really BIG ask.
On top of this, it’s nearly impossible to track your efforts and in my experience, I wouldn’t trust the CPA network running the offer to be completely straight with you about how many phone calls were made or how many forms were returned successfully.
Be Careful Of ‘Commission Scrubbing’…
Here’s a bit of ‘insider knowledge’ for you…
There’s a term among CPA affiliates in the industry that’s called “commission scrubbing“.
You probably won’t have heard about this unless it’s actually happened to you.
It’s where you effectively get short changed and paid out less than you’ve earned.
I’ve had this happen to me before.
Without getting into specific details, I’ll give you a very basic example of what might happen when you get “Commission Scrubbed”.
Say for example you send 100 qualified leads to a CPA company, they might only pay you for half of them and hope you don’t notice.
And most novice CPA affiliates never do notice, because they’re not properly tracking their efforts.
I, however, WAS tracking my efforts so I knew I was being ripped off.
It happens a lot.
I’m not going to get into explicitly naming the company involved but just be aware, there are a lot of shady companies out there, especially in the CPA marketing world, so be careful.
Later in this blog post, I’ll show you the best companies that I’ve used in the past.
So anything like phone calls or physical mail, it’s nearly impossible to track on your side, so if you DO want to promote those kinds of offers, you better be prepared to be scrubbed, because I can almost guarantee you it will happen. :/
#4 Email Submit CPA Offers
These are the lowest paying type of offer you can run.
They only typically payout between $0.90c to $1.50 per action, in this case an email address.
But listen, these are actually the HOLY GRAIL of CPA offers bar none.
In the past I’ve absolutely CRUSHED IT with email submit offers and if you can make them work, they can be a very good income stream.
The reason these offers work so well is because:
- The person only needs to submit their email address
- They are usually very enticing
- It takes almost no commitment at all
These are the EASIEST offers to promote.
Whilst this might seem ideal, the internet has changed since I was running these offers in my own campaigns and it’s changed a LOT.
Back in 2013, I made a TON of money promoting email submit offers in the Gaming Niche.
PRO TIP: Gaming CPA offers work like gang-busters.
The reason Gaming CPA offers (especially Online Role Playing Games) worked so well for me, was back in the day, you could run these campaigns on Facebook all day long.
Meaning, I was buying very cheap Facebook PPC ads and running Ads to these email submit pages and because it was the Gaming Niche, people would share my ads with their friends and they’d go viral.
Typically, a new game would be released and in exchange for an email address they’d get access to a free trial of the game, which they would then naturally share with their friends on facebook.
At it’s height back in the day, I was probably making around $800 bucks per day doing this.
They just flat out worked and they worked like crazy.
The problem is, Email Submit CPA landing pages break almost every compliance rule in the book these days and facebook pretty much stopped people from buying Ads for them.
BUT..here’s the thing..
There are a lot of PPC networks beside Facebook and Google Ads, that you might be able to run these types of offers on.
If you can find a PPC network to run these types of ads on, then Email Submit CPA offers are a great revenue stream, you could potentially do nothing else but this.
Especially in the Gaming Niche.
Good CPA Companies
A lot has changed on the internet since 2013 when I was heavily involved in CPA marketing.
A lot of the companies I was using back then, either no longer exist at all or have been acquired by other companies, opening up new and better opportunities for you.
Which happens a lot in the CPA world.
It’s a highly aggressive and volatile environment and it’s 90% of the reason I stepped out of CPA Marketing several years ago.
What you’ll find is, out of every 5 offers you promote, 3 will be hardly worth your time, 1 will be “ok” and 1 will knock the other 4 out of the park and will produce the bulk of your income.
Then all of a sudden the network will reach quota.
What this means is, when a vendor brings a new offer to a CPA network, it usually has either:
- A Budget
- A certain target
When either of those 2 are met (or a combination of both) the offer is typically “paused” or “Capped“.
And in my experience “paused” usually means, never to be seen again and “capped” usually means it MIGHT be seen again.
Which happens a lot with high performing offers, because everyone is promoting it, so they reach “cap” really fast.
And when the offer gets moved out of the network, bang goes your income and you have to find another offer to replace it with.
It’s never ending.
It’s fine if you don’t mind fleeting about but these days I prefer clickbank, it’s much more stable and offers stay around for as long as you keep sending traffic to it.
Another downside to promoting CPA offers, is that they only generally work with paid traffic.
You can’t promote CPA offers with search engine or organic traffic because it’s too slow, for all the reasons we just spoke about in that the world of Cost per action marketing is a constantly changing environment.
By the time you start seeing any traffic from the Search engines, the offer has been and gone and you’ve missed it.
Also paid traffic requires liquid cash investment and you’ll only see a return on that investment once you’ve found a strong offer that works.
All else aside, Cost per Action marketing isn’t particularly newbie friendly, you’re going to be going directly up against some big players in the Affiliate Marketing space.
And it’s fairly brutal.
That’s just the cold hard truth of the matter.
If you get something good going, your campaigns are going to get knocked off pretty fast, which is going to happen anyway, it’s just ‘part and parcel’ of being an affiliate marketer, it’s just in the CPA industry it’s going to happen a helluva lot more frequently.
Having said that, you should never fear competition.
So with that being said, here’s some good CPA networks:
Combostrike were founded in 2007 and focus mainly on Video Game & other gaming CPA offers and if you read earlier in this blog post, I’ve had great success with offers in this vertical.
Note: Think of a “vertical” as a market category eg: Gaming, Health & Fitness, Insurance etc…
They’re a REAL company Headquartered in Berlin, with other offices based in NewYork and Shanghai.
They’re also linked to one of the world’s leading CPA networks for Gaming, Ad2Games.
MaxBounty.com have been around for YEARS.
2004 to be exact.
They have a wide range of categories to choose from including all of the top paying offers, including a wide range of email submit offers.
They’re also probably the most newbie friendly out of all of them.
Health, Fitness & Supplement CPA Networks
MarketHealth.com have been going since 1998 and if you’re interested in the health markets, these guys have the best & Highest paying offers by a mile.
But, they’re tough to get into.
You will need to be able to demonstrate that you can send them quality traffic in volume.
So with this in mind, I suggest you start with Maxbounty first to get that experience under your belt before you approach MarketHealth.
They have a TON of International health & fitness offers with great commission payouts, so it’s worth taking the time getting into their network.
CPAProsperity.com are similar to Market Health, they run more exclusive offers and are therefore harder to be accepted into as an affiliate.
They run similar offers to Market Health but they also cover Dating and Insurance offers.
Insurance CPA offers are high paying and can work great if you have that traffic.
Running paid traffic to the Insurance Category is going to take SERIOUS cash, I’m taslking $30 and upwards per/ click, so you’re going to need deep pockets.
If that doesn’t put you off then it’s a case of “if you have the traffic, they’ve got the offers“.
MoreNiche.com are the only CPA offers I still occasionally promote.
As you might already know, I operate primarily in the Fitness markets and Bodybuilding.
MoreNiche are probably the TOP network right now for promoting CPA offers geared towards the male performance markets, think Bodybuilding, Supplements and legal steroids those kind of things.
Promoting bodybuilding supplements can be difficult, not least because most supplements have a pretty crappy payout.
That’s where MoreNiche are different and I consider them to be one of the good guys.
They offer generous payouts across their range including all upsells and crossells and they are reasonably newbie friendly so, like Maxbounty, they are a good place to start.
Especially if the male market is your bag.