CPA Marketing Tips: What is it and How to Start?

Affiliate marketing and its different models like CPA marketing have become buzzwords in today’s time. Everyone seems to be talking about them, and that shows the growing importance of digital marketing. 

While traditional marketing channels, like TV, newspaper advertisements, etc., still hold importance, more and more companies today are moving towards promoting their products and business through the Internet. 

One method of digital marketing that is gaining much attention is Cost Per Action or CPA marketing. 

In this article, we’ll explore what it means, how it works, and how you can get started as a CPA marketer. 

What is CPA marketing?

Cost Per Action, or sometimes, Cost Per Acquisition marketing, is an affiliate model of marketing. Here, the affiliate generates a commission whenever a user takes a specific action.

Now, this Action doesn’t necessarily mean making a purchase. It can be anything like:

  • Filling out a form
  • Submitting an email 
  • Signing up for a free trial
  • Downloading an ebook 
  • Creating an account
  • Signing up for a newsletter
  • Taking a survey, etc.

In CPA marketing, the affiliate is paid a fixed amount when the user fulfills the specific Action, irrespective of whether they purchase.

How does CPA Marketing exactly work?

The working of CPA Marketing is explained below under two different heads. first we will discuss some terminologies then the working process of CPA Marketing:

1. CPA Marketing Terminologies

CPA marketing works in a very simple and interesting way. But to understand the whole process, let’s first understand a few terms associated with it.

  • Affiliates or Publishers

Bloggers, influencers, or marketers who promote a particular business’ products and drive quality traffic to their website or landing page.

  • Advertisers

They are businesses that want to promote their products by using the affiliate’s network and audience.

  • CPA networks

They are websites that bring the affiliate and the advertiser together. Advertisers can sign up on these platforms to start with CPA marketing while businesses post their offers here.

  • Visitors

They are the people to whom the affiliate promotes the products and help them earn commissions by fulfilling the Action

2. CPA Marketing Process Explained

  • Businesses that want to promote their products contact CPA networks, providing offers, product details, commission rates, etc. 
  • On the same platforms, affiliates browse offers to find those that match their niche and audience. Once they find a suitable offer, they get in touch with the respective business through the network. 
  • So, the CPA network helps the affiliate and the business find each other and work together. 
  • After everything has been agreed upon, affiliates can start promoting the company’s product on their website or wherever they have an audience. 
  • Creating relevant content around the product or its niche entices visitors to check out the company’s page and take specific actions like filling a form, giving their email, etc. 
  • For every visitor that completes the Action, the affiliate earns a fixed amount.  

Why is CPA marketing popular?

CPA marketing owes its popularity to the many benefits it offers like:

1. It’s easy to get started

All you practically need to get started with CPA marketing is a website that gets considerable traffic. In some cases, you can even start without a website — by promoting products through channels like Facebook, YouTube. The important point here is to have an audience interested in what you share and get you commissions.

2. Low risk

You don’t need a substantial monetary investment to get started as an affiliate. As for businesses, they only have to pay when the visitor completes the Action. Unlike the per click or per impressions model, they only pay when a visitor converts.

3. Low investment

CPA marketing is not only profitable for affiliates but also businesses. Instead of spending a huge sum on their marketing efforts, companies advertise their products through their affiliates. The only major cost involved is the commission they pay, and that too is paid after they get the desired result.

4. Simple to manage

It can take time to understand how it works and get the ball rolling. But once you’ve established yourself, CPA marketing doesn’t require a lot of effort and is simple to manage.

How to get started with CPA Marketing? 

Here’s how you can get started with CPA marketing in five simple steps:

1. Create a website

If you don’t already have a website, you should consider starting one. While you can also get accepted into CPA networks without a website, having one increases your chances of getting through.

2. Drive traffic to your website

To be successful at CPA marketing, you need to get significant traffic on your website. The best way to go about it is to learn Search Engine Optimization and use targeted keywords in the content you create. This takes time to take off, but you can get good organic traffic once ranking for these keywords.

You can also use your social media handles to promote your website or create videos on YouTube with a link to your website.

3. Choose a niche

Pick a niche for yourself based on the content you create on your website and your audience. Your niche is the market you would like to step into and the kind of products you offer your audience. Some examples of niches are fitness, health, beauty, sports, gaming, etc.

4. Find an offer

Once your website starts getting good traffic, it’s time to look up advertisers selling products in your niche and study their recommendations. For this, you can use websites like oDigger and OfferVault.

When you find a suitable offer, check whether it’s available for your country and traffic type. Moreover, check out the product or company’s landing page — make sure it looks neat, presentable, and attractive. Don’t take up offers that look shady. 

5. Join the CPA network

After you find an offer you like, you have to join the network where it is posted. For this, you’ll need to fill out application forms. Even if you’re starting as a CPA marketer, be honest in your application and make unrealistic claims.

6. Build your site around the offer

Once you get accepted into the network, you can promote the offer on your website. Market the product in a way that doesn’t look very sales and doesn’t put off your audience. For instance, you can avoid banner advertising.

By following the above-mentioned steps, you can start your journey with CPA marketing. 


CPA marketing is a win-win situation for both businesses and affiliates. The former get to increase their profits by cutting down on marketing costs and getting qualified leads, while the latter get commissions when their visitors take the specific Action. 

CPA marketing can prove extremely profitable, provided you understand the basics well and get started the right way. 

To learn more about digital marketing and get hands-on experience, you can check out upGrad’s Digital Marketing Online Program. It covers SEO, SEM, branding, content marketing and digs deep into 70 digital marketing platforms and tools. The program comes from MICA and upGrad, offering you the best of both. 

What is affiliate marketing?

Affiliate marketing is a marketing arrangement where a business pays you for every visitor or customer you get them through your marketing efforts. You get paid every time you generate a lead or drive a sale for the business, depending upon the agreement.

Affiliate marketing can be a lucrative source of passive income, provided you create quality content. You have built a decent following for yourself.

What is the difference between CPA marketing and affiliate marketing?

Both affiliate marketing and CPA marketing involve the same visitor-affiliate-business relationship. However, in CPA marketing, you don't necessarily have to make a sale to earn a commission. The users only have to take a specific action, whatever it may be.

Secondly, in CPA marketing, the commission is mostly a flat rate or a fixed price. In other affiliate marketing models, you generally get a percentage of the conversions you drive. For example, 10% of the purchase the customer made.

What are some of the best CPA networks for beginners?

Top CPA networks include MaxBounty, PeerFly, AdGateMedia, CPALead, Perform(cb) (previously Clickbooth), etc.

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