What is CPA Marketing

Veranika Minina 10 January 2024 Beginners

Table of contents:

  1. Key Points of CPA Marketing
  2. What Does CPA Marketing Mean?
  3. Whom CPA Marketing is Suitable for?
  4. Benefits of CPA Marketing
  5. How Does CPA Marketing Work?
  6. CPA Marketing Categories
  7. What Are CPA Networks?
  8. CPA Marketing Tips
  9. FAQs

In today’s dynamic digital marketing landscape, businesses strive to employ diverse strategies and innovative approaches to effectively engage their desired audience. Among these methods, CPA (Cost Per Action or Cost Per Acquisition) marketing has emerged as a potent tool.

This article aims to provide an in-depth exploration of what CPA affiliate marketing is, unraveling its fundamental principles, advantages, and its potential to propel triumphant paid marketing campaigns. But first, let’s start with the definition of the key points.

Key Points of CPA Marketing

An advertiser is an owner of the product or service being promoted. Advertisers are also referred to as merchants, vendors, or brands. They seek to increase sales, generate leads, or drive specific actions related to their product or service through the efforts of affiliate marketers.

An affiliate marketer is an individual who promotes offers (products or services) on behalf of advertisers. The affiliate acts as a middleman between the advertiser and the potential customers, driving traffic and generating conversions through their marketing efforts. They may have their own websites, blogs, social media platforms, email lists, or other online channels through which they promote the advertiser’s offers.

CPA means Cost Per Action or Cost Per Acquisition. This is a pricing model used in affiliate marketing according to which the affiliate marketer is paid for actions performed by users: filling out a form, sign-up, app downloading, games or VPN installations, and so on.

CPA Networks is a platform that connects advertisers and affiliates. CPA affiliate networks work as intermediaries, facilitating the relationship between advertisers and affiliates by providing a centralized platform for tracking, reporting, and managing affiliate campaigns.

What Does CPA Marketing Mean?

CPA marketing is a form of affiliate marketing where advertisers pay affiliates based on specific actions or conversions that are generated as a result of the affiliate’s marketing efforts.

In CPA marketing, the advertiser sets a specific action as the target, and affiliates are compensated when their referred traffic completes that action. The affiliate’s role is to drive traffic to the advertiser’s offer and convince users to take the desired action. The advertiser, in turn, pays the affiliate a predetermined commission for each successful action.

Whom CPA Marketing is Suitable for?

CPA model is used in online marketing. It is suitable for businesses that offer a mass product that is distributed to a wide audience. As a rule, these are online stores, online gambling sites, betting companies, travel agencies, ticket and hotel reservation services, and online courses. That is why, such verticals as Software and mobile utilities, Gaming, Sweepstakes, eCommerce, Nutra, Finance, iGaming, Dating and others are in demand.

CPA marketing traditionally works well with products aimed at a wide audience. However, it is possible to enter this market with niche products.

Benefits of CPA Marketing

Let’s explore the unique benefits that make CPA marketing an invaluable tool for advertisers and affiliates alike:

  1. Diverse Range of Offers: CPA networks provide affiliates with access to a wide variety of offers from different advertisers across various verticals. This diversity allows affiliates to choose offers that align with their niche, expertise, and target audience as well as increases the chances of generating conversions and maximizing their earnings;

  2. Measurable Analytics and Insights: CPA affiliate marketing provides robust tracking and analytics tools that furnish affiliates with real-time data and insights. By monitoring key performance indicators, affiliates can make data-driven decisions, identify successful tactics, and optimize their campaigns for improved results;

  3. Low Barrier to Entry: CPA marketing typically has a low barrier to entry, allowing marketers with limited resources or technical knowledge to start their affiliate marketing journey. Many affiliate networks provide user-friendly platforms, training resources, and support to help affiliates get started and succeed.

Overall, the popularity of CPA affiliate marketing stems from its performance-based nature, diverse offer selection, and the opportunities it provides for both advertisers and affiliates to achieve their marketing and revenue goals.

How Does CPA Marketing Work?

One of the main peculiarities of the CPA marketing world is the involvement of three elements. They are:

  • Advertisers — search for affiliate partners to promote its products or services;
  • Affiliates — promote an advertiser’s product or service among their audience with the help of affiliate links and receives commissions for it;
  • CPA Networks — connect affiliates with advertisers, collect offers as well as serve as CPA search engines for marketers.

CPA Marketing Processes

CPA affiliate marketing involves the following processes:

  1. Offer owners create CPA offers and specify the desired action or conversion they want to track. These experts also determine the payout or commission they are willing to offer for each successful action;

  2. Interested affiliates sign up for the reputable CPA network. They provide their details and are approved by the offer owners or affiliate managers;

  3. Affiliates browse through the available CPA offers within the network. They select offers that match their capabilities, promotion methods, payouts, verticals, payment models and other factors;

  4. Affiliates promote the offers through various marketing channels such as websites, blogs, social media, email marketing, search engine marketing (SEO), display advertising, push notifications. They use their marketing skills and resources to drive traffic to the advertiser’s landing page or website;

  5. Visitors or users who come across the affiliate’s promotional efforts are enticed to take the desired action. This could involve making a purchase, filling out a form, subscribing to a service, or downloading an app;

  6. When a user completes the desired action, the conversion is tracked and recorded. This is typically done through a tracking link or pixel placed on the advertiser’s website. The affiliate network or tracking system captures the necessary information about the conversion;

  7. The advertiser or affiliate network manager reviews the conversions to ensure they meet the predefined criteria and are valid. They verify that the actions were completed legitimately and in compliance with the campaign’s terms and conditions;

  8. Once the conversions are validated, the offer owner calculates the commissions owed to the affiliates based on the agreed payout structure. Payments are typically made on a regular schedule, such as weekly or monthly, depending on the affiliate network terms;

  9. Both affiliates analyze the performance of the CPA campaigns. Offer owners evaluate the ROI (Return on Investment) and make adjustments to optimize their offers, targeting, or landing pages. Affiliates track their conversion rates and earnings, optimizing their marketing strategies to maximize profits.

CPA affiliate marketing provides a win-win situation for advertisers and affiliates. Offer owners only pay for actual results, while affiliates have the opportunity to earn commissions by driving valuable actions for the advertisers.

CPA Marketing Categories

Explaining what is CPA marketing for beginners, we would like to focus your attention on such things as categories. They are pay-per-sale, pay-per-action, and recurring payments. Let’s take a closer look at each type.

Pay Per Sale

This category means that the advertiser pays the affiliate a percentage of each sale made by the users. If the user went through the sales funnel, but the sale itself did not take place, the affiliate does not receive a percentage for it.

Pay Per Action

In this case, the affiliate receives a commission for the actions that the users perform. This can be visiting a website, subscribing to a newsletter, filling out a form, and more. In this case, which actions users should perform is specified in the description of each offer.

Recurring Payments

A one-time commission is typically offered by advertisers for each sale an affiliate brings in. Nevertheless, in the event that the consumer they suggested makes more purchases, this model pays the affiliate a recurring commission for each purchase.

What Are CPA Networks?

Before you start promoting CPA offers, you need to join an affiliate network. In general, CPA networks act as intermediaries that facilitate the collaboration between advertisers and affiliates in the CPA affiliate marketing ecosystem. CPA networks are platforms for offer owners to showcase their offers and for affiliates to access a wide range of approved offers.

Through tracking, commission calculation, payment processing, and performance monitoring, CPA networks enable a seamless and efficient partnership between advertisers and affiliates, driving successful CPA marketing campaigns.

Platforms take a commission from the advertiser for its work – from 10% to 30% of payments to affiliates. The commission includes technical integration of offers, search and acquisition of affiliates, as well as mutual settlements with them. Also, the task of the CPA network is to ensure fighting violations, tracking quality traffic, timely payments and much more.

Functions of CPA networks:

  • Search and attraction of partners: advertisers and affiliates;
  • Offers aggregation;
  • Counting target actions, analyzing the effectiveness of advertising, fraud prevention;
  • Analyzing the work of affiliates, searching for more effective and responsible affiliates, weeding out unscrupulous partners;
  • Creation of advertising materials;
  • Determining the most profitable target actions for advertisers;
  • Calculation of optimal payment for the action performed by users;
  • Support and guidance for both advertisers and affiliates.

The market is full of different CPA networks. You can find top CPA sites to join in our list of the Best CPA Networks. Here you can find both platforms for experts that require your ID or interview with a manager during registration and networks for beginners that allow you to register without providing additional info about yourself.

Note: Some CPA networks provide certain types of offers, for example, CPA mobile ones. To learn more about this type of affiliate networks and choose one of them, check out our comprehensive article on the topic Top 15 Mobile CPA Networks. Here you can find CPA networks with both mobile and desktop offers to promote in diverse verticals.

CPA Marketing Tips

There is an ultimate guide to CPA affiliate marketing with useful tips that can help you to achieve high results.

Join CPA Networks

Joining a CPA network is an opportunity to get access to a large number of offers from verified advertisers in a variety of verticals. In addition, you get a reliable platform to manage and track important metrics and financial information. Some networks offer creatives to facilitate campaign launches.

When choosing a CPA network, pay attention to reviews of affiliates who have already worked with the platform. Also, it’s necessary to take into account the existence of an advertiser verification process and fraud prevention tools. Some affiliate platforms require an interview, ID, screenshots of statistics from other CPA networks to prove that you are a reliable affiliate marketer.

Track Campaigns Performance

You can’t start promoting an offer and just end it at one point. You need to constantly monitor the progress of the campaign to make sure it is delivering the expected results and make changes if necessary. This information is important not only for affiliates, but also for advertisers and CPA networks.

How to Choose Offers?

Pay attention to offers that you are going to promote. Promoting substandard goods and services, such as enrichment schemes, illegal gambling and trading, illegal drugs and others, can not only ruin your reputation, but can also lead to unpleasant legal consequences.

Don’t take the risk of click-baiting. It is important for advertisers to get pure CPA traffic, so they check conversions through CPA network instruments. Such fraud can lead to loss of trust in you as an affiliate.

What factors to consider when choosing an offer:

  • Language and Country: Affiliates often start by targeting familiar countries and languages. If promoting in a new region, customize ads and landing pages to resonate with the audience in their native language and cultural preferences;

  • Conversion Flow: For beginners it’s recommended to prioritize the conversion flow of an offer. Focus on SOI and DOI offers, which are easier to convert. Choose lower payout offers that require basic personal information, as they appeal to a wider audience. High payout offers like carrier billing or FTD can be challenging due to financial commitments. Strike a balance between potential payout and complexity when starting as an affiliate marketer;

  • Seasonality: Take into account the time of year as some products/services like finance, lotteries, dating, gambling, and apps can be profitable year-round. However, others like food, health, and travel are more relevant in spring and summer. Assess the nature of what you’re promoting and determine if it’s suitable for the current moment;

  • Withdrawal minimum: Choosing an offer with a lower withdrawal amount is recommended when faced with similar options in affiliate networks. Opting for a lower withdrawal threshold prevents the need to accumulate a large sum in the CPA network before receiving earnings. High withdrawal minimums can be risky, limiting flexibility and posing challenges for additional campaign funds. Consider the possibility of not generating enough earnings to meet the minimum requirement. Selecting an offer with a lower threshold reduces the risk of being unable to access earnings;

  • Offer limits: Consider offer conditions such as traffic type, geographic restrictions, promotional guidelines, age/gender targeting, and native language requirements. Adhere to these terms to ensure compliance and avoid earnings loss or account suspension. Choose offers with fewer restrictions for more flexible advertising within established parameters.

You can learn more about offers and the rules for choosing them in our article What is a CPA Offer in Affiliate Marketing.


CPA marketing provides a unique and effective approach to digital advertising, where advertisers pay affiliates based on actual actions taken by users. You can easily enter the field. Just choose a vertical, join a CPA network, select an offer, create a website or landing page, and start driving the CPA traffic to the offers. Following the rules, CPA marketing can become your successful business model.


– How can I start CPA marketing?

If you want to get started in CPA marketing, we recommend to take into account the following steps:

  • Understand the CPA model and its differences from other affiliate marketing models;
  • Research and apply to reputable CPA networks like Mobidea, CrakRevenue, CPAlead and others. The full list of CPA networks you will find on our main page;
  • Get approved by the CPA networks, providing accurate information about your experience and traffic sources;
  • Select CPA offers that match your niche and target audience;
  • Promote the chosen CPA offers using your existing marketing channels;
  • Track and optimize your campaigns using tracking links provided by a CPA network;
  • Ensure compliance with guidelines and regulations;
  • Stay informed and adapt your strategies based on performance.

But first you need to understand what CPA marketing is, how it works and what are its features. We recommend a detailed study of the specifics of the field in which you plan to work.

– How much can I make from CPA marketing?

The income of affiliates depends only on themselves. The more offers you are able to promote, the larger your audience, the more commissions you receive. However, remember that the earnings of beginners differ from affiliates with experience in this field. The first amount can be $50–100, but the more experience you gain, the more your earnings will be.

– Is CPA marketing still profitable in 2024?

Yes, CPA marketing is still profitable in 2024. Factors like offer quality, targeted traffic, competition, and industry trends influence its profitability. Stay informed, adapt strategies, and experiment to increase your chances of success.

– What factors are involved in the CPA Marketing Model?

The CPA marketing model involves several key factors:

  • Advertisers: An advertiser searches for partners to promote its products or services. For this purpose, the expert uses the opportunities of CPA network, where he places his offers for affiliates. This type of marketing helps to attract high-quality organic CPA traffic to the advertiser’s resources;

  • Affiliates: An affiliate is a specialist with a large audience who promotes an advertiser’s product or service among his audience and receives commissions for it. As a rule, they find affiliate marketers offers in CPA networks;

CPA Network: A CPA network is a platform that connects affiliates with advertisers. There are many CPA networks, each of them has its own features, its own functionality. But the principle of operation is the same: advertisers place offers, and affiliates choose them based on a detailed description, promotion method as well as advertising materials.

Veranika Minina
Veranika Minina is a fan of affiliate marketing. Veranika's articles are carefully crafted to simplify complex concepts, making them accessible to beginners while also offering fresh perspectives about CPA-networks for experienced marketers. Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned marketer, Veranika's writings are sure to inspire, educate, and motivate, guiding you towards a profitable affiliate marketing journey.
CPA Networks Review



In 2023, one more CPA network in affiliate marketing was created. We suggest you get acquainted w...

read more



Yellana was founded in 2022. Despite the company’s age, it already shows great results: 500+ offe...

read more



iGaming is one of the thriving niches that holds a special place in affiliate marketing. In this ...

read more



In affiliate marketing, finding the right CPA network can make all the difference in your success...

read more



Let’s take a look at the Trafee CPA network. In this Trafee review you’ll find the key feat...

read more



CpaRoll is a prominent affiliate network that has gained recognition for its commitment to establ...

read more



In affiliate marketing, Mobidea is well-known as a mobile CPA and ad network. As a push notificat...

read more



MaxBounty is one of the oldest performance-based affiliate networks. The company specializes in m...

read more

Huffson Group


Huffson Group is an iGaming CPA network. This platform is a good choice for experienced affiliate...

read more



CrakRevenue stands as a sample of efficiency among adult CPA networks. Its history began in 2010,...

read more



Adsterra is an advertising and CPA affiliate network which was created by marketers and webmaster...

read more



BongaCash is an affiliate program that operates in the Adult vertical. Also, it’s a part of one o...

read more



Perform[cb] is considered as # 1 CPA Network worldwide and Affiliate Marketing agency, both focus...

read more



ClickDealer is a performance marketing agency. Started from a small team of marketers, the compan...

read more



If you are interested in Nutra offers, Dr.cash is one of the best choices. It is a CPA network wh...

read more



AdCombo is an attractive CPA network for affiliates and advertisers. The company strives to chang...

read more



TerraLeads is the world’s first CPA Hub. Thus, the company brings affiliate marketing to a ...

read more



Welcome to the MyLead review! This is a global affiliate network and one of the leaders of affili...

read more



Golden Goose is a CPA network that offers to earn on mobile traffic from different countries. The...

read more