August 26, 2020

What is CPA Affiliate Marketing?

If you’re new to the world of affiliate marketing, you may have heard people talking about CPA affiliate marketing and wondered what it was. What is CPA affiliate marketing? How does it work? 

This simple, straightforward form of affiliate marketing makes it easy to start making money through your website or blog. 

What is CPA Marketing?

If you’re just getting started, you may be wondering: what is CPA in affiliate marketing? CPA stands for Cost Per Action.  

With CPA affiliate marketing, advertisers pay affiliates when visitors take a certain action. These actions can include:

  • Filling out forms
  • Clicks on links
  • Requests for services
  • Downloads
  • Installs

CPA is just one form of affiliate marketing, and it’s a popular one. In fact, it’s now a multi-billion-dollar industry. Display advertising, like Google AdSense, is a form of CPA marketing.

CPA programs are considered a good choice for new affiliate marketers because you earn commission for leads rather than sales. It’s your job to get people interested enough to perform an action (take the first step), but you don’t have to worry about converting that lead. 

The actions prospects are required to take (like filling out a form or downloading something) don’t require them to give a credit card number, so it’s much easier to convince visitors to take these steps.

How Does CPA Affiliate Marketing Work?

CPA affiliate marketing is simple and straightforward. You prompt or encourage users to take a certain action, and you get paid for them completing that action.

CPA allows you to make money without having to make a sale. 

Although this is an attractive form of affiliate marketing, some offers may have certain restrictions. For example, you may be limited to certain geographical locations when promoting the offer. There may also be rules about how and where you can promote the CPA offer.

Earning commission from a CPA offer is relatively simple:

  • Drive traffic to your content.
  • Have the visitor take a certain action.
  • Earn commission.

The user doesn’t have to purchase a product in order for you to make money. For example, an insurance company may pay you each time a visitor from your website fills out a quote form.

The Benefits of CPA Affiliate Marketing

There are many benefits to CPA affiliate marketing, especially for beginners. These benefits include:

Passive Income

CPA offers are truly passive. You don’t have to worry about making a sale. The goal is only to get the user to take a certain action or step. There’s less of a need to worry about A/B testing or tweaking your copy to get visitors to make a purchase.

With display ads (a form of CPA marketing), all you have to do is create content, and let the advertising network take care of the rest. You don’t have to nurture leads or take any additional steps. You can, quite literally, earn money in your sleep.

Payouts Can Be Generous

In many cases, CPA offers have generous payouts. Some may be as little as $0.10 per click, or as high as $700 or more for filling out a form.

Flexible Ways to Earn

CPA affiliates have multiple ways to earn simply because they aren’t required to make a sale to earn commission. 

Let’s say that you run a website on homeowner’s insurance. Visitors can compare different insurance providers and their coverage options. With a CPA affiliate program, you can earn commission from all of these companies when users fill out quote forms. There’s no need to make a sale to earn commission, so you have more opportunities and options when it comes to earnings.

Easy to Get Started

The great thing about CPA marketing is that it’s easy to get started. You can join a program and add offers to virtually any blog or site. Even if you’re part of a traditional affiliate marketing program, you can still incorporate CPA offers into your website.

In fact, CPA offers complement regular affiliate offers very nicely. They work well together and can help you maximize your earnings. If a visitor doesn’t convert into a customer, there’s a good chance that they will at least become a lead. 

How to Get Started in CPA Affiliate Marketing

If you’re interested in CPA affiliate marketing, you may be wondering how to get started. 

Find a Program

The first step is to find a program and offers that appeal to you. Research each program carefully before signing up. Look for reviews from other members to ensure they are reliable and actually pay their affiliates.

Most programs will require potential affiliates to fill out an application. They may have certain geographical, traffic and content requirements that you will have to meet before being approved. 

Build Up Your Website

Before you start promoting CPA offers, it’s important to build up your website. Create content, build a following on social media, and start generating traffic to your site.

Many CPA networks will have traffic requirements, so you must ensure that you are at least receiving some visitors to your website. Wait until you start getting traffic to apply. 

CPA marketing should be your long-term goal, and that means building up an audience first. Once you have traffic and a following, then you can find ways to monetize your traffic. Until then, work on producing quality content, building your brand and establishing yourself as an authority in your niche.

If you get turned down by a CPA program, don’t give up. Keep working on your website and applying to different networks. Eventually, you will get approved and can start earning commission. 


CPA affiliate marketing is a simple way to start making money as an affiliate. You don’t have to worry about making sales to earn money, and many offers have generous payouts. But it’s important to build up a website and start generating traffic before applying to a CPA program. 

There are many different CPA programs out there that cover virtually every niche, so you’re sure to find one that will be a perfect fit for your website.

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