How CPA marketing works
CPA marketing boils down to companies with a service or product that want to outsource some of their marketing efforts. These companies would use affiliates or publishers to bring traffic and conversions to their business while paying them per conversion.
When the affiliate or publisher can get a conversion for less than what the company is paying them per conversion they can profit the difference (which sometimes can be huge). Additionally, both sides are happy. The offer provider is able to pull in more leads at a cost that is profitable to them without the hassle of doing the marketing and the affiliate can use their marketing skills to carve out a profit for them.
CPA, by the way, stands for cost per action. The CPA from the company shows the cost they are willing to pay to an affiliate or publisher for that action (aka the conversion). On the other hand, the CPA for the affiliate or publisher running that offer would be the price they are paying per each conversion.
As long as the affiliate can bring conversions at a cheaper rate then what the offer is paying out then they will be successful in affiliate marketing. Easier said than done.
What is a CPA offer
The CPA offer plays one of the most important roles in this equation. It is, in essence, the deal between the offer provider and the affiliate. It dictates everything from the payment terms to the type of traffic required.
CPA offers come in all shapes and sizes, some looking for newsletter signups and others requiring users to make a purchase. They are also broken down into different verticals depending on the product or service of the business. For example, an offer under the dating vertical would be likely be asking for new signups to an online dating app whereas an offer under eCommerce might be looking for purchases of a product like headphones.
More importantly, CPA offers are not all equal. Depending on the service or product, and the offer terms the performance and ultimate profitability of an offer can change dramatically.
For example, think of promoting that latest smartwatch that everyone wants compared to promoting an old watch that is 5 minutes slow. Even though the smartwatch is much more expensive you might find it easier to find people willing to buy it and are thus able to make more money from promoting it. But again this could change if the asking price is 10k.
It is hard to know which offer will end up being the most profitable for you but that is why we wrote this article.
Steps to finding the right CPA offer
Step 1: CPA network or direct
The first question you will need to ask yourself is if you want to go to a CPA network for offers or look for a direct affiliate program.
If you are don’t have much experience in affiliate marketing, we recommend starting with a CPA network. CPA networks act as intermediaries between affiliates and businesses providing a selection of various CPA offers from different advertising companies. We recommend starting here because they provide a larger selection of offers to test along with better payment conditions. Additionally, most CPA networks are easy to start with and end up saving time for affiliates but like every other middleman, they end up taking a cut of the profits.
If you end up going down this path, we recommend getting to know your CPA network, account managers. They are there to assist you and they all have some insider knowledge about which offers are likely to be more profitable than others. Furthermore, they normally have access to the company’s more exclusive offers that may be hidden. Spending some money to show them that you can provide good volumes of quality conversions is always good to get there attention.
Some of our favorite CPA programs:
The other route is going with a direct affiliate program. This means working directly with a company to help bring them more leads and sales. Working directly with companies means that you can get the best rates possible because there is no one else taking a slice of the pie. Working directly with companies also limits you to their predetermined conditions and normally just to one offer. This means its more difficult and more expensive to test various direct affiliate offers.
Some of our favorite direct affiliate programs:
Step 2: Know where to look
Having the right CPA offer is one of the most essential elements of affiliate marketing but unfortunately, the most profitable CPA offers are often the hardest to find. Knowing where to look can not only help you save some time but more importantly help you find better converting offers.
One of the best places to go to find new CPA offers is to an Offer aggregator. Offer aggregators compile tons of CPA offers from various networks and sources to function as a sort of a CPA search engine. They help you to easily find the CPA offer by allowing you to filter and sort the offers by things like vertical, country, payout, and more. Offer aggregators also make it easy to compare different offers side-by-side to see which have the best conditions for you.
Our favorite offer aggregators are:
Affiliate forums are another reliable place to find quality offers and networks. Not only can you find and connect with CPA networks and advertisers but the forum communities often provide trustworthy insight and reviews on networks and offers. Additionally, most affiliate forums have a network directory making it easy to get a complete list of CPA networks on the forum. Affiliate forums are also nice because you always can find more than just what you were looking for.
Lastly, you can always find tons of CPA offers by simply searching for them on google or quora. Searches like “affiliate programs …” will yield an abundance of different opportunities.
Step 3: Build strong relationships to get inside offers with better conditions
It’s important to note that not all offers are widely available or have the same conditions for every affiliate. More often than not, networks and advertisers have offers that they keep from the masses to ensure more oversight on the incoming traffic or because of some limitations. They save these offers and provide better conditions for their most trusted affiliates that have a proven track record of sending reliable and quality traffic.
Often these more exclusive offers or more favorable conditions can be great opportunities and very lucrative for the select few affiliates they apply to. So as an affiliate how do you find these hidden opportunities?
The key is to build strong meaningful relationships around the 3 main factors that advertisers and networks look at when deciding who to give their top offers and best conditions to.
Provide good volumes
First advertisers and networks want to make that the affiliate can deliver good volumes. This allows them to work with fewer affiliates making business simpler. But what does it mean good volumes? The real measure normally comes with time but there are other things they look for. We know most affiliates don’t need another reason to show off but actually, this can help you to be seen in a better light to the advertisers and networks. Showing that you have stable profits and are successful in the affiliate industry proves that you are financially capable of providing the volumes they want.
They also want to see top quality traffic. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people out there making money by scamming but it’s important that you show you are not one of them. Normally networks analyze the traffic coming in to make sure it’s not fraudulent as well as get feedback from the advertisers on the quality of the traffic. To ensure that you as an affiliate always provide quality traffic, we recommend always buying traffic from reputable sources. Here at pushground, we use Opticks Security to filter and prevent all fraudulent and underperforming traffic so you never have to run into problems with traffic quality.
Build personal relationships
The last thing advertisers and networks keep in mind are their personal relationships. Befriending your account manager can help you get better conditions, top offers, and some useful insight knowledge. A way to strengthen these relationships is by attending industry events. This can help you get on a more personal level with them as well as show them that you are a more professional affiliate who is up to date with the latest affiliate trends.
If you are able to build stronger relationships with your partners, it could mean a big jump in your profits. We recommend always keeping this in mind when meeting new people and working with new companies.
Step 4: Evaluate the offer
Before deciding on the offer you need to be able to evaluate it to make sure it’s worth the time and money to test it. When looking at offers you need to always assess first the viability of the offers. Some offers (normally from more reputable companies) just sell better making your job as an affiliate easier. It’s also worth to check out how many other affiliates you have seen running the same offer and if it has been effective for them.
Another important thing to look for is potential legal issues. Different countries have different advertising regulations around some products like crypto trading making it harder to run campaigns.
Country & language
Always keep in mind the language and country of your offer. Normally we see people starting with the countries and languages they already know but if you decide to run an offer in another language or country be sure you feel comfortable adapting your ads and landers to that audience.
The last thing you need to consider is the time of the year. Whereas some products and services are profitable year-round (e.g. finance, sweepstakes, dating, gambling, and games & applications) others perform well depending more on the season. Some examples of this are Nutra, health, and travel that all perform much better in summer compared to the rest of the year. Always keep in mind what you are promoting and if it is the best time to promote it.
Step 5: Check the conditions
Always one of the first things that affiliates look at is the payout or the amount of money you receive per conversion. Although it is very important, we encourage you to look beyond the payouts when picking offers. The offers with the highest payouts aren’t necessarily the best.
One of the most important conditions when finding an affiliate program is the minimum withdrawal or the amount you need to make before getting paid. This in turn represents the amount of money that you have to spend and the time you have to wait before getting paid. This also makes testing new offers more costly because if the minimum withdrawal is very high you might not make it from your test meaning you will end up eating all of your budget rather than just a portion.
Accepted ad formats and traffic types
Always pay attention to the restrictions. We have heard countless stories about affiliates testing offers and then realizing the offer was only valid for certain carriers or ad formats other than push ads. It’s always smart to double-check the supported traffic before running your tests.
Capping or conversions limitations
Capping refers to limiting the number of conversions you can make on a given day. This can greatly limit you and lead to situations where you lose money spending traffic to an offer that will no longer payout. If you already have a reputation with a CPA network, you can ask your account manager there to remove or raise your cap.
Step 6: test
Once you have selected a few offers, it is time to test them. For some extra help and guidance setting up your tests check out our ultimate media buying template that explains exactly how to test new offers.
Everyone knows that affiliate marketing is all about your advertising abilities but what the experts all know is that is just as much about the kinds of offers you can get. Having the right offer could mean thousands of dollars in profits. These kinds of offers are hard to find and for good reason. If everyone knew about them the competition you would face could reduce their profitability. This guide should help you get started but to find the best offers it might take more work. Our biggest piece of advice is to get close and build real long-lasting relationships with your offer providers. This will help you get better offers and conditions which will help make you more money in the long run.