CPA Marketing: A Step-By-Step Guide in 2024

By 2024, almost 100% of B2C sales are done online. Such sales are effective and measurable because the results are available to the company. But it may not be profitable for a business to maintain its own sales force. In this case, the company may delegate the promotion of its product to a partner, for example, a marketing agency that receives a fee for each client. This model of work is called CPA marketing. Read in our article how CPA marketing works and why it is effective.

What is CPA Marketing

In CPA marketing, the company delegates the tasks of promoting a product or service to third parties. The payment under this model occurs for a certain action. There are usually three parties involved in affiliate marketing: the advertiser, the affiliate, and the CPA network.

An advertiser is a company that wants to promote its product. The advertiser contacts the CPA network and selects the type of target action that it needs – a lead, a sale, or a call. The company then pays a fixed cost for each targeted action of the CPA network.

The partner selects the product of the company to promote from the catalog of the CPA network and then attracts traffic according to the agreed conditions. The partner has no special restrictions on the methods of attracting traffic. The main part is that the target action is performed honestly. As a result, the partner receives a payment from the CPA network according to the results.

A CPA network is an intermediary platform that works with advertisers. It places the offer on its website and is looking for a suitable partner. Its tasks are to analyze traffic, control payments, and screen out unscrupulous participants in the process, both advertisers and partners. The CPA network receives a certain percentage of each payout for its work.

Let’s take an example. An advertiser needs to drive traffic to their betting site. For each registration, the advertiser pays $20. The advertiser contacts the CPA network and negotiates the working conditions. The partner attracts traffic on the chosen topic and receives a fixed reward of $17. The CPA network receives $3 as a fee for its services.

CPA Marketing Terminology

Offer. These are offers with all the conditions of the advertiser and partner. It indicates the date the work was launched, the cost per click, conversion, verification date, payouts, and much more.

Leads. Users who have performed the action necessary for the partner – registered on the site, left the phone, or bought a product.

Hold. The time used by the CPA network and the advertiser to check leads. If the traffic was not attracted according to the rules, for example, using bots, then the partner may not receive the payment.

Webmaster. Also called “web”. For the most part, this means a partner, a person who is engaged in attracting traffic to the site. Sometimes the term refers to the owner or optimizer of the site.

Vertical. The direction of the offer, its category. For example, if an offer involves advertising sports betting, this is gambling, and if some kind of health and beauty products, this is nutra.

Cloaking. Website content change. The user on a certain page sees one content, and the moderator sees another. This is a technique of “black” traffic arbitrage and is not encouraged by CPA networks.

Push. Send traffic through your affiliate link to a specific offer. You can push traffic in a plus when the cost of attracting users is lower than the reward; You can push to zero when the costs are approximately equal to the reward, and in the negative when advertising is launched at a loss.

Creative. Advertising message that grabs the attention of the target audience. It can be a picture, video, text, or even an audio message.

Fraud. CPA-related scam. For example, friends of the webmasters can order goods on delivery and not redeem them in the end, while webmasters receive a reward.

Nutra. Offers related to beauty and health such as fitness equipment, dietary supplements, and more.

Gambling. Sports betting offers.

Dating. Offers based around online dating services.

Adult. “Adult” offers are usually built around the offers of porn sites and cam services.

Goods. The vertical is associated with the sale of goods – jewelry, watches, clothing, and much more. In part, nutra products intersect with goods.

Installs. Application installations. It can be both a target action and a vertical associated with the installation of an application.

The envelope. Conversion or the ratio of the number of users and their target actions. It varies greatly depending on the vertical, product, and a number of other factors.

Landing. An advertising page, all content of which is focused on getting leads. On it, you can perform the target action.

Pre-landing. It warms up the user and his interest in the product, for example, when advertising sports betting, you can use a page with the history of a person who got rich playing certain football teams. It contains a link to the main site where you can perform the target action. When using a spacer, traffic flows first of all to it.

Bids. Rates, maximum cost per click.

Approval. Acceptance by the advertiser of the resulting leads and payment of remuneration.

Types of offers

When working with traffic, it is important to understand what offers are and what is required from an affiliate marketer. CPA, Cost-per-action are broad concepts and there are many different actions.


One of the most common offers is CPS or Cost-per-sale. This model means a reward for each sale. The model is suitable for selling goods, something that the user can try or even touch.


Cost-per-lead has as its goal not sales but leads. What the company will do with them later is no longer the concern of the affiliate. This model is often used to assemble emails for further distribution or create a database of contacts potentially interested in the company’s activities.


CPI or Cost-per-install pays for the installation of applications, mobile, and desktop. Accordingly, the vertical of installs is designed entirely for such a model.


When working with Cost-per-View, the model is based on views. The advertiser pays money for each view of their ad. The model is used to advertise mobile applications and increase brand awareness in general.


The COD model, Cash-on-Delivery, is also used to sell goods. In fact, this is a cash-on-delivery order where the buyer selects a product and pays for it after receiving it in the mail. Fraud often occurs in this model. The company receives applications and sends the goods, but no one buys them out in the end. Therefore, a novice webmaster can withdraw the reward only after the purchase of the goods.


RevShare, unlike numerous subspecies of CPA, does not involve a one-time payment, but permanent deductions. For example, an affiliate brought a client to the company, who spends there 15,000 rubles a month. Then the company will constantly give a part of the profit to the attracted client. RevShare fees are often lower than the one-time CPA rewards, but they are constant. This model is used in online games, online casinos, and betting shops where the client pays regularly.

Pay per call

Pay per Call offers are aimed at lead generation. Advertising is designed in such a way that the user is interested in a product or service and leaves his phone number. Then the call center of the company comes into play and makes sales. Thus, the affiliate provides a database for further calling. Often, this model is used in serious verticals, for example, they sell luxury real estate. Therefore, with PPC, you should be attentive to traffic sources as spam mailings will definitely not work.


Represents a subscription payment model. It is common in dating services, online games, and porn sites. By clicking on the link, the user makes a trial period of using the service. And when it ends, money for the subscription is debited from the card of the user. From this payment, the partner receives a reward.

Types of traffic for CPA marketing

Globally, all traffic for arbitrage can be divided into paid and shareware.

Shareware traffic

Organic traffic through SEO. Theoretically, users can find your site and the necessary link themselves without any advertising provided that the resource is sufficiently optimized for search engines. Therefore, such a source of traffic can be called relatively free.

Getting your site to the top of the search results is difficult, but possible

Before you skim the cream off organic traffic, you have to do a lot of work such as embedding keywords into the content on the site, and making it authoritative and internally linked. As a result, SEO traffic is much cheaper, but it is difficult to predict the exact position in the SERP. Definitely, it takes a long time to see results.

Social media posts

In Facebook groups, you can post messages with the necessary link. On Instagram, users comment under influencer posts. For offers, you can also use Twitter. A certain number of people will find a message through hashtags. However, people react to such messages mostly as spam. It makes sense to use this method of promotion only when there is simply no money for more adequate methods.

YouTube content

It is broadly used to promote online gaming and sports betting. The partner has to make a video on YouTube on the chosen topic or similar to it. And the partner leaves the necessary link in the description. You can also shoot videos on your own. It is useful if you work in a specific niche and for the future. Again, the result will not be immediate, you will have to compete with major bloggers.

There are a lot of videos like this and each video has an affiliate link in the description

Content on Reddit

Another free, but an extremely time-consuming method. The partner publishes original material with a link on the forum, and users, after reading it, go to the desired page. There are many difficulties in this way of promotion. First of all, a webmaster needs high karma, a rating on Reddit, only then his messages will be trusted. But even with high karma, you can’t post any advertisement as the local community does not like this. That is, you will have to spend time promoting your account and constantly maintaining it. The result is also uncertain, so other methods may be better.

Email distribution

The partner creates a sales letter and sends it to the selected addresses. Those who read the email follow the links and take the necessary action. It seems not to be complicated. In fact, however, most of these emails end up in spam. And the database for mailing also needs to be obtained from somewhere. Therefore, the effectiveness of this method of promotion remains controversial.

Forums and services of questions and answers

To work with this type of traffic, you need several accounts on such forums. One asks a question, and the other gives an answer with a link to the desired site. Thus, it is possible to segment users well, but it becomes difficult to scale. Advertising accounts on such resources are constantly banned.

For example, such posts on Quora are used to promote an affiliate link,  it’s easy to see here

Paid traffic

Contextual advertising

These can be highlighted sites in search results, banners on websites, or in mobile applications. The user sees the advertisement and, if interested, the user goes to the site. Here, only the display models differ. Most effective offers are Pay-per-Click (PPC) offers when payment is made for each click. But there is also Pay-per-View with pay-per-impression. For contextual advertising, Google Adwords, Bing Ads, and Yandex Direct are used.

Advertising in social networks

In social networks, most people on the planet spend several hours a day. Social networks allow you to segment users. For example, if you are looking for college-educated men with an interest in sports from New York City, you can tailor your ad campaign accordingly. Accordingly, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and other social networks can be used for CPA. True, not every offer is allowed by social networks, for example, adult offers will not be permitted with almost 100% probability.

Native advertising

In relation to CPA, this is a subspecies of banner advertising, which is better integrated into the content of the site. It is not aggressive and does not attract the user with bright headlines, so, it is less annoying. In addition, native ads are shown based on behavioral analysis, making it easier to find an interested audience. At the same time, the price of native advertising is quite low. The campaign will cost less than the campaign on social networks. And there are no special restrictions on verticals as well.

Native advertising looks something like this. It is perceived as links to other sections of the site

Pop-up ads

It is a common but relatively controversial way of promotion. Pop-up ads are annoying. The task of an affiliate marketer is to figure out when it is better to place a pop-up window so that the user sees the ad and does not experience negative emotions. A good popup does not overlap content or is intrusive. It is easy to close it, also, it does not redirect to another page on click.


This means there is a redirect from one URL to another. The user clicks on the left link and is immediately redirected to the desired landing page. Redirect traffic is cheap since a lead costs no more than $2. But at the same time, there is enough junk. At the same time, Google Ads does not accept redirects at all, and Yandex rather severely moderates such campaigns. That is, for an affiliate marketer, redirects are not the easiest and most obvious way to get leads.


This is everything related to adult topics: porn, webcams, erotic games, and related products. Adult is singled out as a separate direction, although in fact, adult can use banners, pop-ups, and redirects, however, only on specific sites. “Strawberry” is sanctioned by both Google and Yandex.

Top 7 CPA Networks


Perform is one of the industry veterans, celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. The platform works with most Geos, and it has over 2,000 offers on a variety of topics, from gambling to finance.

There are four payment models here: CPA, CPL, CPS, and RevShare. The minimum payout is $50, the money is credited once a week. You can withdraw money to PayPal, using Payoneer and Wire.


Also one of the oldest platforms, which started its work in 2000. It works all over the world, but mainly in English-speaking countries. Offers on the platform are from most of the available verticals. Basically, you can find goods, travel, and financial offers.

There are about 20,000 offers on the platform. Payments occur twice a month starting from $20. Money can be received using Wire or bank checks.

Los Pollos

Relatively young CPA platform that has been operating since 2016. It mainly specializes in dating, but there are also offers with binary options and gambling. Los Pollos is careful about checking traffic and may request confirmation from the affiliate.

The payout from the platform takes place once a week with a minimum of $100. You can receive payouts on Wire, ePayments, WebMoney, and PayPal.


The affiliate network has been operating since 2012. It does not have any specialization as there are offers for gambling, dating, travel, and other verticals, with more than 10,000 offers in total. It is also operating globally.

The minimum payout threshold is quite high – $500. Money is withdrawn once a week or once a month to Wire, Payoneer, PayPal, Paxum, Check, WebMoney.


A small but very strong affiliate network that gravitates specifically toward mobile advertising. Over the years, CPALead has paid out more than $100 million. It targets mainly English-speaking audiences.

Payments are made once a week, the minimum amount is $50. You can get  money to Wire, Payoneer, PayPal, Paxum, Check, WebMoney.


This is a German CPA site with Russian roots. More than 800,000 webmasters are connected to it, and over the years of work, more than $700 million has been paid out. Admitad has no restrictions on either geo or verticals. Everything is possible and in large quantities.

The payout threshold is quite low – $20 or 1000 rubles. The maximum amount earned, according to Admitad, is $32,700 in one day. Usually, money is paid out once a week, but with a high rating within the site, you can make a payment on request.

Toro Advertising

This is a Spanish platform with 10 years of experience. It works in 90 countries around the world – Europe, North and South America. Toro Advertising has every possible vertical, but the most popular on the platform are finance, health, and beauty.

At first, the affiliate is limited only to payments once a month. But then you can switch to weekly payments. The minimum withdrawal amount is $500.

How to promote CPA offers

It is worth noting that there are many ways to promote offers. In addition to cloaking, which is a fraudulent promotion method for platforms, you can advertise your link directly or using landing pages.

Promoting a link directly is the easiest way for a beginner affiliate marketer. Even without understanding advertising mechanisms and how social networks work, you can simply spam comments on Facebook, Instagram, or Telegram posts.

You can also use affiliate links in email newsletters or redirects. However, such user methods are mostly annoying. Also, the page of the company you are promoting may not convince the user to take an action, it is more reliable to create your own.

A more complex and time-consuming, but at the same time effective way of promotion is to create your own landing page. It can be promoted through Google Adwords or the Facebook advertising account. You can experiment with the presentation of creatives so you have full freedom of presentation.


  • CPA marketing works in the field of B2C and focuses on the performance of a certain action by the referred user.
  • The advertiser pays either per action or per lead. Sometimes the advertiser shares the profit from each check from the referred client, but this model is relevant only for certain verticals.
  • You can drive traffic for free, although it is not as effective, using spam mailings, content on YouTube or Reddit, and Q&A services like Quora.
  • An affiliate link can be promoted directly or through a landing page. The latter method is more effective for long-term work.
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