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How to Successfully Promote CPA Offers

Whether you are new to affiliate marketing or have a few campaigns under your belt, you having probably considered promoting CPA offers.

That’s no surprise considering the relatively high payouts and stories of affiliates making what seems like over-night fortunes. Combine this with few barriers to entry and low start-up costs and it can seem like the ideal business model.

But, CPA marketing can be more tricky than it at first seems. Here we’ll look at what exactly CPA offers are and some of the key things to consider if you want to be a successful CPA marketer.

What is CPA?

CPA (Cost-per-acquisition) is a promotional model where businesses pay the affiliate when they refer a client who purchases the product or service. For businesses, CPA is a low-risk way of acquiring new business. In essence, they are only paying for a successful acquisition. This compares favorably with other forms of advertising that only guarantee either impressions or clicks.

Because the business is only paying out when a new customer is acquired, they can offer the affiliate higher payouts than with other models. As a consequence CPA marketing can be highly lucrative for affiliates if they have a source of traffic that converts well.

How to Select the Right CPA Offer

Choosing the right CPA offer is one of the most important factors for determining how profitable the affiliate campaign will be. Follow these guidelines to maximize your chances for success:

Consider conversion rates not just the payout.

The payout is the amount of revenue you will receive every time a referral purchases the product or service. The amount of the payout is of course very important. An affiliate campaign that is unprofitable on a $12 per conversion payout, may be profitable with a $15 payout. That said, one mistake many new affiliates make is to look solely at the payout.

You also want to consider the strength of the offer. This will be reflected in the conversion rate. An offer with a high payout but which converts poorly, will often underperform a higher converting offer with a lower payout. For example; compare two different affiliate offers.

Offer A: This offer has a payout of $20 per conversion and conversion rate of 1%
Offer B: This offer has a payout of $5 per conversion and a conversion rate of 5%

If you send 100 referrals to offer A and they convert at 1% your campaign will earn $20. If you send those same 100 referrals to offer B and they covert at 5% you will earn $25. So while Offer A has a much higher payout rate, you would actually be better running a campaign with Offer B.

Compare Your Cost of Traffic

The primary cost involved in running an affiliate campaign will be the cost of your traffic. Often products and services which offer a payout will be in industries where the cost of acquiring traffic is relatively high.

As an affiliate what you are concerned about is the profit of your campaigns, not the overall revenue. Remember, profits are your revenue minus your costs. Lower your costs and your campaign can be more profitable. Even a campaign that is producing plenty of payouts, can be a loss-maker if they are exceeded by the cost of your traffic.
An offer with a relatively low payout can actually be more profitable if you are able to acquire the traffic relatively cheaply.

Develop a Marketing Funnel

In the early days of CPA advertising, it was possible to run traffic directly to a landing page and still produce a profitable campaign. In today’s more competitive market, where acquiring traffic is increasingly expensive, that approach rarely works.

Instead, you need to think more carefully about the overall marketing funnel that warms up the traffic before sending them to the landing page. Typically, this means having a highly persuasive pre-lander page in place, that gets the visitors excited about the offer before they are sent to the landing page.

It’s also important that the entire sequence is congruent through-out. This means that the style, branding and imagery of the advertisement, pre-lander and landing page should match. If these elements are not congruent it will lead to higher drop -off rates at each stage in the funnel.


Running a successful CPA affiliate campaign isn’t always easy. There can be a steep learning curve and it may take multiple attempts to develop a campaign that converts profitably. That said, once you have identified a campaign that makes money, it can be quickly scaled up. It only takes a few outsize winners to make being a CPA affiliate highly lucrative.