CPA Marketing: A Step-By-Step Guide to Build a Successful Strategy

The beautiful thing about the internet is that there are various opportunities to build wealth. One such method is CPA marketing.

Similar to affiliate marketing, CPA marketing is a marketing model where you get paid for every action your audience takes in line with a brand’s requirements.

It is a performance-based approach where advertisers pay only when a specific action is completed by the audience, such as making a purchase, filling out a form, or signing up for a service. In other words, encourage action – get a commission.

In this guide, we will look at what CPA marketing is as a whole and how to get started with it.

What is CPA Marketing?

CPA stands for ‘cost per action’ and is a metric in advertising referring to a target action performed by your audience. It can be a sale, click, form submit, etc.

This performance-based approach is a highly effective way for businesses to acquire new customers or leads while minimizing financial risk.

Just like affiliate marketing promises a commission on every sale made, CPA marketing is a model in which marketers pay for conversions generated through their ads on websites or mobile apps.

It has a ton of benefits, among which are:

  • Little effort is needed
    All you need to start is a well-designed website and an affiliate network for CPA digital marketing. The campaign begins working almost immediately and, if you choose a reliable network, you’ll start getting results in a short time.
  • Only pay after an action is made
    You only have to pay after the conversion has been done. This makes CPA quite safe and suitable for any business.
  • High ROI
    16% of global eCommerce sales come from affiliate marketing. This is connected to the fact that more sales equals a larger commission, which encourages many affiliates to promote your products and services.
  • Low risk
    You have little risk because you only pay for actions. The benefit depends on the conditions of the campaign. But in any case, the risk of you getting no profit is pretty low.
  • Larger scale
    CPA allows you to try a larger scale of marketing. Your corporate message spreads faster, and a wider audience recognizes your brand. For example, a skincare line called Elizabeth Arden offers an 8% commission for every sale. So when cooperating with influencers, they have a win-win situation. The blogger gets payment and has a motive to encourage others to buy. As a result, their influence becomes larger.

The most important advantage to remember is that you don’t pay unless a conversion is made. And the price you pay depends on the competition and the average payment in the niche. However, according to Google AdWords, the average cost per action (CPA) is $48.96.

How to Build an Effective CPA Strategy

Here are some step-by-step guides for building an effective CPA marketing strategy.

Step 1: Find reliable CPA networks

A CPA network is a resource that connects people who want to make money using affiliate programs and businesses that are willing to provide them and promote them in such a way.

So the first and most important step to getting the best out of CPA marketing is to find a reliable network.

Here are some of the most highly rated popular sources you can use:

  • MaxBounty.
    This network knows how to make money with CPA marketing. It’s all due to its trained managers who care and focus on your marketing goals. You get weekly payouts and lots of educational material to learn more about the payment model. Also, there are about 20,000 affiliates, and the managers know which of them are suitable for your brand.
  • Peerfly.
    This is a small yet very progressive company specializing in affiliate marketing. Peerfly was founded in 2009, and it’s unique because it promises to match what other such companies pay. You have an opportunity to get weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly payouts via the most convenient channels (PayPal, Payoneer, bank wire, Bitcoin, etc.)
  • Clickbooth.
    If you’re looking for something easy yet modern, Clickbooth may be the choice. According to the company, its artificial intelligence can achieve a 25% increase in earnings per click. As an advertiser, you don’t have to pay for the service anything.

Look for professional affiliate managers, nice payouts, and relatively good ratings. It’s impossible to satisfy everyone’s needs, so don’t rush to push a network away if you see a couple of bad reviews.

Step 2: Create a website for your business

If you don’t already have a website, you’ll need to build one for your CPA strategy. Here are some tips to help you get started.

1. Choose a web host

A criterion for using a web host is to choose one according to your needs. For example, if you have an eCommerce site, choose a host that supports all the apps and tools you need for the store. It’s the same with blogs. If you use WordPress, consider getting a host from a popular service among WP site owners (Bluehost or HostGator are some of the most common picks).

Consider other factors like the options for upgrades, security, and the site speed. Remember, 53% of mobile visitors leave a site if it doesn’t load in 3+ seconds.

2. Choose a reliable CMS (content management system)

The most popular CMS is WordPress, as it is the most universal and offers more options. But it can be overwhelming if you are a beginner. Nonetheless, choose your CMS according to;

  • Your current needs
  • Your potential future needs (scalability)
  • Upfront cost
  • Customizability, etc.

3. Set organic search presence

If you want people to see your website, you need more online presence than just creating a website. You need to optimize pages for proper keywords to appear on search result pages.

The first thing to do is look for suitable keywords. To do that, conduct keyword analysis and topic clustering with SE Ranking to select the most promising keywords to rank on Google. This software shows you ideas of phrases that aren’t as competitive as the general ones.

You can check similar, related, and low search volume keyword ideas that can substitute that main phrase for good. The golden rule is to find key phrases with high search volume and low competition (low keyword difficulty).

4. Optimize UX

The user experience on your website should be high-quality to make people convert. Make sure there’s a search bar, a convenient menu bar, and most importantly that your site speed is optimal.

Learn How to do Affiliate Marketing Without Social Media

Step 3: Integrate CPA marketing offers

CPA marketing is all about how you present it. But the days of using flashy banners to communicate your offers are long gone. Now, the more native your ad is, the better.

Here are some ideas on how to incorporate your marketing offers into your content and website design:

  • Banners
    Create an appealing banner with sufficient information about the offer, and make sure it fits the design of your site. Avoid large extremely colorful banners.
  • Contextual links
    In your content, choose a place to include an anchor with a link that will encourage people to click and go through the focus action smoothly. For example, you can post a link with an honest recommendation of a product or service and a handy CTA (call to action).
  • Buttons
    Button CTAs are also a good idea to make people take action faster. You can put them on the main page and in blog posts. But be careful not to make them too aggressive. Instead, grab the attention of your audience, arouse their interest, and then offer them to visit the website with the product/service.
  • Special design blocks
    The great idea is to create website design blocks like ‘related posts’ or ‘recommended posts, products, services, etc.’ and naturally put a banner there. You can create a block with your personal recommendations as well.

Step 4: Set up analytics tools for your website

Use Google Search Console and Google Analytics to track the performance of your marketing campaigns.

Set KPIs to help you track the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns and what marketing efforts you should focus most on. Choose the most important KPIs and analyze the campaign regularly to see how it’s doing.

Here are some important KPIs for CPA marketing:

  • Income: 
    • Profit – the exact number showing how much you make after all the expenses
    • ROI – return on investment.
    • Total income – the income without expenses. Not to be confused with profit because it’s easy to think you earn much more than you actually do.
    • Spending – how much you spend on analytics, website maintenance, etc.
    • Payouts – how much you make for each sale. Also, the average of what you made from all the affiliate programs.
  • Performance: 
    • Traffic – everything about the people coming to your site. Session time, organic and general traffic. 
    • Visitors – use Google Analytics to track visitor behavior.
    • Click-through rate – the ratio of people who have seen the ad to those who have clicked on it.
    • Conversion rate – How many people converted.

Step 5: Learn additional ways to promote your website

To be successful at CPA marketing, you need to promote your site in more than one way. Here are some of the most common methods that will help:

  • PPC – pay-per-click, a digital marketing model where an advertiser pays a certain fee for every click on their ads (links, banners, etc.)
  • Social media – create social media accounts for your projects, communicate with users, and leave links to your posts.
  • Native advertising – pay other bloggers to include native recommendations for your website in their content.
  • Email marketing – create an email list, offer benefits to those who subscribe, then promote your content.
  • Networking – cooperate with other websites for link-building purposes. High-quality links will improve your reputation online and drive more traffic to your pages.

Tips for Succeeding with CPA Marketing

CPA marketing is a subset of affiliate marketing and presents itself as another easy way to make money online. However, even if it’s a good way to make money promoting other people’s products, it still has some rules to make it effective.

Here are some tips for succeeding with CPA marketing and making the most out of your strategy.

  • Avoid shady CPA networks. These are sources that allow illegal content and have other disadvantages, like withholding payments. Ensure you do your research before selecting a network.
  • Search conditions that suit your marketing goals.
  • Create an appealing offer.
  • Drive traffic to your website through other channels.
  • Get more sales by offering additional discounts and coupons.
  • Cooperate with bloggers and influencers in your niche.
  • Optimize product pages to increase the number of conversions.
  • Optimize your website for mobile.
  • Hire an affiliate manager if you can. They will help you to monitor offers, find affiliates, figure out payments, and more.


CPA marketing is a powerful tool to hit business goals while reducing financial risks. It is often utilized in various digital advertising campaigns, and it incentivizes publishers and affiliates to deliver results, as they earn a commission for each successful action achieved through their promotional efforts.

Take advantage of CPA marketing today to make more money off the internet but first, use this guide to understand what it’s all about before getting started.

And if you’re looking for an Affiliate network that makes it easy for you to make money promoting other people’s products, join Selar’s affiliate network.

PS: This is a guest post written by Conrad Sturdy, and edited by Selar.