What is CPA ?


The essence of the CPA is simple — the advertiser pays partner networks only for the completed actions of users. These are specific targeted operations: registration on the site, subscription to the newsletter, filling out personal data or directly buying. In this case, the responsibility and costs for attracting traffic are assigned to the affiliate program.

What is a CPA (Cost Per Action)?

CPA (English cost per action — payment for action) is an advertising model that is designed to pay only for completed conversion actions.

The advertiser does not need to attract buyers or search for sites to place ad blocks. This function – assigned to intermediaries, the owners of the CPA-network service, who interact directly with the owners of the sites. Payment – made on favorable terms for all participants. The advertiser pays for the service only if the client has performed an action. The price depends on the complexity of the task and the advertising model.

How the CPA network works

The system works with the participation of the following parties: the intermediary, the site owner, the advertiser.

The advertiser signs a contract with an intermediary, the owner of the network, for the provision of specific services. It specifies the price for the completed action.

The functions of the network are to find advertisers, select relevant sites, analyze offers taking into account transitions to sites, prepare materials. The network prepares the conditions for the advertiser’s work: determining target actions, loading banners, receiving user requests.

The task of the site owner or webmaster is to bring leads that will perform actions.

In this system, there are intermediate agents that unite the owners of CPA networks and resell traffic. These are CPA aggregators that guarantee payment for leads.

Types of actions

In each individual case, the actions paid by the advertiser may differ. Here we will give examples of only the most popular types of actions:

  • Attracting leads.
  • Making purchases.
  • Visiting multiple pages of the site or landing page.
  • Uploading a file.
  • Viewing a video.
  • Study of the price list.
  • Filling out the order form.
  • Filling out the feedback form.

Who should use CPA Marketing

Payment for advertising using the CPA model is acceptable when selling a product or service, where the Internet is the main or one of the main channels of attraction. CPA marketing can bring profit to the following organizations:

  • Online stores.
  • Financial companies.
  • Construction and repair organizations, car service centers.
  • Organizations that are engaged in educational programs.
  • Agencies.
  • Entertainment portals.
  • Providers.

Mass-consumption services and products are well promoted. If the company’s activity is narrow, the company is little-known and the product is not designed for a wide audience, it will be difficult to promote the offer with the help of the CPA.

Choosing a CPA network

It will not be possible to evaluate the choice of a partner and the quality of traffic immediately, it takes time to see the results of the CPA. The demand for services has increased the number of partner companies, so it is difficult to choose the right network. In order not to waste your budget and time in vain, it is worth considering:

  • The period of work. Due to the high competition, many people can’t stand it and leave the market.
  • The number of partners registered in the network. The more site owners there are, the more reliable the network is.
  • Control. It is desirable that the CPA network controls the work of webmasters and advertisers.
  • Reputation. It is worth reading the reviews about the work. You should not trust the site if there are no negative reviews, but there should not be too many of them.

The more advertisers and launched offers, the more reliable the affiliate program. The site should contain information about the work done and the number of partners, as well as well-known companies and brands that cooperate with the network.

Preparation of materials

The advertiser can prepare this work. Advertising materials include banners, photos and videos, websites, and articles.

To promote products and services:

  • It is important to correctly determine the target audience and choose the type of advertising.
  • It is necessary to describe the specifics of services and goods, reflect their competitiveness and attractiveness.
  • The materials must be of the required formats so that there are no shifts and distortions during the layout.
  • Banners must be creative and updated periodically, otherwise users will experience banner blindness.

The advertiser can assign the preparation of materials to the webmaster, while he chooses the target action, advertising parameters and can limit actions on the use of traffic, resources or content. When preparing materials independently, the advertiser prepares an offer that will attract the webmaster.

Advantages and disadvantages of working with the CPA model

Advantages of CPA for advertisers:

  • Payment is only for the result.
  • Independent choice of actions.
  • Personal control of the budget and distribution of funds.
  • Save time. You do not need to search for advertising sites yourself, collect analytics, prepare and update materials.
  • Less investment than in other advertising models.
  • High performance. The webmaster’s income depends on the result, so he will look for creative ideas and new ways of promotion.

Disadvantages of the CPA model:

  • Webmasters prefer to cooperate with well-known companies. It is difficult for novice advertisers to find those who are ready to take up promotion.
  • The probability of bumping into irresponsible partners who will try to cheat. You should carefully choose a network, read reviews.

Also, the disadvantages include the inability to control the quality and consistency of the audience, to take into account the interests of a particular client. Traffic may increase during discounts and decrease after the end of the promotion.


We have studied what a CPA is. Learned how this advertising model works, what are its characteristic differences. We have determined what needed for this model to bring results.

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