CPA marketing is a close cousin of affiliate marketing, but they’re not both the same. While affiliate marketing pays you if a click you send from your website transforms into a sale, CPA pays you if a visitor completes an action which could be much simpler than a full on sale. For example, if a visitor to your website clicks a merchant’s link and ends up filling a form on the merchant’s site, you will get paid your due; that visitor won’t necessarily have to make a purchase in order for the marketing cycle to be considered complete.
With affiliate marketing you pay for a sale; with CPA you pay for a lead
CPA stands for cost per action and affiliate marketing is also known as a cost per sale model. As the names imply, CPA pays you to get a user to complete any simple action like filling and submitting a form.
After you send a visitor from your website to the site of the advertiser and they complete the desired action, it is the job of the advertiser to complete the sale thereon. Your content and ad placement basically serve the purpose of sending quality leads to the merchants who are advertising on your site.
In affiliate marketing, too, you have to send traffic to merchant sites but you do not get paid simply by sending the desired traffic. You get paid only after that particular visitor converts into a paying customer.
In CPA marketing you get a manager to guide you
Affiliate marketing requires you to be your own manager, whereas CPA lets you have a manager who guides you through the process.
Finding your way into a CPA network will take longer than becoming part of an affiliate network
This is one factor that offsets the relative ease with which you can make money from a CPA network than with an affiliate network. While you get paid if a customer completes a simple action, which is certain to happen much sooner than a customer making a purchase, you will have to be patient initially for the network to assimilate you.
On the contrary, in an affiliate network, you can instantly start getting ads. There would be no waiting period as would be in case of CPA. If you want to start converting fast and already have some experience in the domain of digital marketing, signing up for an affiliate network could be the thing for you.
When signing up for an affiliate network you won’t face any entry barrier. A CPA network, on the other hand, will carefully assess your application and accept or reject you based on certain criteria. This is in part due to the fact that advertisers seek leads from specific sources, which could be based on geography or other factors.
CPA may pay slightly less than affiliate marketing
CPA leads to a greater number of conversions quantitatively but each of them pays less than an affiliate network typically would. A combination of CPA and affiliate marketing strategies is, therefore, the recommended path for most advertising platform owners.
There is no holding period for CPA
Affiliate marketing typically has a holding period of 30-60 days, after which you get paid your dues. CPA, however, has no such restriction and you get an instant fund transfer the moment the conversion happens. And the condition for a conversion being as quick and easy as an email submit, CPA networks are ideal for beginners. Also, CPA normally does not require any refunds unless you have violated the TOS.
Scam offers are a concern for CPA marketing
CPA is vulnerable to getting numerous scam offers, like a lottery like offer or something that installs flash games that could contain spyware. While placing ads such as these could earn you a quick buck for a while, you will eventually lose credibility. Therefore, it’s best to exercise caution while choosing what products you vouch for on your site in a CPA setting.
Affiliate marketing may be more advantageous in the long- term
While CPA works great for new marketers and is easier to convert, it may not be the best strategy to follow in the long term. This is because offers available for CPA may often be scrapped without any notice. You would have to consistently keep a tab on what’s on offer and if the old links are still functional. For example, a product you place on your site a day or two ago may no longer be on sale today and you wouldn’t get any warning for the same.
Affiliate networks are immune to this problem, and products whose ads are being put up tend to stay in circulation for an extended period. In case of scrapping, you get informed so you can make the necessary changes.
So, now that you understand CPA and affiliate marketing it would be easier for you to choose the best option. It is advisable that you carefully understand the difference between CPA marketing and affiliate marketing before making the most suitable decision for your website.