CPA Marketing: The Ultimate Guide (Updated)
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CPA Marketing: The Ultimate Guide (Updated)

Brian Dean

by Brian Dean · Updated Jul. 30, 2018

CPA Marketing: The Ultimate Guide (Updated)

When it comes to monetization, I’ve tried it all.

I started with Adsense… but was let down by the low CPCs.

Then I promoted affiliate products… but I couldn’t get the traffic to convert.

Then I tried CPA marketing… and quickly realized that it was THE best way to monetize.

(In fact, CPA helped one of my sites go from 0 to $10k/month in record time)


And in this post I’m going to show you everything you need to know about CPA marketing.

What Is CPA Marketing?

Cost Per Action (CPA) Marketing is a affiliate model where a commission is paid when a user takes a specific action. These actions include filling out a form, getting a quote, signing up for a trial, or making a purchase.

Why CPA?

There are two main reasons that I prefer CPA over banner ads, Adsense, and most other affiliate marketing strategies.

1. Higher on the Value Chain

To make the most money from your site, you want to get high up on the value chain.

Here is what the value chain looks like for digital products (using a $100 course as an example):

As you can see, Adsense, banner ads, and CPC/CPM put you at the bottom of the value chain.

On the other hand, selling your own product, being an affiliate, and CPA put you higher up on the chain.

Keep in mind that physical products have 2-10x more hands in the pot (distributors, warehouses, suppliers etc.). That’s why Amazon Associates only make 100 bucks when someone buys a $2500 laptop.

To be clear:

I’m not saying that you should avoid promoting physical products.

Just remember that physical product commissions tend to be A LOT less than with digital products.

2. Integrated Advertising

The other nice thing about CPA is that you don’t need to disfigure your site with ugly Adsense blocks or banner ads.

As you’ll see later, you can seamlessly integrate CPA offers into your site.

This means you run a legit branded site… while benefiting from out-of-this-world CTR and commissions.

Step #1: Find an Offer

Your first step is to find an offer to promote.

The question is:

How do you find the perfect offer for your site?

That’s easy: use oDigger and

They’re like the Google of CPA: they aggregate thousands of offers from reputable CPA networks.

And you can search based on keyword, price, category or network.

For example…

Let’s say that you run a site in the health space.

Head over to Offer Vault and type “weight loss” into the search field:

And you’ll get a list of results, like this:

Here are the common terms you’ll come across during your search:

___ Only: You can only use a certain traffic source, like email or organic search.

Display: This includes text links and banner ads.

Lead: The most common “action” in the CPA marketing world. Usually someone submitting their name, email, phone, address etc.

Email/Zip Submit: The most simple CPA offer. Good for untargeted traffic. User gives their email and zip code only.

Incent: Short for “incentivized”. Incent means that you can “bribe” users with a free product or download.

Pay Per Call: You’re paid when someone makes a call after clicking on your affiliate link.

Download/Install: You get paid when someone downloads or installs a piece of software.

Publisher: The person that promotes the offer (you).

Trial: When user signs up for a free trial of a product or service.

“Pixel Fires”: This is what happens when someone clicks on your link (they become a lead).

US/FR/CA: Offer only valid in that specific country.

AM: Stands for “Affiliate Manager”. Your AM is your go-to person in the network

Sale or Rev Share: You get a cut of every sale (one-time or recurring).

When you see an offer that looks good, click on the listing:

Then, check out the details. The listing will usually give you key information on the offer, like what the user needs to do and what type of traffic is allowed:

If the offer looks good, hit the “Full Landing Page Preview” button. This will show you the page that users will see when they click on your link:


What should you look for in a landing page?

First, you want a landing page that looks clean and professional.

If it looks shady to you, it’ll look shady to your traffic too… and it won’t convert.

Also, the more fields a page has, the lower your conversion rate is going to be.

That said:

More fields also mean higher commissions.

So don’t be automatically turned off by a page like this that requires 6 steps:

If the traffic is motivated enough (for example, they your traffic comes from people searching in Google for “best online degrees”), I’ve found that they’ll fill out just about anything.

“What If I Can’t Find an Offer?”

Depending on your niche, you may not be able to find an offer that fits your site’s topic.

If that’s the case, you want to look for CPA offers that appeal to your traffic’s demographic.

Let me illustrate what I mean with a real life example…

I used to run a site in the “dating” niche that was getting 2,000 visitors per day.

I put “dating” in quotes because it was comprised mostly of 9th graders wondering how to talk to Sally that sits in the back.

(Not the type of stuff that’s easy to monetize)

Despite the fact that I tested about 20 different themes and ad placements, I wasn’t making ANY money with Adsense.

And when I looked at the ads Adsense was putting on my site, I realized that they weren’t dating related at all.

Instead, they were targeted based on demographics.

That’s when I decided to switch out Adsense for an email/zip submit offer for a free Xbox 360.

And just like, that I started to make significantly more money than I was making from Adsense.

Step #2: Join a Network

If the offer looks good, it’s time to join the network that runs the offer. You can apply by clicking on the “Join Network” link on the offer page:

When you do, you’ll see an application like this:

I should point something out:

You’ll be asked to provide a phone number… which they will call.

This is a stumbling block for a lot of people. As affiliate marketers we’re accustomed to making money online without having to talk to anyone.

But the reality of CPA is this:

If you want to join a CPA network, you’ll need to talk to someone on the phone. You may have to even fill out some actual paperwork. It’s no big deal.

How to Get Accepted By Any Network

Remember that CPA networks aren’t trying to make things difficult. They just want to make sure that you’re a legit business that will send them real leads (which you are).

So it’s just a matter of being transparent.

Here are some tips that will help you get accepted:

  • Call Them Before They Call You: Shady affiliates try to fly under the radar screen. So give the network a call right after you apply. This shows you’re the real deal. I was accepted into one network literally 10 minutes after applying. How? I picked up the phone and called.
  • Check Your Whois: Some networks check to see if your site’s whois address matches your mailing address.
  • Be Honest: Most applications have a section to learn more about your online marketing experience:

Remember: you don’t need to be an internet marketing rockstar to get accepted.

In fact, I joined my first affiliate network when I was making about $20/day from Adsense. They just want you to put honest answers into these fields.

So if you’re new to affiliate marketing, it’s OK to tell them that.

Step #3: Design Your Site Around CPA

Once you’ve joined a network and have a CPA offer ready to go, it’s time to integrate it into your site.

One of the things I love about CPA is that you can make your site look Fortune 500… even if you promote $1.25 email/zip submits.

In other words:

Don’t waste the opportunity to make your site look legit by slapping up a nasty banner.

Believe it or not, but you don’t need in-your-face advertising to make money from your site.

In fact, I’ve found that the more you integrate your advertising, the higher your conversions.

For example, I own a site that’s 100% monetized with CPA. Most of the affiliate links are either contextual links or integrated into the site’s design.

It has very little banner advertising.

Despite the lack of obvious advertising, the site has a 26.4% CTR.

(If I had that kind of CTR with Adsense, Google would probably ban my account!)

Here are two examples of big brand sites that have done such an amazing job with integration that you can hardly tell they’re promoting CPA offers:

Big Brand CPA #1:

This is a big brand financial site in the UK.

(How big? They’re publicly traded on the London Stock Exchange)

And their business model is almost 100% CPA.

But you couldn’t tell my looking at it. The site’s CPA offers are seamlessly integrated into the site.

Big Brand CPA #2: is a rapidly growing personal finance site. Like, they integrate their CPA offers into useful tools.

This seamless ad integration blows away the CTR and conversion rate that they’d get from banner ads.

Just to be clear: you can do well with traditional banner ads and contextual links.

But I HIGHLY recommend using a custom design that makes your site look legit.

Step #4: Drive Traffic To Your Site

Now that you’ve found an offer and joined a network, it’s time to drive traffic to your site.

There are a million ways to get traffic. But here are the 3 most common traffic strategies that CPA marketers use:

1. SEO

As you might expect, SEO is my go-to traffic strategy.

It takes time to kick-in, but once you rank for your target keywords, you get traffic without needing to do ANYTHING else.

If you want to learn the ins and outs of SEO, I recommend checking out these resources:

Keyword Research for SEO: The Definitive Guide

How to Get High Quality Backlinks (7 New Strategies)

On-Page SEO: Anatomy of a Perfectly Optimized Page

2. PPC Ads

PPC ads (like Google Adwords and Facebook ads) are another popular way to get traffic to your CPA offers.

The big plus of PPC advertising is that you can start right away.

(You can literally start getting traffic within an hour or so)

The downside is that you need to funnel money into your ads… Once you stop spending, your revenue goes to zero.

3. Social Media

Facebook. Instragram. YouTube.

These are all platforms that you can use to get your offers in front of the right people.

Like with SEO, it can take time to build up a following on social media. But a popular Instagram profile or Facebook page is an asset that can pay off for YEARS.

Bonus: CPA Pro Tips

Here are a few tricks that I’ve picked up from my experience running offers as a CPA affiliate.

Be Tight With Your Affiliate Manager

Your “AM” is your inside source at the network. Every now and again they’ll call you or email you to get you to run some of their new offers. I’m always nice and professional when they reach out:

After all, most AMs are cool peeps just doing their job. And it’s a relationship that you can leverage for exclusive deals (as you’ll see next).

How to Get Commission Bumps

One of the perks of having a good relationship with your AM is that you can get commission bumps.

In fact, I have a 100% success rate so far. And it’s because I do two things: a) maintain a good relationship with my AM and b) play one network against another.

Every now and again check to see if the offer you’re promoting is at a competing network.

When I see that another network is running one of my offers at a higher rate, I ask my AM they can match it:

They don’t want you to bolt for another affiliate network. So they’ll usually hook you up:

You may have noticed that this is a $.30 bump from what the network was publicly offering.

That may not seem like a lot, but let’s quickly do the math:

Let’s say you’re getting 50 conversions per day.

50 conversions x $.30=$15 extra per day

$15/day x 30 days=$450 extra per month

$450/month x 12 months=$5400 extra per year

Not bad 🙂

Avoid Shady Networks

The dark side of CPA is that there are a lot of shady operations that rip people off. That’s why you need to be VERY careful about joining shady networks.

So before you signup for a network, check the reviews at Odigger.

First, click on the “Network Reviews” tab from the homepage.

And find the network that you’re looking to join.

Steer clear of any network that has really bad reviews.

(Especially if lots of people report they had trouble getting paid)

With that, keep something in mind:

Networks sometimes have legitimate reasons to withhold payment (for example: if someone sent them phony leads).

So if you see a few complainers in an otherwise stellar list of reviews, it’s probably OK to join.

But if you see a sea of negative reviews, you should go with another network (even if the commission is higher with the shady network).

My Recommended Networks

I’ve joined a bunch of CPA networks over the last few years. But I’m most active on two: MaxBounty and Panthera Network. They both have a ton of offers, competitive payouts, and great AMs.

They’re both awesome. But if I had to choose one… I’d probably go with MaxBounty.

The main difference between the two is that MaxBounty offers weekly payments.


There are lots of other reputable networks out there (for example, I’ve heard good things things about Peerfly and Neverblue). But I can’t recommend them because I haven’t personally worked with them.

Now It’s Your Turn

There you have it: a complete CPA marketing blueprint.

Now I’d like to hear from you:

What’s your experience been with CPA?

Or maybe you’re just getting started.

Either way, let me know by leaving a comment below right now.


  1. Jonathan Mitnick Avatar Jonathan Mitnicksays:

    Aaaah…so this is the CPA article you promised Andrii, Wow!you actually kept your word…I get it…your cool like that.I’m heading over to Maxbounty right now! Do you use CPA on Backlinko?

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      I’m a man of my word :-). I haven’t done any CPA with Backlinko (there aren’t many SEO-related offers). Let me know how it goes with Maxbounty.

    1. william Avatar williamsays:

      brilliant post and i am new to this. just got accepted in ebay partner network and peefly on my first applications lol. guess I’m lucky. but love your tips and will use.

      1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

        Thanks William. I’ve found that you can get into any network on the first try if you’re open and honest. Let me know how CPA marketing works out for you 🙂

  2. Andrii Avatar Andriisays:

    Thanks Brian for keeping your word 🙂

    As usual, you wrote an awesome article.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      My pleasure, Andrii. Glad to hear that it met your expectations.

  3. Phenomenal post, Brian. I love where you say, “call them before they call you.” This kind of assertiveness should be used for all types of business, not just CPA.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Cam! You’re 100% right: you gotta be aggressive if you want to make that money!

  4. Chetan Avatar Chetansays:

    Hey Brian,
    In a short time, I have become a long time fan! The stuff that you share with us is incredible. On top of that, your strategies & points are actionable. These days most of the big SEO companies (kissing up to brands) are putting out stuff in the name of being Whitehat. What they don’t realize is that affiliates don’t read their blogs anymore cuz they dont serve content that helps the little guy. You on the other hand, offer complete balance in terms of white hat, grey hat, blackhat & everything in between! Keep up the great posts coming. Real affiliates will appreciate your blog as everyone else is trying to look good in the eyes of Google & what not. I guess they forgot about the small affiliates who helped them reach the brand level & sadly they only put content out for agencies, corporate brands…
    Best of wishes,

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Your comment made my day! It means a lot to hear that my advice is helping you achieve real results. I know that many affiliates feel the same way you do: that SEO professionals abandoned them to go after big fish clients. Thanks for stopping by, Chet!

  5. David A. Avatar David A.says:

    You have a great tutorial on getting started in CPA.
    I have an idea I like to spend was wondering if you could advise. I know of a friend who bought traffic lots of them on credit from trafficvance and redirect them to CPA offers and track them using CPVLAB.

    For newbies who dun have cash to burn, I would like to purchase a .info domain use Google trends to find rising keywords, find matching CPA offers, find long tail keywords with low cpc, redirect traffic to CPA LP and track conversion.
    Is it tooooooo much work?
    I know all the gist of CPA but I’m freeze of strategic planning.
    Pls help.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Glad to hear you liked the post, David. That sounds like too much work for not a great ROI. Finding keywords, registering domains, setting up sites etc. for a few weeks worth of traffic doesn’t seem worth it. You’re better off building an authority site so when those trending keywords come around you can publish a post and rank for it right away.

  6. Wow, another comprehensive piece by Brian! Well done for writing these awesome KINGlike posts. I just shared and “kingged” it on the IM social site and I left the following comment:

    Brian of has done it again. I enjoyed his other very comprehensive post on Google Ranking Factors, and now this… awesome!

    I like how he introduced the basic CPA concepts and made it very understandable for newbies to CPA and how he also provided “pro tips” for those who are more advanced.

    Anyone who has always wanted to learn about CPA will certainly find lots of helpful tips in this article… CPA newbies and pro alikes.

    Well written, Brian.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks for Kinging another one of my posts, Sunday! I tried to make it the best guide to CPA marketing out there. It looks like I’m on the right track :-).

      1. Sure, you are welcome. Always on the right track!

  7. It sounds like a lot of work.Would it not be a better investment of time to focus on creatinga product, eg:ebook, cds, program all in a bundle and then keep all the profit.
    And build a network of affiliates to promote?
    Regardless your posts are awesome!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      It’s actually not a lot of work once you join a network and have a few proven offers.

      And it’s not always practical to create your own product or service. Let’s say that you’re in the insurance niche. Would you rather create your own insurance company…or send them leads using CPA?

      But you’re right Dom: your own product puts you right at top of the value chain. And having an army of affiliates promoting your product? Even better. So monetizing your own product is definitely something to consider.You can often make more from your own product than from CPA or promoting other people’s products.

      1. Al Simon Avatar Al Simonsays:

        Quick point to add here is that the CPA model enables you to test different offers to your audience to clarify what it is that they want – as per Brians comment about promoting the Xbox offer to his audience.
        Once you’ve nailed the right offer you can follow up and start researching that offer in more detail to find what buyers like, want more of, etc. Then create your product to deliver on the ‘message-to-market- match’ that you’ve identified.
        Or in other words take an existing offer, that you know is working and apply the skyscraper technique to it.

  8. carl Avatar carlsays:

    Thanks for this post. I signed up with CPA networks and I have not been active for a while due to cash flow as I use 7 search and bidvertiser to promote some offers, I didnt make back the amount i invested i must say and a times some of the traffic they want are US based and am in Europe. How can I set up a site that will only focus on US traffic, is there a way to do this?

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      My pleasure, Carl. Most sites get a mix of US and international traffic. But if you host your site in the US and use a US TLD (.com, .net, .org) you’ll naturally attract US-based search traffic.

      1. carl Avatar carlsays:

        thanks Brian.

  9. Mostafa Elwy Avatar Mostafa Elwysays:

    thanks alot for this quick tutorial … i’m a cpa marketer for a 2 years and it’s a great and profitble bussnise

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      My pleasure, Mostafa. I’m also a big fan 🙂

  10. Angela W Avatar Angela Wsays:

    Hey Brian, I’ve learned more from your site than the two wso’s I paid for. I think I’ve found an offer but I’m confused about the difference between the “type which says (Lead)” and the “Category (email submits)”. Why are both listed, I thought it would be one or the other not both.
    Thanks in advance, Angela

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks so much, Angela! They’re more or less the same. The difference is this: “leads” often have several fields to fill out and email submits are generally just name, email (and sometimes) zip code.

  11. Les Avatar Lessays:

    Hi, Brian. You say “I own a site that’s 100% monetized with CPA. Most of the affiliate links are either contextual links or integrated into the site’s design.” I’m relatively new to CPA and would like to know more about this strategy. Do you have anything published that gives more details on how to achieve this integration?
    For a relative newbie, even these simple concepts can be dangerously stress-inducing!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hey Les. There isn’t any article or tutorial on how do to this (you need to hire a designer and coder to make it work). I’d check out the two example sites in the post to get a better idea of what I mean when I say integrated advertising.

      1. Les Avatar Lessays:

        Thanks, Brian.
        Busy going through your Advanced Guide to Link Building, co-authored with Neil Patel. Looks good!

        1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

          Thanks Les! Neil and I worked really hard on it to make it something special.

  12. Drew Avatar Drewsays:

    The real task would be driving traffic to your website right?

    Picking offers in niches like Education or Finance or any other competitive ones make it extremely tough to get good organic traffic to even see your site.

    Would you just drive traffic via SEO?

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      That’s right Drew: traffic is critical. In this guide I was assuming that you already had a site (or niche in mind). But you can start with CPA to find a niche that you can monetize when you get traffic later down the road. I wouldn’t rely SEO for 100% of my traffic, but for certain niches there isn’t any other viable option.

      1. chris Avatar chrissays:

        My only concern with using SEO for CPA offers is that CPA offers tend not to hang around that long. So by the time your SEO rankings kick in, the offer will have gone?

        1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

          Very true. That’s why I recommend creating a site that ranks for topic keywords vs. specific offers.

  13. Awesome stuff. I found your site through the video interview you did with internetmarketing. You’re posts are some of the best stuff I’ve seen on seo. Very helpful to someone new to this stuff. Thanks.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks for your kind words, Betty! Let me know if you have any questions about SEO.

  14. Brian,

    Yet another extremely helpful guide. I also read your guide to building back links- which is an excellent resource. I just wanted to say thanks for sharing such useful info and encourage you to keep it up.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Glad you enjoyed it Pete and thanks for your kind words 🙂

  15. Hi Brian,
    Great article. I am looking to try my hands on CPA marketing, and I couldn’t get a better article than this. The only think which I did not find was how do we promote our CPA product? How do you drive traffic to it?

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Kunal! That’s a good question. Just like any site, you can drive traffic to a CPA-monetized sites from PPC, SEO, media buys, content marketing, guest posting etc.

  16. Amit Arora Avatar Amit Arorasays:

    How do I enter in this field at the first place?

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Not sure what you mean, Amit. Can you explain?

      1. Ajay Avatar Ajaysays:

        He wants to know how to become a CPA marketer. That question is on my mind too.

  17. udin Avatar udinsays:

    Glad to see this post, from my point of view, this was basic to advanced technique to get into CPA Network, just signup under your referral.


    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Glad you liked the post, Udin. Let me know how CPA marketing works out for you.

  18. Azudi Avatar Azudisays:

    Hi Brian, your statement above:
    “Step #3: Design your site around CPA
    Once you’ve joined a network and have an offer ready to go, it’s time to integrate it into your site”
    Can you explain how to build a site around CPA? Any example of such site for newbies which may enable a newbie to be accepted by the CPA network. Since the site is required in the network application form. Your input will be highly appreciated.Thanks.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Good question, Azudi. I actually give two examples of sites that have integrated CPA into their site in the article (Nerd Wallet and Money Supermarket). But you don’t need to get this set up until after you’ve been accepted by the network. As long as you have a quality site, you can apply right away.

      1. Azudi Avatar Azudisays:

        Thanks Brian for your reply. You said I don’t need to get that kind of site setup as above, but as long as I have a quality site I can apply right away.
        As a newbie I don’t know how a quality site should look like. Is there any example for that? I have an ad-sense site which generates $24 a year. It has nothing to do with CPA and will not qualify.

        1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

          I’d say any made for Adsense site wouldn’t qualify as a quality site. It’s difficult to define. But you can head to AllTop, look at your niche’s category and check out the sites listed there. If they made it, they’re quality.

  19. Hi Brain, Iam very new to CPA world. I have some questions, i hope you clarify them. These are the points you missed in the article.
    1. How to track my sales.
    2. Many people saying this is the best tool. Prosper202 why ? i didnt find even a single article how to use this tool.
    some more questions coming soon. Just started CPA. Accepted by AdworkMedia.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Dinesh, Prosoper202 is really great as a PPC tracking tool. But unless you’re doing a lot of split testing on your site with organic traffic, the tracking that’s build into most networks is good enough.

  20. Thanks Brian for such a content full blog post. I am getting started with the Online World and CPA is one strategy I want to master before going into another. I will get started with the inclusion of the offers within my blog and move from there. You have broken it down into easy to follow steps. Thanks again

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Glad you enjoyed the post, Margaret. Let me know how the CPA offers you run work out or if you have any questions.

  21. Tara Avatar Tarasays:

    Thank you for this article. I thought I knew everything there was to know about CPA…I was so wrong.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Glad you learned something new, Tara 😀

  22. Hey Brian,

    Thanks for the article, great overview of the process. I have a question, do you recommend creating a list for these CPA offers? Would you this be the best way to convert the offers?


    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Glad you enjoyed it, Long. It depends. Usually creating a list is the best way to convert ANY traffic…but I personally don’t build a list with my CPA-monetized site. The best way to convert them is to either get them on a value-packed email newsletter or to use the integration strategy I talk about in the post.

  23. Irwin Avatar Irwinsays:

    Just wanted to drop a line and say helluva post!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Irwin 🙂

  24. Tim Avatar Timsays:

    This artilce rocks, THANK YOU!!!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Tim. Let me know how CPA marketing works out for you.

  25. My brother referred me this article when i asked him what he is upto these days. He said CPA and i asked what is it. That is how i ended here. It was a great article and now i know what is CPA and i am gonna try this soon.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Happy to hear I could clear that up for you, Ankit 🙂

  26. Hamiz Khan Avatar Hamiz Khansays:

    Wow article ! Thanks man !

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Glad you liked it, Hamiz 🙂

  27. Brian Its a Brilliant piece! I have worked with Peerfly although didn’t put ever that much effort required to bring in leads but your post is inspiring me to get back to the CPA world!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Shuvo. I’ve heard good things about Peerfly but haven’t worked with them personally. Let me know how your foray into CPA goes 🙂

  28. Harry Avatar Harrysays:

    Hey Brian. Nice article explaining CPA offers. I wanted to ask your opinion on this – would CPA offers do well on humour niche? If not, could you recommend anything apart from Adsense/CPM that you think would work well?

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Harry. That’s a tough niche to monetize. What I’d do is identify what demographic tends to visit your site (for example, a humor
      site targeting men in their early 20s is very different than one that gets traffic from 45 year old women). Then I’d find CPA
      offers that would appeal to that demo.

  29. Tijs Avatar Tijssays:

    This clarified a lot on CPA marketing. Thanks!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Happy to hear that, Tijs! That’s what I set out to do with this post 🙂

  30. Brian,
    This is definitely the ultimate guide for CPA. Filled with great information. I currently use Adsense on my websites but now I see the advantages of CPA.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Definitely give it a shot, Dwayne. In my experience, CPA crushes Adsense.

  31. Faye @ Romantic Movies Reviewer Avatar Faye @ Romantic Movies Reviewersays:

    I haven’t made a red cent of money from CPA offers and find it very difficult to get ranked.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Faye, To do well with CPA (or internet marketing in general), you definitely need traffic first. So I’d consider focusing on that before delving into monetization.

  32. Stephen Avatar Stephensays:

    Do you need a website set up first before contacting the affiliate networks in order to get approved?

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Stephen, Not necessarily, but it definitely helps.

  33. Harsh Raichura Avatar Harsh Raichurasays:

    Really Nice Guide For Newbie Blogger Like me because i don’t know what is CPA Marketing so here i got all idea what is it.
    Thanks 🙂

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      That was my goal with this post, Harsh. Happy to help 🙂

  34. Pawan Kumar Kukarwal Avatar Pawan Kumar Kukarwalsays:

    Thanks Brian for such guide that can give inspiration to any newbie to join CPA.
    I recently came across few CPA marketers which created an interest to look at the subject.
    I found your guide on Google and thanks a lot for providing this very needed guide 🙂

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Cheers, Pawan. Happy to help 🙂

  35. Payman Torkiyan Avatar Payman Torkiyansays:

    Hey Brian,
    Love your work. I’ve read majority of your post, guest posts, and even gone through the Quicksprout videos you did.

    I’ve been an SEO and worked on PPC accounts for the past two years, and have gotten a good deal of knowledge from reading posts in our industry, especially yours.

    Recently, I started thinking about affiliate marketing and using that knowledge to try it out. I’ve been doing research and have joined Share a Sale to promote a product.

    What are the main mistakes other than not quiting “we newbies” make when we start out in affiliate marketing?


    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Payman 🙂

      This mistakes holds a lot of affiliates back: thinking like an affiliate marketer. If you want to get traffic, you need to act like a big brand. Just because you monetize with affiliate offers doesn’t mean you have to run a mediocre site. Sites like Money Supermarket and Nerd Wallet run the type of affiliate sites that crush it today by providing tons and tons of value.

  36. Payman Torkiyan Avatar Payman Torkiyansays:

    Thanks for the reply.

    Definitely agree with you that you should never run a mediocre site. You have to show that your site can compete with all your competitors in the top 3 search results.

    I know you’ve been really busy for the past year. Are you still in any programs or promoting any products other than your own products?

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Sounds like you’re going to rock it as an affiliate, Payman. I still have 2 sites that promote CPA offers, but I don’t work on them much anymore so I can focus on growing Backlinko.

  37. Shakil Avatar Shakilsays:

    Hi Brian,
    Thanks for your awesome article. It’s really very informative and helpful. I have just joined Maxbounty and I don’t have any past experience in CPA marketing. So I need some of ur kind advice. how can I share the campaigns of my MaxBounty account and get the leads. I don’t have the website either but I have Facebook fan page. Pls advise, it would of great help. Thanks in advance.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      My pleasure, Shakil. I definitely recommend creating a website. That’s the best way to get stable traffic.

  38. Aamir Avatar Aamirsays:

    Thanks Brian for your awesome post, Can you please write a detailed post on how to build authority websites.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      You’re welcome, Aamir. And thanks for the suggestion 🙂

      1. Felix Osezua Avatar Felix Osezuasays:

        Thanks for this post, it really helpful to me. I just got an approval to join a CPA network ( salesbloter), as a novice. I don’t know how to go about it. From your post now, I understand that I need a traffic source to get an offer. I presently don’t have a functional website. I only have a Facebook page with a few followers where i write on marital issue. Knowing how CPA works from your post, how possible can i get a good Facebook following to have my offer approved.
        Please help me out if you can.

  39. Julian Strofe Avatar Julian Strofesays:

    Hi Brian how are you? I was wondering would it be a good idea to build lots of backlinks to my landing page to increase pagerank? Now I don’t own the website but I do own the domain names and forward my cpa offers to the correct domains. Should I do this? Thx in advance

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Only if that’s going to help your page rank, Julian.

  40. Hey Brian I am fairly new to this affiliate marketing game and for the most part it’s been a little trial and error, I thoroughly enjoyed your post as I didn’t have a clue about CPA marketing until now! Hopefully in the future I can start making some good money online. Thanks! Harry

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Happy to help, Harry 🙂

  41. The problem is how to get targeted traffics. Without targeted traffics, we won’t make a cash

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      That’s where the rest of this site will help you, Michael 🙂

  42. syedasadsheeraz Avatar syedasadsheerazsays:

    brian dean i am new to this field, i want to learn how to get conversions,

    Please help out


    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      That’s something I’ll cover on the blog soon 🙂

  43. Golam Zaman Avatar Golam Zamansays:

    Hey Brian,
    it is really helpful to anyone who want to start CPA. I have just got a call from my AM of maxbounty and got approved my application. Good to hear from you some valued tips about CPA. Well said Brain. I really appreciate it.

    Thanks once again. don’t forget to let me know if anything new about it in your mind.


    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Congrats Golam! Let me know how CPA marketing works out for you.

  44. Golam Zaman Avatar Golam Zamansays:

    Hi Brian,

    Thank you for comment against my post.
    Didn’t you publish my comments? What should I do to see my comments showing here.

    As u know I starting CPA first time so will try my best. I will follow your valued instructions u published here.


    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Good luck with CPA Golam 🙂

  45. Elena Avatar Elenasays:

    Hi Brian. Thank you for your informative article.
    What is your recommendation for mobile traffic companies?
    Thank you

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      You’re welcome, Elena. I don’t know much about mobile traffic CPA, but most of the big CPA networks have mobile-specific offers now.

  46. Millette Avatar Millettesays:

    Can you have multiple CPA offers on one website? For example if I had a site in the home/garden niche could I write multiple posts about multiple CPA products/offers or is it best to create a site around one offer?

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Yes, you definitely want to have several CPA offers on your site. But I wouldn’t create an entire site around one offer. Just make an awesome site around a category and monetize with different offers to see which does best for you.

  47. Ramsay Avatar Ramsaysays:

    Hi Brian,
    Would you know if traffic from CPA would help raise Alexa ranking?

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Good question, Ramsay. I’m not 100% sure but I suppose it would help your Alexa.

  48. Mike Avatar Mikesays:

    Hi Brian,

    Great Post! Can i use VS to promote my Local Business?

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Mike 🙂
      What’s VS?

  49. Emmanuel Avatar Emmanuelsays:

    Hello Brian, I am new to internet marketing, am wanted to know what is the most cost effective way to promote and jumpstart your niche CPA offers with good traffic and conversions if Maxbounty doesn’t allow you to use freelancers, microjobsites, or guaranteed lead services to Maxbounty?…Your time and knowledge would be greatly appreciated with regard to the above question. Thank You

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Emmanuel, the best thing you can do is create a great site that attracts traffic that will naturally convert on CPA offers. That’s the first step.

  50. Raja Avatar Rajasays:

    Hi Brian,
    Nice post, I don’t have any experience with affiliate marketing so this post should definitely help. I’m currently running a free dating site in the Spanish market, Any tips what would work best for me except for running ads for other dating sites? I was thinking may be weight loss and anti aging products for women…any thoughts?

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Raja. Those are good ideas. The only way to know is to test 🙂

  51. Amdeyo Avatar Amdeyosays:

    Hi Brian. Thanks for the article. I think you’ve already said it in a couple of the replies but I want to make sure I understand. Are you saying that it’s best to have a website before applying to a network? I don’t have a website as of yet. If it is best to have a website can you recommend how big it should be? For ex., 5 pages? 10 pages? I ask because I would like to get started as soon as possible. However, I don’t want to waste my time or put up a site that isn’t quality (which also is equivalent to wasting time). If a website is the best route then I will take the time to put one together. What is your suggestion here?

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Yes you definitely want a site first, Amdeyo. I’d build a site that provides value. As long as you do that, you can get into any CPA network.

  52. MAX Avatar MAXsays:

    Brian, did you feel the pain of advertisers? People are gaming CPA system by offering fake leads/signups for a few bucks.
    If you go to any freelance site, you can find a lot of freelancers offering fake lead services.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Fortunately, CPA networks have ways of identifying fake leads. So as long as you send them good leads, CPA networks will love you.

  53. Salman Baig Avatar Salman Baigsays:

    Damn when did you posted this article brian? I read all your articles (Even on other blogs 🙂 ) but missed this one. Today was checking backlinko’s facebook page and saw this article.. and It is AWESOME with all details. Thanks Brian

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      You’re welcome, Salman. This is actually one of the first posts that I ever published on the blog 🙂

  54. George Avatar Georgesays:

    Thanks for the valuable information. I am new to CPA marketing and i try to learn all that i can.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      You’re welcome, George.

  55. Sean Avatar Seansays:

    Hi, I got a lot out of this article but I’m a little confused about what qualifies as a CPA offer. Isn’t any type of affiliate offer (Amazon, Clickbank etc.) a CPA offer?

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Sean, a CPA offer is similar to CB and Amazon except the person doesn’t have to (usually) buy anything. You’re basically selling leads.

  56. Jay Avatar Jaysays:

    Thanks for the awesome update. More infor would be great and just keep up the great work. I like how you break it down, I have also been in this field for a while now but its so hard to make money when you are marketing something that requires a person to give out his hard cold cash to some nerd he knows not! it is a goldmine to give stuff that is valuable for free and make money!!!! May the force be with you!!!!!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      And also with you, Jay 🙂

  57. Roy Avatar Roysays:

    I really am interested in CPA marketing, but kind of need a little hand holding/step by step process… In your opinion, are there any “real, good” CPA training programs out there.. Tks
    Your article was great, just wish I understood more..

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      This is as close to a complete guide as I’ve seen online, Roy.

  58. Josef Avatar Josefsays:

    Hi Brian thanks again for the Amazing Tutorial you are making mane , you deserve more than a thanks you (y) .
    i’m trying to use Forum traffic methodes what do you advice me ?
    Thanks again Brian 🙂

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hi Josef. Yup, forums can definitely work.

  59. Hi Brian,
    Great post, really enjoyed this one! 🙂

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Anik

  60. I have already joined in few of CPA networks, but I don’t have clear ideas still now. I am still learning and in this regard, this is a great source for me. You will really get a thank, Brian Dean.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      You’re welcome, Neamul.

  61. Abby Knight Avatar Abby Knightsays:

    This is a good guide if you are using cpa on a website that is already getting traffic. But, what if you are starting from scratch with say a brand new website?

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      That’s what the rest of this blog is for Abby 🙂

  62. Robinsh Avatar Robinshsays:

    I think integration part could do wonders, thanks for submitting those big brands and help me realize that how do they make money online.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      You’re welcome, Robinsh.

  63. Robert Avatar Robertsays:

    Hello, I have over 20 years in the restaurant biz and wonder how this type of system would work for the large players? Also, is there a guide somewhere for someone starting in this from scratch. As someone in a different industry altogether I am impressed with your thoroughness.

    Thanks Robert

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hi Robert, I’m not sure how this would work for restaurants.

  64. John Lewsam Avatar John Lewsamsays:

    Hi Brian thanks for the guide rope.
    Can I try to achieve some more short term success by paying to advertise the offers I choose and paying for space on popular and highly relevant sites or is this doomed to failure.
    Many thanks John

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      John, I’d stick with an organic growth strategy vs. PPC to start with.

  65. Thank you so much for the detailed post on how CPA works. This was extremely helpful!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      You’re welcome, Sunhae. Happy to help 🙂

  66. Sara Avatar Sarasays:

    Hi Brian,
    I’m new to this, and not sure if this site would be an example of CPA, and if so, a good one? For example if the niche category were “vintage film cameras”, this site would act as a hub to exhibit all different kinds of film cameras from merchants across the web. There would be:
    a. an image
    b. a blurb about the manufacturer/merchant in the author’s words
    c. a description of the product from the manufacturer’s website.
    Each product would be affiliate linked to the merchant’s website.
    Would you consider this CPA?

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Sara, that’s more affiliate marketing. CPA marketing would be if you sent leads to a wedding photographer’s site.

  67. mark Avatar marksays:

    MAxBounty: i have tried to send a lot of legit traffic to them without ANY conversion, even email submit. Stay away from them unless you know your AM, you can send 10,000 super targeted leads everday without ANY conversion.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Mark, that hasn’t been my experience at all.

  68. Brian,

    Great article. I appreciate how recent it is as well and that you’re replying to a lot of comments, I read many and even ended up writing a user’s name in here instead of your own initially. I hope you can take a look at sometime, we’re an inc. 500 company, the inventors of Content Locking and now have more CPA (non-incentive / non content locking) offers available than any of the networks you referenced.

    We’ve put a lot of resources into it and all I can ask is that thought leaders like yourself take a look incase its worth telling your followers about. We’d like to think it as as we put a lot of resources into making it the #1 CPA network around. I’ll leave that to all of you to judge.

    In any event, great work!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Thanks Peter, I’ve only included networks here that I’ve personally used. I have heard good things about CPA Lead, so you guys must be doing great work.

  69. siddharth solanki Avatar siddharth solankisays:

    Wow! really nice article dude! 🙂 And btw you have awesome blog and your tutorials are just fantastic!

    i’m just eager to know more about CPA 🙂

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:


  70. William Thompson Avatar William Thompsonsays:

    Love the site. Still sorta new to all the internet marketing stuff, but finding great resources. I hope I can utilize a lot of the information to drive traffic and get better results on my blog…Thanks

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      You’re welcome, William.

  71. William Thompson Avatar William Thompsonsays:

    Brian, I’m really kind of embarrassed that I’ve just visited your site today for the first time! This is some incredible information! Trust me I’ve already signed up to your list. I hope to be able to use this information for my own results…Thanks again!!!

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      No worries, William. Better late than never 🙂

  72. Michael Avatar Michaelsays:

    I have a questions. Did you get any training or 1-on-1 help?

    I’ve been using for CPA training. Have you heard of it? Any other training site you use?

    Thanks for responding to all the comments! Lots of good info.

    1. Brian Dean Avatar Brian Deansays:

      Hi Michael, I actually just learned by experimenting. I wish I had this guide when I was first starting out though.

  73. Brian! Another great article! One of my friends is going to love it as well. (he’s just starting out) I love using offer vault to find CPA offers.

  74. Great guide brian, what if you use PPC to drive traffic would that work? Maybe a post on how to do that with CPA would be awesome using traffic generating techniques such as Facebook, Google or Bing!

  75. Brian…
    I am a senior (in years) but not inspiration and I’m ready to “ROCK”. After I find an offer, join a network and design my site around the CPA offer, how do I generate traffic to my offer? What advice can you provide? BTW… I found this article very informative and stimulating. I’ll keep your site at the top of my list.

  76. Ahamed Avatar Ahamedsays:

    Hi Brian,

    What are your thoughts on mobile cpa marketing? Would you be in it?


  77. Tamara Avatar Tamarasays:

    This information is absolutely on point! I will implement everything that you have suggested here. One question for you though… How do you recommend driving traffic to your CPA offers/websites? Do you recommend paid traffic or organic traffic or both? Could you suggest some paid traffic sources that you have used if any?

  78. Fantastic post, there a lot more to CPA to, for example content locking!
    Great info nonetheless though 🙂

  79. Many thanks on your amazing content. It’s truly incredibly useful and useful. I’ve got simply signed up with Maxbounty and My spouse and i don’t have got almost any beyond knowledge within CPA marketing and advertising. Therefore i require most of 3rd there are variety suggestions. big thanks for sharing this informative article with us.. Great work…!!!

  80. Keane Avatar Keanesays:

    Hey Brian,

    Wow! Wow! Did I say, “Wow?!” Now this is what I call an article my friend. I am truly impressed with what I have read. Quite astonished actually. I was pretty much shocked at how detailed this article was.

    But, you know what. This is the kind of stuff that I love reading – thorough reviews.

    Therefore, I MUST advise you keep up the GREAT WORK that you are doing Brian. Thumbs up also for having such a fabulous site! :-]

    Continued success to you my friend,

  81. I’m interested in starting CPA marketing, but I’m not from US. What do you think about doing CPA marketing from outside US? Will I be able to get most of the offers that US people get?

    I’m very new to this, I would love to know your opinion Brian…

  82. Great guide Brian…CPA is great because it generally is much easier to get someone to submit a form as a lead vs. trying to presell and get them to buy a physical product for traditional affiliate marketing.

    I’ve learned alot of great backlinking tips from your blog…keep up the good work.

  83. Mark Hill Avatar Mark Hillsays:

    I never normally comment on anything, but just felt compelled to on this occasion, as Brian, has clearly taken a lot of time out to generate this article. Very Well done Brian.

    Please add me to your mailing list.


  84. With being in the IM niche are you finding offers for that or are you building around a specific niche like dating and offering CPA offers through that? It seems like it would be best to build out a niche site and build around that or are you just using paid traffic sources like FB, solo ads and such to send traffic to your CPA deals and then making money off of that?

  85. Hi Brian,

    I have often been confused with CPA due to conflicting information on lots of sites however your clear, informative post has provided a straight forward explanation on successful CPA and the steps to take.

    Thank you so much 🙂


  86. Andry Avatar Andrysays:

    Hey Brian, nice post! But I’m a little bit left hungry about the design/layout of your affiliate site… Do you have more examples especially if you want to promote Health CPA Products ?? That would be awesome !

  87. Hey Brian,

    I was an Affiliate Manager for a large network and I must say you hit it right on the head… I really with affiliates would had read this post before apply to the network. CPA is a great way to add a bit of extra income from your site, just be sure to always be split testing!

  88. Steve Avatar Stevesays:

    CPA marketing seems to be a hell of a lot better than using Adsense. I do have a few questions:

    1. Have you ever researched a particularly lucrative CPA offer and built a site to cater to that niche and if so, was it profitable?

    2. Is it fairly easy to be accepted for more CPA offers once you develop a good relationship with your AM?

    3. How much content would you say a site needs to have to be accepted for a CPA?

  89. Eric Avatar Ericsays:

    woow, that’s an insightful, simplified and yet a detailed guide. Its value is worth more than some of the 12-15 pages ebooks on CPA marketing concept. Infact, i have bookmarked it and i ll use it as reminder, which i will read everyday. But my only challenge is, im an African and will i be easily approved by the cpa networks when i apply?

  90. Matt Avatar Mattsays:

    Hi there,
    I’m very new in this field and would need to establish CPA contracts with clients that didn’t use this method of advertising before. Can anybody help me what to include in those contracts and how to measure the conversion and actions occurring on my clients sites?



  91. Mike Avatar Mikesays:

    This is good guide but its nowhere as good as your guide to keyword research. I tried the steps but there’s a lot of information that you’ve left out. How do you even create a blog in the vertical, how do you go about determining this and other things? For example you could at least show some websites that promoted CPA offers and the not the big ones like nerd wallet and money supermarket.

  92. Paul Avatar Paulsays:

    Hi Brian, your article is so nice. I am new in CPA marketing. But I have learnt some extra from this post. This post is really helpful. If you don’t mind, may I get any tutorial from you about maxbounty? I hope you will help me.

  93. Chris Avatar Chrissays:

    Brian, really good info and advice but one thing puzzles me. Do you actually need your own web site to succeed at CPA Marketing or is there a way to make money just by signing up to the networks and generate leads? I received two separate physical mailings today offering such a program.

  94. Nelson Da Silva Avatar Nelson Da Silvasays:

    Hello Brian,
    Very nice article. I am very new to CPA. And I started to get an idea of what it is with your article here. And I have downloaded the checklist you have here for free. DO you have anything about splashpage CPA marketing. I would like to build a list and send them CPA. Tried a few products and i found them a waste. Never learned anything from them. But I really would like to build a CPA list and have no clue where to start or how to create these kind of splashpages.

    Any recommendations?


  95. Khalid Avatar Khalidsays:

    Hi Brian,

    Do you also do the paid route to CPA marketing?

    It will be great, if you can also compare both in 2016 for new comers like me (who is very serious abt. getting into paid traffic for CPA) – and which one in your opinion is better?

  96. Rok Krivec Avatar Rok Krivecsays:

    Hey Brian,
    First of all, your site is just brilliant! It’s ridiculous how much value you provide with each and every single post. THANKS! 🙂
    I have a question, CPA is quite connected with media buying. This said, do you have any experiences with paid traffic?

  97. Georgi Avatar Georgisays:

    Hey, Brian! Thanks for all the awesome tips! I am new in CPA and I am learning before getting started! I have a question: it is required to have a website to get CPA offers? What if one looks to work with a social network, Facebook for example? And is there required to have a business for doing it? Thanks in advance!

  98. Glenn D Avatar Glenn Dsays:

    Hi Brian, I enjoyed your content on cpa marketing, but I didn’t know if you were using seo to get visitors to your websites, for the cpa offers, or if you were sending free or paid traffic to your sites, or both.

  99. Jackie Avatar Jackiesays:

    Hi Brian,

    You gave so much value to your readers. To a newbie like me, this is a goldmine of valuable information. Thank you so much.

  100. Alaina Avatar Alainasays:

    Hi Brian, I am brand new and just now getting started with my CPA marketing. I do not have a website yet. Can you market on other peoples websites while you are getting started? Or do you have to have your own site? What is the fastest way to really get off the ground with this?

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