CPA stands for Cost Per Action, and is a form of affiliate advertising.
It involves running adverts on your website.
If the advert is clicked then the reader is sent over to that website where he or she may perform a certain action.
With PPC (Pay Per Click) advertising, the webmaster would be paid for the fact that the viewer clicked on the advert.
With CPA the viewer must click the advert, land on the landing page and then perform a certain action.
The action is usually a sale, but it can be a number of things and under a number circumstances. This article explains some of what those things are and/or may be.
A sale in the most general terms
You may think that this is the most common CPA action, but you would be wrong.
There are very few CPA programs that will pay you for just a sale. There are often time limits for how long it takes for the buyer to actually buy the product, or which product they buy, etc.
The CPA program that pays for just any old sale is rare, and you will often find that there are certain rules that are not apparent right away.
Your affiliate CPA program may tell you that they pay for all sales no matter what the circumstance, however, you may find that if the viewer puts a product in their shop basket, and comes back to it later, you are not paid.
Sale on landing page
This is a common CPA program offer, and the rewards are often very high.
This is mainly because it is incredibly hard to get a user to buy from just looking at a landing page. However, the process is often very quick and simple and the rewards are often large.
Sale completed within a few days
This sort of CPA program tags you as the referrer/lead, which means that if your sale is completed within a few days then you are still paid. However, the amount of time between the initial viewer visit and the sale will often matter…
…For example, Amazon CPA program sales are often limited to a single day, where after you are not paid, even if the viewer makes a purchase.
Sale completed immediately
This is another common CPA program deal, where the buyer must make a sale during their initial visit after coming from your site.
This however is not a terrible deal from your end, as the customers first visit to the site is their most probable purchasing time. And, if the sale includes any item on the website (not just one landing page or category) then it is possible you will make money.
Sale within the same category
If for example your CPA program advert is for cars, but your viewer clicks the advert, visit’s the site and then buys a motorcycle; you are not paid under this scheme.
It works on the idea that you cannot take credit (literally) for sales made if they have nothing to do with your CPA advert.
The action is a subscription
Not all CPA program actions have to be sales. Some people pay if your viewers sign up for a subscription. As you can imagine, you are paid more if the consumer is signing up for a paid subscription.
The action is quiz taking
Some companies want their traffic to fill out a quiz or questionnaire as part of their market research. If this is the case then your advert will have to lead to the viewer participating in the quiz or questionnaire. These types of CPA program do not often pay much.
The action is signing up for a newsletter
Some webmasters want emails to be added to their newsletter list. If your viewer signs up for their newsletter then you are paid, albeit not much.
A final thought on the subject
You really need to examine the terms and conditions of the CPA program that you sign up for.
Do not forget that you are not paid for clicks on your adverts, so you could end up sending traffic to other websites for free.
When you sign up for a CPA program, make sure the adverts hosted on your site are good ones.
For example, taking on a CPA advert that pays for newsletter subscriptions is okay, but when you visit the site, is the newsletter signup widget on a forgotten part of the page? Would you sign up if you saw the landing page?
Don’t forget that a large part of the “action” in CPA relies on the advertiser having a good advert, and their landing page/website being highly salable.
Do not become a sucker who is sending traffic to a website that is not truly trying to generate the sales/actions that are going to pay you.