If you've been doing affiliate network advertising, you've probably noticed some relatively new networks that deal with CPA, or cost-per-action, offers. Unlike the usual affiliate offers based on pay-per-click (PPC) or sale, this new breed of affiliate advertising pays the publisher for having a visitor perform some action on their site. That action can be a sale, but more interestingly, it can also be to simply fill out a survey, give the advertiser an email address, or do something that generates a lead on their site.
That's why this type of advertising is also known as “pay-per-lead” or “cost per acquisition”; in other words, acquiring some piece of information the advertiser wants from the sales lead you to refer to their site. The amount and type of information the advertiser is seeking can vary greatly, as can the amount of commission or fee the advertiser is willing to pay you for the leads you generate by promoting their offer. In general, the more valuable an advertiser thinks each lead is, the more commission they will be willing to pay you for each lead.
Right now, about 80% of internet advertising falls into traditional categories such as PPC. This means that so far only about 20% of advertisers have started some sort of CPA program, but these numbers are quickly changing. That's because CPA is rapidly becoming the most effective way for publishers and advertisers alike to make money, especially in this difficult economic period. Drastic conditions require new and innovative strategies for tackling the consumer market.