When it comes to CPA marketing, there are a few different options to consider in terms of the precise business model you want to follow and the specific platform you want to use. As we've already seen, sometimes CPA can mean you literally only pay when you gain a sale (CPS) or when you gain a lead (CPL). At other times though, CPA simply means that you calculate what your CPP (cost per click) is costing you per sale. In other words, how much of what you're spending on clicks is being translated into sales and is that still profitable for you?
On the face of it, CPA – and particularly CPL – is going to seem like the best choice. After all, why wouldn't you want to be able to stop paying for all those clicks that aren't earning you any money? Of course it's not so simple though, or no other form of marketing would be as popular! One downside of a purely CPA advertiser is that they tend not to be the larger options. In other words, if you want to advertise on Google or Facebook, you're still probably going to have to pay for your clicks. Meanwhile, the options for pure CPA tend to look a little 'cheaper' in comparison and some even have a slightly spammy feel that can be concerning for the greenhorn advertiser. Another reason to pick PPC with CPA functionality is that you will usually pay less overall. Of course platforms that only charge per lead are going to make money on considerably fewer clicks and in order to make up for that, they have to charge more for each of them. Below we'll look at some of the different types of CPA platform, how to choose the right one and how to get started.
Pure CPA Networks
MaxBounty was formulated in 2004 and has quickly become one of the more popular CPA platforms, allowing advertisers to set up purely CPA, CPL, and CPS campaigns. Take a look at the site though and it feels somewhat concerning. A 'sign up bonus' of $1000 is currently on offer which right away makes the site feel a little more like a shady binary options broker or gambling site than a legitimate advertising platform. That said, the write-up for advertisers does hit all the right notes:
Performance-based marketing is the perfect alternative for advertisers frustrated with the expensive and non-guaranteed results of CPM and CPC advertising. The CPA model (Cost Per Action), is the optimal method of buying online advertising because the advertiser defines the Actions they are seeking from a surfer in advance (a sale on the website, a form being filled, a download, etc.) and only pays when that Action occurs. In this model, publishers are encouraged to deliver high quality targeted traffic because they only earn revenue when that Action is generated.
Beyond the norms of what defines Cost Per Action marketing, MaxBounty's NINE-year history as a CPA Network enables us to stand above our competitors in the following manners:
Affiliate Review Process: All affiliates seeking entry into the MaxBounty network are passed through an extensive quality assurance review process. Historically, 84% of all publisher applications are turned down and denied access to our advertisers. This helps limit fraud and ensures our traffic quality remains high.
Aggressive Compliance: MaxBounty is known for taking a stand against fraudulent publishers and deceptive sources of traffic. Our experience assists us to locate and weed out these rogue publishers, again ensuring the highest caliber of traffic quality.
Global Reach: Our network has over 16,000 affiliates that span all forms of traffic generation, and include email list owners, search engine marketers, contextual traffic firms, social media experts and coregistration delivery specialists. This wide-reaching group means we can successfully generate traffic for nearly every country across the globe. Whether your ad campaign is for American trial-based offers, Belgian surveys, Australian dating or Swiss ringtones, we have matching affiliates!
MaxBounty allows the publishers to hand select which campaigns they want to run. As with other forms of CPA marketing, the advertiser needs to place a small bit of code onto their page (called a 'pixel') and the sales are tracked via cookies. MaxBounty does not accept affiliate schemes, only the regular CPA model.
The set-up process is a little awkward though. While it's good that you need to be vetted, advertisers actually have to speak on the phone in order to set up their account (not a common practice with the likes of Google). Advertisers also need to carry out scrubbing themselves and need to be wary of advertisers that might try and From the perspective of publishers, there are some concerning stories doing the rounds on the likes of Warrior Forum (a forum for website owners and marketers) that the network will sometimes ban people the day before they are due to get paid. Then again, such reports can often be found and in many cases they will actually have been in violation of the platforms' guidelines. And meanwhile, there are lots of 'success' stories on WarriorForum surrounding MaxBounty too (though they are mostly from the perspective of publishers, not advertisers).
So in short: can you trust MaxBounty as a legitimate CPA network? Many people do and are very happy with it, but others report less positively on the network. Ultimately, you unfortunately need to make up your own mind and then try the platform out yourself.
AscendMedia is another site that works similarly to MaxBounty. Though actually AscendMedia has a much more professional looking site which is a little more reassuring. AscendMedia has an affiliate referral commission of 3%. What this means is that you pay 3% of your sale for each click which isn't bad.
AscendMedia also has a wide range of options, allowing you to pay per install, per sale, per video or per lead. The site is also quite big and according to the site, they served over 1 billion ads between 2010 and 2014. They have over 20,000 offers and the reviews on WarriorForum are again mixed to good.
Here is one review of AdGateMedia:
As we are providing best CPA network daily on this site, and here is one more great CPA Network which name is AdgateMedia.AdGate Media is a private CPA incentive network. They have lots of offers to promote and the conversion rate is very consistent.AdGate Media is run by veterans of the incentive marketing industry.AdgateMedia is another great Network which is also working to help people to make their own comfortable living.
Oh dear… Not a high quality review there. And it's also not uncommon to find reviews like this. Why? Because sites like these often pay commission for their sign-ups and this is part of the reason that it's so hard to find reliable information on them that doesn't appear biased.
Again though, AdGateMedia actually has a rather professional looking website which is a good start and claims to generate 50,000 leads per month. They also state that they have managed campaigns for the likes of Skype, Lenovo, eHarmony, and Hotels.com. They have the ability to target by device and by location and this is a useful feature. The company is small in terms of staff but the reports about their trustworthiness are generally positive.
CPALead describes itself as an affiliate marketing platform despite its name. Established in 2006, it has a relatively good reputation within the CPA sphere and they appear to take fraud and non-compliance very seriously:
Is Fraud Or Non-Compliance An Issue? Did you know that CPAlead is the only CPA network that has been praised by multiple governing bodies, big brand businesses, National and State legal authorities for excellence in both compliance and fraud prevention? At CPAlead, we don't believe in risking the business of our advertisers and support that statement by providing an unparalleled level of security. With your business on the line, you need to be able to trust your traffic sources and CPAlead continues to be the only CPA Network to receive such high praise in this category.
With CPALead, publishers will tend to publish 'offers' which can be for apps, for dating, for health a beauty, for insurance etc. As an advertiser, you the payout a commission when you generate a lead from one of those publishers and in that way, it's much more similar to affiliate marketing.
ProLeadsMedia is another of the less respectable-looking CPA networks and is relatively young being formed in 2010. The site has a referral commission of 3% and offers CPA, CPL, CPS and CPC marketing campaigns. It offers real-time tracking but the site is marred by low-resolution images and a lack of information.
There are plenty more CPA networks out there, which include the likes of EnvyusMedia, AdWorkMedia, CPATrend, MundoMedia and more. Just be wary that as we've seen, there are some low quality and shady networks out there and if you use those, you might find your ads appearing on very low-quality websites which could damage your reputation. AdGate Media, Ascend Media, and CPALead are generally the more trustworthy CPA platforms to try, whereas MaxBounty may also be a safe option despite the somewhat low-quality websites. Whatever you decide, make sure to do your research first. At the same time, expect to be dealing with a smaller company, to need to speak over the phone and to potentially have a hard time getting your site accepted. Or choose another option altogether.