Affiliate marketing can be one of the most lucrative ways to make a living online. One of the biggest benefits of affiliate marketing is that there are so many opportunities. There are over a dozen major networks with thousands of offers between them. Amazon alone has several billion products that you can promote.
One of the most important decisions you will need to make is deciding whether to promote CPA (cost per action) or CPS (cost per sale) offers. There are benefits and disadvantages to both.
CPA offers are often believed to be the best for new affiliate marketers. But is that really the case? Here are some things to think about.
CPA offers tend to convert more easily
The biggest benefit of CPA marketing over promoting traditional pay per sale offers is that they are easier to convert. If you are promoting a digital product on ClickBank or a travel booking offer such as booking.com, then you might get paid a decent commission for your efforts. However, you need to get your online visitors to make an actual purchase. That is not always easy, because it can take a lot of coaxing to convince somebody to open up their wallet.
You will generally find that it is easier to get people to sign up for a CPA offer instead. The payout structure is pretty simple. You might just need to get them to submit a request or sign up for a newsletter.
This can be a lot easier for new affiliates. I remember starting my career as an affiliate promoting only pay per sale offers. I spent $1000 and had almost nothing to show for it after three months. You will see progress much more quickly by promoting lead generation offers instead. You can usually see multiple conversions after only spending about $100. This will give you a better understanding of the testing process and the steps that you need to take to optimize a campaign.
CPA offers are not always stable
CPA offers make it easier to learn as an affiliate. However, there are reasons that they are not always very stable:
- The payout might not be very high. If you are promoting a CPA offer with a $2 payout, you might not be able to make it profitable. The cost of the traffic might just be too high.
- Some advertisers engage in lead scrubbing. This means that they won’t give you credit for leads that you’ve generated, because they have deemed them to not be very high-quality. This is not an issue with most CPA offers, but it can be a big problem with simple email submit offers.
- There is a higher risk of getting pulled from offers if you don’t send high quality traffic. The advertiser needs to make sure that they are getting a decent ROI, which means that they might not let you keep promoting the offer if they can’t monetize the leads they are paying you for. This is a major problem with dating offers, because many dating leads don’t convert into paying members. If you only refer people that create free accounts, then the advertiser will have to pull you.
- Advertisers often leave affiliate networks if they are not happy with the overall quality of leads. Even if your own leads are high-quality, the network value of the leads might not be good enough for them.
This means that CPA campaigns are often short-lived. If you are trying to create a longer-term source of revenue, and you will need to promote on paper sale offers instead.