Over the years there have been MANY conversations/arguments/discussions about the differences between CPA networks and “traditional” affiliate networks. Most of my friends tend to come down on the side of not working with CPA networks. However, I have found that there can be great value in working with CPA networks if you do your homework to find the right ones. I’ve worked with probably 75+ in my 11 years as an affiliate marketer, and here are some of the reasons. (If you are shaking your head at me while you are reading this, at least give my reasons some thought!)
1. Disney Offers
My sites appeal to a lot of Disney fans, but Disney doesn’t run many traditional affiliate offers outside of Disney Shopping. In the past you could find Disney games, Disney Movie Club, and others through the traditional networks. Now everything like that is run through CPA networks. In addition, you can usually find offers for Disney Park information and Disney Cruise Line. My post “Free Build Your Disney Side Stickers” is a great example of a popular post that I often monetize with CPA links.
These are a perfect fit for my audience and tend to convert well. In particular when they run the freebies like the family stickers and the park maps I can offer my readers something I know they will love, and I can make money off of it.
2. Multiple Tracking Methods and Postbacks
One of the biggest complaints in affiliate marketing is not knowing how well transactions are tracking for any particular merchant or network. A number of the CPA networks allow for you to track in multiple ways so that you have more control over the data. For example, you can use the CAKE API to pull reports or you can actually place your own pixel to fire at the end of a transaction and report back directly to you. As a cashback site, I love these options. However, anyone could use them as a method of getting information faster and in various formats.
3. Contests, Free Samples, and Offline Deals
It’s rare that a merchant will pay you for running a contest for them. They often include their contests in their promotional links, but you still won’t get anything unless the person buys something in addition to entering the contest. Most merchants also do not track offline sales, so what is the sense in promoting them for them for free? CPA networks run a lot of big branded promotions and will pay you to get people to sign up for legitimate sweepstakes. In addition, you can get paid to have people print coupons to use offline or even sign up to get free samples.
This is an area where you have to pay attention closely to the offers you are promoting and work with a trusted network. It’s very easy to see a contest and get excited about it only to find out that it is really just a lead generation site and not really affiliated with the brand name. Click through the offer, read all of the fine print…even enter it yourself…to make sure that it is what you want to be associated with.
4. Two-Tier Programs
If a part of your business is marketing to other affiliate marketers, CPA networks can be doubly profitable because many of them have two-tier programs that allow you to make a percentage of your referrals’ earnings for a period of time. Some of my favorites for this are:
ShopHerMedia (formerly MySavings) Earn 10% for 10 months
iGain Earn $25 when someone signs up under you
Panthera Interactive Earn 5% for a year
5. Diversifying Revenue
Even as affiliate marketers, sometimes it is nice to be able to earn money in other ways. This week through CPA networks I was able to earn:
- 5 cents per click for people entering a Walt Disney World Sweepstakes
- $4 per install for people to install a money saving app on their phones
- $50 for a quick post as part of an influencer campaign
All of those were great fits for my audience that blended into my content so well that it didn’t even seem like they were paid opportunities. Mixing those in with my regular affiliate posts gave me an opportunity to earn a little extra money while writing about things I would have written about anyway.
As you can see, CPA networks do have their place in our industry and as part of your monetization opportunities. Although there are a LOT of very shady CPA networks who specialize in business activities I wouldn’t touch with a 10 foot pole, there are others that have the best interests of the advertisers, publishers AND consumers at heart.
Do you work with CPA networks? What are your favorites?
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