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.
Why Are CPA Networks Booming?
CPA network offers provide advantages to both the publisher and the advertiser in a tough economy. Many consumers aren't willing to buy things as easily as before, and so pay-per-sale offers are harder to convert for publishers. However, a consumer might be more willing to hand out information that an affiliate advertiser can used to market to them later, and that provides some value to the advertiser, too. So publishers find a CPA offer is easier to convert into income in a recession and an advertiser finds that he can still build a great contact list and get visitors more involved in his products and services by using a CPA offer.
Let's take a quick look at a traditional online marketing strategy using PPC offers, to understand why CPA networks can be perceived as having a higher value. When an advertiser decides to implement a PPC campaign, they target a bunch of keywords that a search engine like Google will use to serve up a bunch of ads to people who search for those particular terms. Those visitors then go to a site where the ad is being published, click on the link, and go to the advertiser’s offer. However, the advertiser doesn't know who has clicked, has gathered no information on that potential buyer, and can only hope that the click converts to a sale. Even if it doesn't, the advertiser will still have to pay for the clicks and many advertisers simply want a little more for their money.
Add to that the frustration of click fraud and campaigns that run over-budget with few ways to determine how much they actually impacted sales, and you can see why some advertisers are beginning to opt for CPA offers that cost them less money and will, at the very least, generate a lead if not a sale.
However, it's not just the advertisers who are getting additional benefits from CPA network offers. Publishers are finding that the offers are much easier to implement and the payouts can be higher than a traditional PPC campaign. At rates of $1 to $50 for an offer that generates a valid lead, and with conversion rates of 20%, the take for a publisher can be higher with much less stress and worry. That's because publishers do not have to create landing pages for a CPA offer if they don't want to; additionally, they don't have to research keywords, grab traffic to their site first, and then send them on to the affiliate. Instead, they can go directly to where the biggest traffic sources are online and post a link there directly to the CPA network offer they are promoting. In many cases, the legwork to get a CPA offer up and running is minimal, when compared to a PPC campaign.
How Do I Apply?
Applying to a CPA network can be very different from applying for other traditional programs because there is a greater degree of verification within the network both for advertisers and publishers alike. Don't expect to be accepted automatically just because you fill in the application form, because this is just the just the beginning of the process rather than the end. You will be investigated much more carefully than with a PPC affiliate type program. They will make sure you are the person you say you are, even going as far as to check ownership of websites and contact information you gave on the application form to ensure everything matches. Be as accurate as possible when applying to CPA networks as they are very selective about who they accept.
The CPA network employs people who know how to spot deception in an application by cross-checking one piece of information with another. For instance, if you give one name on the application form but the owner of the website in the WhoIs record is someone else, they may decide you're not being honest with them. Also, if you give out a phone number or email address that you never respond to it will be an automatic red flag that will kill your application, so be prepared to answer the phone and/or email promptly to speed up the approval process.
Cross-Checks And Double-Checks
Now that you understand the process a bit more, let’s review the items you need to make sure are consistent and accurate on your application form.
- Your Website(s) – You don't necessarily have to own a website with a CPA network to be accepted, but it does help. Make sure you are listed as the owner of the site, as they will verify this is a match.
- Your Country of Origin – They will check your IP address to make sure it is coming from the country of origin you are claiming you reside within. If you outsource the application process, make sure it is to someone within the same country where you live. Otherwise, it will look very questionable, and have no doubt that they will reject you based on that alone.
- Your Contact Information – Throwaway email addresses are an automatic reject. Unlike traditional affiliate programs, you can expect to receive a call from an affiliate manager of the CPA network using the phone number you provided. Be available to take the call, as they do not call twice, and they will reject your application if you don't answer. They will also check the area code to make sure it goes to the state of residency you claim on the application form. Make sure it matches.
- Incomplete Applications – Don't uncheck boxes that they've checked, like a box typically saying “incentives” for your advertising method. It's their hint that's what they want you to use.
The Single Most Important Question
Expect to be questioned on how you intend to promote or drive traffic to the affiliate offers, if you are signing up to be a publisher. This is the single most important question and your answer will greatly impact whether your application is accepted or not. If you don't have a clear idea, it will only prove to the affiliate manager that you are not a valuable affiliate partner to include in their network. Make sure you have a good answer for this question.