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What is a CPA Marketing Program and What Types Exist?

Cost Per Action or CPA marketing is a type of affiliate marketing that pays the website owner only after a specific action has occurred. Many advertisers consider CPA marketing the preferred way to buy online advertising since they only have to pay for impressions that generated a desired response. While a wide variety of CPA programs exist the two most common are the Pay Per Lead (PPL) model and the Pay Per Click (PPC) model.

Pay Per Lead
The Pay Per Lead or PPL is a form of CPA where the advertiser agrees to pay for every lead generated. This is typically done via lead (which could be anything from an email address to a very detailed lead sheet) is delivered (often by email) to the advertiser. As with any marketing effort that pays in volume, the Pay Per Lead model is open for abuse. Fraudulent leads are often inserted into a list of legitimate leads in order to boost the number of “leads” and thus the amount the advertising company can collect from the advertiser. Any advertiser using the Pay Per Lead model needs to conduct regular audits to ensure all leads being paid for are legitimate.

Pay Per Click
The Pay Per Click or PPL model is the most popular form of CPA marketing. In this model the advertiser pays whenever a click thought comes to their website. As with any marketing effort that pays in volume, the Pay Per Click model is open for abuse. Since advertisers must pay for every click in the model, unscrupulous web programmers have been know to develop code that would repeatedly click ads in order to up the click through count and thus up the revenue to the publisher. Some publishers have also been known to click through ads on their own site for the same reason.