Trends come and go in affiliate marketing, but one trend that seems to be sticking around is the CPA Network. Also known as cost-per-action, pay-per-action and cost-per-acquisition, CPA is a proving to be more cost effective and reliable than many of the pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns that have monopolized affiliate marketing in the past.

The reason for the success and popularity of CPA Networks? It’s the fact that merchants and website owners do not have to pay for advertising unless it benefits their business in some way. Much different from pay-per-click campaigns in which the merchant pays for a click on a link whether it brings about a sale or productive site visit or not, CPA networks are based on performance marketing. This type of marketing means that merchants only pay the affiliate webmasters (also known as publishers) when a desired action takes place.

Desired actions or acquisitions may include a download from a website, a site registration, newsletter sign-up or a product purchase. Regardless of the action, the idea with CPA is that the merchant is seeing an actual benefit to his/her business. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case with PPC campaigns, which is why too many Internet marketers experience PPC draining their bank accounts rather than filling them.

CPA networks provide an alternative to paying for ads upfront and are great options for marketers who are starting out with little funds to contribute to advertising efforts. It can be discouraging for a new Internet marketer to find that advertising expenses are more than profits. In fact, many new business owners give up when they experience this scenario. But with the performance-based marketing innate in CPA Networks, business owners can be certain that they only pay when they see real results.

In order to get involved in CPA, you will need to join a CPA Affiliate Marketing Network. These networks offer a way for you to benefit from CPA while having a middle-man (the network) doing the work for you. For example, the network serves as a liaison between merchants and affiliate webmasters, looking out for the best interests of each in order to achieve ultimate success with advertising efforts. By ensuring the right ads are placed on the right websites, the networks benefit both merchants and webmasters and make the relationship lucrative for each.

While there are many existing CPA networks online, it makes sense to be selective before you join a network. Learn as much as you can about the network, the businesses and websites that are network members as well as the network’s track record for success. Research, just like in any area of Internet marketing, really pays off when you are deciding the right CPA network for your business.

CPA networks are proving to be more than another Internet marketing fad. What’s more, they are nearly risk-free, as you only have to pay once your business has experienced results. This makes CPA networks one affiliate marketing trend to follow.

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