Affiliate marketing revenue models (CPM, CPC, CPL, CPA...)

Affiliate marketing revenue models (CPM, CPC, CPL, CPA...) image

Making money from affiliate marketing has become more and more popular as people started to make money online. In a nutshell affiliate marketing is when you get paid for when someone clicks or buys through a link you placed on behalf of another company or seller. As a result, various affiliate marketing revenue models emerged, some of which include:

  • CPM - Stands for Cost per Mille, that is, per thousand. This refers to a flat rate for every one thousand displays or impressions an advert makes. CPM is ideal when you expect a highly engaged audience and high volume traffic.

  • CPC - This stands for Cost per Click, which naturally means that you get paid for every click someone makes on the advert that you publish. Although this model may seem more straightforward, it is important to have ad sales software which can help control any clicks which were made accidentally or to be aware when there is some form of abuse.

  • CPL - Cost per Lead refers to the model where the publisher only gets paid when someone goes through the process of clicking the ad and then proceeds to some other action that makes this qualify as an actual lead. This could be anything from signing up to a newsletter, sign up as a member on the site, or effect a sale. Revenue with this model is much less predictable, although revenue may be higher. However, it does require more commitment and is generally ideal for niche audiences.


Sometimes, CPL is also referred to as CPA, which stands for Cost per Acquisition. However the latter is used when there is a completed sale, so it is even more difficult.

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