Your Guide to Affiliate Payouts

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If you’re new to affiliate programs, one area that may be a little overwhelming for you is the affiliate payouts and determining how to pay your affiliates. There are a variety of options, which can make it seem confusing for those new to affiliate marketing. So, here we’ll explore the various affiliate payout options, so you can determine which will work best for your program.


CPA or Cost Per Action is where you pay out for each action individuals take once the affiliate sends them to a landing page. This could include filling out survey information, providing their zip code, or completing an application. 

CPA has low resistance in conversions, as people are quite likely to fill out basic information. 


Cost Per Sale (CPS) pays affiliates when they produce a sale for the product they promote. This could be a percentage of the sale or even a flat amount (similar to the CPA) This encourages affiliates to find customers that have an interest in the product, as they don’t earn any commission if the product doesn’t match their marketing and they fail to make a sale. 


Cost Per Lead refers to offering affiliate revenue for affiliates when they send you legitimate leads for potential customers. This can also work on a CPCall (Cost per Call) or PPCall (Pay Per Call) basis, depending on your product or affiliate program. 

 Different Payment Programs:

Once you determine whether you want to pay by action, lead or sale, you will need to consider the different payment programs. These include:

  • Flat Rate: As the name suggests, this means that you pay a flat rate for each action. A good example of this is if you get $5 for every sale referred. 
  • Performance-Based: This is an incentivized program where the better the affiliate performs, the more they earn. It encourages affiliates to scale their campaigns to increase conversions. You can offer small increases in commissions that can earn motivated affiliates hundreds or thousands of dollars more each month. 
  • Tiered: You can opt for single-tiered which offer one-to-one payouts, or two-tiered programs where affiliates can recruit other affiliates and earn a percentage of their income for the sales they produce. The most well-known tiered style program is multi-tiered or multi-level marketing. This allows affiliates to recruit in multiple tiers, but this style of model has been abused in the past. So, while it could be viable, it is not usually recommended. 
  • Revenue Share: This is an extremely common payment program, as the affiliate has the option to perform well and share revenue in the business. Many business owners prefer this type of program as it offers affiliates the chance to earn more money from the sales they generate. 

As you can see, there are a number of affiliate payout options you can choose for your program. However, you will need to think about your objectives and incentives to determine the best option for your affiliate program. This will help you attract affiliates and grow your network


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