How to Deal with CPA Networks

lead-gen.jpgIf you are an affiliate or publisher, dealing with the plethora of CPA networks can seem like a daunting task. However, there is a lot of money flowing in the networks, and there is a lot of money available to publishers or affiliates with the right amount and right kind of traffic. You may have that and not even know it.

Every veteran has an opinion or a piece of advice on how to deal with these networks, and every experienced affiliate marketer will point you to their favorite two or three networks as “the best to work with.”

The truth is, if you know what you are doing, working with various networks can give you a good insight into what the current trends and highest performing CPA offers are at the moment. Working with more than one network, and with networks that are not necessarily the most talked about can also open doors to better relationships, higher payouts, quicker payouts and better offers.

The trick is to know how to get your foot in the door with these networks, and how to deal with the publisher specialist, or publisher manager, you’ll be working with.

These are networks like Hydra, AdDrive, Market Leverage, Rextopia, RocketProfits, FiliNet, NeverBlue, or eMarketMakers. Azoogle, Adteractive, Websponsors, etc are also out there, but there is already a tier system developing in the network space, so trying out just one of those is not representative of the CPA network genre as a whole.

So, here at five quick tips for newbie’s (and perhaps a few veterans out there) contemplating the idea of trying out a CPA network that have come from my years of experience in the network space…

1. Call and talk to a person. Don’t just send in an email. Publisher directors (comparable to affiliate managers in an affiliate network) absolutely love to get phone calls from affiliates or publishers. I promise. Ask them questions about the types of offers, payouts, or whatever is on your mind. They know all about their program and most of them love to talk about how their program is different, or better, than the competitors. Let them know the level of your interest at the beginning of the phone call and how long you have to spare in the conversation. Then just make sure you have a notebook to write down all the info they will surely give you.

2. Be upfront. If you decide to join a specific network, go through the application process and then call the network or company and speak to a publisher manager. Let them know about your application and tell them that you have a few more things you’d like to add to your application. Tell them what type of offers you are looking for, give them reasonable expectations about your traffic levels and ask them how they can help you. The networks are more than willing to give you two or three points on how their specific program can work with you as an individual. Plus, that phone call sticks you in the head of the publisher director who can later tip you off to high converting offers or bump your payout.

3. Immediately find out about payouts. You can do this before you join a network. But make sure you ask about when you will get paid. This varies from net10 to net45 based on the network. Don’t ever assume the net payout number!

4. Ask about incentivized traffic. The publisher director you speak to will surely throw out some of the network offers that have been doing well as a selling point. Whether or not you yourself have incentivized (you give your readers/users incentive to fill out a lead form with a special offer or service) traffic, you will be competing with other affiliates or publishers who do in some cases. Once you’ve joined, look for the offers that are marked as “Can Be Incentivized” or “Cannot Be Incentivized” and think about what kind of competition you may be up against. Incentivizing an offer results in lower lead quality, but higher lead counts… so keep that in mind.

5. Get to know your publisher manager or director. Affiliate marketing is all about relationship, but so are the CPA networks. Getting to know the person you are working with in a network can be a make-or-break proposition. In my experience as a publisher director, I would often give insider tips about which offers are (in reality) performing the best or which offers are going to be pulled in the upcoming weeks, or they can even bump your payout. It’s not always showbusiness… sometimes it’s showfriends.

The key to working with CPA networks is to understand the difference between how they are set up and what they can offer you as compared to affiliate networks. As a gross generalization, affiliate networks have rev-share type offers with recognizable brand names. CPA networks have performance type offers that stress lead generation and quick turnaround. So, it’s a much more efficient and upfront marketplace than the affiliate networks in that issues such as chargebacks and payout rates can be settled up front rather than after the fact.

So, do your homework, ask around and, most importantly, talk to people at the CPA networks.

I’ll be posting a “How to Deal with Publishers” later this afternoon from the CPA network side of things. Hopefully, shedding some light on the networks and how they operate will increase affiliates willing to work with them and cause some much-needed conversation in our industry/

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