Performance-based marketing: Understanding CPL & CPA

Performance-based marketing: Understanding CPL & CPA

Performance Based Marketing: Understanding CPL & CPA – What is the purpose of your marketing campaigns? To increase sales? Raise awareness? To collect leads?  Whatever your incentive, you’re not doing it for entertainment. You’d rather expect something in return. Even so, you don’t always get what you want. 

Sometimes you put a ton of cash into a marketing campaign and get nothing in return. What if you only paid for successful campaigns? 

Wouldn’t it be awesome if you only paid when your campaign generated the intended results? That’s where performance-based marketing emerges.

CPA is an abbreviation for Cost Per Action. It is a business model in which leads are only compensated if they complete an action, such as purchasing a product. 

CPL is an abbreviation for Cost Per Lead. It is a model in which leads are qualified and sold as genuine prospects.

What exactly is performance marketing?

Performance marketing is based on results. You only pay for the results of a campaign. Standard marketing services may be paid for on a monthly or annual basis. 

Your outcomes may be positive or negative. In any case, you’ll have to pay. This is not the situation with performance marketing. Instead, you select a measurable goal that defines your pricing. It could be something like:

  • Clicks
  • View
  • Sales
  • App downloads
  • Impressions
What is CPA in marketing?

To begin, what does CPA mean in marketing? CPA is an abbreviation for “cost per action.” CPA marketing only pays for pre-defined ad actions. An app download, for example, could be an action that advertisers pay for. CPC should not be confused with cost per click (CPC). CPC is a subset of CPA.

“Cost per action” and “cost per acquisition” are frequently used interchangeably. This common misunderstanding is a mistake. The cost per acquisition calculates how much it costs to acquire one paying customer.

What Is the Benefit Of Using Cost Per Action?

CPA marketing is appropriate for companies of all sizes and industries because CPA campaigns are so adaptable. Small businesses, for example, may opt for less expensive click-based ads. Larger corporations, on the other hand, would be willing to pay for costly download-based advertisements.

In any case, CPA is only effective if you know how much action is worth to your company. Without a baseline, you’re forced to guess. And, if you’re guessing, costs will skyrocket.

How to Calculate CPA

CPA can be calculated by dividing your total actions by the amount spent on the advertisement. This equation results in: CPA = Amount Spent / Total Actions

“Actions” can be whatever you categorize them to be and will differ depending on the goal of your advertisement. It could be anything from downloads to clicks.

How to improve cost per action

To make the most of CPA, you should optimize it as much as possible. Otherwise, you won’t be able to profit from it. Here are the best methods for increasing your CPA:

1. Enhance Your Landing Page

You must have good landing pages if you use website visits as an action. Visitors will develop an opinion about your site within seconds of landing on it.

If they have a negative first impression, they will leave. That translates to a significant load of money lost over time. A/B testing is the most effective method for optimizing your landing pages. Examine the performance of two different versions of your page.

Continue testing and tweaking from there. You will eventually create a page that pays out dividends on your ad investment.

2. Tweak Targeted Demographics

Targeting the right audience is one of the most important aspects of effective advertising. Advertising to the wrong people is a waste of money.

Create a buyer persona to help you find the right audience. A buyer persona is a profile of your ideal customer. It is the result of careful market research into who most needs your product or service.

Your persona provides you with a starting point for your target demographic. You can improve it even more with testing.

3. Create Efficient Advertising Copy

Copy defines most ads’ success. High-converting copy is never by chance. When writing ad text copy, consider the features and benefits of your product. People do not decide to buy things on their own; you must explain why they should.

Then, finish with a strong call to action (CTA). CTAs that convert well will make your CPA profitable.

What exactly is CPL in marketing?

Cost per lead (CPL) is a performance-based marketing strategy. CPL marketing compensates you for each new lead you generate. 

Companies that sell subscriptions or high-priced products frequently employ CPL strategies. Affiliate marketing is a well-known CPL marketing strategy.

Web hosting companies, for example, pay large sums to affiliates for each subscription referred. Hosting companies can afford it because subscriptions generate a lot of revenue.

Assume a web host agrees to an affiliate’s $50 lead rate. However, they may require a two-month subscription in order for the affiliate to be paid. 

This ensures that they are only paying for repeat customers. The web host now has an established cost per lead that they can budget for.

When should CPL marketing be used?

CPL is, at its core, a metric that all businesses can and should use. To keep marketing profitable, you must understand how much it costs to obtain a lead.

CPL-based marketing tactics, on the other hand, are a different story. CPL acronym marketing is most effective for products with long-term sales cycles. If you intend to make money from leads for a long time, CPL is preferable to CPA.

Many SaaS companies prefer CPL because it allows them to earn money from their customers over time. However, a store selling lower-priced goods could not.

How to work out the cost per lead

CPL is calculated by dividing marketing expenses by the number of new leads. The formula is as follows: Cost Per Lead (CPL) = Total Marketing Costs / Total New Leads.

Time spent and third-party costs, such as marketing tools, will be factored into more complex calculations.

How to improve cost per lead

Investing in CPL marketing does not guarantee success. Instead, you must carefully craft converting advertisements.

Here are a few examples:

1. Behavior-Based Targeting

Many advertising mediums allow for behavioral targeting. This is a great way to ensure that only people who are interested in your product see it.

Assume you’re a provider of audio mastering services. People who frequently search for audio mastering can be targeted. This demographic is more likely to convert than the general population.

You can also retarget visitors to your website. However, you can target people based on the pages they visit rather than targeting everyone who visits your website.

As an example:

If they looked into a specific service, you could retarget them with that service. You could entice them to complete the sale if they left items in their cart.

Not all pages are equally interesting. For example, visiting a blog post page does not indicate intent like visiting a checkout page does.

2. Conversion-Optimize Your Website

Regarding CPL marketing, your company is only as good as its website.

Make certain that it:

  • Shows social proof (reviews, high-profile features, etc.)
  • Is mobile-friendly and loads quickly
  • Describes how your product or service will benefit the visitor
  • Answers to commonly asked questions
  • Makes it simple to contact a sales representative

CPLs will be low on conversion-optimized websites. Improving your website is one of the most beneficial investments you can make.

What Is the Distinction between CPA and CPL?

CPA stands for Cost Per Action, and it is a model in which leads are only paid for if they complete an action, such as purchasing a product.

CPL is an abbreviation for Cost Per Lead, and it refers to a model in which leads are qualified as genuine prospects before being sold.

So, what’s the distinction?

High Ticket Deals vs. Instant Gratification

The conversion occurs immediately with a CPA model. The sale is completed, and the advertiser or affiliate is compensated. This is ideal for promoting a high-volume, low-cost product or service.

Forced Sales vs. Lifetime Value

A good advertiser with a strong funnel can almost certainly force the sale of almost anything. However, in almost all cases, a forced sale significantly reduces a lead’s overall LTV (Lifetime Value).

Shifting to a CPL model allows you to build a stronger relationship with your potential customers and generate leads that have a lot of long-term value. 

Even for low-ticket items, a CPL model may be the better option because repeat sales compounded over time can become a significant source of income.

You can charge more for your leads when you use a CPL model. Alternatively, if you buy leads using a CPL model, you will most likely generate a slow-growing but loyal and repeat stream of revenue.

Lecture vs. Conversation

When you use a CPA model, you are essentially bombarding prospects with messages until they either leave the page or give in and purchase something. They have no influence over what these messages say; it is a one-way communication method.

However, you will establish a two-way communication channel with a CPL model. Feedback from prospects will allow you to build a highly targeted prospect list and learn more about their likes and dislikes, allowing you to tweak and fine-tune your products, services, and overall marketing strategy.


The CPA model is primarily one-time. CPA models frequently imply that you will not see a customer again after the sale. 

CPL, on the other hand, generates long-term value. Long-term profitability can be achieved by cultivating customer relationships. It will be up to you to decide which is best for you.

Why Choose Vexceed Technologies For Your Digital Marketing Agency?

Vexceed is a full-service digital marketing agency. We provide a wide range of digital strategy services to clients of all industries. Our digital marketing services in Nigeria include consulting and management options for a variety of online marketing tactics, including search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click (PPC) ads, copywriting, e-commerce, conversion rate optimization (CRO), and more. We also offer expert branding and digital PR services for both eCommerce and B2B companies. 

Don’t just partner with any digital marketing agency; work with a company you can trust. Vexceed Technologies Limited is the best digital marketing agency in Nigeria.

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