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Affiliate marketing pricing models

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Affiliate marketing pricing models

Affiliate marketing has several different pricing models.

The following are the main types of affiliate marketing models, but others can be found:

CPM or cost-per-thousand impressions, is one of the oldest metrics for affiliate marketing. Merchants will pay publishers a fixed rate for every thousand impressions their advertisement is served. The CPM rate may vary. Targeted traffic is regarded better, creating a higher priced CPM.

CPC or cost-per-click marketing is one where publishers charge a fee for an individual click delivered to the merchant’s site or program. Costs will vary per click and will be significant to the competition within the sector or niche.

CPL or cost-per-lead is used in sectors where the customers’ acquisition isn’t always completed in a single online session. It’s based on criteria set out prior and can vary from gathering something as simple as an email address to a large form or action. Leads are priced according to the corresponding criteria.

CPD or cost-per-download is the process of the merchant paying when something is downloaded or installed. Otherwise known as cost-per-install, the CPD model has seen a huge increase with the recent rise of mobile advertising and apps.

CPC or cost-per-call, also known as pay-per-call, is the pricing model where by merchant will pay on a call-in basis. Publishers will get customers to qualify a purchase or transaction by calling a specific number.


CPI or cost per install is a newer form of pricing model in affiliate marketing. Due to the increase and popularity of mobile traffic and the app store, the model was introduced to pay out affiliates each time someone installed an app or software.

CPA or cost-per-action is the most popular model for direct response marketers. Merchants are almost guaranteed profit as they only pay per action they set out in the initial stages. The payout differs on the level of action that is required, for example, an email submission will pay less than a full form submission.

Tenancy pricing model is where the merchant or advertiser pays a flat, fixed fee per month regardless of the amount of impressions, clicks or leads. Although the results can be hard to measure, and there’s no guarantee it will work, the tenancy model can offer large exposure for big companies and brands.

Hybrid pricing model is the combination of several of the above. It’s used when a merchant wants to track and focus on the whole purchase or funnel of the offer. Offering different models across one process can really benefit publishers and merchants.

Revenue Share
Revenue share is when the merchant agrees to share a commission or portion of the conversion with the publisher. This is often used when a customer may be spending money on a product or program more than several times.

Most affiliate marketing programs or offers will work on one or several of the above pricing models.

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