Affiliate program or direct advertiser: which is better


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Who it is for

  • 1. webmasters
  • 2. partners
  • 3. publisher

A mandatory attribute of work in affiliate marketing is an affiliate program. It is she who pays webmasters money, checks traffic and communicates with advertisers. But more importantly, the CPA- network takes a percentage of your earnings! But why do most people prefer to work with an affiliate program, and not directly with advertisers? And what is the percentage for? We will tell below. 


What is an affiliate program and who are advertisers in affiliate marketing

To understand what an affiliate program is, it is important to recall what affiliate marketing is for those who are here for the first timе. 


Affiliate marketing is an interaction between an advertiser aka product owner and a webmaster who has traffic. The advertiser pays webmasters for the traffic they can bring to it. But not just for a visit, but for a targeted action. Hence the abbreviation CPA, which means Cost per Action - payment for action. 



But advertisers rarely work with webmasters indirectly. For this, there are CPA- networks or, as it is also called, affiliate programs that act as an intermediary. 


 The algorithm looks like this:


  1. The advertiser places conditions and promotional materials on the product (offer) in a specific CPA - network.
  2. The webmaster chooses an offer, gets his own unique link to the page with the game.
  3. Then he sets up advertising at his own expense. Traffic sources, ad wording (creatives) - at the discretion of the webmaster.
  4. Users follow ads with an affiliate link, some of them perform the target action.
  5. The webmaster receives a fixed fee for each registration (say, $20).


As you already understood, it is important for a webmaster to buy or generate high-quality and cheap traffic, and then sell it to an advertiser at a higher price. Thus, earning on the difference. Naturally, there are many nuances here, but back to the topic of the article. 


The CPA -network in this story assumes all the risks of cooperation with both advertisers and webmasters. That is, it protects webmasters from unscrupulous advertisers (unfortunately, there are some) and controls the quality of incoming traffic so that the advertiser gets what he paid for (unfortunately, there are also enough unscrupulous webmasters).


Pros and cons of an affiliate network

What are CPA -networks and who are advertisers, we are sure you have already understood. Let's now see what advantages and disadvantages of working with them open up to the webmaster. 


Let's start with CPA- networks. If we talk about the advantages, then they are much more than the minuses: 


  • Payout Guarantee. Many CPA networks work on a prepaid basis, or cover the webmaster's costs out of their own pocket if the advertiser turns out to be unreliable. If a CPA network refuses to pay a webmaster, it suffers serious reputational costs. 
  • Best Analytics. The affiliate program works with many advertisers and selects only the best traffic sources with high conversion on a specific product for each offer. Thus, the advertiser receives high-quality traffic, and the webmaster does not suffer the costs of testing hypotheses that are not working in advance. 
  • High stakes. If you have large volumes of high-quality traffic, you can get better rates than your colleagues, since the CPA -network is interested in providing the advertiser with traffic that will pay off their (advertiser's) investment.
  • Big choice. CPA networks aggregate a lot of offers, thus the webmaster gets a wide range of offers for any niche and specifically for his traffic.
  • Support and consultations. CPA -networks aggregate a lot of offers, thus the webmaster gets a wide range of offers for any niche and specifically for his traffic. 


There are only two disadvantages: high competition (if the CPA - network offers favorable conditions, there will be enough competitors for them) and commission (the CPA network serves as an intermediary and receives its percentage depending on the offer).



Separately, it is worth noting that there is huge competition among CPA networks. Therefore, they try to create additional conditions for the work of webmasters: they provide free mobile applications, translate creatives, provide ready-made pre-landers, and much more that an advertiser cannot provide.. 


Pros and cons of direct cooperation with the advertiser

There are only two advantages of working directly with the advertiser:


  • Exclusive conditions. It may be higher rates, as the CPA - network falls out of this bundle and does not receive its percentage. This can be an additional advertising budget so that you can provide the advertiser with the amount of traffic he needs, and much more.  
  • Quick feedback. The advertiser will quickly give you feedback on the quality of your traffic so that they do not hang in the hold, you will be the first to know about the opening of new GEO- and much more.


But no less disadvantages: there are no payment guarantees, the impossibility of control on the advertiser’s side (he can simply cut off leads for you), there is no support service, you will have to monitor all the processes yourself. 



Important! If you are a webmaster with little experience and traffic volumes, then the advertisers themselves are unlikely to work with you. Usually, advertisers cooperate with large teams and media buying agencies, as it is simply more convenient for them.


Who is more profitable to work with: CPA-network or direct advertiser

Spoiler: it's more profitable to work directly with the advertiser, but it's safer and safer with a CPA- network.


In affiliate marketing, as in any business, it is important to analyze everything: reputation, reviews, rates and bonuses. And your earnings depend on the choice of a partner. 


Solo webmasters often choose CPA-networks: reliable conditions, payout guarantees, affordable analytics, help from an affiliate manager, the availability of various technical features, a variety of offers and GEO are the main criteria when choosing an affiliate program. Plus, affiliate programs take care of the search for an advertiser and testing the offer.


What will you choose?



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