Affiliate Marketing Payout Models: CPA vs. Rev-Share – Which One Works Best for You?

Affiliate marketing has emerged as a powerful revenue-generating strategy for businesses and entrepreneurs alike. As an affiliate marketer, choosing the right payout method is crucial for optimizing your earnings and aligning with your marketing objectives. Two common payout models in affiliate marketing are Cost Per Action (CPA) and Revenue Share (Rev-Share). In this blog post, we will explore the differences between these two payout methods and help you determine which one suits your affiliate marketing goals.

  1. Cost Per Action (CPA):

CPA is a performance-based payout model where affiliates earn a commission for every specific action taken by the referred customer. The action can vary depending on the advertiser’s objectives and may include actions like:

  • Completing a purchase
  • Filling out a lead form
  • Signing up for a free trial
  • Subscribing to a service
  • Downloading an app
  • Registering for an event

Pros of CPA:

  • Predictable Earnings: With CPA, affiliates can calculate their potential earnings based on the commission for each completed action, providing predictability to their revenue stream.
  • Immediate Payout: As soon as a user completes the required action, the affiliate receives their commission, offering quicker access to earnings.
  • Easy Tracking: CPA offers straightforward tracking as affiliates are only concerned with a single action, making it easier to monitor and optimize campaigns.

Cons of CPA:

  • Lower Conversion Rates: The conversion rates for specific actions may be lower compared to the number of clicks or impressions generated, affecting overall earnings.
  • Limited Lifetime Value: Affiliates might miss out on additional revenue generated by the customer beyond the initial action.
  1. Revenue Share (Rev-Share):

Rev-Share is a commission model based on a percentage of the revenue generated by the referred customer. As an affiliate marketer, you earn a share of the total sales or revenue generated from the customers you referred over a specified period, often the lifetime of the customer.

Pros of Rev-Share:

  • High Earning Potential: Rev-Share offers the potential for higher earnings, especially if the referred customers make repeat purchases or engage in long-term subscriptions.
  • Long-Term Profits: Affiliates benefit from continuous earnings as long as the referred customers continue to generate revenue for the advertiser.
  • Strong Incentive for Quality Referrals: Since Rev-Share focuses on customer lifetime value, affiliates are motivated to refer high-quality customers who engage and make repeat purchases.

Cons of Rev-Share:

  • Delayed Earnings: Rev-Share commissions may take longer to accumulate, as they are dependent on customer spending over time.
  • Variable Earnings: The revenue generated by referred customers may fluctuate, affecting affiliate earnings.
  • Complex Tracking: Rev-Share requires more sophisticated tracking to attribute revenue to the referring affiliate accurately.


Both CPA and Rev-Share are popular payout models in affiliate marketing, each offering distinct advantages and considerations. The choice between CPA and Rev-Share largely depends on your marketing strategy, target audience, and business objectives.

If you prefer immediate and predictable earnings and focus on driving specific actions, CPA might be the right fit for you. On the other hand, if you aim for long-term, potentially higher earnings and are confident in referring quality customers, Rev-Share could be a more rewarding choice.

Ultimately, a successful affiliate marketing strategy may involve a combination of both payout methods, depending on the products or services you promote. Evaluating the unique needs of your marketing campaigns and understanding the preferences of your target audience will guide you in making an informed decision to maximize your affiliate earnings.

We offer both Rev-Share and CPA payout model on our entire offer portfolio, so it’s important to talk to your affiliate manager. She or he can help you decide which model is best for you and maybe even get a bonus bump, just for saying hi.