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CPA, or Cost Per Action, is a digital advertising metric that calculates the cost to an advertiser for each desired action completed by a user, such as a sale, click, or form submission.

Cost Per Action (CPA) is a pricing model in digital advertising where advertisers pay for a specific action taken by a user as a result of their ad. These actions can include a range of conversions, such as making a purchase, signing up for a newsletter, downloading a software or app, or completing a form on a website.

CPA is a popular metric because it directly correlates advertising costs with the advertiser’s desired outcome, allowing for a clear assessment of the ROI of a campaign. This model is particularly attractive to advertisers because it mitigates the risk of paying for ads that do not result in conversions, ensuring that marketing budgets are spent on ads that achieve tangible results.

AbbreviationMeaningUsing byYear coined
CPACost per acquisitionAdvertisersEarly 2000

Example 1:

An online streaming service runs a CPA-based advertising campaign where they aim to increase the number of monthly subscribers. They collaborate with various websites and influencers to promote their service. For this campaign, the advertiser agrees to pay $10 for every new subscriber that signs up through the campaign’s unique tracking link. This CPA model ensures that the streaming service pays only for ads that result in new sign-ups, directly tying marketing costs to the acquisition of new customers.

Example 2:

An e-commerce store specializing in eco-friendly products decides to use a CPA model for its latest advertising campaign on a social media platform. They set a CPA rate of $15 for each sale generated from the ad. When users click on the ad and purchase a product from the store, the e-commerce store pays the agreed-upon CPA rate for each of those transactions. This approach allows the store to closely monitor its advertising spend and ensure it is investing in ads that lead directly to sales, optimizing its overall marketing budget.

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Matt McAuliffe

Matt McAuliffe

Co-Founder of Hyper Digital

As the co-founder of Hyper Digital, a leading digital marketing agency in New Zealand, Matt McAuliffe has established himself as a prominent digital marketing analyst and consultant. With years experience and thorough knowledge of the digital marketing industry, Matt is the driving force behind Hyper Digital’s ongoing success. Matt’s innovative marketing tactics and creative concepts is the reason why so many businesses across New Zealand have achieve success in the online space.

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