How To Get Free Website Traffic & Mobile App Installs (Incentive CPA)

by Mark Kempton, PointsPrizes Founder


Published in Advertising on 27th October, 2018


In this guide I'm going to demystify the world of Incentive CPA marketing, and teach you how to drive huge amounts of free traffic to your website or mobile app!

Incentive advertising is one of the best kept secrets in the marketing industry. It's used by top game apps, survey companies and hundreds of large brands to generate paying leads at a much lower cost than more traditional forms of advertising.

It's so powerful, those who actually know how to do it, will rarely explain it.

Why Traditional CPC Advertising Campaigns Fail

Advertisers spend billions of dollars, trying to drive as many clicks to their website as possible. Usually it works something like this:

  • The advertising networks tell you that they 'leverage mountains of user data', in order to target the right people for your brand. It sounds really promising.
  • After paying tens of thousands of dollars for 'sample data', you work for weeks trying to optimize your campaigns and minimize your cost per click.
  • After all that, you get hardly any results. The vast majority of people who click your ad leave after just a few seconds. Some might visit a second page, but then they leave too.

Sound familiar? You probably feel like this guy...

The simple fact is that, even with all the data in the world about users, it's impossible to accurately predict how well they will interact with your specific brand.

All the machines can do is make informed guesswork. If they are accurate even 1% of the time, then that is considered a success.

If CPC doesn't work, why do companies pay for it?

I'll let you into a little secret about online advertising. Most successful campaigns lose a considerable amount of money on their first user engagement.

Their real goal is to harvest the user's contact information - so that they can be emailed, or otherwise contacted, over and over again. The sales are quietly made up on the back end of the traffic funnel, not the front.

Eventually, given enough time and a well designed communication strategy, profitability emerges. The entire CPC market is hopelessly saturated with professional advertisers, operating on incredibly narrow margins.

Alternatively they are a huge brand, able to saturate the entire internet with awareness campaigns, costing tens of millions of dollars. That's the advertising equivalent of 'shock-and-awe' carpet bombing. Do you have that kind of money lying around?

What is Incentive CPA Advertising?

Ideally you want users to feel like they found you, rather than you having found them. That's the true sweet-spot - where smart companies make millions of dollars.

To achieve that, you need to transform your website, or mobile app install page, into a cascading river of traffic. You simply can't afford to pay for any traffic that fails to engage.

Incentive CPA allows you to reward users for actually trying out your product or service. Traffic comes from hugely popular viral rewards websites such as PointsPrizes, and many others.

Instead of paying for clicks, you pay only for results. For example, you could require users to install your game app, reach level 20 and win 10 battles. You have complete control, so you only pay when traffic is profitable.

free traffic

If CPA is so great, why isn't everyone doing it?

Setting up an incentive CPA campaign is a bit more technically challenging than a traditional CPC campaign. Some advertisers find it a culture shock, compared to the traditional CPC advertising model they are already so familiar with.

Every time a user reaches your required conversion point, you will need to send an HTTP request to the affiliate network, so that they can deduct funds from your budget and - for incentive campaigns - reward the user. That means you need to do some work to your website or app, to prepare it.

It might seem illogical, informing the network that you want to be charged money. However, it's very important that you send these conversion signals, otherwise your offer will lack the conversion rates, and traffic will be significantly reduced.

How to Set Up an Incentive CPA Campaign

There's a range of different ways to send the conversion HTTP request. One of the simplest ways is by embedding a conversion pixel on your checkout, or user milestone page, like this:

<img src="https://network.com/postback?user=356246&pub=284&offer=24153">

By loading this image file, it sends attached query string data to the affiliate network:

  • User ID - identifies the user who visited your site, so they can be rewarded.
  • Publisher ID - identifies the incentive platform which will reward the user.
  • Offer ID - identifies the campaign you have created with the affiliate network.

Usually these IDs will have been passed to you in the URL's query string, when visitors first arrived on your website, so it's just a matter of feeding that data back to the affiliate network:

http://yoursite.com/landing-page?user=356246&pub=284&offer=24153

Obviously I'm simplifying things a little here, and there are definitely more secure ways of achieving the same result. Also, every network will have different query strings and requirements, which you will need to read about in their advertiser documentation.

As you can see though, it's much less complicated to implement than one might think. If you're not a technical individual, then you can hire a freelance developer to set it up for you.

Once you sign up with a good affiliate network, an account manager will contact you, guiding you through all the technical stuff you need to get started.

Can you recommend any good affiliate networks, specializing in incentives?

If you're new to incentive CPA, then I would highly recommend you start out with the affiliate network Adgate Media - they have one of the largest networks of quality incentive publishers.

You should also sign into PointsPrizes as a user, get familiar with the incentive process from a user perspective, and explore the many great incentive networks we work with.

For example, choosing a good thumbnail image, providing clear conversion requirements and creating a good landing page are all things that will give you an advantage.

free advertising

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