6 Tips To Optimize Your Incentive CPA Campaign (Advertising Tips)

by Mark Kempton, PointsPrizes Founder

Published in Advertising on 7th November, 2018

As the founder of one of the top rewards websites in the world, I've promoted hundreds of thousands of incentive offers. Over the years I've learned a lot from observing the most successful incentive offers, and how those campaigns were meticulously optimized.

There are some important aspects to remember when optimizing your affiliate marketing campaigns. Often these can make the difference between an offer which fails to gain traction, and one which generates millions of dollars in profitable leads.

Offers are Ranked According to Impressions (Usually)

Every incentive advertiser wants to maximize traffic, and minimize costs. You might think campaigns are ranked according to how much money you spend on conversions. While that is true to some extent, it only covers half the story.

The truth is that, in the majority of cases, offer walls are heavily ranked according to how much conversion revenue they generate PER IMPRESSION.


Think about that for a second, this means that your "Click Through Rate" is just as important to your offer ranking as how much you spend!!

The networks are smart for doing this, because more clicks means more opportunities for everyone - including both advertisers and incentive website users.

Therefore in order to save money, you should think very carefully about every aspect of your campaign settings. Here are a few important things to consider:

  • Shorter titles work better than long ones. Either use your brand name, or try to sum up what you are providing in the fewest number of characters possible.
  • Write very clear conversion requirements that users can easily follow. Having unclear conversion requirements can confuse users, or even worse leave them feeling cheated.
  • Make sure the network knows your precise country/region requirements as well as device requirements. This will help them only target users which can actually convert, therefore maximizing your performance per impression.

Thumbnails Design Is Important

Thumbnail design is so critical to the ultimate success of an incentive campaign, it deserves a special mention. As a publisher, I can say that this is an area we all need to improve on.

Take a look at this offer wall, and then write in the comments section below which offers you would be more likely to click on:

incentive advertising

If you guessed Hungry Unicorn and Gift Rewards, then you would be right. Here are a few important things to consider when designing a thumbnail:

  • Simple, flat-design illustrations, with bold colors, perform the best. Thumbnails are often displayed in dense offer walls and on mobile devices. Therefore you need your images to stand out, even when shrunken down to a smaller size.
  • Avoid using any text if you can, unless you are showing your brand name. Large amounts of text are usually impossible to read in a thumbnail, and that can look unprofessional.
  • If you are using your brand logo, choose a background color which draws attention to it and makes your logo pop as much as possible. Everyone chooses white by default, so choose differently and stand out from the crowd!
  • Make sure the network is storing your image in the highest resolution possible. This is especially important if you intend to allow the network to delegate the offer to other networks. You don't want your offer to end up being blurry anywhere. Nothing discourages clicks as much as an upscaled image.

If you can, hire a freelance illustrator to design your thumbnail for you. You will find that this will deliver you a huge increase in traffic, with relatively little expense.

Choose a Network Which Reaches Your Audience

Every CPA network is partnered with a unique group of affiliates. Some networks specialize in incentive campaigns, while others host many different types of offers.

Therefore, if you're planning on offering an incentive it's probably best to create your campaigns with those networks which specialize in incentives.

I would also recommend that you partner with a limited group of incentive networks and then give them exclusivity. That way they will be able to tightly control the delegation of your offers and ensure you are reaching the right pool of publishers. Not to mention keeping a tight clamp down on fraudulent activity.

For incentive offers, I recommend you work with the leading networks. This includes the big names such as Adgate Media, as well as Adscend Media and Offer Toro.

incentive advertising

Block Bad Publishers, Reward Good Ones

One of the great aspects about incentive CPA is you get to take an active role in deciding which publishers gets paid. It's very different to traditional CPC campaigns, where you have very little real say.

I've noticed that successful campaigns tend to block the lowest quality publishers. Again, this maximizes your performance per impression.

Usually it's only a very small percentage of fraudulent publishers which need to be blocked. Some publishers deliver high conversion rates, others deliver a high amount of clicks - you need both to achieve a successful campaign.

Chargeback Bad Leads To Publishers

Another great thing about incentive CPA is that you can charge back fraudulent leads. Usually it is best to do this within 2 weeks of a conversion though, or publishers will become justifiably upset with you.

Speaking of upset, a lot of publishers see chargebacks as a negative thing. They crave more revenue, and often fail to see the bigger picture. I've learned to think a more holistically when it comes to this aspect of the industry.

Actually, chargebacks are a great way to communicate with publishers. They tell publishers about bad users on their websites, which might need to be banned. It also makes them aware when they are not delivering value and forces them to look at the bigger picture.

However, just like blocking of publishers, it's best to use a light touch. It's not about charging back every lead that doesn't work out. Rather, if you see fraudulent activity, on a large scale, then that definitely needs to be charged back.

Create International Campaigns Too, if Possible

Incentive CPA is still a growing industry, but the market for offers in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and Australia is already starting to become more competitive...

However, there are some enormous un-tapped opportunities for traffic from international markets. In many cases you'll be able to attract international traffic at a tiny fraction of the cost expected through traditional CPC campaigns.

increase traffic

While it's true that Tier 1 countries offer the highest direct sales opportunities, international users are far from being without merit. Usually this is the soft-underbelly, which your competitors have neglected to target.

For example, you can boost awareness campaigns and drive them through social media. Few advertisers fully appreciate that international users are just as active on social media as their wealthier counterparts, sometimes more so.

By targeting international users with carefully designed incentive CPA campaigns, you'll indirectly reach those American and European users at a much lower cost than you ever imagined was possible.

Remember, incentive advertising allows you to set almost any promotional conversion requirements you want - think of all the possibilities!

Certainly, when it comes to incentive CPA advertising, there's plenty advertisers can do to reduce ad spend and increase traffic. If you're still stuck competing in the over-saturated CPC advertising space, then you should consider new markets like this one!

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