A CPA commission, or cost per action commission, is a fixed commission amount paid to an affiliate when a specific action is taken. In the case of ClickBank, that action is the initial sale in a vendor’s sales funnel.
When an affiliate earns commission on a CPA basis, the affiliate does not receive additional commission for any upsells or rebills of subscription sales, and their commission is not returned in the event the sale is refunded or charged back.
CPA commission is set by the vendor for individual affiliates. This allows vendors to easily set or adjust the affiliate’s commission based on the affiliate's performance. As an affiliate increases the number of sales or generates greater revenue for a vendor, the affiliate has the potential to earn higher CPA commissions.
Affiliates also benefit from CPA commissions because they know exactly how much they will earn for each conversion and do not have to worry about potential refunds or chargebacks. This is especially true for larger affiliates who are managing big campaigns with greater ad spend.
Depending on the sales productivity and revenue generated by an affiliate, some vendors may choose to take a loss on the initial product sale because the revenue generated from upsells and rebills of subscription sales outweighs the loss on the initial product sale.
This article contains the following sub-articles. Click the link to be directed to the section of the article that best fits your needs.
- CPA Requirements
- CPA and Affiliates Requiring Approval
- CPA and Cost of Goods
- CPA and JV Contracts
- CPA and Returns
- CPA and PayPal
- CPA Account Balance
- How to Set CPA Commissions
- Using the ClickBank CPA Commission Calculator
- How to Edit, Delete, or Duplicate a CPA Commission
- How to Pause or Resume a CPA Commission
- CPA Reporting
- Additional Resources & Related Articles
To offer CPA commission you must meet the following requirements:
- Your ClickBank account must be active for 60 days or greater.
- You must have at least 100 initial sales of an approved product in the last 60-90 days.
- You must maintain a positive account balance.
CPA and Affiliates Requiring Approval
If your account is enabled for Affiliates Require Approval, please note that any affiliate set to earn CPA commission must also be in a commission tier before they are able to promote products. If an affiliate is not in a commission tier, the HopLink they use to promote the product will not be effective. If you are a vendor who has not enabled the commission tier approval, learn more about that feature here.
CPA and Cost of Goods
We recommend providing the cost of goods per item and average shipping costs for each physical product in your ClickBank account. While it is not required, providing this cost of goods (COG) data ensures accurate calculator outputs and profit reporting.
If you are a vendor selling physical goods, it’s important to understand how sales of physical goods impact the maximum commission amount you are able to pay affiliates and the profit reporting for CPA transactions.
For the calculation that provides the maximum commission amount and the profit reporting for CPA, the data from sales of physical products factors what your costs are for both goods and shipping. This allows you to see how much you can afford to pay affiliates on a CPA basis and report back what your true profit is on CPACommissions.
In the product editor, there are two fields in the Pricing Shipping that affect this data:
- Cost of Goods Per Item: The amount it costs for you to manufacture or buy the product.
If this field is left blank, the CPA Commission Calculator and profit reporting assumes that you have no costs.
- Average Cost of Shipping Per Item: The average amount it costs to ship the product.
If this field is left blank, the CPA Commission Calculator and profit reporting assumes that the shipping fee charged to the customer was your actual cost of shipping. If the shipping fee charged to the customer is not your true shipping cost, it is important to adjust the Average Shipping Fee so that the calculator and profit reporting work as desired.
If you are providing this information for the first time and the product has been already been sold, the data will retroactively apply to all previous sales of this product. If you update this field, the data will apply to sales from that date forward.
Note: If you update a field more than once in a 24-hour period, it will only apply the last change made. If you wish to clear the cost history you have previously entered for a product, delete the information in the field, save changes, and wait 24 hours to reenter new costs.
If your supplier handles both manufacturing and shipping and provides a single cost, you can simply set this amount as your Cost of Goods Per Item and enter $0.00 as the Average Cost of Shipping to achieve the desired result from the maximum commission amount and the profit reporting.
CPA and JV Contracts
When an affiliate earns CPA commission, the vendor earnings will not be split for any traditional JV or affiliate referral contracts you own. This is true for all sales in that order including the initial sale, upsells and rebills. The affiliate earnings will still be split if the affiliate earning CPA commission has any affiliate JV contracts.
If you have any JV upsells in your upsell flows, the vendor contracts on the JV upsell will be split as normal. Please note that like other upsells after a CPA commission is paid, the affiliate will earn $0.00 on the JV upsell. Note: If the affiliate on the sale earns revenue share commissions, all the JV contract splits will be processed normally.
CPA and Returns
When a vendor offers CPA commission to affiliates, they assume the burden of all refunds on sales facilitated by affiliates receiving CPA commission. If a customer requests a refund, the customer will receive back 100% of the sale amount. However, if the affiliate received CPA commission on that sale, they are not liable for returns. This means that none of their earned commission will be withdrawn to fund the refund. In these cases, outside of taxes and ClickBank’s own portion of the sale, the vendor will be responsible for covering the refund amount.
CPA Refund Example
CPA and PayPal
If the affiliate who referred your sale is set to earn CPA commission on the sale, PayPal will not appear as a payment option on the customer’s order form. This is due to incompatibility between the processing of CPA commission and PayPal purchases. If you have integrated your PayPal account with ClickBank, PayPal will still be an available payment method on all qualifying orders where the affiliate earns rev share.
CPA Account Balance
To set and continue offering CPA commissions, you must have and maintain a positive account balance. If your account balance becomes negative, you will no longer be able to offer CPA commissions until your account balance is positive for at least 24 hours. At that point, you must log into your account and re-enable the CPA commissions.
When CPA commissions are disabled from your account, you cannot create, pause, resume, or duplicate a CPA commission. However, you can access and edit CPA commissions during this time.
CPA Negative Account Balance Message
How to Set CPA Commissions
A vendor can set commission amounts based on the initial product sold, or set a single commission amount that applies to all initial sales. CPA commissions are set for each individual ClickBank account. Access the account you wish to set CPA commissions via your master account before proceeding with the following instructions.
Step 1: Login to your ClickBank account.
Step 2: Click the Vendor Settings tab.
Step 3: Click the My Site tab.
Step 4: In the Managing Your Affiliates section, click the Manage CPA Commissions button.
Step 5: Click the Set CPA Commissions button.
Note: If this is your first time setting CPA Commissions, review and accept the CPA Program Guidelines and click Continue.
Step 6: Enter the affiliate nickname of the affiliate you wish to offer CPA commission into the Affiliate text field. You must enter a valid affiliate nickname and the affiliate must have an active ClickBank account.
ClickTip: If you have a single sales funnel, variations or the same funnel, or funnels with approximately the same average order value, you may find it more convenient to set commissions by “All Products”. If you have more than one funnel with various front end offers, you may wish to set commissions by “Select Products” so that you can set appropriate commission amounts based on the initial product sold.
Step 7: Select whether you wish to set CPA commission amounts for all products or for one or more specific products.
Step 8: If you are specifying the CPA commission for one or more specific products, select the product(s) from the Select a Product drop-down list.
ClickTip: When setting commission by “Select Products” is it not necessary to set a commission amount for every product. If a CPA commission amount is not set for a product, the affiliate will receive commission on a revenue share basis if that item is the initial product sold. This means that, if the affiliate is currently assigned to a commission tier, they will earn commission according to the rates in their tier. Otherwise, the affiliate will earn commission according to your standard commission settings.
Step 9: Click the Commission Amount text field and specify the commission amount the affiliate will receive per sale. Then, click Confirm to confirm the commission amount.
ClickTip: The CPA Commission Calculator can help determine the maximum payable commission you can offer to an affiliate using historical sales data from both vendor and affiliate. Read more about the CPA Commission Calculate here.
Step 10: To finalize the commission amount, click Save.
Once you click Save, the affiliate will receive a notification via email and will earn CPA commission for any initial sale of the product(s).
Using the ClickBank CPA Commission Calculator
The ClickBank CPA Commission Calculator automatically determines the maximum payable CPA commission amount a vendor can offer to an affiliate.
Depending on a vendor’s sales volume, the maximum payable amount is either product-specific when enough sales data is available or is based on all product sales. Additionally, the ClickBank CPA Commission Calculator provides affiliate-specific sales analytics if the affiliate has generated enough product sales.
Maximum Payable Amount
The maximum payable amount is how much you can afford to pay the affiliate based on the value of your total order after initial sales, upsells, returns, fees, and costs have been accounted for. Maximum payable amount does not currently factor in the added value from rebills of subscription sales.
Maximum payable amount is not the same as average order value. Average order value is typically based on a gross amount and is either calculated by dividing the total amount the customers paid by the number of orders or by dividing one's total earnings by the number of orders.
Sales Used in the Calculation
The ClickBank CPA Commission Calculator uses the most relevant sales to calculate the maximum payable amount for the commission you are setting.
Setting a Commission by All Products
If the affiliate you are setting a CPA commission for has promoted your offer and has enough sales in recent history, then the calculation will be based on your sales in which they were the referring affiliate. If the affiliate does not have sufficient sales to make this calculation, it will be based on your sales not specific to a particular affiliate.
Setting a Commission by Select Products
If there are enough sales in which that product was the initial item sold in recent history, the calculation will be based on your sales where that item was the initial item sold. If there are also enough sales where the affiliate you are setting CPA commission for was the referring affiliate, the calculation will be based on those sales they referred.
If there is not a sufficient amount of sales in which the product was the initial item sold, the calculation will be based on your sales. If there was a sufficient amount fo sales were the affiliate you are setting CPA commission for was the referring affiliate, the calculation will be based on the sales they referred.
Note: In any instance, the CPA Commission Calculation will indicate what sales data the calculation is based on.
How to Edit, Delete, or Duplicate a CPA Commission
The following instructions explain how to edit, delete, or duplicate a CPA commission. Before completing these instructions, access the account you wish to set CPA commissions via your master account.
Editing a CPA Commission
Search for or scroll to the affiliate you wish to edit CPA commission for. To edit the commission, click Edit.
Update the information you wish to change, then click Save.
Once you click Save, the affiliate will receive an email notification informing them that the CPA commission has been changed.
Deleting a CPA Commission
To delete a CPA commission, click the dropdown icon and select Delete from the menu.
The affiliate will receive an email notification once you delete the CPA commission informing them that their commission has changed. If the affiliate is currently assigned to a commission tier, the affiliate will receive commission according to the rates in their tier. Otherwise, the affiliate will receive commission according to your standard commission settings.
Duplicating a CPA Commission
If you wish to set a CPA commission for an affiliate that is similar to one that you have already set, you can duplicate a CPA commission. This is most useful for vendors who are setting commissions by Select Products and have several commission amounts set. Note: Because commission amounts are set uniquely per affiliate, amounts are not carried over when a CPA commission is duplicated.
To duplicate a CPA commission, click the dropdown icon and select Duplicate from the menu.
Enter the CPA commission information for the new affiliate, and then click Save. Once you click Save, the new affiliate will receive an email notification informing them that they will now receive CPA commission for any initial sales of your product(s).
How to Pause or Resume a CPA Commission
If you wish to temporarily stop CPA commissions to a particular affiliate, you can pause the CPA commission you have set for them. To pause a CPA commission, navigate to your CPA Commission page, click the drop-down arrow next to Edit, and then click Pause. Once you have paused CPA commissions, the affiliate receives an email notification stating the CPA commission has been paused.
While a CPA commission is paused, the affiliate will earn commission on a revenue share basis. If the affiliate is currently assigned to a commission tier, the affiliate will receive commission according to the rates in their tier. Otherwise, the affiliate will receive the default commission according to your standard commission settings
To resume CPA commissions to an affiliate, click the drop-down arrow next to Edit, and then click Resume. Once you resume CPA commissions, the affiliate will receive an email notification stating they once again receive the CPA commission.
Affiliates will receive email notifications any time their CPA commissions have been paused or resume.
The ClickBank CPA Commissions Reporting provides robust reporting and analytics to show you the profitability of the CPA commissions you have set. You can sort the data and customize the columns in the view by clicking Edit Columns.
You can view the following information using the ClickBank CPA commission:
- Affiliate: The account nickname of the affiliate.
- CPO (Commission Per Order): The average amount of commission paid to the affiliate per order. This value is calculated by dividing Commission by Conversions.
- PPO (Profit Per Order): The average amount of profit earned per order. This value is calculated by dividing Profit by Conversions. Filter the PPO Over Time graph by selecting an affiliate nickname in the data table.
- Commission: The total CPA commission paid for sales attributed by the affiliate.
- Profit: Earnings less returns, fees, and associated product costs (if provided).
- Conversions: The number of initial sales the affiliate received CPA commission. Excludes upsells, rebills, and order bumps.
- Upsells: The number of upsells associated with CPA transactions that occurred within the selected time period.
- Upsell %: The percentage of initial sales with one or more upsells.
- Rebills: The number of rebills from subscriptions associated with CPA transactions that occurred within the selected time period.
- Refund %: The rate at which sales attributed to the affiliate were refunded. This metric is calculated by dividing the number of sales within the selected time period that were refunded, by the number of sales. In other words, refunds that occur within the selected time period for sales outside the selected time period are not included in the calculation.
- Chargeback %: The rate at which sales attributed to the affiliate were charged back. This metric is calculated by dividing the number of sales within the selected time period that were charged back by the number of sales. In other words, chargebacks that occur within the selected time period for sales outside the selected time period are not included in the calculation.
When an affiliate nickname is selected, this expands the available data for the affiliate to show the data by products. The Item # shows you the data for the orders where that product was the initial item sold. This way, you can track the profitability of your CPA commissions for every offer the affiliate has promoted.
Additional Resources & Related Articles
- BLOG POST: CPA vs. RevShare: Official ClickBank Guide to Affiliate Revenue Models
- CPA on ClickBank
- KNOWLEDGE BASE ARTICLE: How to Indicate that you Offer CPA to Affiliates
- KNOWLEDGE BASE ARTICLE: How to Earn CPA Commission