What is a publisher? A Q&A about publishers, advertisers, and CPA networks

What is a publisher? A Q&A about publishers, advertisers, and CPA networks

Affiliate Marketing

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August 17, 2022


Affiliate Marketing

You know you’re supposed to know, but you won’t ask, thinking that Google will answer that in seconds. Instead, it just confuses you more and gives you a bunch of results about the publishing industry. Not what you wanted? You’re at the right place!

Yes, a publisher publishes books and other materials, but in the affiliate marketing industry, a publisher is an essential piece of the digital marketing puzzle. Without publishers, websites would have no advertising banners or HTML5 ads.

Publishers, advertisers, and CPA networks are intricately connected. Together, they make affiliate marketing one of the most lucrative industries to join.

What is a publisher?

A publisher is a website generating considerable traffic, so much traffic that it can be monetized. 

Publishers are not merchants: they don’t have any products or services to sell. They have digital space and web content, valuable content that continues to build their audience and bring in more traffic to their website. 

Here are examples of digital publishers: 

  • Websites
  • Online magazines and news networks
  • Streaming websites
  • Blogs and podcasts
  • Social media platforms
  • Mobile apps and games

If you have your own site, you know how much work it takes to keep it fresh with updated content. But the truth is, no matter how much work you put in, your site won’t become profitable unless you start publishing ads. 

Publishing: that’s where the money is!

Why are they called “publishers”?

Every time new content is released, posted, or updated online, it’s considered published. It becomes available for any internet user to see as if it were printed and displayed in a store. 

Today’s webmasters and content creators have their own digital space to leverage. It’s like having highway billboards or a whole building in Time Square, but on the internet.

But how do webmasters become publishers in the first place? How do they get that traffic? 

They do it by building a solid website with relevant content and great SEO strategy. That only can generate a ton of organic traffic. 

Keyword here: organic traffic! Webmasters with lots of organic traffic are appealing to merchants– advertisers–brands that want more visibility on the web in order to increase their sales.

Webmasters can decide to leverage such organic traffic by becoming publishers and displaying advertisers’ products on their site for a cost per sale or a commission rate.

When does a publisher become an affiliate?

Publisher could simply sell space on their site or app to any brand when you think about it. But there’s no guarantee that the ad will be profitable nor that it will reach the right audience.

That’s where CPA networks come in. They connect publishers and advertisers who are targeting the same audience in order to maximize the ROI on marketing campaigns.

A publisher’s traffic can turn into a lucrative business once they partner up with advertisers and start promoting their offers using promo tools such as direct links, prerolls, cam widgets, HTML5 ads, and banner ads.

Each type of offer determines what action is expected from end users for the ad to be successful: filling out a form, purchasing a product, subscribing, etc.

These offers will drive leads or sales from which the publisher will get paid, either per sale, per lead, per mile, or by commission. That’s what’s called CPA marketing.

What is an advertiser? 

Advertisers sells products or services, and they seek more brand visibility online. They create offers to promote, so that their product, once advertised on a publisher’s website, will generate more sales. 

Advertisers are merchants that have their own brand. These can be:

  • E-commerce sites
  • Live-streaming platforms
  • Service providers
  • Gaming apps
  • Software

They may look for different outside sources to increase their online sales: social media campaigns with influencers, email marketing campaigns, brand ambassadorships, and matches through CPA networks.

What do publishers and advertisers have in common?

They both thrive on high conversion rates. And to maximize their chance of making more money, they can join a CPA network. Once part of a network, an advertiser can publish an offer, and a publisher can set a campaign to promote it.

Remember that if your marketing campaign isn’t successful, then nobody makes money: not you, not the advertiser, not the CPA network! The opposite is also true: if the advertiser makes money, everybody makes money!

What is a CPA network?

A CPA network is a bridge between advertisers and publishers, also known as affiliates. CPA networks have their own platform from which publishers can browse through affiliate programs based on a number of criteria: offer type, payout type, vertical, country, etc.

Many affiliates can join a given program and promote the same offer. In fact, some affiliate programs can be very competitive.

Joining a CPA network is usually free for affiliates, but keep in mind that the network earns a commission on every sale resulting from a partnership between a publisher and an advertiser. 

That’s right! If you get a cut, they get a cut!

Note that big ecommerce platforms may also have their own affiliate programs in which they are the sole advertiser. For instance, Amazon has one of the best affiliate marketing programs on the web called Amazon Associates. Affiliates can earn up to 10% in revenue shares from each qualifying purchase with chosen merchants.

But off course, if you wish to explore the highest paying verticals, CrakRevenue is one of the best CPA networks you could find. You can browse through offers in gaming, beauty, hemp products, adult entertainment, and dating. 

Partner up with top brands that joined our network and earn bigger payouts than ever before.

What’s the roadmap to becoming a successful publisher?

It’s very simple. It’s essentially a recap of what you just learned:

  1. Become a content creator online by building a relevant site.
  2. Publish content that is always updated and SEO’d.
  3. Join a CPA network once you have enough traffic.
  4. Select offers that match with your audience.
  5. Set up your marketing campaigns.
  6. Collect your payouts.
  7. Repeat steps 2, 4, 5, and 6.

Wanna know more about becoming a publisher in affiliate marketing? Check our affiliate masterclass to learn everything about this booming industry!


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