The Future Monetization Model for Affiliate

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Is it time for cost-per-click to take center stage?

Written by Brook Schaaf

On a recent podcast interview with Perform[cb]’s Craig McGlynn, co-founder Todd Crawford mused about affiliate possibly moving from cost-per-action (“CPA”) to cost-per-click (“CPC”) compensation models.

Todd points out that while this shift toward CPC is more aligned with what publishers are already evaluating, the same may not be true for brands — but it may time to reevaluate: “These ‘disparate perspectives’ … may not be solved by increasing your commission rate … At the end of the day, these publishers are going to lean into the brands that are paying them what they’re measuring … If you pay me a 10% commission and another brand pays me 100% commission, 100% of $0 is still $0 if they’re not converting.”

At last week’s PI Live conference in Miami, paid placement and hybrid deals came up on multiple panels as another possible avenue. The general context was that such deals are not only accepted but expected, especially among influencers/creators, who may be compensated for content that a brand repurposes.

Meanwhile, for the commerce content affiliates, these deals could be a way of compensating for default commissions that are too low relative to display advertising and … cost per click, bringing us back to Todd’s comments about incongruent views on compensation in the industry.

As affiliate grows, this variability in compensation methods could be a double-edged sword. While the potential shift to CPC may offer benefits for some affiliates, it is crucial to ensure that the infrastructure supporting it is robust enough to avoid confusion and mistrust. As of now, it seems to me it is not yet robust enough.

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