Common Myths about CPI and CPA Digital Marketing Campaigns




Myths and misconceptions about digital marketing CPA and CPI campaigns come in many shades. Some of these are simply incorrect, while others are more a factor of the current campaign features and tools.

Many advertisers believe that CPA  campaigns are more profitable than CPI and always will yield more positive results. This is a common misconception. While CPA campaigns do end up blocking a majority of simplistic ad Fraud such as Duplicate IPs, not receiving the install data would often result more sophisticated ad fraud forms invading the campaign.

It is important to see how networks realistically manage campaigns under different business models, not just to see the risks involved in each, but also to see the actual operation cost and overall performance. CPI campaigns are often considered riskier and less profitable than CPA and it is rarely the case.

Here are some more common myths of CPI and CPA campaigns and the real facts behind them.




Myths about CPI (Cost Per Install)


♦ CPI campaigns are only aimed at awareness.

This is untrue. While many campaigns running on CPI can result in low performance and no purchases, very often quality networks attempt to use the CPI as a means to an end: to reach key performance indicator (KPI) of the client. Considering many publishers wish to see revenue here and now, and evaluate the eCPM of campaigns to discover which are more profitable for them to run, the CPI model is often the best means to gain volume from publishers, and later filter the campaign to find the best performing sources under the client KPI.

♦ CPI campaigns are more expensive than CPA campaigns.

This is untrue as a blanket assumption. Many networks typically have minimum thresholds for performance built-in, which safeguard clients from highly underperforming channels.

♦ Additionally, “Junk installs” are often removed from billing reports, which ensures the actual cost of the campaign is not extremely high.

While it is true that some portion of the under-performing installs cannot really be removed from billing, or is absorbed as an operational cost by ad networks, there are many benefits to work on CPI: very often CPI campaigns attract publishers that CPA campaigns cannot attract, and such publishers can achieve a lower CPA goal.



Myths about CPA (Cost Per Action)


♦ CPA campaigns protect clients against fraud. It is true in part. Simplistic ad formats such as Duplicate IP, VPN and proxy server hosting are often actively blocked by CPA campaigns, however, CPAs to not account for more sophisticated types of fraud attacks such as click flooding (AKA “Clickspam”) which attributes organic purchases to publishers, as well as emulators which attempt to fake registrations.

♦ Moreover, Very often on CPA campaigns ad networks intentionally block the install postback in order to be profitable: this results in an inability to track CTIT (click to install time) properly, a very important element in the detection of Click Flooding.  CPA campaigns can showcase the entire ad network’s traffic capability:  Many ad networks have “premium” publishers stowed away, such media channels can meet incredibly efficient CPA goals. However, such publishers are often unable to work on the eCPM conditions created by CPA campaigns, which forces the network to diverts all of the “remnant” (non-performing) traffic to the CPA campaign. This opens the door to media sources with little to no inspection (No apps-ads.txt implemented, no visibility into placements, etc.), which naturally leads to a higher percentage of ad Fraud and overall lower performance.




♦ CPA has a low operational (tracking/ attribution) cost: Not quite true. When network publishers resort to remnant traffic, the result is often very low performance: a high amount of clicks and installs are sent to the attribution platform, without any actual post-install events. This can lead to an incredibly high cost on most attribution platforms.

♦ Publishers think of CPA campaigns as a long term investment:  Most publishers care most of all about their margins and want campaigns to be profitable from day one. As a result, many are prone to using indecent means to achieve these margins, such as mixing real traffic with Click Flooding, mixing traffic with Incent, or plainly opening a device Farm. Publishers are unable to speak directly to advertisers and realize they cannot change the way big brands operate. As a result, they are left to their own devices to make campaigns profitable, and unlike actual agencies/ad networks, do not consider campaigns as a long term investment, publishers develop their own tools to reach the make sure campaigns are profitable from day one.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>