Home Affiliate Marketing & Media Buying No Magic: How to Boost Traffic on CPA Campaigns Using Wit and Math

No Magic: How to Boost Traffic on CPA Campaigns Using Wit and Math

by Sasha Kasatkina

A test campaign is over, and you start receiving less traffic with fewer conversions. How to fix it? One of the most frequent queries we at Adsterra receive is “how to boost traffic on CPA campaigns?” Unfortunately, there’s no magic button that will send loads of impressions in seconds. A better solution is getting armed with math and proven tips I’m about to share!

Sasha Kasatkina,
Head of CPA

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When do you start losing ad traffic?

Usually, you notice a lack of ad traffic when you start receiving fewer conversions. That’s logical. This can happen in several cases:

  • you’ve just finished running a test campaign
  • you haven’t changed bids for a while
  • the segment of traffic is too narrow, and you got maximum conversions
  • you couldn’t hit a competitive eCPM
  • a new, strong competitor has ramped up the competition

I’m going to walk you through the principal solutions to these issues in this guide. But we will start with traffic acquisition basics.

CPA campaigns: What you need to know about traffic acquisition

You can obtain CPA traffic using two ways:

  • Start a campaign on our Self-Service Platform
  • Apply for a managed campaign

Ways of getting CPA traffic differ for these 2 options, and now I will explain how exactly.

Buying traffic on Adsterra Self-Service Platform (SSP)

The SSP allows you to set up a campaign anytime you want, no matter what happens 🙂 It will be set off once it passes our review (unless you prefer to leave it inactive).

One of the critical steps is to decide on the test budget. Our CPA test budget recommendations per country will help you out.

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How does Adserra boost traffic on CPA campaigns during SSP tests?

Once a campaign goes live, you start getting CPM traffic, paying only for views and not for conversions. That’s important because the CPM pricing enables you to reach many more users in a shorter time.

The cost per 1,000 impressions will be calculated this way: We take an average eCPM for your targeting + vertical within the last 7 days, so the CPM should be just enough to get high-quality traffic. 

The test will stop once you’ve reached the test budget limit, or when the number of conversions multiplied by CPA has exceeded the test budget.

After the test, the eCPM will be recalculated according to the traffic your campaign has received. The number of conversions paired with CPA will also be taken into account. From now on, you will pay only for conversions.

So, that’s how we boost your SSP CPA campaign during tests: we send massive, high-quality CPM traffic that matches your targeting, checking how the offer will convert. Afterward, you start paying for conversions.

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Buying traffic on managed accounts

Managed CPA campaigns are different, at least because your manager sets up a campaign based on your request: detailed targeting parameters, offer links, offer previews, budgets, etc. 

No test budgets for managed campaigns: you start paying for conversions straight away. Thus, we either start running ads with CPA or offer some alternatives like, for instance, trying the CPM pricing. If alternatives won’t suit your marketing goals, you can still try out the CPA model on Adsterra SSP.

Some targets are harshly competitive, and we need to make sure the offer is viable compared to its rivals. That’s why we sometimes suggest you switch to CPM pricing. This move will usually be the best for iGaming, Finance, and E-commerce offers where users must perform complex conversions (e.g., put funds). 

One of our advertisers – an iGaming platform from Romania – has shared a case study of how they managed to double player deposits buying CPM traffic.

So, that’s how we boost your managed CPA campaign: we start buying conversions with a competitive bid or switch to CPM tests to save ad budgets.

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Which campaigns usually get top ad traffic?

Getting more traffic means winning auctions. Just like with any other auction – the highest bidder wins. CPA marketing is no exception. But that’s one side of the story.

When a user visits a website, the algorithm of an ad network has already prepared the best ad for him. You may ask: how does the algorithm know which one is the best? That’s another side of the story.

Let’s imagine users land on a website to watch a livestream of a sports match. They’re most likely to convert when:

  • They encounter a new ad (it’s the first contact within the last 24 hours)
  • This ad occupies the first slot, coming ahead of other offers.

So, which campaign will harvest the highest-converting user views? The one that bids higher. In the case of CPA, the one with the highest eCPM rate.

Let’s now figure out how eCPM affects traffic volumes.

Spending / Impressions * 1,000 = eCPM
Spending = Conversions * CPA

In a CPA campaign, your spending includes the number of conversions multiplied by CPA. You pay only for conversions, (at least when the CPA SSP test is finished)

The higher the eCPM rate is, the better for everyone: advertisers receive more quality traffic, and publishers are paid more.

So, ultimately, the higher the eCPM, the more promising ad views are (first eye contact), and the more traffic the system will send you.

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How to boost traffic on CPA campaigns: A 6-step guide with a dash of math

1. Check Traffic Chart to ensure your eCPM is competitive

As we’ve made sure, eCPM affects CPA traffic volumes. On Adsterra, eCPM = CPM, so you can check recommended rates using our Traffic Chart tool whenever you want. This tool will give you an idea about the current competitive rates as well as our traffic volumes per country you target.

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2. Ask managers

Wait a minute! I’ve just said that SSP advertisers launch campaigns by themselves. Fair enough, but any advertiser can resort to our help and ask for competitive rates for this or that targeting. Just drop a line in the chat asking for average and top rates. 

For stable volumes, your eCPM should be at least higher than the average in the system.

Anyway, keep going even if your eCPM is not quite there yet. There are still some things you can do to receive more traffic!

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3. Increase rates using wit and math

After you complete the 1st or the 2nd step, start increasing rates. It’s the most obvious way to work with your eCPM (and the most effective one). I will prove to you why!

Let’s do a math exercise:

After running a campaign, you got 150 conversions with a CPA of $2. The spend is $300, and you received 130,000 impressions. Your eCPM is 2.3 according to the formula I left above.

eCPM = (150 * 2) / 130,000 * 1,000 = 2.3

You ask the Adsterra manager what the top eCPM on the target will be. Let’s imagine they say it’s 2.5 at the moment. It means that your competitors definitely set higher CPA prices or generate higher CRs (conversion rates). So, which CPA cost will make you a winner of this game?

Math will help us out! Let’s find x, or the optimal CPA. We take the same data as above, but now our eCPM is 2.6, remember?

2.6 = (x * 150 / 130,000) *1,000

Let’s simplify the equation by dividing both sides by 1000.

2.6 / 1000 = x * 150 / 130,000

The simplified equation will be:

0.0026 = x * 150 / 130,000

Now, let’s find the X value:

x = (0.0026 * 130,000) / 150
x = 2.25

You can enter a simplified equation in the Google search field to check the answer 😉

That means you only need to increase the CPA payout rate from 2 to 2.25 to be a winner! 

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4. Try to improve CR (conversion rate)

In our previous math example, your offer gained 150 conversions per 130,000 impressions, which means that 0.11% of users converted. That’s the metric called CR—conversion rate or I2C—impressions to Conversions ratio.

CR = Conversions / Impressions *100 
CR = (150 / 130,000) * 100
CR = 0.11%

Overall, if the I2C ratio increases, the eCPM of your campaigns will also improve. How can you affect this metric? Of course, by refreshing and uploading high-converting creatives.


Prelanders are intermediate pages that catch your traffic and weed out users with low conversion potential. They’re mostly used in Popunder campaigns but can be applied to any other ad format.

A well-designer prelander warms up users, making them willing to complete the conversion: subscribe, install, purchase, etc.

I always recommend testing several prelanders — set up a rotation in your tracker and monitor the activity. After the test, deactivate the ones with the lowest CR, this way your overall CR will go higher, resulting in increased eCPM.

Ad creatives, apart from prelanders

The same advice I can give for In-Page Push, Interstitials, Native Ads, and other types of advertising requiring creatives: test as many of them as you can. On Adsterra SSP, you have an opportunity to add up to 15 creatives per test.

Still trying to decide which image or heading to add to a creative? Contact your manager to request an example of a creative to get inspired or run a managed campaign, and we’ll attach the right visual assets to your link.

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5. Refresh targeting settings

This might be obvious, but it’s worth mentioning! One of the easiest ways to unlock more traffic is to allow broader targeting settings.

Check if you limit your traffic with OS versions, browsers, time ranges, languages, etc. If so, you can try creating a new campaign with these limits removed. A pro tip: Add a slightly decreased rate to stay safe from ROI drops. 

Add more target geos if your product or service allows this. Remember about the Traffic Chart? Check the current volumes per new country, along with recommended bids (CPMs). Our account managers are also ready to assist with current CPA rates and share statistics for similar offers.

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6. Scale with alternative ad formats

Popunder might be one of the most popular ad units to start your promotion with. However, there’s a rival — the Social Bar ad unit — with its 9.9B monthly ad views. It’s an advanced combo of display and push ads, allowing the crafting of highly engaging creatives. 

The good thing is that you can run CPA campaigns as easily as you run Popunder and test all of the templates possible. I’d definitely suggest you test Interstitial templates, as well. Compatible with the most verticals, this ad unit takes your CR to a new level.

That’s it with math, and I’m thankful you’ve walked this path of calculations with me! As you could make sure, there is no magic in making CPA traffic grow. Adsterra managers are on their everyday mission of providing you with competitive rates and actionable tips. Go ahead and rock CPA traffic!

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Do I get more traffic to my ads if I put more funds into my balance?

The amount of money you keep on your balance doesn’t correlate with the amount of traffic your campaigns receive. These are ad offer relevance, your bidding strategy, and eCPM that can boost traffic for a CPM campaign.

Can I boost ad traffic by creating several similar campaigns or adding a new account?

We don’t allow multi-accounting on our platform. Creating several ad campaigns with the same targeting settings will not return more traffic if eCPM remains at the same level. The volumes will just be distributed between those campaigns.

What if my increased CPA will harm ROI?

When you boost traffic in a CPA campaign, the first and proven tactic is to increase the payout (aka bid). If the ROI allows you to increase your rate freely, go for it!

However, sometimes, the required CPA may seem to harm profitability. Well, this might sound controversial, but remember my point about the first ad view? The first users who view your ad have the highest potential to convert. And if you bump the CPA rate a little, you get more first views, increasing the ROI as a consequence. It’s crazy, but it works!

Can I get more traffic to my ads from selected sources?

If you’re feeling like it’s a bit risky to raise a CPA payout per entire campaign, try the Custom Bid tool. It allows you to increase bids for selected sources that have proved to convert.

One important note: conversion tracking is imperative for all CPA ad campaigns. Once you set up the S2S tracking, add the ##PLACEMENT_ID## to the offer’s URL to monitor every placement’s performance.

Another way to get more ad traffic is to collect a whitelist with top-performing sources. Check results, collect a WL, send it to your account manager to make sure there’s enough traffic on the Placements you’ve chosen, ask for an eCPM recommendation, and decide on your new CPA. Increasing eCPM will lead to more traffic volumes, just like you wanted 🙂

Why has my active CPA campaign stopped getting traffic and conversions?

An active campaign may start losing traffic for several reasons:
▪️ A test campaign is over, and you now need to re-estimate the bid, choosing a more competitive one
▪️ Creatives need to be updated
▪️ Your bid is not competitive, and it needs to be updated
▪️ The landing page you lead traffic to returns a 404 or 502 error.

How do I ensure the best eCPM?

▪️ Check current recommended CPM rates (Traffic Chart)
▪️ Ask ad network’s managers for average and top eCPM rates
▪️ Calculate your CPA payout based on top eCPM rates using the formula I dropped above.

When it’s more beneficial to create a CPM campaign, instead

You will find it more beneficial to run a CPM campaign when your conversion flow is pretty complex: deposits, CC submissions, double deposits, orders, or pre-orders. CPM traffic is cheaper, allowing for more extended tests and larger traffic amounts. We usually advise CPM pricing for iGaming, Finance, and E-commerce offers.

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