Digital Advertising: CPA VS CPC
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Dec 09

Cost-per action vs cost-per click

If you are new to the digital marketing space or a long-time user then you’ve probably debated between Cost-per-action (CPA) and Cost-per-click (CPC). So what is the difference and WHY does it matter?

We’ve broken down the differences between Cost-per-action (CPA) and Cost-per-click (CPC). Most importantly the advantages and disadvantages of these digital advertising cost methods.

Cost-per-action (CPA)

With a Cost-per-action (CPA) campaign, the advertiser pays only for clicks that subsequently see visitors complete some specific action. This action can be a purchase of a product, a download of a document, sign-up for a newsletter/membership, or countless other steps.


  • Directly paying for a specific action.
  • Generate engagement with the desired action.


  • Could generate low engagement on a single action, even if you’re serving lots of ads and generating lots of clicks.

Cost-per-click (CPC)

Cost-per-click (CPC) means that the advertiser pays the publisher each time one of their ads is clicked. In other words, the advertiser is paying for visitors sent to their site from the publisher’s site.


  • Generate website traffic through the use of a call-to-action.
  • Ads are displayed to your target audience.


  • Ads could not resonate with your audience.
  • Generate low traffic to website because call-to-action doesn’t engage users.

About The Author

Megan Sullivan-Jenks is director of marketing & communications at Choozle – Easy Digital Advertising®. A self-proclaimed tinkerer, Megan's a problem solver for marketing and advertising strategies and execution. From nonprofits to consumer goods and software, she's an expert at creating online and offline marketing & communications strategies that are engaging and results-driven. Outside of the office, Megan rolls up her sleeves to enjoy all things DIY like sewing and woodworking.