Earnings Per Click: How to Win Big at Affiliate Marketing

The marketing world is full of acronyms: ROI, ROAS, PPC, CPA, along with about a hundred more. Read too many marketing articles, and you start to feel like you’re staring at a bowl of alphabet soup:

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But here’s the thing: not all acronyms are created equal.

One of the most important, at least for affiliate marketers, is EPC. That’s “earnings per click.”

Without earnings per click, you’ll never reach your full potential as an affiliate marketer. And we’d hate to see that happen. So, in today’s post, we’re here to help.

We’re going to teach you:

  • What earnings per click means
  • How to calculate earnings per click
  • 5 ways to increase EPC for higher revenue

By the end of this article, you’ll know exactly how to make more money through affiliate marketing. It’s as simple as that.

Already familiar with what EPC means and how to calculate it? No worries. Jump straight to our section on 5 tips to increase EPC for higher revenue.

Let’s get started.

What Does EPC Mean in Affiliate Marketing?

What is earnings per click? - featured image

Earnings per click (EPC) is an affiliate marketing term that refers to the average amount of money you earn each time someone clicks one of your affiliate links. EPC affiliate marketing is, typically, run through pay-per-click (PPC) ads.

But the EPC affiliate meaning is the most important metric for being successful at affiliate marketing. It concretely indicates your earnings potential.

And this is true whether you’re running the affiliate program or sharing links from affiliate partners.

Here’s why:

Though many new affiliate marketers aren’t aware of EPC, what it is, and how to calculate it (which we’ll cover shortly), they know another popular marketing term:

“Cost per click” (CPC).

So they search for products that have the lowest CPC, run expensive pay per click ads to that affiliate link, and hope that they’ll make enough money back to cover their advertising costs.

Oh, and they’d also like to make a small profit. That’d be nice, too.

But if you can accurately calculate EPC, then you don’t need to rely on hope. You can make data-driven decisions with predictable success and even target other affiliate products with higher CPC.

Because once you know your EPC, then the CPC is actually irrelevant. In other words, so long as you are always earning more than you spend, you’ll be profitable.

Which is why we find it funny when people ask us, “What is a good EPC?”

The answer is simple: your earnings per click are good any time they’re higher than your cost per click.

Because then you’re making money. Period.

This discovery has so many ramifications for your affiliate strategy. And because new marketers are focused on keeping cost per clicks low, you have a mighty advantage.

Here’s a scenario for you:

Imagine you’re considering becoming an affiliate partner for 2 different products. Let’s call them Thing One and Thing Two:

Thing one and thing two example for earnings per click-min

Thing One looks really cool, and it has a cost per click of $20. Thing Two is also cool, but its cost per click is only $1.

So pop quiz: which one should you choose?

Like we said, for a lot of new marketers, that’s easy. The answer must be Thing Two because it has a lower CPC, right?


The real answer is that you don’t have enough information yet. You need to know your earnings per click so you can focus on what matters: profit.

You do some digging and find that Thing One’s EPC is $25, whereas Thing Two’s EPC is $1.50.

NOW you’re ready to make your decision because you can calculate how much profit each item will bring you with this simple formula:

Commission Earned minus Total Clicks on the Link min

Profit = EPC – CPC

Let’s do the math:

Profit for Thing One = $25 (EPC) – $20 (CPC) = $5

Profit for Thing Two = $1.50 (EPC) – $1 (CPC) = $0.50

In this scenario, Thing One is the better offer. That’s $500 earned for every 100 clicks. If you can drive thousands of people to that offer, the earning potential becomes obvious.

But let’s say you come back and track your 7-day EPC rate and notice a change for Thing One: Now it’s at $20 EPC and $25 CPC.

That means you’re losing money, and Thing Two is now the better option (assuming it hasn’t changed).

This EPC marketing approach is the only way to thrive as an affiliate marketer. It keeps you vigilant, flexible, and profitable at all times.

Since it’s such an important metric to know, let’s learn how you can calculate EPC for yourself.

How is EPC Calculated?

Your earnings per click calculation is easy: take the total amount of commissions you earn divided by the number of clicks your affiliate links had.

Calculate earnings per click

That’s it. You don’t need to be a math or stats whiz to figure it out.

Plus, many affiliate marketing sites have this information on hand for affiliate marketers. They’ll calculate the average affiliate EPC of their products for you. This data is sometimes called “network EPC” because it comes from the affiliate program’s network of partners to create the average.

Some will even give you a 7 day or 3 month EPC to help you refine your strategy.

Note: What is a 3 month EPC? This refers to the average EPC of a given product over 3 months. Some products have a higher EPC at the start but fall over time. Good affiliate sites like ClickBank will give you that data upfront.

These earning per click affiliate programs give you this information to help you choose your affiliate products more wisely.

Now we can already tell what you’re thinking:

If you know your earnings per click, and you know your cost per click, why doesn’t everyone just choose products with a higher EPC than CPC and pump ads to that affiliate link?

In the end, you’re bound to make more than you spend, right?

Well, yes and no.

The problem is that these are average earnings per click. They aren’t the same for all affiliate partners. One person may link to a product with an EPC of $3.00 and another with an EPC of $1.00.

So you get the average of an EPC at $2.00.

But your marketing strategy may not yield that exact result.

Hence why blindly choosing a product based on the highest EPC affiliate program isn’t as rock-solid a strategy as you may think.

The only way to know for sure what your EPC on affiliate links will be is to test it yourself.

And therein lies the rub.

It’s not nearly as an exact science as some online marketers would like you to believe. That said, EPC is definitely the most valuable metric in your affiliate marketing arsenal and can lead to awesome amounts of revenue.

Let’s take a minute to briefly explain why.

What You Can and Can’t Control With Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing image: what you can and can't control

As we already discussed, you can calculate your EPC with a simple formula:

The total amount of commission earned divided by the number of clicks to your affiliate link.

Then you can calculate predicted profits based on our other simple formula:

Profits = EPC – CPC

With those two formulas, however, there are a few things you can control and only one thing you can’t.

Let’s start with the latter.

You can’t control how much commission you earn on an affiliate product. That’s set by the person running an affiliate program. If they say you’ll get a 5% commission whenever someone makes a purchase through your affiliate link, that number is fixed.

The good news, though, is that everything else is totally in your control.

So let’s say you find an affiliate who provides you with the following averages:

  • EPC: $3.00
  • CPC: $2.00

Following our formula, you can increase your total earnings in 2 ways:

  • Increase your EPC
  • Decrease your CPC

This is the trick to affiliate marketing. If you can find a way to increase your EPC and decrease your CPC (so that the former is always larger than the latter), then you’ll be on your way to earning large amounts of passive income.

And like we just said, everything outside of the commissions you earn is entirely under your control. So let’s look at 5 ways you can increase EPC and decrease CPC.

How to Increase Earnings Per Click

The following 5 strategies are ways that you can increase your profits. They’ll not only boost your earnings per click, but they’ll decrease the amount of money you spend on paid advertisements.

Because none of these strategies involves paid ads at all!

That’s right. What you’re about to learn is a way to run affiliate marketing campaigns in a way that cuts your costs and improves your earnings. Ready? Here we go.

1. Share Affiliate Links With Popups on Your Site

The way affiliate marketing typically works is an affiliate partner sets up a sales page on their site. Then they create an ad on Facebook or Google Ads to drive traffic to that landing page.

In the end, affiliates earn money from a commission on a sale minus their ad costs. That’s where your cost per click comes into the equation and hurts your bottom line.

But we have an even better solution for driving your organic traffic to affiliate pages. Rather than driving your traffic to a landing page with a fixed URL, you can bring your landing page to organic traffic.

How? With OptinMonster’s fullscreen popups.

OptinMonster fullscreen popup

OptinMonster allows you to create a fullscreen popup that is sure to get your visitor’s attention. And because these popups take up the entire screen, they function exactly like a landing page.

When your visitors are reading a blog post, for example, you can trigger a fullscreen popup to appear when they reach the section about your affiliate product. But that’s just one of the many ways you can target user behavior to show them products they’ll love.

You can use OptinMonster to target users based on:

  • Location
  • URL path
  • Time on page
  • Exit-Intent®
  • AdBlockers

And more.

Trigger targets with OptinMonster

As you can guess, these targeting rules make fullscreen campaigns so much more effective than traditional landing pages. You can show your leads all the same content, but you can more easily control who sees that information and at what point of their customer journey.

These fullscreen popups are most effective for affiliate links when combined with a good content marketing strategy. Which leads us to our next tip.

2. Embed Affiliate Links in Your Blog Posts or in Your Vlog Descriptions

As we just mentioned, you can use fullscreen popup campaigns to target your readers. The question remains, though:

Which pages of your site should you display these popup campaigns?

That’s where having a solid content marketing strategy comes in. You can drive tons of organic traffic by creating reliable, quality content on your site. The best two forms of that would be with a blog or a video-based blog (vlog).

Then you can add your affiliate links directly in the content.

OptinMonster uses this technique to boost affiliate revenue:

SEMrush affiliate example min

Then we sometimes add coordinated popups to get more attention to that offer, as we discussed in our first tip.

That way, your readers can click the affiliate link in your content, AND they’ll see the targeted fullscreen popup on the content page.

That doubles your chances of getting the sale.

This is a great way to increase your EPC. Plus, because you’re relying on organic traffic from your content strategy, your CPC is effectively zero.

Any purchases made from your content or from the fullscreen landing page will yield 100% of the commission (minus the time spent creating the content).

We’ve written extensively on how to create a killer content strategy. But for affiliate links, try to use the following types of blog or vlog posts:

  • Comparative articles
  • Product reviews
  • Product list
  • Resource pages

That last one can be in the form of “My Top Picks” or “My Favorite Tools of the Week.” Then you can add a mixture of products with and without affiliate links. Or you can get hyper-aggressive with your strategy and include only affiliate products.

The point is that these 4 types of content are typically better at getting sales than generic blog posts with the affiliate link hidden halfway down the page.

But whenever you add an affiliate link in your content, it’s sometimes useful to warn your readers. WPBeginner is excellent at this. They let users know that affiliate links are included but assure readers that they only promote products they actually use and love:

WPBeginner Affiliate Disclaimer min

Your readers won’t care if you include affiliate links. They may care, however, if it seems like you’re trying to trick them into a sale.

So be open and upfront about the fact that your article has an affiliate link, and your audience won’t so much as bat an eye if they see one.

3. Embed Affiliate Links in Your Email Series

Ok, we need to tread lightly here. Because adding affiliate links to email can go 1 of 2 ways:

  • Super high profits
  • Getting banned from your email service provider

It’s not hard to guess which one you’d like more. The difference between the two outcomes is all in the approach.

Email service providers don’t like spam. It hurts their open rate percentages and, frankly, is just bad for business.

So when they see affiliate marketers with huge email lists sending out campaigns with this look in their eyes:

Scrooge McDuck Dollar Sign Eyes min

They’ll step in and shut it down.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t add affiliate links in your emails. It just means you need to do it in a way that isn’t spammy.

You can do that by providing valuable content to your email list regularly. Then, add an email highlighting an affiliate product somewhere in your automated email series.

So your series may look something like this:

  • Welcome email
  • Content sharing
  • Nurture the relationship
  • Affiliate link email
  • More content sharing
  • More content sharing
  • Nurture the relationship
  • Affiliate link email

And so on. The exact email series will depend on you and your business. But the point remains the same: don’t spam your email list with tons of affiliate links every day.

One email service provider you may want to consider is Drip:

Drip homepage

Drip is fantastic at creating email marketing campaigns. They have a drag and drop builder that lets you make stylish designs to capture your audience’s attention. Plus, we have it on good authority that they allow affiliate links in your emails if used responsibly:

Drip affiliate link question

Other services with similar policies on affiliate links are Constant Contact and Sendinblue.

Regardless of the email service provider you go with, though, you should reach out to their marketing team. Get clarity on what their policies are with affiliate marketing and how you can avoid getting penalized.

After all, it would be a shame to go through all that work of building your email list only to have it shut down for spamming your customers.

4. Test & Tweak Your Copy, Then Rinse & Repeat

Part of any good marketing strategy is A/B testing. Unfortunately, not enough marketers take the time to create solid A/B tests.

And they’re missing out big time.

If you’re adding affiliate links to your fullscreen landing pages or in your emails, you absolutely need to A/B test.

Because the chances that you nailed your landing page or email copy on the first take is slim to none. Getting the right message across to your audience takes time, effort, and, most importantly, testing.

OptinMonster helps you create A/B tests for your fullscreen popup campaigns. You can do this directly from your OptinMosnter dashboard with the click of a button:

ab test icon

That way, you can play with the landing page copy, add videos, test different images, or make whatever small tweaks you think would improve your EPC.

From there, you can track which campaign is getting you the highest amount of sales and refine your landing pages accordingly.

For more information, check out this article on how to create a split test and why you should.

When it comes to emails, though, you’ll need to work with your email service provider. The ones we listed earlier (Drip, Constant Contact, and Sendinblue) all make A/B testing incredibly easy.

You can get accurate reports on your open and click-through rates to make smarter, data-driven decisions about your email campaigns.

And that brings us to our final tip to increase your earnings per click.

5. Calculate and Track Your Metrics

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again:

In the world of marketing, knowledge isn’t power. Knowledge is profit.

You need to keep track of the following metrics:

  • EPC (yours, not the provided averages)
  • CPC (yours, not the provided averages)
  • A/B test results for your
    • Affiliate landing pages
    • Email campaigns
    • Pay-per-click (PPC) ads

These 5 metrics are going to be the difference between you succeeding as an affiliate marketer or failing epically.

The first two metrics (EPC and CPC) can guide your marketing strategy. With that information, you can make small adjustments to how you approach affiliate sharing to make sure you’re never spending more than you earn.

The last three metrics (involving A/B tests) will help you perfect your web copy. Consequently, you can adjust how you communicate with your audience to get the best results. This will, ideally, lower CPC costs and increase your EPC, and drive more revenue.

That’s it!

You now have everything you need to become a master at affiliate marketing. Because in this article, we answered the following questions:

  • What is EPC affiliate marketing?
  • How do you calculate EPC?
  • What can and can’t you control with affiliate marketing?

We also gave you 5 actionable strategies to increase EPC and decrease CPC for maximum profit.

Now you can take a program’s EPC affiliate network averages to choose the right products for you. Then you can cut your CPC with the 5 tips we showed above.

If you follow our advice, you’ll see revenue increase and create passive streams of income in no time.

We hope that you enjoyed reading this article. And if you found it helpful, share it with friends or colleagues. Then get back to us and let us know about any affiliate marketing tips you’ve learned over the years.

You can reach us on Facebook, Twitter, or in the comments section below.

You can also head over to our YouTube channel for more marketing tips and tricks. We’ve got videos there that can drastically increase your email list. Just don’t forget to like the videos and subscribe to our channel!

Do you want to grow your email list, increase conversion rates, and generate more revenue? Of course you do!

Join the OptinMonster family today risk-free with our 14-day back money-back guarantee. We promise you’ll be happy you did!

Nathan Thompson
Nathan Thompson is a father, a writer, and a lover of travel (in that order). When he’s not wrestling with his kids, you’ll likely find Nathan giving his eyes a much-needed break from screens with a good book or planning a family trip with his awesome wife.

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