Average Pay Per Lead Rates

I’ve noticed several people searching my blog for average PPL/CPL (pay per lead / cost per lead) rates, and decided to do a bit of research to publish those here.

I have identified 13 service categories, and analyzed PPL payouts in each category across such networks as Commission Junction, LinkShare and ShareASale, including in-house-based affiliate programs into some of the categories as well. Each category had at least 10 active/producing US-based programs analyzed to arrive at the average default payout rate in each vertical. Here are the results of my findings:

Art/Entertainment – $4.20
Banking/Trading – $41.66
Careers – $4.05
Credit Reporting & Repair – $31.33
Credit Cards  – $7.18
Construction – $8.14
Education/Training – $11.83
Hospitality/Travel – $3.68
Insurance – $8.40
Loans/Mortgage – $9.85
Matchmaking – $2.48
Real Estate – $19.63
Technology/Telecommunications – $15

Important: While you can use the above data to arrive at a rate to pay your affiliates, I must warn you about something. Just as the percentage payout (in Pay Per Sale model) generally means very little, but much depends on the conversion and the EPC of your affiliate program, so it is also be with the PPL rates. You can be running a more attractive program with a lower PPL amount and higher conversion than your competitor who offers higher PPL rates, but converts worse. Let me give you an example:

  • Program A pays $100 per lead, and converts at 1%
  • Program B pays $50 per lead, and converts at 4%

On 100 clickthroughs on the affiliate link, Program A would yield 1 lead (hence, making the affiliate $100), while Program B would yield 4 leads (and 4 * $50 = $200).

So, when you are deciding on the post per lead rate for your affiliate program, make sure you both (i) do your due diligence on the competitive intelligence level (i.e. researching what competing affiliate programs are paying out, what tiered payout increases they have, what bonuses they pay, etc), and (ii) stay competitive and attractive to the end user (after all, it’s all about conversion!)

13 thoughts on “Average Pay Per Lead Rates”

  1. Good post Geno, I like the breakdown and example you gave. I took a read through interested in the numbers by category. I’m surprised construction was almost as high as insurance! Good info to know as a guideline though. Thanks for posting this.

  2. Sarah, thanks for your comment. Insurance goes up as high as $40-50 per lead. This is just an average.

    Thank you for chiming in, Ashish. You’re right. One of the main purposes of this post is to show that numbers are often deceiving, and we should never focus on any one variable, but on a combination of different ones.

  3. Ovidiu,

    While I speak some Romanian (b/c I was born and raised in Chisinau, Moldova), the majority of my blog’s reader’s don’t. So, if you could please comment in English, that would save me from translating. 😉

    Ovidiu wrote that “often 80% of the sum comes from pure luck”, and I am not sure I understand the statement. Could you please elaborate on what you meant to state?

  4. hi Geno,

    Good post, but I’m curious what type of educational leads run about $11 per lead? Is that for four year non-profit schools, for profit schools, proprietary privates?
    I’ve seen this number be quote as high as $52 per lead, and as low as $32 per lead but never as low as what you cite.



  5. Jon, you’re right, some PPL advertisers in the education sector have much higher payouts (VideoProfessor, for example, is paying $55/lead). However, per my quick analysis, the majority of advertisers in the education vertical have their per-lead payout set right around that $11 mark (an average payout in the sector). Here’s a quick list of 10 programs as an example:

    CollegeAndUniversity.net – $12-20
    FindMyDegree.com – $18
    Education-For-Careers.com – $16
    StudentCorner.com – $12
    TheApprenticeDoctor.com – $7.50
    MustHighSchool.com – $6
    CareersAndEducation.com – $6
    ABCHomePreschool.com – $5
    CollegeWeekLive.com – $1
    ScholarshipExperts.com – $0.5

  6. You’re most welcome, Jon. The above list is based on ShareASale and CJ-based programs. If you log into other networks (Google Affiliate Network, LinkShare, buy.at, etc) as an affiliate, I am sure you will see many more offers in the “Education” category on each.

  7. slow down, I am blown away… are you saying that some credit repair companies are paying 31.33 just for a lead? Just for a lead that still needs to be closed? Without payment information?

    In cj.com and all the other networks the average per sale commission is 45.00-65.00 dollars. Why would an affiliate take these offers if they can make almost as much just for a lead?

    I have a credit repair company and an affiliate program that Im looking to promote with online affiliates (currently using offline) but even at 100.00 per sale I dont feel like I can compete with the cost per lead price and that that price will eventually be what the big producers go after… am I missing something?

    Can you suggest a good place to learn more about the probabilities of my aff program attracting affiliates with my rates?

    I feel like the 3k investment with cj.com could be in vain if this is accurate….

  8. Thomas, yes this is the amount that I see averaging in this vertical based on at least 10 active affiliate programs in the vertical.

    Having said this, it is always important to look at what constitutes a valid lead for a particular affiliate marketing campaign. Many would require payment information.

    A good place to learn more is your own computer. Join the top affiliate networks as an affiliate, and analyze the best performing affiliate programs in your vertical to see what’s working for others. 😉

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