Google AdSense has launched new online advertising network where publishers are compensated based on Cost-per-Action or CPA model. CPA is a term that commonly used in online advertising and online marketing industry, where merchants or advertisers pays for the advert only when an action has occurred. An action can be a product being purchased, a sign-up, a form being filled, a service been rendered or registered, a target lead, etc. The new advertising network is called Google Content Referral Network, and currently only available to Google AdSense publishers who has the invitation to join the Content Referral network.

According to invitation email received by author on SeekingAlpha, the CPA ads from Content Referral network will not compete with contextually targeted ads from AdSense content network or search network. However, the new ad unit can be set up by using ad format from the existing AdSense ad unit sizes when placed one of these ads on website.

Beside, Google expect that the CPA test will offer ad units that will expand publishers AFC revenue because the ad units are separate and appeal to different types of users and the CPA ads are also additional inventory to the existing AFC ad units. The report comes in the format of weekly email reports on conversions that have been accrued and total revenue within the CPA Content Referral network test.

In the invitation for the CPA ads network, Google also says that since this is a test and these CPA ads are not regular ad units, publishers have more flexibility in saying things like “I recommend this product” or “Try JetBlue today” next to the CPA ad unit. However, publishers should still not incite someone to click on the ad, such as saying “Click Here”. And the CPA adverts can run in parallel on a different part of a webpage in addition to the cost-per-click CPC ads, and so it’s an additional way for websites to increase the revenue from or monetize their internet traffic.

If successful, the cost per action or CPA network business model would extend the Google’s range of advertising activities and reduce its reliance on the “cost per click” (CPC) and “cost per 1000 impressions” or “cost per mille” (CPM) models that has been at the heart of its early success.

CPA ads is considered to be the optimal form of buying online advertising from the advertiser’s point of view. CPA ads will help to eliminate the click fraud problems that facing the currently AdSense CPC ads network. The CPA is already been used by associates or affiliate networks such as Amazon, LinkShare, Commission Junction, ShareASale and etc.

As Google CPA Content Referral network is still in testing phase for a limited group of websites and advertisers, the impact of it to Google AdSense and Google AdWords program is still unknown, as most advertisers will prefer CPA ads, and most publishers prefer CPM and CPC ads.

Note: AdSense Referral has been retired.