What does CPM mean and what can I expect?
CPM literally means cost per mille – mille being the latin for thousand. In online advertising CPM is the cost for one thousand impressions. An impression is a single ad shown to a viewer. So if someone says they bought 5,000 impressions for a $5 CPM that means they spent $25 to have their ad shown 5,000 times.
CPM as a metric is used in advertising across a number of mediums (TV, Online, Radio, etc). So naturally as advertising moved online it continued the tradition and stuck us with this somewhat cryptic metric.
So what is an average CPM rate for online advertising? It couldn’t be more diverse – similar to the pricing difference between a late-night commercial and a spot during the super bowl. Sites with desirable audiences that advertisers want to reach can get anywhere from $5 to $160 CPMs. Sites with less desirable audiences could be getting CPMs in the .05-10 cents range. CPMs also widely vary based on the type of media (rich media will cost more) where the ad is (higher on the page and inline with content is better) and how the ad is delivered (video will cost more than banner ads).