What is cost per mille (CPM)?

Glossary What is cost per mille (CPM)?

What is CPM?

Cost per mille (CPM), sometimes referred to as cost per thousand impressions, is a pricing model where advertisers pay a fixed rate for every one thousand times their ad is displayed to users, regardless of whether the users take any specific action.


In the realm of digital advertising, there are a number of cost models that marketers can choose from. The cost per click (CPC) and CPM pricing models are oftentimes weighed against one another.

CPC offers a direct link between investment and tangible actions, making it suitable for campaigns aiming to drive specific user interactions. On the other hand, CPM emphasizes broader visibility and brand awareness, making it a preferred choice for campaigns that prioritize reaching a wider audience without necessitating immediate engagement. The choice between CPC and CPM hinges on campaign objectives.

eCPM and CPM

Effective cost per mille (eCPM) evaluates the revenue generated per one thousand ad impressions, considering not only the cost associated with ad display but also the profit gained through conversions. On the other hand, CPM exclusively measures the cost incurred per one thousand ad impressions.

How to calculate CPM in digital marketing

The cost per mille formula is simple. Take the total cost of the advertising campaign by the total number of impressions (ad views) and then multiply by one thousand. This yields the cost an advertiser pays for one thousand impressions of their ad.

CPM and Adjust: CPM measurement

Attribution tools like Adjust’s Mobile Attribution ensure that the impressions for which advertisers are being charged align precisely with the actual display of their ads to target audiences. Without accurate attribution, there's a risk of overestimating the reach and impact of an ad campaign, leading to potential discrepancies between expected and actual results.

Precise attribution enables advertisers to gauge the true effectiveness of their CPM-driven campaigns, distinguishing between mere exposure and meaningful engagement. This not only optimizes budget allocation but also empowers advertisers to fine-tune their strategies based on accurate insights, ultimately enhancing the ROI of their advertising efforts.

Learn how to send CPM data to Adjust with Cost ID. Or learn about the full breadth of Adjust’s measurement capabilities with a demo. Want to dig deeper into understanding the value your impressions are driving? Get started with our view-through attribution playbook.

Never miss a resource. Subscribe to our newsletter.