What Are CPM, CPC, CPA, CTR?

Written by publift2019

26 Mar, 2020


This article defines the acronyms CPM, CTR, CPA, and CPC, which are different ways of publishers measuring ad revenue performance.

CPM: Cost Per Mile

CPM, as some of you know, is an acronym for cost per mille, meaning the cost per 1000 impressions (or how many times it is seen). This refers to how much it cost to have an ad published a thousand times on a website and is seen by users. One thing to mention is that adsense reports this as RPM.  This benefits the publishers because it means that if your website has high traffic, selling on a cpm model could be an easy way of monetising your content.

 The total cost paid in a cpm deal is calculated by multiplying the Total Impressions by the CPM rate & then dividing it by 1000. For example, one million impressions at cpm equal ,000 in gross revenue.

CPC: Cost Per Click

CPC means Cost Per Click, and it's a method that websites can use to determine the average times an advertiser has clicked on the relevant ad. CPC is also a widely used metric that advertisers incorporate to manage campaign budgets & performance. 

So let's say your ad gets 2 clicks, one costing $0.40 and the other is $0.20, this totals $0.60.

You'd divide your $0.60 by 2 (your total number of clicks) to get an average CPC of $0.30.

CPA: Cost Per Acquisition

CPA is also a payment scheme like cpm and CPC; however, it differs in that advertisers only pay when the user completes the desired transaction, such as a purchase, download or free trial. Therefore the advertiser only pays when an acquisition is made, therefore, CPA is Cost Per Acquisition. However, this means that the publisher takes all the risk for running the ad as you will be paid based on conversions made instead of just clicks or impressions. This is often referred to as affiliate advertising & was a widely used model in the mid-2000s.

CTR: Click-Through Rate

So while cpm, CPC & CPA all indicate the cost of advertising online, CTR measures the efficiency. The CTR or Click Through Rate, is measuring the success of online ads by accumulating the percentage of people that actually click on the ad to arrive at the hyperlinked website. The percentage is found when we divide the number of users who clicked on the ad by the number of times the ad was delivered.


So to recap…

cpm or Cost Per Mille measures is the cost of every 1000th ad impression made

CPC or Cost Per Click measures the average cost every time a user clicks on an advertisement.

CPA or Cost Per Acquisition is the cost every time a conversion is made

And finally, CTR or click-through rate measures the efficiency of clicks actually going through to the ads website.

Do you still have questions and want to see how you can further increase your ad revenue? Contact our team today.

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