How Do I Determine Potential CPM Rates?

Cost per thousand impressions, or CPM, is a common method for determining advertising rates online. This is the amount that you will pay as an advertiser for each 1,000 views your ad receives on a particular website or network. Lower CPM rates correspond with efficient advertising, while high CPM rates correspond with less efficient advertising. When evaluating a website for potential ad placement, you can use several criteria to approximate CPM rates.

Obtain a site profile for the website you are considering for ad placement. Sites such as Alexa and Compete compile data on websites, and allow you to compare them to similar websites.

Determine from the site profile where the majority of the website's visitors come from. A website with traffic that primarily comes from people in your country will typically yield lower CPM. Conversely, a website with traffic that is geographically diverse typically yields higher CPM.

Review the website's traffic patterns from its site profile. A website with consistently high traffic may indicate that it is highly visible on major search engines, and that the site garners a high percentage of repeat visitors. High visibility and repeat visitors may translate to more efficient advertising because people who frequently visit a site or arrive via organic searches are more likely to be interested in your ads.

Determine the average number of page views per visitor from the site profile. Page views refers to the total number of pages a particular visitor reads before leaving the site. Advertising on a site with low average page views is typically less efficient than advertising on a site with a high page view average.

Weigh the relevance of the site's content to your advertisements. Relevant sites typically yield better ad response, which translates to lower CPM. Conversely, a site that covers multiple topics or bears little relevance to your ads typically yields less effective advertising. For example, placing an ad for a set of chef's knives would likely yield high CPM rates on a site about celebrity fashion.


Consider placement carefully when purchasing website ad space. Placement can be as important as site data for lowering CPM. Ask the website owner for historical data on ad placement and CPM to determine where to place your ad.

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About the Author

Owen Pearson is a freelance writer who began writing professionally in 2001, focusing on nutritional and health topics. After selling abstract art online for five years, Pearson published a nonfiction book detailing the process of building a successful online art business. Pearson obtained a bachelor's degree in art from the University of Rio Grande in 1997.