CPM or Cost Per Thousand Impressions of an Ad on a Webpage

In CPM, the ‘M’ denotes the Roman number 1,000 and this often confuses people. Rather than going into the reasons for cost per thousand not being abbreviated as CPT, this blog will look into the role of this form of advertising in marketing. If the objective of the advertiser is to simply make a single line announcement and not aim for clicks on the advertisement, this is the ideal option.

The impressions will be calculated on the basis of the traffic on the particular webpage where the ad gets displayed. Of course, it depends on the marketer to offer a click option in such an ad and there’s really no harm in doing that. After all an announcement in a single line or just a couple of lines can’t be the same as providing the reader with all the details of the event or offer for which the ad was displayed.

The cost factor

Not all advertisers have the kind of cash or resources to pay for an ad that gets clicked and there could be a number of reasons for that. The business could be new, just a startup and only wants to let its audience know that it is present in the market or maybe, just wants to announce about an event it is organizing. It could be anything like a webinar or a seminar or a roadshow to launch a new product or service. It is important for the designer of the CPM ad to include the most important message in as few words as possible so that the ad doesn’t appear cluttered, which can put off potential readers.

Many businesses just want to continue advertising the same message or the same set of four or five or half a dozen messages for months or even a year. It could be part of their marketing strategy to just hammer the same message over and over again to ensure the reader or potential customer knows the name of the brand being promoted. Similarly, the brand identity would have a logo and a particular color scheme for the ad design, which could perhaps be the same as the color scheme of its product packaging. Customers begin to recognize the brand’s products on store shelves and may decide to buy it at the store rather than online. There are different ways that a marketer wants his CPM ad to work.

ROI is not well-defined

It is clear that this kind of advertising has its limitations as far as ROI is concerned but then, it is also the cheapest form of advertising online. Smart marketers would know how to make the best use of this kind of advertising space and we all know that startups that usually prefer this form of advertising, have some of the best marketing brains working for them. It all depends on the resources at the disposal of the startup and the consequent strategy it adopts in its CPM ad campaign. As already mentioned, it is the mix of messages that will make or break such an ad campaign.

The messaging needs to be crisp, clear and clean. There’s no scope to play with intrigue that many of the award winning ads show. In the cost per thousand impression arena, it’s a simple sales ad pitch that will be effective, e.g. “Webinar on admissions in XYZ University on 10 October”; “For more details check http://www.abcxyz.com.” Depending on how the advertiser wants to run his campaign, he could amplify his messages by running another set of CPM ads that gives more details about the webinar such as the name and credentials of the speaker/s as well as the theme of the webinar.

If the speaker happens to be someone famous, the ad will anyway get noticed. If the speaker is unknown, the ad campaign will make him known. That doesn’t mean he’ll become a star overnight but as already discussed, this form of advertising is the best bet for those who are just starting out. The cost of a CPM ad campaign will not always be cheap because there are some premium websites and portals where the ad space is very expensive even for this form of advertising due to the incremental value of the brand image of the website. Startup marketers are known to be the best exponents of optimization of resources with aggression.

They believe in working harder to achieve their objectives and would rather minimize the share of their CPM advertising on premium websites and maximize the share on non-premium websites. That requires an enormous amount of number crunching with analytics and all the advanced tools that effectively make the marketing funnel what it is. Of course, advancements like artificial intelligence and internet of things are making it easier to work on analytics but they too, don’t come cheap. So, for the poor startup marketer there’s no way out but to burn midnight oil on analytics at least till his campaign brings in the expected cash.

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