In the world of ad ops, nothing is left up to chance. Although no formula can predict with 100% certainty how an ad will fare against its competition, calculating the CPM (cost per mille) gives publishers and advertisers a great place to start. Monetizing a website through display ads is commonplace nowadays, and anyone doing so wants to know how their profits rate. Technically speaking, display ad earnings can be standardized through the CPM metric-or, more appropriately, revenue per thousand impressions (RPM). This figure represents the cost to advertisers, which translates to revenue for publishers for 1,000 ad impressions. This method for analyzing ad impressions allows publishers to compare earnings rates for sites regardless of audience sizes, something any publisher interested in tracking revenue would want to do. However, calculating an average CPM or RPM is not easy, nor is it an exact science. There are variables that influence the revenue earned: demographics of the audience and focus of the site to start. Some web traffic is more appealing to advertisers than others because it attracts more attention and can command higher rates. How likely a visitor is to make a purchase also raises the stakes because the site will potentially make more per visitor.

For sites that are comparable, earnings can still vary based on the site layout; the way the ad units appear and how they are positioned can sway visitors and significantly influence the number of clicks, and subsequently the site’s earnings. So the creative structuring of a site is perhaps just as important as what the site is offering or selling. A poorly presented site that should yield solid revenue could conceivably make less than an enhanced site in a less valuable vertical. Calculating an average CPM rate is not an infallible formula with failsafe feedback, but it is a great resource if you’re serious about monetizing your website through display ads.

Average CPMs in 2014:

  • General display $1.90
  • Premium display $10.40
  • Email display $5.00
  • Mobile $3.00
  • Video $ 24.60