internet marketing: what is pay per mille (ppm) or cost per mille (cpm)

Internet Marketing has various different motives. Most times, the objective of marketing on the web has one of the two purposes: to generate traffic or for brand building. Web advertising is usually not free and you will pay an intermediary a price based on your advertising needs. There are several different models that are used to compute the cost of web advertising.

PPM or Pay-per Mille is one of the cheapest cost models around. The other popular models are Pay per Click (PPC), Pay per Visitor (PPV) or Pay per Sale/Action (PPS or PPA). There are several different reasons as to why PPM is the cheapest, but the important one is that statistically it has shown to have one of the lowest rate of converting to traffic or sales, which makes it ideal for brand awareness campaigns.

So, What is PPM and/or CPM…

PPM or Pay per Mille (thousand) is an internet advertising cost model that is solely based on impressions. A web impression in the context of web advertising is when an ad is displayed on a webpage and is viewed by the user. No action is necessary by the user unlike the PPC model.

Mille means thousand in Latin, which means CPM refers to the cost of thousand impressions. This is the price you will pay every thousand web impressions that your ad will receive. This more or less works the same way the old school print advertising used to work (or still works). You pay for a set number of impressions regardless of the conversion rate or the revenue generated.

This pay model is usually much cheaper than PPC model, but also converts at a much lower rate. Due to this reason, this type of advertising is mostly used for a brand building campaign. In a typical brand building campaign, it is not necessary that the user take action immediately but the exposure of brand and the brand name is more important.

The main difference between PPM and CPM is that the former (ie. PPM) refers to the cost model that is used for calculating the cost or price while the CPM refers to the actual cost of advertising or the amount you paid for thousand impressions.


Cheaper and Cheapest: It is usually much cheaper than other advertising models. It is probably the cheapest of them all.

Most Impressions: If your intention is to garner most impressions and to build your brand, then this is probably the best advertising model. You will receive way more impressions which may or may not convert to more traffic.

Preset Price: You can set a price for a pre-determined number of impressions. This price stays the same regardless of the clicks or conversions that is generated by the ads. This is useful if you are on a set budget and cannot tolerate any variances in your marketing budget.


Low Click-thru Rate: This type of advertising usually generates a low amount of traffic. This is because of the fact that the users are usually less engaged than model which are more co-related with search queries.

Less Statistical Data: There is not much statistics associated with this model. It is very hard to co-relate between conversion (when it happens) and keywords or other factors. It is also difficult to postulate the reasons for conversions when it occurs.

There are couple of major advertising platforms that use the PPM model. Facebook advertising is mostly based on the PPM model, as it should be because you have very distracted audience where the ad displayed is competing for attention with other content. Also, some parts of Google Adsense use the PPM model as well in addition to the PPC.