CPM vs CPI: Difference and Comparison

CPM and CPI are the two ways in which the advertisement industry works. CPM means cost per mile; CPI stands for cost per install. There are other ways in which advertisers get charged, like CPA and CPC campaigns.


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Key Takeaways

  1. CPM (Cost per Mille) is an advertising model where advertisers pay for every thousand impressions of their ad. In contrast, CPI (Cost per Install) is a model where advertisers pay for each app installation resulting from the ad.
  2. CPM is commonly used for display and video ads, while CPI is specific to mobile app marketing campaigns.
  3. Both CPM and CPI models can be effective, but the choice depends on the advertiser’s goals, whether they aim for brand awareness (CPM) or driving app installs (CPI).


CPM (Cost Per Mille) is a pricing model for online advertising that means the cost per 1,000 impressions. CPI (Cost Per Impression) is similar, but the price is calculated per impression. CPM is commonly used for display advertising and brand awareness campaigns, while CPI is used for performance-based campaigns where the main goal is a specific action from the user, such as a click or conversion.


Both are used in how an advertiser will pay for running his ad campaign.

Both these methods of running campaigns send objectives to fulfil for the advertiser. When an advertiser wants to show his business or product in front of the audience, then the CPM method is used.

The CPI method is used when the advertiser wants to install software or a mobile app.


Comparison Table

Parameter of ComparisonCPMCPI
MeaningCPM campaigns are run to display an ad to a user with a cost of X amount per 1000 impressions.CPI campaigns are run to get installations for the software.
LevelThese campaigns are of basic level and the default supported by ad brokers.These are advanced-level campaigns and are supported by limited ad brokers.
CostCPM campaigns are less expensive.CPI campaigns are more expensive.
ObjectiveThese are used for creating brand awareness or product awareness.These are used specifically for getting installs for the desktop, tablet, or mobile application.
TypesThere are no types of CPM-based campaigns.They can be incentivized or non-incent based. Incent-based campaigns will reward the user with benefits like a recharge coupon code.


What is CPM?

Cost per mile or CPM is how the advertiser will run his campaign and display his ad in front of a maximum number of people. CPM-based movements have existed since the beginning of the online advertisement industry.

Setting up a CPM-based campaign includes creating an AD copy and then deciding a budget that will be spent when shown to 1000 people.

So, CPM is a metric that can be used to decide which ad campaign performs better than the other. The campaign, which costs less for every 1000 Impressions, will have a lower CPM.

The companies would let their ad campaigns run for one week and then choose the best-performing ad campaign.

The main point to remember about CPM is the amount of money spent on showing the ad to a 1000 audience. Most of the time, the average cost of running a CPM campaign will be a few cents per 1 thousand ad impressions. 


What is CPI?

CPI stands for cost per install. Whenever an advertiser has the objective of software or an app installed on the device of the customer, then he will use the CPI-based campaigns.

Unlike in the CPM-based campaigns, the cost is per install and not per 1000 installs.

CPI campaigns are used for desktop-based applications like Windows or Mac Software and mobile-based applications.

Since the boom of the smartphone industry, Google has also allowed unique best campaigns for advertisers.

The advertisers who want more installation for their mobile app or the mobile game will choose universal app campaigns when creating a mobile app.

Even Facebook, Snapchat, and Pinterest also have the option to create and install-based campaigns. The average cost of running a CPI campaign is 20 cents up to $5. 


Main Differences Between CPM and CPI

  1. CPM-based campaigns are used when the advertiser wants to show his ad to a maximum number of people. CPI-based movements are used when the advertiser wants more installs for his software.
  2. Usually, advertisers start their first campaign with the CPM-based campaign, and after getting more data about their audience, they will launch a CPI-based campaign.
  3. The most common objective for running CPM based campaign is to create brand awareness. The most common objective for running a CPI-based campaign is for more people to use the software product.
  4. CPM-based campaigns are cheaper than CPI-based campaigns. This is because, in the case of CPI campaigns, the user is required to install something on his device.
  5. When the online advertising industry started, CPM-based campaigns were the first available for advertisers. As time passed, CPI-based campaigns were also made available to advertisers.
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