Cost Per Impression

What Does Cost Per Impression Mean?

Cost per impression (CPI) refers to the rate that an advertiser has agreed to pay per 1,000 views of a particular advertisement. A website that serves ads based on CPI doesn’t need the user to click on the ad – each appearance of the ad in front of a user counts as one impression. The advertiser agrees to pay the website a certain price for every 1,000 impressions the ad receives.

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Cost per impression is also known as cost per thousand, or CPM (the letter “M” is the Roman numeral for 1,000).

Techopedia Explains Cost Per Impression

A CPI arrangement is more common with large websites that represent a branding opportunity for advertisers. CPI follows a pricing model that is closer to the print style of ad sales, with advertisers paying a set price just to show their ads. The website’s ad server monitors the number of impressions and usually adjusts the display rate to match a given advertiser’s desired spend on a monthly or quarterly basis.

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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.