What Is YouTube CPM?

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Since launching in 2005, YouTube has become one of the most influential platforms in internet history.

It’s so influential in fact that more kids want to be YouTubers when they grow up than astronauts! Considering how much CPM a successful YouTuber can make, who can really blame them?

But what is YouTube CPM exactly, and how does it work? Keep reading for a full breakdown.

What Is YouTube CPM?

CPM, or “Cost per Mille”, means “cost per thousand.” It’s the rubric by which YouTube pays its creators.

For every 1,000 views an advertisement on a video gets, the uploader of that video is paid a set amount of money. This can range anywhere from a couple of cents to a couple of dollars. The higher your CPM, the more money you can potentially make from uploads.

To earn CPM, you have to run advertisements on your video. If you choose not to, or are unable to due to the content of the video, you cannot earn money from the video. So, don’t expect to start uploading videos and make a ton of money right away.

What Is Considered a View?

It’s important to note that not all views are measured equally by YouTube.

For a view to count, the viewer must watch for at least 30 seconds of ads without exiting out. These can be pre-roll ads or mid-roll ads, it doesn’t matter. This is a big reason why so many YouTubers put multiple ads throughout their videos.

YouTube frequently lets the viewer skip ads after the five-second mark. When a viewer does this, it only counts as watching 5 seconds of an ad. The viewer must watch 25 more seconds of ads throughout the video to be considered part of the 1,000 needed for a payout.

Since most people like to skip ads when possible, a successful YouTuber will put lots of short ads throughout their video. These ads might run for 15 seconds at a time without skippability. This ensures they’re getting a lot more payable views with as little chance of driving the viewer away as possible.

Of course, this is a balancing act. You don’t want to scare your viewers off by bombarding them with too many ads. It’s all about paying attention to your analytics and using tact.

What Is CPC? 

You may have also come across the term CPC. What does that mean?

CPC stands for “Cost per Click”. This refers to clickable ads, usually situated around the YouTube video. With CPC, the YouTuber is paid every time a viewer clicks on an ad placed around the video.

This offers another way that YouTubers can make money, though CPC is typically worth much less. Think about how many times you’ve actually clicked an ad beside a YouTube video. It’s probably not often, and that goes for a lot of casual users.

What’s more, clickable ads often only appear for computer users. Lots of people use YouTube through their Xbox, Playstation, or phone. For those users, there isn’t even an option to click through these ads.

What Is the Average CPM?

It’s difficult to estimate a true average CPM, as there are a lot of factors at play in determining CPM. These include:

  • The size of the channel
  • The content of the channel
  • The channel’s audience
  • The length of the video in question
  • The season (Christmas ads etc.)
  • The country of upload

Bigger channels, for example, are awarded higher CPM, as they garner more views. Advertisers feel safe investing in these channels because they know their products are being seen. Some of the most viewed channels could be making upwards of $7 to $10 CPM.

Smaller channels, on the other hand, might start as low as $0.10 CPM until they grow their audience base. Generally, anything above $1.00 can be considered good for a fresh YouTube channel.

If you’re producing more controversial or “risque” content (not advertiser-friendly), you run the risk of much lower CPM, or even none at all. YouTube has specific guidelines you must follow to be deemed advertiser-friendly. Things like strong language, political opinions, and misinformation are routinely stricken down as un-advertisable by YouTube.

Kids channels have also seen a decrease in CPM recently, as inappropriate content was being passed off as kids content.

So, while there’s no set “average” CPM, there are some general ranges that you can expect to see.

What Kind of Content Gets the Highest CPM?

If you’re looking to make high CPM videos, there are a few categories you can focus on.

Cooking videos seem to have one of the highest CPMs across YouTube. Cooking videos are safe, very ad-friendly, and highly watched. If you can cook and you’re not on YouTube, you could be missing out on some big bucks.

Educational videos are usually a safe bet, too, as long as you’re not spreading misinformation. Make sure to cite your sources and keep it PG and you can make good CPM.

Gaming videos is one of the biggest categories on the platform, so CPM is good over there, too. If you can upload a lot of gaming videos — even with a mid-tier CPM — you can manage enough views to make a good living.

Comedy, as well, can be a good avenue for CPM, especially if you have a winning personality. However, you have to be careful as a comedian on YouTube. Comedians are constantly being shut-down on YouTube for telling “controversial” jokes, so this one is a bit of a double-edged sword.

Which Countries Have the Highest CPM?

Believe it or not, the country you reside in also has a big effect on your potential CPM.

According to Silver Mouse, Maldives is making the most CPM, with an average of $15.47 US CPM! This is followed closely by Guadeloupe at $10.97, and Denmark at $10.61. These numbers are very high for CPM, especially compared to English speaking countries.

Australia, for example, has the highest average CPM of all the English-language countries at $6.15 CPM — that’s more than twice as low as Maldives. New Zealand comes in second at $5.63, with the US coming in third at $5.33.

If you’re in a high-CPM country, you stand to earn a lot more from YouTube ads than other countries. This is all the more reason to get that YouTube channel up and running.

What Percentage of CPM Does YouTube Take?

It’s important to note that you don’t get to keep 100% of your determined CPM.

In fact, YouTube takes a 45% cut of all CPM. That means if you’re making $2 CPM, you’re actually making $1.10. If you’ve got a $10 CPM, you’re getting $5.50. It’s a pretty substantial cut, and this can come as a shock to new YouTubers.

That’s why it’s important to strive for as high a CPM as possible.

How Do I Calculate My Total CPM?

To see what CPM you’re making, all you really need to do is log in to the YouTube Analytics portal. From here, you can see an exact CPM, as well as metrics about how many paid views you’re getting. You can also click on ‘Payments’ to see how much you’ve actually been paid so far.

There are also YouTube revenue calculators — CPM calculators, essentially — across the web. These can help you estimate another channel’s CPM for research or curiosity purposes.

Some YouTubers like to calculate what’s known as RPM. This stands for Revenue per Mille, and refers to how much income you’re personally making. Doing this can really help a creator see the path they’re on, and estimate their future earnings.

To calculate RPM, open up YouTube Analytics and find the number under ‘Monetized Playbacks’. You’ll also want to open AdSense and click ‘payments’ to see what you’ve made in a given month. Then, follow this simple formula:

Last monthly income / Monetized views X 1,000

By completing this simple equation, you can see exactly how much money you’re making per 1,000 views. Repeat this process month after month to see how well you’re progressing, and what you can do to raise that number.

How Do I Raise My CPM?

There are a few surefire ways you can raise your average YouTube CPM. Lots of them come down to the overall quality and marketing of your channel. Here are a few ways you might raise that CPM.

Make Original, High-Quality Content

The best way to up your CPM is by getting more views and subscribers, and the best way to do that is by making great content.

Invest in good cameras and lighting, as well as decent editing software. Refuse to release low-quality, rushed videos.

They say you have to spend money to make money, and this definitely applies to YouTubers. The more professional you come across, the more CPM you’re likely to be awarded.

Market/Share Your Content

It’s not enough to just produce quality content. If nobody is seeing your video, you might as well be screaming into the void.

Don’t be afraid to share your video on social media. Relevant subreddits are often a great avenue to explore. Don’t make it seem like you’re advertising your own video though, as Reddit is typically not friendly about self-promotion.

You can also hire a digital advertising agency to properly get your videos out there.

Study your analytics and make content that fits your niche. Show the audience what they want. Encourage them to share your video, like, and subscribe.

Play By the Rules

Nobody likes to play by the rules, but you’re going to have to if you want to make good CPM on YouTube.

That means avoiding controversy, political opinions, harsh language, and bullying. It also means avoiding certain words in your title, bio, and the video itself. Even certain innocuous words will get your video demonetized by the YouTube algorithm!

You have to remain advertiser-friendly if you want to make CPM, simple as that. Once you can get sponsorships and merchandise (more on that later), you might be able to get looser with the rules. But if you’re relying solely on CPM, you’ll need to play by the rules.

Stay Active

The more you upload and stay in contact with your fans, the more your user base will grow. The larger user base and more frequent video uploads, the more CPM you can potentially earn.

Even if your overall CPM doesn’t increase, the more advertiser-friendly videos you have up, the more you stand to make. In this way, the best thing you can do to get more money from CPM is to upload often.

Is CPM the Only Way to Make Money From YouTube?

All things considered, CPM is not the be-all-end-all for earning on YouTube. There are plenty of other ways to make money advertising on YouTube. Here are some of the most popular.

Affiliate Marketing

Many YouTubers will put affiliate links for products and services in their bios. When a viewer clicks on these links and makes a purchase, the YouTuber gets a set amount of commission. These can make a YouTuber decent money, especially if they have a good following.


Once you’ve garnered a decent following, the best move is to start selling merchandise. This can be t-shirts, mugs, phone cases, action figures — you name it. Since a large portion of the cut goes to the creator alone, not selling merch means missing out on a lot of money for a well-known YouTuber.


A lot of YouTubers — especially in the podcast scene — take on sponsors to make money. The YouTuber advertises the sponsor briefly in the video, and gets paid a set amount for doing so. This is a great way of getting money without involving YouTube at all.

The Importance of YouTube CPM

If you’re trying to make a career out of YouTube, brush up on this guide and get familiar with YouTube CPM. The more you know about how it works, the more you can do to raise it and make more. Who knows, eventually you could get to a point where you don’t need to rely on the stringent CPM rules!

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