Difference between Email Marketing Models CPM, CPC, CPL, CPA, and CPI

Unlike advertising in traditional media, the cost of an ad depends on the size, colour and page it is added to; Online advertising grants varied cost models tailored to the needs of each campaign. In addition, a display ad is not the same, more related in most cases to traditional advertising, than an ad in Adwords or in any of the social networks that enable brands to send messages to millionaire clients upon payment of the fixed rate.

Therefore, digital advertising needs to add another set of metrics that help define the various investments. There is a big difference between CPM, CPC, CPL, CPA, CPI. Costs that modify depends upon:

  1. The impressions of each ad get displayed to the visitants of the various web spaces.
  2. The amount of times a form gets filled in and the call to action (CTA) button is touched.
  3. The amenities of a business or app that are available.
  4. Other varieties of actions get identified as conversions.

In summary, all these signs get classified around 3 significant metrics:

  1. Impressions: it is the most fundamental metric. Part of the number of users that envision your ad, your ad, is the amount that sets the imminent investment. And it is usually exposed in thousands. It means that the cost gets calculated according to every thousand impressions.
  2. Clicks: it is, possibly, the fundamental metric. It is the number of times a link gets clicked. Whether in newsletters or digital ads, a high click rate is usually compatible with success. 
  3. Conversions: a conversion can be any sort of action that a company determines that is the one that pleases them: a download, filling out a form with the user’s data or, even a sale. The most sensible thing is that, in the conversion funnel, this metric is the one with the lowest number. However, it is the most prominent.

Based on these 3 signs, the main cost models of online advertising can be classified based on the user’s demanded interactions:

  1. CPM (Cost per Mille Impressions) –  

What is CPM? CPM advertising is a price you pay for a thousand (mille from Latin) impressions your ad gets exposed to; It comes from traditional television, radio, where to calculate Cost Per Mille you will have to take the entire campaign budget and divide it by the number of impressions it generated

      2. CPC (Cost per Click) –

What is CPC marketing, you ask? CPC advertising is a media buying model in which sponsors get energised only when the ad gets an actual click. Cost per click signifies the highest amount you are willing to pay for a single click. But at times, you will be charged less according to your websites’ quality score, which includes significance to the user, Click-through rate (CTR) and landing page quality. 

      3. CPL (Cost per Lead) – 

Cost per Lead, or CPL marketing, is a media buying model where the advertiser pays for the knowledge of a potential client interested in their services. CPL advertising generally gets generated from Cost per Lead services that allow a list of proposed clients with their names and information such as mobile numbers or email addresses. CPL marketing gets employed by businesses to build their customer base or remarket to an existing one by using an acquired Cost per Lead information as a database for an email newsletter, reward and loyalty programs, advertisement campaigns, etc.

     4. CPA (Cost per Action) –

CPA, which stands for Cost per Action, or Cost per Acquisition, is a buying model where promoters pay only if a particular fancied action – sign-up from fulfilment, subscription or sale – has transpired. It is one of the most reliable methods of driving sales through buying media on the market today, as it presents as low a risk as possible.

    5. CPI (Cost per Installation) –

CPI marketing is a media buying method where advertisers only pay when their application gets downloaded. Most app business proprietors and app marketing supervisors are adopting CPI advertisers over other paid marketing standards.


While each of these marketing models – CPM, CPC, CPL, CPA, and CPI – is different, it’s necessary to know them all to make the right choice for your budget allocations. What works miracles for one business model will slay the other – it’s all about the right fit.