Why the CPM Model Clouds Transparency

Why the CPM Model Clouds Transparency

When it comes to digital advertising, transparency is king. Without it, your campaigns aren’t going to rule and your budget won’t exactly be playing by any either. Folding impressions and costs under blanket fees and impressions, as is often done in the case of programmatic ad buying, clouds transparency. And you’d better believe too many clouds are going to lead to rain on your conversion parade. Let’s look at the three most frequent riders of the CPM model struggle bus, and why it is they just can’t seem to signal the driver and get off.

Inflated Costs

For a strategy focused on being highly efficient, the lack of clarity in programmatic CPM pricing tends to produce prices that are just the opposite. Technology and agency fees are baked into the CPM price, making it nearly impossible to determine the true value of the ad impressions you bought.

Optimization Mistakes

Because the actual value of ads serving is muddied, the ability to properly optimize goes out the window. Say you think you’re getting results in a particular campaign for a $12 CPM, and equal results in another campaign with a $7 CPM. But now say that in the campaign with the $12 CPM, $4 is from a tech fee and $3 is for account management. You’d be much better off optimizing for the success of the first campaign, but you wouldn’t know that if you could only see the final cost, without fees line itemed.

ROI Confusion

On top of not knowing what’s performing most efficiently in your actual campaigns, CPM ad buying makes calculating an ROI akin to driving with binoculars on. Without proper reporting in CPM, you’re forced to work with what you think is true, instead of what data shows to be absolute. Only when you know where your budget is actually going, can you know how efficiently it’s working.


Suffice it to say, the current CPM pricing model is not the path to optimal campaign performance or spending. True transparency requires a human touch, rather than the programmatic way of automation, and better regulation.

Want to talk transparency? Contact us to learn more about just how clear your digital campaign performance can, and should be.