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|Average Video RPMs|
|Network Range||$0.50 – $5.00|
|Network Cut||45% – 50%|
|Direct Sale Average||$24.00|
|Direct Sale Range||$18.00 – $30.00|
|Source: MonetizePros Aggregation|
Please note that MonetizePros calculates all aggregated figures while making several assumptions, which are described in the Methodology section.
Review Information Last Updated on: June 8, 2016
This page aggregates publicly available information regarding video ad CPM rate averages and ranges.
The video ad industry has exploded in recent years, as more publishers have started incorporating video content into their sites and advertisers have embraced this medium as an effective way to promote their products and services. This growth is expected to continue for the foreseeable future, with many advertisers shifting budgets towards video.
Below are a few stats to summarize the impressive growth in this space:
- Americans watched 52.4 billion online videos in December 2013
- In 2014, 86% of brands and 91% of agencies estimate they will spend more on online video ads
- YouTube ad revenue totaled approximately $5.6 billion in 2013, up more than 50% from 2012
Establishing an average CPM for video ads is challenging for a few reasons. First, YouTube partners aren’t allowed to publicly share what they make from the program – so YouTube CPMs are difficult to judge. This is specified in the terms and conditions (as it is with Google’s AdSense program as well). Second, as explained in more detail below, there can be a big difference in the amount advertisers pay for an ad and the amount a content creator receives for each view of their video.
Much like traditional banner ads, there are two primary ways to monetize video content. The easiest is to partner with a network who can insert video ads into your content, and give you a portion of any revenue generated. This is often done through a YouTube channel, though there are other monetization partners out there as well (signing up for a free membership gets you access to our e-book The Ultimate Guide to Making Money With YouTube & Web Video).
The most lucrative approach is to sell ads directly to advertisers, and host the video within your site. This approach requires developing relationships with advertisers and agencies, which can be a very time consuming process. But it allows publishers to keep 100% of the revenue generated.
CPM vs. RPM
Video CPMs generally refer to the amount paid by advertisers to have their ads shown (specifically, CPMs indicate how much it costs to show their ad 1,000 times). For many publishers and content creators, the effective RPM (revenue per thousand views) can be much lower for a couple of reasons:
- If video supply is greater than demand (as it is on YouTube and many other platforms), an ad won’t show with every view of your video. If an ad only runs half the time, your
- If you use a network instead of a direct sales team, the ad network will take a cut of the gross revenue. This is generally in the range of 40% – 50%.
So if an advertiser is paying a $10 CPM, but the ads only run on half the video views, the creator of that content is only generating $5 in revenue per 1,000 views. If that revenue is split with the network (e.g., YouTube), the content creator could end up with about $2.50 for every 1,000 views of their video.
Now, let’s move on to some more in-depth information, including summaries of all publicly available CPM rate information that MonetizePros has aggregated, as well as notes on the methodology we used to calculate the average aggregated values.
Source #1: TubeMogul
- Source: NYTimes.com, February 2014
- Referenced Average CPM Rate: $7.60 (gross)
- Used in MonetizePros Aggregation Calculations: Yes
According to TubeMogul, the average cost for a 30-second pre-roll video ad on YouTube is approximately $7.60 per 1,000 views. That’s down from $9.35 in 2012, and considerably lower than the $20 range for 1,000 video ads viewed directly on publisher sites.
Those are gross costs to advertisers. The same article notes that video ads may appear on only about two in ten views. After factoring in YouTube’s 45% take, there’s about 84 cents left over for the content creator for every 1,000 views.
Source #2: Variety
- Source: Variety.com, November 2013
- Referenced CPM Range: $18 to $24 (gross amount paid by advertisers)
- Used in MonetizePros Aggregation Calculations: No
According to a Variety source, YouTube’s CPMs range from $18 to $24 depending on the type of ad shown and the targeting desired.
Source #3: ReelSEO Hulu Analysis
- Source: ReelSEO.com, December 2013
- Referenced Average CPM Rate: $27.61 (gross amount paid by advertisers)
ReelSEO performed a detailed analysis of earnings and views for Hulu, an online channel that allows users to watch network and cable TV shows. The conclusion is that Hulu generated about $608 million from ad revenue in 2013 from about 16.8 billion ad views. That translates into an average CPM of $27.61.
It makes sense that this price would be at a significant premium to YouTube videos. Many of those ads are mid-roll, meaning that they’re basically the same as traditional TV commercials. Ads that interrupt the viewing experience and that can’t be skipped are worth more to advertisers, because it’s more likely that their messaging will be received by the viewer.
Advertisers also have the ability to target their Hulu budget so that ads appear during certain shows. While there’s some targeting ability available on YouTube, advertisers will have to pay a premium if they want their ads to appear within certain shows on Hulu.
Source #4: AllThingsD
- Source: AllThingsD.com, March 2013
- Referenced Average CPM Rate: Range of $2.50 to $10.00; average of range is $6.25 (net to content creators)
According to a March 2013 AllThingsD feature, YouTube content creators reported earnings per 1,000 video views ranging from $2.50 to $10. Publishers who host videos on their site report CPMs closer to $20.
Source #5: Reddit Thread
- Source: Reddit.com, September 2013
- Referenced Average CPM Rate: Range of $0.70 to $5.00; average of range is $2.85 (net to content creators)
Though YouTube partners aren’t permitted to share their earnings, some do so anonymously. This Reddit thread includes disclosures from some YouTubers with decent numbers of subscribers and views who cite a big range: $0.70 to $5 from every 1,000 views.
Source #6: SocialBlade
- Source: SocialBlade.com, retrieved April 2014
- Referenced Average CPM Rate: Range of $0.50 to $5.00; average of range is $2.75 (net to content creators)
SocialBlade aggregates a significant amount of YouTube-related video, including views and estimated earnings for various channels. Their estimates cover a pretty wide range, but serve as another data point in estimating a rule of thumb for what can be expected from this network. Here’s a sample of the data provided for a YouTuber:
Their method for calculating estimated earnings is pretty straightforward; an RPM range of $0.50 to $5.00 is assumed to come up with high and low estimates.
This is obviously a huge range, and it’s not based on detailed access to actual reporting. But given SocialBlade’s knowledge of the video ad market, it’s another useful data point in determining average video ad RPMs.
Source #7: ReelSEO Reference
- Source URL: ReelSEO.com, October 2013
- Referenced Average CPM Rate: Range of $0.30 to $2.50; average of range is $1.40 (net to content creators)
ReelSEO cites a range of $0.30 to $2.50 as the bottom line, take home RPM for YouTube publishers. There isn’t much detail given for how this range was computed, and it seems to be towards the low end of the available estimates.
Source #8: eMarketer
- Source URL: Fool.com, March 2014
- Referenced Average CPM Rate: $24.00 (gross amount paid by advertisers)
According to eMarketer, the average CPM paid for online video ads is estimated to be about $24. This refers to the amount paid by advertisers, and is generally similar to the estimate given in data point #3 above.
Since the sources above do not use a consistent methodology, date range, or system, please note that the MonetizePros aggregated values are calculated via an ‘inexact science’. I.e., there is some napkin math here; we do however make an effort to be as transparent as possible, and thus our methodology notes are listed below.
- Sources used in the MonetizePros aggregated values for networks include: Source #1 (TubeMogul), Source #4 (AllThingsD), Source #5 (Reddit), and Source #6 (SocialBlade). Though the AllThingsD reference is the oldest of this set, we included it because it comes from a reputable publication and because it is generally similar to more recent data points.
- The raw data in Source #1 was multiplied by 55% to remove the standard revenue share to networks (in this case, YouTube).
- Source #7 was not used because the source of data was dubious.
- Sources used in the MonetizePros aggregated values for direct video ad sales include: Source #3 (ReelSEO) and Source #8 (eMarketer).
- The Average figures presented above were calculated as simple arithmetic averages (rounded) of the data points collected. The ranges were determined based on the averages of the data points collected above, as well as our judgment and experience in the video ad industry.