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Influencer Marketing

What is a Good Cost-Per-Mille (CPM) in Influencer Marketing?

Let's discuss what CPM and CPI entails, provide average cost metrics, and explore other factors that go into influencer pricing.
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There are several ways to figure out how much to pay an influencer. For many years, the industry based pricing off of cost-per-engagement (CPE) metrics. However, with many drastic algorithmic changes that led to declining organic engagement, brands and creators have started focusing more on cost-per-mille (CPM) and cost-per-impression (CPI) metrics to figure out how much to pay influencers going forward. 

In this blog, we’re discussing what CPM and CPI entails, providing average cost metrics, and exploring other factors that go into influencer pricing. Let’s get started.

What’s the difference between CPM and CPI?

CPM and CPI are similar in that they’re both based on impressions and views.

  • Cost-per-mille (CPM): the cost an advertiser pays for one thousand impressions or views on an influencer’s post
  • Cost-per-impression(CPI): the cost an advertiser pays for each impression or view on a creator’s post. 

How are brands thinking about CPM vs. CPI?

Currently, industry standards for CPM are hard to determine because it can vary greatly based on a plethora of factors, which we’ll discuss later in the blog. So, today, an increasing number of brands and creators are relying more on CPI metrics to calculate influencer pricing — for several reasons. 

First, CPM can be harder to gauge for smaller creators, who may not always get thousands of impressions and views on a post. With the rise of micro-influencers, brands are realizing that CPM isn’t always the best way to measure value and may use CPI instead. 

Additionally, a lot of brands base their CPM metrics on gross impressions rather than unique impressions, which can skew the data. We recommend using CPM as a measurement KPI at the end of a campaign when you can calculate it with actual impressions gathered from the creator’s content. At the beginning of your campaign, it’s best to use CPI, as you can pull recent impression metrics from actual posts, rather than a projected number based on something like follower count.

Lastly, some brands set a very aggressive CPM goal (i.e. $2 per thousand impressions) because the metrics are based on impressions on paid ads — which are highly targeted to a specific audience and typically garner a guaranteed number of impressions and views. Remember: if you’re planning to boost your influencers’ posts, such as through allowlisting or Branded Content Ads, cost metrics will undoubtedly be different than when you’re running a traditional influencer campaign that only garners organic impressions. 

Average CPM and CPI metrics

Now, let’s talk numbers. Currently, industry standards for CPM and CPI are hard to determine because they can vary greatly based on a number of different factors. 

We compiled the average metrics below with feedback from our expert Agency Services team and our community of experienced marketers, The Coffee Shop, to provide a guide. When you are looking at average costs, it’s important to note that you may not hit the same numbers below, depending on your campaign, the type of creator you are using, the value of your product, and many other external factors. 

It’s crucial to note that each social media platform has different CPM and CPI metrics, since they all have distinct algorithms and varying types of content. You should always try to calculate your CPM and CPI by platform, not across platforms.

Common CPM per channel:

  • Instagram Story: $10
  • Instagram Reels: $15 
  • TikTok: $15 
  • YouTube: $20 

Common CPI per channel:

  • Instagram Story: $0.10
  • Instagram Reels: $0.15 
  • TikTok: $0.15 
  • YouTube: $0.20 

If you want to see a completed campaign's CPI, use this formula:

Campaign CPI = Total cost of the campaign (i.e. creator fees) / Total impressions of the campaign

If you're looking to negotiate and pay fair rates per creator, you’ll need to internally determine your CPI or CPM goals. While $0.10-$0.15 is pretty standard, there is flexibility in those goals if you really want to work with a specific creator who is asking for more. 

Therefore, if you want to project a rate for influencers based on CPI, use: 

Projected creator rate = CPI goal price $ x Average creator impressions

Once you’ve determined what you want to pay each creator for an Instagram Reel, for example, based on a $0.15 CPI goal, you can project what a fee for a creator may be based on their impressions. So it would look like: $0.15 x 2000 impressions = $300.

Keep in mind these metrics are not set in stone. Several factors can affect CPM and CPI price, which we’ll discuss below.

Factors that affect influencer price

No matter what pricing model you’re using, there are many factors to consider when negotiating with creators. 

  • Industry: There can be slight variances in price by the industry you operate in. For instance, in niches like food and travel where brands often expect professional quality content, creators may charge higher as a production fee.
  • Content type and post requirements: Creators will charge additional fees depending on how much effort it takes to create the type of content you’re asking for, whether it’s a dedicated YouTube video or a bigger content package — such as an Instagram feed post, 5 Stories, and 1 Reel.
  • Joint work history: The longer you’ve worked with an influencer, the more opportunity there is for negotiating. For instance, you can negotiate a lower rate for the content your long-term brand ambassadors create, in exchange for a monthly shipment of free products, first access to new launches, seasonal promo codes, always-on affiliate links, and other incentives.
  • Exclusivity: Because exclusivity prohibits influencers from posting, promoting, or being affiliated with any other advertiser for a period of time, creators will expect to be paid more in lieu of taking on other brand partnerships.
  • Content usage rights: Many creators today will expect additional payment for brand ownership of their content. The pricing typically depends on the length of time in which you’re looking to repurpose content, and where that content will be repurposed.
  • Value of free product provided: While the cost of working with creators continues to rise as the years go on, 83% of influencers are still willing to work with a brand for just free products as long as they love the brand or the product value is high. The higher the value of the product you’re offering, the more room you have to negotiate price.
  • Creator’s experience: A creator’s experience on one particular social platform may affect pricing across other platforms. For example, some creators with smaller followings on TikTok may still charge a higher rate due to their large audience base on Instagram or YouTube, as this represents their recognizable personal brand and popularity in the industry.

… and much more. 

The bottom line is: pay creators fairly. Influencers spend a lot of time engaging and building relationships with their audience — relationships that your brand benefits from in terms of trust, brand awareness, and even sales. Use the metrics above as a jumping off point, but negotiate based on all of your other unique campaign factors. 

To learn more about the state of the creator economy, download our latest ebook, How Much to Pay Influencers. 

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