Understand ad revenue analytics

This article is about YouTube Analytics. Learn how to earn money on YouTube.

You can see how much money you’re earning on YouTube and your channel performance using metrics from YouTube Analytics. Some metrics seem similar, but their differences are important for understanding your YouTube ad revenue. 
Below are some commonly used metrics, and info on why it's important to know their differences. 

RPM

Revenue Per Mille (RPM) is a metric that represents how much money you’ve earned per 1,000 video views. RPM is based on multiple revenue sources including: Ads, Channel Memberships, YouTube Premium revenue, Super Chat, and Super Stickers.

Why is my RPM lower than my CPM?

RPM is usually lower than CPM because RPM:
  • is calculated after YouTube's revenue share 
  • includes all views including those that weren’t monetized
The amount of revenue you make hasn't been changed as part of addition of the RPM metric.
 

What’s the difference between RPM and CPM?

CPM is the cost per 1000 ad impressions before YouTube revenue share. RPM is your total revenue (after YouTube's revenue share) per 1000 views.

RPM

CPM

  • Creator-focused metric
  • Includes total revenue reported in Youtube Analytics including ads, YouTube Premium, Channel Memberships and Super Chat and Super Stickers
  • Includes total number of views from your videos, including the ones that did not monetize
  • The actual revenue earned after revenue share
  • Advertiser-focused metric
  • Includes only revenue from ads and YouTube Premium
  • Includes only views from the videos that monetized (i.e ads were shown)
  • Earnings before revenue share

Why is RPM important?

RPM lets you see how much money you're earning per 1,000 views  and it helps you understand how effective your monetization is overall.

How can I increase my RPM?

In order to improve your RPM you should improve your total revenue. Here are some steps to maximize RPM: 
  • enable monetization on all videos
  • enable all ad formats
  • enable ads at eligible positions (e.g. midrolls)
  • enable AltMon features (e.g. memberships, superchat, etc) to diversify your revenue streams.

Keep in mind that each feature has its own requirements and guidelines. 

How should I interpret RPM? What does it mean if it is going up or going down?

RPM is a snapshot of the rate at which you’re earning money on YouTube. If it goes up, it means you’re earning more money for every one thousand views, and if it goes down, you’re earning less. Note that your RPM may go down when there’s an increase in unmonetized views, even if your revenue was the same.
Whether RPM goes up or down, it’s a good indication of things that are working or not working in your revenue strategy. Understanding what influences RPM can help you identify opportunities to improve your monetization strategy.

What doesn't RPM tell me about my revenue?

RPM is a useful monetization metric for creators, but it can’t tell your whole revenue story. Here’s what it doesn’t include:

  • Revenue made from selling merchandise or using the merch shelf
  • Revenue made through brand deals and sponsorships (excluding YouTube BrandConnect)
  • Any other revenue generated indirectly through YouTube (services, speaking, consulting fees, etc.)

RPM can’t tell you which revenue source is responsible for swings in your overall revenue

Because RPM combines multiple metrics, it can’t tell you which revenue source is responsible for swings in your revenue.

For example, you might see a decrease in RPM because your views may be up, but not all are ad-enabled views. Or you may see your RPM go up with no significant change to views because viewers are signing up for Channel Memberships.

We recommend you use all the different analytics YouTube provides to help you fully understand changes in your RPM.

CPM

Cost per 1,000 impressions (CPM) is a metric that represents how much money advertisers are spending to show ads on YouTube. You’ll see a few different CPM metrics in YouTube Analytics:

  • CPM: The cost an advertiser pays for 1,000 ad impressions. An ad impression is counted anytime an ad is displayed.
  • Playback-based CPM: The cost an advertiser pays for 1,000 video playbacks where an ad is displayed. 

What’s the difference between CPM and playback-based CPM?

Videos on YouTube can have more than one ad. CPM focuses on the advertiser cost for ad impressions. Playback-based CPM focuses on the advertiser cost for video playbacks that include one or more ads. Your playback-based CPM is often higher than your CPM.
For example, say your video is viewed 5,000 times. 1,000 views included one ad and 500 other views included two ads, for a total of 1,500 views with ads. This means there were 2,000 individual ad impressions, but only 1,500 monetized playbacks.
Let’s say the advertiser paid $7 total. The video’s cost per impression would equal the $7 advertiser cost divided by the 2,000 ad impressions, or, $0.0035. The CPM, or cost per thousand impressions, would then equal $0.0035 times 1,000, or, $3.50. The playback-based CPM would equal $7 divided by the 1,500 monetized playbacks, times 1,000, or $4.67.

Why is CPM important?

You get a cut of what advertisers pay when an ad serves on your video. The more an advertiser pays for that ad, the more money you make. Your CPM is a good indicator of how valuable advertisers find your videos and audience for achieving their own business goals.
Your revenue will not be equal to your CPM times your views. This is because CPM reflects what advertisers pay, not what you earn. Also, not all views will have ads. Some videos are ineligible for ads altogether if they aren’t advertiser-friendly. Other video views may not include ads due to lack of available ads at that time. Views that included ads are referred to as monetized playbacks.

Why is my CPM changing?

Fluctuations in your CPM over time are normal, and happen for a variety of reasons, such as:
  • Time of year: Advertisers tend to bid higher or lower depending on the time of year. For instance, many advertisers bid higher just before holidays.
  • Changes in viewer geography: Advertisers can control which countries/regions they’d like to reach with their ads. Different locations will have different levels of competition in the ad market, so CPMs will vary by country. If there’s a shift in where most of your views are coming from, you may see a shift in CPM. For instance, if you previously had views from a country with higher CPMs, but are now getting more views from countries with lower CPMs, you may see a decrease in your CPM.
  • Shifts in distribution of available ad formats: Different ad types tend to have different CPMs. If, for instance, there are more available non-skippable ads in the ad inventory, CPM might be higher.

Estimated revenue vs. ad revenue 

  • Estimated revenue: Revenue from all revenue types. You’ll see this metric on the Revenue tab.
  • Estimated ad revenue: Revenue just from ads on your videos. You’ll see this metric in the revenue sources report.

The key metrics card on the Revenue tab shows your estimated revenue, RPM, and playback-based CPM. Playback-based CPM refers to ad revenue. This means the estimated revenue may be higher than your ad revenue, due to revenue from other sources. Other revenue sources include channel memberships, YouTube Premium revenue, and Super Chat. Check your estimated ad revenue to see how much money you’re earning from ads alone.

 Views, ad impressions, & estimated monetized playbacks

  • Views: The number of times your video was watched.
  • Ad impressions: The number of times individual ads were viewed on your videos.
  • Estimated monetized playbacks: The number of times your video was watched with ads.

If your video is viewed 10 times, and 8 of those views contained ads, you would have 10 views and 8 estimated monetized playbacks. If one of those estimated monetized playbacks actually had 2 ads, you would have 9 ad impressions.

Not all views on YouTube have an ad. A view may not have an ad if:

  • The video is not advertiser-friendly.
  • Ads or individual ad formats are turned off for that video.
  • There isn’t an ad available to show to that particular viewer at that time. Advertisers can choose to target specific devices, demographics, and interests. Your viewer may not match this targeting. Learn more about available targeting methods for video ads.
  • A range of other factors, including the viewer’s country, how recently they’ve seen an ad, whether they have a Premium subscription, etc.

Because of this, you’ll likely have more views than estimated monetized playbacks.

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