2 minute read

Putting a $ value on the efficiency of your PR work. And comparing with advertising channels.

In paid advertising where the goal is around raising awareness, the metric Cost per 1000 Impressions (CPM) is one way to see the efficiency of your spend.

In laymen’s speak. How much does it cost to place your ad 1000 times on a particular page(s) of a target website? A CPM of $80 means that for every 1000 impressions of your ad on the website, you’ll pay the ad network…..surprise surprise….$80. Simple right?

The weakness of this metric is that it’s not factoring in the cost of the advertising pro to create the ad and push the buttons to get that ad live. Feel free to use that line if you’re ever asked to compare with advertising channels by the way! This becomes relevant in a bit…

CPM for Earned Media? What is this witchcraft?!

Wouldnt it be nice to give a CPM $ number for your media & social coverage? It’s really not that hard to get to this. 

But first, here are some questions CPM can help you answer…

“How does the CPM for PR coverage compare to other paid channels (my guess is it will look great!)” 

“Are we getting more or less cost-effective at driving CPM?”

“How does the CPM compare across certain territories if you’re assessing global coverage and the impact if your teams or agencies?”

How to calculate a Cost per 1000 (CPM) metric for your coverage. 

  1. Calculate the Estimated views of all your media or social coverage (ideally for a specific time period or campaign). I’m not talking about the total reach of the outlets here. I mean the actual or predicted number of views the page or post your coverage appeared on got.

    Luckily if you use CoverageBook we’ll provide this number for you. 
  1. Work out the total cost of all the PR inputs into the campaign or time period. This is usually total salaries/retainer fees etc of the work. Once you have that total do this simple calculation. Or just use this CPM Calculator and it will do it for you 🙂 


Total Cost to generate coverage = $10,000
Total Estimated views of the coverage = 1,500,000

Divide 1,500,000 estimated views into 1000 chunks = 1,500

Divide $10,000 into 1,500 = $6.66

= Cost per 1000 Impressions (CPM) of $6.66

Boom. You’re now able to provide a CPM metric for your PR work. CoverageBook users can just add a custom summary metric to the top of their report.  Not useful to everyone I know. And it’s key to remember the idea here is not to produce a financial equivalent value of advertising for your coverage. This is not AVE!

But a step forward for somewhere measuring awareness and your cost efficiency of driving it is something you want to measure.

Just a few ideas anyway. Hope that was useful. Let me know over on twitter.

Written by —
Gary Preston

Gary Preston

CEO & Founder of CoverageBook & AnswerThePublic