CPM, CPC, CPA, CTR, CR, ROI. These acronyms are more than just random letters placed together. They are all examples of media pricing models and media metrics for success that you should be aware of when running a campaign. You have probably heard or read some of these terms in the past, but may not fully understand what they mean and how they could effect your bottom line. We’re here to help break down these models and formulas into understandable information that you can use the next time you hear one of these acronyms.


  • Action (also known as conversion):  back-end metrics or action the user takes on the brand website after seeing or engaging with an ad 
  • Audience Growth Rate: social media metrics measuring the speed at which the brand’s following increases on social platform during a certain period of time, or in other words, how fast it gains new followers
  • Click: usually refers to a click on the ad and is considered to be a front end metric, mostly associated with effectiveness of the creative
  • Click Thru Rate (CTR): ratio of how many times users clicked on the ad compared to the number of times an ad was served
  • Composition Index: representation of the specific target audience on a given digital platform compared to its representation in the total online population
  • Completion Rate: percentage of video ad impressions that are played to completion, meaning the viewer does not skip or leave the video
  • Conversion rate: percentage of visitors to a company’s website or landing page that converted. Conversion can be submitting a lead, downloading an app, contacting business, etc. 
  • Cost Per Action (CPA): average cost of a user converting during a campaign
  • Cost Per Click (CPC): average cost of user click-through
  • Cost Per Completed View (CPCV): average cost of a video ad playing to a completion
  • Cost Per Thousand (CPM): the cost of 1,000 ad impressions. Also known as cost per mille
  • Cost Per View (CPV): average cost of a user viewing a video ad. CPV equals to media cost divided by the number of views
  • Engagement: an interaction with an ad on the front end. For social media specifically, engagement metrics include shares, likes and comments
  • Flat Fee(flat rate): fixed pricing model that chargers a set dollar amount regardless of delivery
  • Frequency: average number of times a person has an opportunity to be exposed to an advertising message during a period of time
  • Impression: an exposure to the piece of content
  • Media Cost: total investment in specific media placement, media platform, campaign, etc.
    Reach: total number of people exposed to a piece of content
  • Return on Investment (ROI): measures the ratio of profits or losses to the amount that was originally invested in the advertisement or media
  • Social Engagement Rate: number of engagement actions (e.g., likes, shares, comments) a post receives relative to the total number of followers
  • Share of Voice(SOV):  share of total advertising exposures that a brand gets. The higher the Share of Voice, the more ownership and visibility your media will generate 
  • Video Completion Rate: a ratio showing the number of completed video views vs. total views 
  • Video View Thru Rate: a ratio showing the number of video views to the number of impressions served
  • Video Views:  the number of times people watched or engaged with your video ad   
  • Viewability: an online advertising metric that aims to track only impressions that can actually be seen by users (humans not bots)
  • Unique Impression: counts each person only once during a given time period despite the number of times the user viewed or engaged with an ad 


  • Audience Deficiency Unit (ADU): makegood that networks offer to advertisers to make up the difference if a particular placement under-delivered, meaning it didn’t hit its projected rating
  • ConnectedTV: content accessed through the internet by apps and streamed over smart TVs or OTT devices
  • Cost Per Point (CPP): cost of reaching 1 rating point in a given demographic
  • Frequency: the number of times an advertisement airs within a specific show or over the course of an entire TV schedule. It is also referred to as # of spots aired
  • Gross Rating Point (GRP): a cumulative measure of individual rating points used to measure the exposure of specific marketing campaigns or programs. In other words, it is the sum of all the program ratings within your TV schedule . Targeted Rating Points (TRPs) is similar to GRPs, but program ratings are based on a specific target
  • Households Using Television (HUTs): percentage of TV HH (as measured by companies such as Nielsen) with at least one TV on during a specific time period
  • Linear TV: a real-time television service that broadcasts live and scheduled programs, conventionally over the air or through satellite/cable providers.
  • OTT Devices: external hardware connected to a TV that allows access to content over the internet through apps nicely organized in a user interface
  • Person Using television (PUTs): percentage of people within a particular demographic group watching TV at a given time
  • Rating: percentage of demo universe watching a program
  • Share: percentage of TVs in use watching a program.a specific program or network at a specific time, which measures the relative strength or popularity of said program
  • Smart TVs: TVs with built in connections to the internet 
  • Streaming: video and audio content that is transmitted continuously through the internet and not stored on a computer hard drive i.e. YouTube
  • Universe (alternative term population): a group of persons based on specific characteristics and/or geographic areas 


  • Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC): An independent, non-profit organization of advertisers, agencies, and the publishers which provides verified audits or the circulations of business publications, general magazines and newspapers
  • Circulation: the number of copies sold or distributed by a publication per issue
  • Checking Copies: Copy of a publication sent to an advertiser or agency for verification of insertion(s)
  • Composition: the percent of publication readers who fall within the target audience
  • Coverage: the percent of target audience reached through a publication
  • Rate Base:  circulation of a publication upon which advertising rates are based 


  • Core Based Statistical Area (CBSA’s): a metropolitan area within a larger market (e.g. DMA) containing a substantial population nucleus, together with adjacent communities having a high degree of economic and social integration with that core.  CBSA’s are a standard geography for buying and selling media
  • Designated Market Area (DMA): a television market area defined by Nielsen Media Research that is also used by advertisers for multi-media planning. DMAs are non-overlapping and cover the entire United States
  • Digital Out-of-Home (DOOH): any OOH display that can change its advertising content using addressable screen technology
  • Effective Reach:  percentage of persons within the target audience exposed to the advertising schedule an average of three or more times.
  • Frequency: average number of times an individual notices an OOH advertising message during a defined period of time. Frequency in OOH advertising is typically measured over a four week period, but can be reported for any campaign length
  • In-Market Impressions:  average number of times people that live in a defined market (e.g. a DMA or CBSA) are likely to notice an ad on an OOH display. In-Market Impressions are the audience from which TRPs are calculated
  • Out-Of-Home OOH: any media format consumers see outside a home. It is a dynamic mix of billboards, digital displays, street furniture, transit, kiosks, cinema, and place-based media that surround and immerse consumers everyday
  • Target Rating Points (TRPs):  total number of in-market impressions from a target audience delivered by an OOH campaign expressed as a percentage of a market population

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