YouTube earnings are based on the ads that run on your videos, so your earnings will vary. Some ads make more money than others—it depends on how much the advertiser has spent for the ad space.
When looking at your earnings, you may see the terms "CPM or eCPM." To better understand these terms, check out a detailed description below.
What is CPM?
CPM is actually a statistic meant for advertisers, not creators. CPM stands for “cost per mille” (mille means “thousand” in Latin, so just think “cost per thousand”). CPM is the amount an advertiser pays to have its ads served against videos 1,000 times. Each time an ad on a video runs completely, it’s called an impression.
But the relevant stat for creators is actually RPM (revenue per thousand)—the average amount you earn for every 1,000 monetized views your videos generate. Confusingly, YouTube typically refers to RPM as eCPM (effective CPM), so we’ll use “eCPM” from here on out.
In short: if your YouTube earnings report shows an eCPM of $4.40 for a given period of time, then you earned $4.40 per thousand monetized views during that period, on average. (Important to note: that’s $4.40 before YouTube takes its cut of ad earnings.)
What determines your eCPM?
The eCPM you see in your YouTube earnings report is determined by the advertisers who run ads against your videos. eCPM can vary for a variety of reasons:
- Seasonality: If advertisers’ demand for ads is strong, your eCPM will be higher. For example, you’re likely to see higher earnings in December (when advertisers are spending heavily on holiday campaigns) and lower earnings in January (when advertisers have less demand for ads).
- Ad type: The eCPM in your report is typically an average across all the different ad units that YouTube offers. Some advertisers may choose to pay per thousand views, while other advertisers choose to pay only when a viewer takes a specific action on their ad (like clicking on it).
How can you calculate your eCPM?
Keep in mind that not all views are monetized on YouTube, even with monetization enabled (many views on mobile devices are still not monetized, as an example). If you have access to YouTube’s analytics, look at your Monetized Playbacks (rather than your Views) to get a more accurate eCPM estimate.
Let's say your channel received 20,000 monetized playbacks over the past 30 days, and you earned $70 from ads during that time. To calculate your anticipated eCPM, divide your earnings by your monetized playbacks, then multiply by 1,000. In this case, your eCPM would be $3.50:
$70 ÷ 20,000 × 1,000 = $3.50
*The above calculation is an example only and does not necessarily reflect average eCPM.