How Startups/SMBs Can Decrease Their CPM

By Guest Author | marketing | March 4, 2022

Despite the financial barriers small to medium-sized businesses faced due to the pandemic, there was still a significant increase of new SMBs and startups through 2020. 


In the United States, “total new business applications for the first three quarters of 2020 amounted to approximately 3.37 million which is 21% more than in the same time period in 2019. This difference is even more pronounced when just looking at the second and third quarter of 2020 with 31% more new business applications compared to the same time in 2019.”

What made this increase in new businesses possible when most didn’t expect SMBs and startups to survive? Well, you could pinpoint different factors, but one of the first should be marketing. 

Startups that adjusted their digital marketing strategies to improve their effectiveness during this unique time had notable success, especially those focused on creating relevant marketing campaigns that increased brand awareness

One of the best ways to do this is to decrease Cost Per Mille or CPM. CPM measures how much you pay for 1000 impressions on an advertisement. If you can spend less on an ad and get more impressions, you increase your reach and optimize your marketing budget. 

There are various ways that startups can decrease their CPM while still reaping brand marketing benefits. Here’s more guidance on how you can reduce your CPM. 

Understand Common Financial Errors and How to Avoid Them 

First, it’s critical to understand business finances generally, starting with common financial errors and how to avoid them. For example, failing to budget, mixing business and personal funds, not spending enough, and getting behind on taxes can ruin small businesses. 

If you can’t grasp business finances, it’ll be challenging to decrease overall business costs and create an advertising budget. But, on the other hand, if you can do these things, you will be more likely to lower your CPM and accompanying marketing costs. So, do some thorough research on business finances and keep them in good standing. 

Furthermore, improper credit use is another standard financial error small business owners make. Therefore, you should continue your financial literacy education by learning the ins and outs of business credit. 

Learn the Ins and Outs of Business Credit

It’s integral for small business owners to learn the ins and outs of business credit. Business credit cards and other loans are the primary funding sources for new startups. In addition, it can absolutely be used for marketing purposes, specifically advertising.  

You can avoid taking on loads of debt when you increase your knowledge about business credit and how to use it responsibly. For example, when you learn the ins and outs of business credit, you can learn how to allocate a specific amount to advertising spend every month. So, be sure to spend time researching business credit and implement best practices for allocating and paying back such funds. 

Next, create a detailed marketing budget to decrease your CPM. 

Create a Detailed Marketing Budget 

Creating a detailed marketing budget is a must for startups and SMBs. Many have capital limitations, so they’re always looking to cut costs and remain effective. CPM can be a cost-effective marketing strategy because the advertising is bought on an impression basis, compared to pay-for-performance advertising.

Business owners must determine the most appropriate number for how much they can spend on ads. Mapping out your marketing-related activities each quarter and annually can help. Then, you can allocate a specific amount to advertising. You can adjust this number as you learn more about your CPM and business finances. 

Also, it’s essential to revisit your brand awareness strategy when trying to decrease your CPM.

Revisit Your Brand Awareness Strategy 

CPM is directly related to improving brand awareness. This is because you’re tracking how many people look at your ads. The more looks you get, the more chances you have to get your brand out there and in front of potential customers. 

Revisit your brand awareness strategy when the goal is to decrease your CPM. How did you plan to use this to increase brand awareness? Did you list any goals? Did you talk about the specific amount you want to spend on paid ads? Did you talk about impressions and how that relates to your brand awareness goals? 

All in all, you should have a specific section for paid advertising in your brand awareness strategy, and it should list your plans for keeping your CPM as low as possible. 

Another way to decrease your CPM is to improve your targeting. 

Improve Your Targeting 

If you have a high CPM right now, it could be because your targeting is off. This means that you’re either targeting the wrong audience or too narrow of an audience. You want the most people to look at your ads, but you want to spend the least amount of money to make it happen. 

Improving your targeting can help you decrease your CPM and help you figure out how to get the most quality traffic for your ads. Having a niche audience is great for your efforts to lower your CPM because if you place your ads in front of the right people, they’ll be more inclined to view them. 

With that being said, you should also look at ways to reach all people in your target audience. This allows you to get as many eyes on your ads as possible. 

Enhancing the relevancy of your ads can also decrease your CPM. 

Enhance the Relevancy of Your Ads 

Your CPM may be high because the ads you’re placing aren’t relevant to your target audience. In other words, people aren’t looking at your ads because they aren’t valuable to them. Therefore, it’s vital to enhance the relevancy of your ads if you want to decrease your CPM. 

To increase the relevancy of your ads, learn how to repurpose high-performing content, write compelling ad copy, set goals for each ad, and use specific CTAs that prompt people to view your ad. 

Furthermore, pay attention to where you place your ads to help lower the cost associated with each impression. Be sure that your ads are optimized for each social media platform, using best practices if they’re going on search engines, or that you’re only placing ads on beautifully-designed websites with high domain authority. 


Decreasing your CPM can positively impact your overarching marketing strategy and budget effectiveness. When you can get more eyes on an ad without having to spend extra dollars, it’s a win-win situation. Startups and SMBs can decrease their CPM by implementing the tips above while improving their brand awareness and recognition efforts at the same time.