Why Do My Facebook Ads Have Such a High CPM?

If your business or organization frequently runs ad campaigns on Facebook, you know all about the CPM.

CPM stands for cost per thousand impressions, and as you track this important metric, you want it to be as low as it can go in order to ensure good ROI. 

How do I calculate my CPM?

To calculate your CPM score you take the total ad spend and divide that by the number of impressions the ad has received. Then, you’ll multiply that number by 1,000. 

For example, say you invested $1,000 on a marketing campaign and get 10,000 impressions, then your CPM is $100.


1000 divided by 10,000 = .1

.1x1000 = 100

What's a good CPM score?

AdStage analyzed 800 million ad impressions and calculated the average CPM rates in 2019.

These are the results for different ad placements:

  • Median Audience Network CPM: $7.84
  • Median News Feed CPM: $7.77
  • Median Facebook Messenger CPM: $7.15
  • Median Right Hand Placement CPM: $2.28

A high CPM score typically tells you that you’re running a weak campaign and there’s room for improvement to boost your ad views.

If you’ve been keeping an eye on your CPM and are wondering why your Facebook ads have such a high CPM, there are some contributing factors at play, too.

Factors that determine a high CPM

Got a high CPM? Here are the top six reasons why.

1. Your ad isn’t relevant

In addition to keeping a watchful eye on your CPM, you should also consider your Facebook Relevance Score. This is a score Facebook gives your ads individually as a way to aggregate average across all the ads your account is running.

Facebook Relevance Score

This score is calculated based on expected interactions between your ads and your audience. If Facebook thinks your ad is irrelevant, it won’t show it to your audience. The lower the relevance score, the higher the CPM.

2. You’ve chosen the wrong audience

Getting your ad in front of the right audience can make or break your CPM. Your audience is the group of people who fit the criteria you choose in ad targeting and who you hope to engage with your ad further (clicks, comments, etc.).

Choose incorrectly, and you’ll be plagued with a high CPM.

This is why it's important to keep in mind your buyer persona. A buyer persona is a fictional representation of your ideal client or target audience. You should be creating display ads with copy and images that appeal to this persona.

3. Your timing is off

The time of year you’re running your Facebook ad matters more than you think, and it can be a factor in having a sky-high CPM.

Remember that certain times of year have more online advertising than others. For example, targeting sports fans? Any audience even somewhat interested in sports will be part of the audience targeted by tons of companies around the Super Bowl Sunday. Super Bowl themed ads will be everywhere you look, and the competition will drive up prices all around, giving you a high CPM.

super bowl ads

You’ll also want to pay close attention to the calendar, and your CPM, around Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Valentine’s Day, and days before and after Christmas.

4. Your ad is too boring

There are a lot of ads floating around on the newsfeed of your target audience. If yours doesn’t stand out from the noise, it will go missed, which will increase your CPM. Be sure to add a catchy headline, an interesting photo, or even a video ad to be noticed. In fact, Facebook videos earn the highest engagement of any other type of content on Facebook—with a rate of 6.09% engagement rate for video posts. You can also consider incorporating a call to action that is more exciting than the average “learn more."

Looking for CTA inspiration? Check out 107 call to actions you can use now!

5. You have bad images

According to MDG Advertising, 67% of online shoppers rated high-quality images as being “very important” to their purchase decision. The quality of your images matters to viewers. That's why it's important to have high-resolution images that catch people's attention. Steer away from stock photos since they don't feel authentic and can deter people. 

It's also important to make sure any text on your web ads is readable. Facebook says that images with less than 20% of text perform better.

6. You're not doing any split testing

It's impossible for you to truly know everything about your audience, that's why split testing (or A/B testing) is so important. Split testing allows you to create multiple ad sets within the same campaigns to see which one performs best. 

You can test things like:

  • Audience
  • Placements
  • Ad Tests
  • Visuals
  • Ad Text

A good split test can increase ROI by 10x. It tells you what your audience responds well to and what made need to be changed in your ads.

How low can you get your Facebook ad CPM?

Reducing your Facebook ad CPM is possible; you just need to know where to look and remember these lessons. Your CPM score is a culmination of more than just one element, so there’s so much to keep in mind when trying to spend your ad campaign budget wisely while also boosting your total number of impressions and ad revenue.

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Need More Resources?Download our Facebook CPM infographic

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