In our last foray into the mystical land of obscure acronyms, we explored terms like Daily Active Users (DAU). Today, we’re getting out our machetes and hacking away the mystery surrounding CPI, CPC, CPM and more. So let’s get out the jargon repellant and start wading in the long grass.

How to calculate CPI: Cost Per Install

You can pick a date range or your total

When you’re looking at your ad spend and installs, you’ll probably want to look at the last quarter’s figures. But this can really be any range you like. Last month. Last week. The whole lifetime of your game. It’s up to you.

See whether less-direct marketing is working

People are sometimes unpredictable, and often don’t follow the well-trodden path you’ve carved out. In an ideal world, players would see an ad, click it, then download the game.

But in real life, it might be that they see your game on a bunch of Twitch streams, notice a couple of ads, see your game in the editor’s choice on a news site and decide – a few weeks later – to download your game straight from the app store. It was the culmination of all those things that finally worked, not just one.

So the Cost Per Install is a useful benchmark to see: “Are my efforts for paid user acquisition working?”

Sure, it doesn’t tell you which exact one worked. But you’ll see whether you’re doing something right. The key is to track whether you are generating more revenue per user (ARPU) than you are spending to acquire the user.

Try changing less each quarter

It’s tempting to completely overhaul your marketing when things aren’t quite going right. But it can be hard to know which change helped. What happens if you just switch your ad network? What if you stop just the one ad? If you see a big difference, you know it was linked to that one change.

How to calculate CPC: Cost Per Click

Your marketing cost is for an individual piece

If you write an advertorial on a news site, then look at how much that specific post cost you. If you run a bunch of ads, how much does each one cost you?

You can go broader, if you like. You can cost up an entire campaign and look at how many clicks the whole thing got you. But we tend to find that if you go more specific – ad by ad – you can figure out the campaign later by just adding them together. You can’t go the other way.

How to calculate CPM: Cost Per Mile (1,000 impressions)

Mile just means 1,000 impressions

Cost per mile comes from the romance languages where mille means 1,000. So that’s why it’s got a silly acronym. It just means how much it costs per 1,000 views.

CPM is how much it costs you

Use it to figure out how much it costs for people to see your ads. It’s useful to compare this to your click-through rate and see how many of those views actually turn into action.

It’s worth remembering that just because you don’t get immediate clicks, doesn’t mean the advert isn’t working. As we said with CPI, people might download your game later, without clicking your ad. (You can spot if your players tend to do this if you’ve got a high CPI but a low click-through.)

So whether you’re a new or seasoned publisher, with creation of each ad campaign it’s essential you ask yourself which billing model works for your needs. CPC is considered a low-risk and reliable way to get more conversions, especially if your ads do not have a very specific audience. As a bonus, you get ‘free impressions’ while you pay only for results. On the other hand, CPM can be a cost-effective way for getting desired results while reaching out to a much broader audience

How to calculate eCPM: Effective Cost Per Mile

eCPM is how much you earn

Your eCPM is the other side of the CPM coin. You use CPM when you’re the one paying to advertise your game, while you use eCPM to see how much the ads you show inside your game are earning.

It’s not technically right, but we always imagine the ‘e’ stands for earnings.

eCPM is a valuable metric to compare costs across all your campaigns, regardless of their billing method, CPM, or others. It is useful to understand what those ad impressions that you’re paying for are generating for you. When it comes to eCPM, every little increment matters when you have a large audience. It is useful to understand what ad formats work the best for your game and optimise your ad strategy to shoot up eCPM

How to calculate CTR: Click-Through Rate

CTR is a percentage

So you’re finding how many of your impressions are turning into clicks.

While low CTR can suggest that your ads aren’t relevant to your audience, don’t be disheartened if this looks really low. According to WordStream in 2018, the average click-through rate across every industry was 3.18% for Google Adwords search. (And as low as 0.46% for Google display ads.) So it’s worth benchmarking your CTR against the average in your industry/sector to better understand if you’re on the right path

Start measuring your game

Now you know what the metrics mean, it’s time to start using them.

  1. Get your stats. You can find them out through GameAnalytics. Sign up to our tool to see yours.
  2. Find out whether you’re doing well. You can compare your metrics against your genre using Benchmarks+.
  3. Compare with other tools. Get yourself the right marketing and analytic tools so you can bring that data together. Don’t know where to start? Check out our GameDev Toolbox.
  4. Test out your ideas. Pull on the safety goggles and run an A/B test to see what changes. Try out our A/B Testing.

We’re sure you’re keen to get started and we’re keen to see the results. So let us know how it goes.

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