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Digital Media Math 101: Understanding Metrics

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 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 affect your bottom line. We’re here to help break down these media math models and digital marketing formulas into understandable information that you can use the next time you hear one of these acronyms.

According to Jason DeMers, author of The Definitive Guide to Marketing Your Business Online and contributing writer at Forbes, “regularly checking these media math formulas and digital marketing metrics will provide you with an accurate pulse of the health of your digital marketing campaign. Over time, you’ll be able to refine your tactics, closely examine which strategies work best and why, and end up with a steady marketing rhythm that can generate more than enough leads to cover your marketing costs and deliver a significant profit.” Understanding digital marketing math is crucial for success in the industry.

So let’s dive right in and start covering these media math formulas. The first group we’re going to cover are digital media pricing models.

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Digital media pricing models

The first group we’re going to cover are digital media pricing models. These digital marketing formulas are essential for effective campaign management.

1. CPM (Cost-per-Thousand Impressions)

Formula: CPM = Media Cost / Impressions x 1000

This media math formula is a performance-based pricing model that tracks and measures cost effectiveness of online impressions, which are sold by the thousand. The CPM formula is the most common pricing model used in the media industry.

2. CPC (Cost-per-Click)

Formula: CPC = Media Cost / Clicks

This digital marketing formula will help you understand and compute how much you will pay each time your audiences engage with your media or advertisement by clicking on it. This media math formula is essential for effective budget management.

3. CPA (Cost-per-Action)

Formula: Media Cost / Number of Defined Acquisitions

This is a media math formula and pricing model in which payment by your company is based solely on your audience completing a qualifying action(s) that you define.

Some examples of actions are: 

  • Completing a sign-up form
  • Filling out a survey
  • Completing a purchase

In this situation, your KPI (Key Performance Indicator) will be the “action” that needs to be completed. For this model, that means whatever you are measuring to judge the success of your campaign is what you will divide into your media cost. On a grander scale, this digital marketing formula can measure the effectiveness of any campaign action.

Performance metrics

The second group of media math formulas we’re going to cover are performance metrics. These digital marketing formulas are essential to fully comprehending a campaign’s success.

1. CTR (Click-Through-Rate)

Formula: CTR= (Clicks / Impressions) x 100

The click-through rate model is simply a ratio of exactly how many advertisements are seen by audiences, in comparison to how many people are actually engaging with your advertisements by clicking on them. Calculating your click-through rate is one way to measure the effectiveness of your advertisements. This media math formula is widely used in the industry.

2. Conversion Rate

Formula: Conversion Rate= Number of Desired Actions Taken / Visits x 100

This digital marketing formula calculates the percentage of audience members who take a desired action defined by your company such as purchasing a product, registering for a membership of some kind, or subscribing to your company’s newsletter. 

In order to achieve a high conversion rate, the interest level of the visitor needs to be high. This can be improved by making sure your advertisements are reaching the visitor at the right place at the right time in their path to purchase. 

Your company will also need to ensure that the offer is attractive enough for the visitor to actually complete the desired action. Typically, smaller, less-intensive actions have higher conversion rates. This media math formula is crucial for understanding audience engagement.

3. ROI (Return on Investment)

Formula: ROI= (Revenue – Cost) / Cost x 100

The return on investment model calculates the ratio of profits or losses to the amount that was originally invested in the advertisement or media. This media math formula and metric can be difficult to calculate with the growing number of channels from display, SEO, and pay per click working together in one advertisement. However, mastering this digital marketing formula is key to evaluating the financial success of your campaigns.

Pacing metrics

This is the third group of digital marketing metrics on our list. These metrics help you track the progress of your ad campaign over time and ensure your campaign is on schedule.

Daily Pacing Index

Formula: Total Impressions Delivered / ((Booked Impressions / Days in Campaign) x (Days Elapsed))

The daily pacing index is one of the essential media planning formulas used to measure the progress of your ad campaign on a day-to-day basis. By calculating the daily pacing index, advertisers can determine whether their campaigns are running at the right pace and make adjustments accordingly to meet their goals.

Weekly Pacing Index

Formula: Total Impressions Delivered / ((Booked Impressions / Weeks in Campaign) x (Weeks Elapsed))

Similar to the daily pacing index, the weekly pacing index is a crucial media formula that measures the progress of your ad campaign on a week-to-week basis. It helps advertisers understand if their campaigns are running at the right pace and make any necessary adjustments to reach their goals.

Days in Campaign

Formula: End Date – Start Date + 1

Understanding what media math is includes calculating the days in a campaign. Days in campaign is a simple formula that calculates the total duration of your ad campaign. This metric is important for planning and tracking the progress of your campaigns and is often used in other media formulas.

Days Elapsed in Campaign

Formula: Current Date – Start Date + 1

Days elapsed in the campaign is another marketing math metric that calculates the number of days that have passed since the start of your campaign. This helps advertisers monitor the progress of their campaigns and make any necessary adjustments to ensure they reach their goals.

Efficiency Metrics

These digital marketing metrics help you measure the cost-effectiveness of your ad campaigns, allowing you to optimize your ad spend and make more informed decisions.

Percentage of Delivered Impressions

Formula: Total Impressions Delivered / Booked Impressions

Percentage of delivered impressions is an important metric in digital marketing math, which helps you understand how many impressions your campaign has delivered compared to the total number of impressions that were booked. This helps advertisers assess if their campaigns are on track and reaching the desired audience.

Cost per Point (CPP)

Formula: Total Budget / Total GRPs

Cost per Point (CPP) is an essential media formula that calculates the cost efficiency of your ad campaign. By dividing the total budget by the total GRPs, advertisers can assess how much they are spending for each GRP, which helps them optimize their ad spend and make more informed decisions.

Reach & Visibility Metrics

The final group of media math metrics in our article. Reach and visibility metrics help you assess the overall impact and visibility of your ad campaigns, helping to increase brand awareness and engagement.

Total Gross Rating Points (GRPs)

Formula: Booked Impressions / Demo Population

Total Gross Rating Points (GRPs) is a media planning formula that measures the overall reach and frequency of your ad campaign. GRPs are calculated by dividing the booked impressions by the target demographic population. This metric is useful for comparing the effectiveness of different campaigns and understanding the overall impact of your ads on your target audience.

Share of Voice (SOV)

Formula: Impressions Booked / Impressions Available (Capacity)

Share of Voice (SOV) is a crucial digital marketing formula that measures the percentage of your ad impressions in relation to the total number of available impressions within a specific ad space or platform. A higher SOV indicates greater visibility and prominence for your ads, which can lead to increased brand awareness and engagement.

All of the media math formulas and digital marketing metrics mentioned above should be closely monitored throughout the duration of your campaign. Comparing the performance over time can help you identify optimization opportunities to more efficiently spend your budgets. Utilizing these media math formulas and digital marketing formulas will ensure better decision-making and campaign effectiveness.

How to keep track of your marketing metrics

Marketing platforms usually have a command center where you can find your metrics and dashboards to stay updated about the performance of your campaigns. Keeping a close eye on these digital marketing formulas and media math formulas will help you make better decisions.

Pro tip: Keep in mind that platforms differ. While some platforms have a ton of useful information, others provide only basic insights into your campaigns performance. Plus, if you’re running ads across different platforms, you’ll have to track performance stats across each individual platform, making it impossible to get a comprehensive picture of your marketing performance in one place.

Why gathering your metrics manually is completely ineffective

Manual data collection poses multiple threats to your marketing analytics:

  • The risk of human error and data discrepancies. Manual data collection is vulnerable to incorrect data entry. Even if you make no mistakes, data from different sources might have some discrepancies due to different naming conventions and calculation methods used across different platforms. Discrepancies most of the time render your data useless.
  • Time-consuming data collection. Collecting data manually from various sources such as ad platforms, CRM systems, and social media channels can be an overwhelming and extremely labor-intensive task, especially for large and complex organizations with multiple regions and markets. Instead of putting their data to use, marketers often poke around in spreadsheets to gather all the data in one place.
  • The roadblock to scalability. As organizations grow and their marketing efforts become more complex, manual data collection becomes increasingly inefficient and prone to errors. It may not matter to teams that run ads across one or two platforms, but when the number exceeds ten platforms, the problem becomes acute. This can result in a slow-down of the entire marketing analytics process, causing delays and frustration for stakeholders.
  • Lack of real-time insights. Manual data collection is also limited in its ability to provide real-time insights into marketing campaigns. The delay in collecting and processing data can lead to outdated information, which can be detrimental to campaign optimization and decision-making. For example, if a marketer discovers that a campaign is underperforming several days after its launch, valuable time and resources have already been lost.

So, what's the solution?

Optimize your reporting with a marketing analytics platform

A well-designed marketing analytics platform is the best solution when you need to automate your marketing reporting and start making sense of your metrics. Platforms like these take care of every step of your marketing data journey, from extracting it from all of your sources to loading it in a cross-channel dashboard.

Let's take Improvado as an example. The platform extracts data from 500+ marketing sources to centralize it in a single, easily-accessible storage.

While doing it manually, marketers have to take care of numerous things. Data mapping, data deduplication, getting rid of redundant data, and many other things that don’t really fall into a regular marketer’s area of responsibility.

Improvado takes care of this problem, delivering analysis-ready insights right to marketers’ hands. Eventually, teams can spend more time on putting their data to use and optimizing campaigns rather than dealing with routine data processes.

What’s more, Improvado provides dashboard templates for a range of rmaketing use cases for any visualization tool of your choice (Google Data Studio, Looker, Power BI, etc.). Simply choose a template you need, and Improvado will streamline the required data to provide a real-time view of your marketing metrics.

Automating digital marketing math with a social media dashboard
Improvado's social media dashboard

So, how do you automate your marketing reporting? 

Three simple steps to automate marketing analytics

Improvado takes care of all heavy-lifting when it comes to marketing analytics. Here’s a step-by-step guide to automate your marketing data flow and reporting: Here's how you can save hundreds of manhours and get in-depth insights into campaign performance in three simple steps:

Step 1: Book a call with the Improvado expert to discuss your marketing data sources, analytics needs, and BI tools your team uses.

Step 2: Once you've gained access to Improvado, pick the marketing platforms your team uses out of Improvado's library of 500+ marketing and sales data sources. Our platform will extract all metrics you need in just a few moments.

Step 3: Choose one of Improvado's dashboard templates depending on your use case. The platform will automatically load data to a visualization tool. Now, you're all set to start analyzing trends and finding insights into your campaign performance.

And voila, you have a real-time dashboard with a mix of data across the platforms you use (just like the one below).

Improvado's web analytics and paid ads performance dashboard
Automated insights-rich dashboards for a variety of marketing use cases

Get metrics you can trust, in a moment’s notice. Streamline marketing reporting with Improvado.

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Frequently asked questions

Is there math in digital marketing?

Math is used in digital marketing to analyze, measure, and optimize various aspects of a digital marketing campaign, such as performance metrics, audience targeting, ad spend allocation, and return on investment (ROI). It helps digital marketers make data-driven decisions, fine-tune their strategies, and achieve better results from their marketing efforts.

What are marketing formulas?

Marketing formulas are mathematical equations used in marketing to measure and analyze various metrics such as advertising effectiveness, return on investment, and audience reach.

What is the formula for frequency in media?

The formula for frequency in media is: Total Impressions / Reach

What is the best way to automate the marketing metrics collection process?

The best way to automate the marketing metrics collection process is by using a marketing analytics platform that can connect to all your data sources and automatically pull in your marketing data. For example, Improvado integrates with 500+ marketing data sources to seamlessly extract data, transform it into an analysis-ready view, and load metrics into a real-time dashboard. In this way, marketers don't waste time on routine data collection and spend more time putting their data to use, optimizing campaigns, and launching new experiments.

Our recommendation:

Check out Supermetrics VS Funnel.io VS Improvado - A Comprehensive Comparison

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