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Viewable CPM

Viewable CPM (vCPM)


AdWords - Viewable CPM (vCPM)

This guide is a detailed look at Viewable CPM bidding, if you are unfamiliar with this bidding technique or bidding strategies in general; you may want to read our introduction to bidding strategies first.

Viewable CPM is an automated bid strategy that allows you to get your ads o the top of the 1st page of the SERPs.

What Are Auctions?

Before we explore CPC Bidding in more detail it is first worth explaining a little bit about how auctions work and what they are. The auction is the process that occurs with each search performed in Google (the display network works slightly differently to this).

Automated Bidding

There are typically two flavours for most automated bidding strategies, but for Viewable CPM Bidding, there is only a standard version available (no portfolio bid strategy is available for this bidding mechanism).

Portfolio / Flexible Bid Strategy

Portfolio bid strategies can be applied to multiple campaigns and they work across all of these campaigns to achieve targets.

What is Viewable CPM Bidding?

CPM means; Cost Per Thousand Impressions… Hence bidding on this means that you pay an amount per packets of 1,000 impressions your ads receive. The ‘viewable’ component of this means that an ad is counted as ‘viewable when it meets the following criteria:

  • 50% of the ad is viewable on the screen for one second or longer (or 2 seconds or longer for video ads)

This means that you pay per thousand viewable impressions, based on how much your bids have been set at. This bidding strategy is only available on ‘Display Network Only’ campaigns and is primarily used for driving brand awareness.

Pros and Cons of Viewable CPM Bidding

To some extent many of the pros and cons of this automated bid strategy are the same as using any automated bid strategy, such as less control vs less work… however, we have limited the pros and cons here to those relating to this specific bidding method.


  • Great for brand awareness campaigns
  • Gets your ads in front of the most amount of people per cost
  • Only pay for viewable impressions
  • Bids are optimised to favour ad slots that are more likely to be viewable


  • Not ideal for direct response campaigns (must be applied / used appropriately)

How Does Viewable CPM Bidding Work?

Viewable CPM bidding works in the same way as CPC bidding in terms of how you set bids… You set CPM Bids for your targeting methods (Keywords, placements, etc) within the relevant field in AdWords.
vCPM does not work with campaigns targeting mobile apps, this includes:

  • App installs
  • App engagement
  • Ads targeting mobile apps through the “ads in mobile apps” campaign type

Viewable CPM Settings

As the image below shows, there are several fields to complete when creating this automated bid strategy:

Viewable CPM (vCPM)

As the image above shows, there are very few parameters for this bidding method, you simply apply the CPM bid within AdWords, as is shown in the image below:

Viewable CPM Settings 


Raptor offer a range of PPC services such as PPC audits, keyword research, training and account management.
To find out more, please click the link below.