What does CPX in marketing and advertising mean?

CPX Marketing Definition

CPX Definition

CP stands for Cost per and X can have two meanings. First, it serves as a placeholder or variable for cost models in marketing and advertising. Here, “X” can stand for any pricing model: e.g. click (CPC), lead (CPL), or reach (CPM).

On the other hand, CPX is used for Cost per eXposure. However, in most cases, CPX is a “placeholder” in advertising and marketing.



X {placeholder} or eXposure

Most common CPX marketing models


Cost Per Thousand

Mille = thousand – Mainly used for display campaigns


Cost per View

often videos views but also pages


Cost per Click

common in PPC (pay-per-click) and search advertising


Cost per Lead

Used in contact forms, content downloads, or newsletter signups


Cost per Acquisition

Usually for a new customer but can also be lead or app install


Cost per Order

Common in e-commerce for confirmed purchases


Cost per Sale

Similar to CPO for actual sales

CAUTION: While CPM and CPC are mostly standardized, CPA, CPO, or CPS may be defined differently. Even when CPO, CPS, and CPA can be the same thing, there can be platform-specific nuances.

For example, there are very different CPA meanings:

  • Acquiring a contact – equivalent to cost per lead.
  • Acquiring a customer – synonymous with CPO/CPS
  • App install
  • Action

Therefore, it is imperative to review each platform in terms of the CPX advertising and marketing definition.

Most Common CPX Marketing and CPX Advertising Models

When is CPX used in marketing & advertising?

CPX is often used in digital marketing when there are different pricing models or a combination of actions serves as the pricing basis. Different types of digital ads have distinct campaign goals and KPIs.

Therefore, digital advertising platforms offer different pricing models and bidding strategies. The user can choose to book a CPM, CPC, or even CPA campaign.

The advantage for the user is that they book campaigns only with a certainty of action and only pay for those. On the other hand, the platforms include a margin into the cost models. These buy ads in the background mostly in the CPM model and calculate on the CPM basis the continuing CPX.

Therefore, it may be cheaper to book a campaign on a CPC basis instead of CPA if you can optimize the conversion rate yourself and know how many clicks on average become leads.

CPX marketing as a combination of different pricing models and platforms

CPX is also used when pricing different digital media actions. Therefore, cost per eXposure is also used. For example, a content distribution campaign can have different campaign goals: Social Shares, Likes, or Comments, but also Clicks or Views (Pageviews in this example). The combination of all relevant actions is then summarized in the CPX model.

This can also be used for internal marketing reports. Especially when there are different platforms with partly different possibilities and reporting features. Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter have different measurement bases and engagement capabilities. But all could be positive content engagement and therefore can be bundled as CPX.

Recommended actions for CPX marketing and advertising

  • CPX can be a combination that simplifies reports and makes them comparable.
  • Be sure to research the exact CPX definition for each platform.
  • Calculate your own conversion funnel. If you know your numbers, you can bid on a CPM basis and if necessary independently reduce your CPA.
  • In general, it is better to price and report for actions like clicks or leads than ads served.
  • No matter which pricing model you choose, always calculate the return on marketing investment.