Break-Even ACoS

break-even acos

What Is ACoS?

ACoS, also known as Advertising Cost of Sales, is a crucial metric used in digital advertising to measure the effectiveness and profitability of advertising campaigns on e-commerce platforms like Amazon. ACoS represents the percentage of attributed sales generated from advertising, relative to the cost of those ad campaigns. 

The formula to calculate ACoS is simple: ACoS = (Total Ad Spend / Total Sales) x 100.

A lower ACoS indicates that the advertising campaign is delivering a higher return on investment (ROI), as the cost of advertising is relatively lower compared to the sales generated. 

Conversely, a higher ACoS suggests that the ad campaigns are less efficient and may require optimization. 

By closely monitoring and adjusting ACoS, advertisers can make data-driven decisions to optimize their campaigns, allocate budgets effectively, and maximize profitability. Overall, ACoS serves as a valuable metric that helps advertisers gauge the performance and profitability of their advertising efforts on e-commerce platforms.

What Is Break-Even ACoS?

Break-Even ACoS, or Advertising Cost of Sales, refers to the ACoS at which an advertiser reaches the break-even point, where the cost of advertising and the revenue generated from sales are equal. It is a crucial metric for e-commerce advertisers as it helps determine the minimum ACoS required to maintain profitability. 

Calculating the Break-Even ACoS involves considering various factors, such as product costs, advertising costs, and other expenses associated with selling the product. 

By understanding the Break-Even ACoS, advertisers can set realistic targets for their advertising campaigns, optimize their budgets and bids, and ensure that their advertising efforts are generating a positive return on investment. It serves as a valuable benchmark for advertisers to gauge the effectiveness and profitability of their campaigns and make informed decisions to maximize their overall business success.

Why You Should Know Your Break-Even ACoS

Knowing your break-even ACoS is crucial for several reasons. 

First and foremost, it helps you determine the optimal level of advertising investment required to sustain profitability. By understanding the ACoS at which you break even, you can set realistic targets and allocate your advertising budget effectively. This knowledge enables you to strategize your campaigns and make informed decisions about bidding, targeting, and optimization efforts.

Furthermore, knowing your break-even ACoS allows you to evaluate the performance and success of your advertising campaigns. If your ACoS surpasses the break-even point, it’s an indication that adjustments are needed to improve campaign efficiency and effectiveness. You can optimize your keywords, ad copy, landing pages, and other campaign elements to enhance your return on ad spend and bring your ACoS below the break-even threshold.

Understanding your break-even ACoS also helps you assess the profitability of individual products or categories within your business. By calculating the break-even ACoS for each product, you can identify which ones are performing well and contributing to your overall profitability, and which ones may require further optimization or reconsideration.

In addition, knowing your break-even ACoS enables you to make data-driven decisions regarding pricing strategies. You can analyze the relationship between ACoS and profit margins to find the optimal pricing structure that maximizes both sales volume and profitability.

How to Calculate Break-Even ACoS

Calculating Break-Even ACoS involves a straightforward formula that takes into account your profit margin and conversion rate. 

First, determine your profit margin, which is calculated by subtracting the product’s cost from its selling price and dividing the result by the selling price. Next, estimate your conversion rate, which represents the percentage of visitors who make a purchase. To calculate Break-Even ACoS, divide your profit margin by the conversion rate. The formula is as follows:

Break-Even ACoS = (Product Profit Margin / Conversion Rate) * 100

For example, let’s say your product has a profit margin of $10 and a conversion rate of 5%. To find the Break-Even ACoS, divide $10 by 0.05 (5% in decimal form), resulting in $200. This means that to break even on your advertising expenses, your ACoS must be 200% or below. 

If your actual ACoS exceeds this threshold, it indicates that your advertising costs are eating into your profit and adjustments need to be made to improve profitability.

Good and Bad ACoS

A “good” Advertising Cost of Sale (ACoS) often falls within the range that ensures profitability while adequately promoting product visibility. For many businesses, especially those operating on platforms like Amazon, an ACoS between 15% to 30% is considered healthy. This range suggests that for every dollar earned from sales, you are spending 15 to 30 cents on advertising. It indicates a balanced approach where the cost of advertising contributes positively to overall sales without diminishing profit margins significantly.

Conversely, a “bad” ACoS is typically one that exceeds 40%. In such cases, the advertising expenditure is high relative to the revenue generated from sales, meaning you are spending over 40 cents on advertising for every dollar earned. This scenario can quickly erode profits and might signal inefficiencies in the advertising strategy, such as poor keyword targeting, non-optimized ad content, or misaligned pricing strategies.

It’s important to note that these figures can vary based on the product category, market competition, and the specific goals of a campaign (e.g., launching a new product may justify a temporarily higher ACoS). Thus, while these percentages offer a general guideline, the optimal ACoS should be determined in the context of your specific business objectives and market dynamics.

How to Reduce ACOS?

  1. Targeted Advertising: Implementing highly targeted advertising can significantly impact ACoS. By identifying and focusing on the right audience, businesses can ensure that their ads reach the most relevant prospects. This reduces wasted ad spend and increases the likelihood of conversions.
  2. Keyword Optimization: Conduct thorough keyword research and analysis to identify the most relevant and cost-effective keywords for your products or services. By targeting specific, relevant keywords, you can attract traffic that is more likely to convert, resulting in a higher return on ad investment and a lower ACoS.
  3. Campaign Optimization: Continuously monitor and optimize your advertising campaigns to improve performance and reduce unnecessary spending. Adjust bidding strategies, ad placements, and ad formats to find the optimal combination that generates the desired results while minimizing costs.
  4. Enhance Product Listings: Improve the quality and visibility of your product listings to drive organic traffic and reduce reliance on paid advertising. Use compelling product descriptions, high-quality images, and accurate metadata to attract and engage potential customers.
  5. Conversion Rate Optimization: Focus on improving your website’s conversion rate by optimizing landing pages, simplifying checkout processes, and incorporating persuasive elements like customer reviews and social proof. A higher conversion rate means a greater return on ad spend and a lower ACoS.
  6. Monitor Competitor Activity: Keep a close eye on your competitors’ advertising strategies and performance to stay competitive. Identify areas where you can differentiate or offer unique value propositions to attract customers at a lower cost.
  7. Data Analysis: Use data analytics tools to gain insights into your advertising performance. Identify trends, patterns, and areas of improvement to make data-driven decisions and allocate your ad budget more efficiently.


In conclusion, achieving break-even ACoS is a critical goal for e-commerce businesses looking to optimize their advertising campaigns and increase profitability. By implementing meticulous tracking, analysis, and optimization strategies, businesses can find the perfect equilibrium where advertising expenses are balanced against generated sales, resulting in a profitable outcome.


Viktoria Arsenteva

Marketing Manager at Lira Agency. I enjoy creating valuable and informative content for our clients and visitors. I spend my free time reading books on marketing and psychology.