CAC (Customer Acquisition Costs)


What Is CAC (Customer Acquisition Costs)?

Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) is a comprehensive metric that provides businesses with a detailed understanding of the expenses incurred during the process of acquiring new customers. It takes into account various elements, including marketing campaigns, advertising expenditures, sales team salaries, lead generation efforts, technology platforms, and other associated costs. 

By calculating CAC, businesses can assess the efficiency and effectiveness of their customer acquisition strategies, helping them make informed decisions to maximize their return on investment (ROI).

To calculate CAC, businesses typically divide the total costs incurred in acquiring new customers over a specific period by the number of customers obtained during that period. This gives a clear picture of how much it costs to acquire each customer. A lower CAC indicates that a business is acquiring customers at a relatively lower cost, which is a positive sign for profitability and growth.

Furthermore, analyzing CAC can provide insights into the viability of different marketing channels and campaigns. By comparing CAC across various channels, businesses can identify the most cost-effective ones and allocate resources accordingly. Additionally, CAC analysis can help in targeting the right audience, refining messaging and positioning, and improving overall customer acquisition strategies.

Reducing CAC is a common objective for businesses as it allows them to optimize their marketing efforts and increase profitability. This can be achieved by identifying and eliminating wasteful spending, optimizing conversion rates, improving customer retention, and leveraging data-driven insights to streamline customer acquisition processes.

How to Calculate CAC

Calculating Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) is a crucial step for businesses to evaluate the effectiveness of their marketing efforts and determine the return on investment (ROI) for acquiring new customers. 

The formula to calculate CAC is quite straightforward. First, you need to sum up all the costs related to acquiring customers, such as marketing expenses, sales team salaries, advertising costs, and any other direct costs. Next, divide this total cost by the number of new customers acquired during a specific period. 

The formula can be expressed as CAC = (Total Acquisition Costs) / (Number of New Customers). 

By calculating CAC, businesses can gain insights into the cost-effectiveness of their customer acquisition strategies and make informed decisions on optimizing their marketing budget allocation to drive profitability and long-term success.

Good and Bad CAC

A “good” CAC for an eCommerce business is one that ensures profitability while maintaining competitive scalability. This means the CAC should be a fraction of the Lifetime Value (LTV) of a customer, with a common benchmark being a 3:1 ratio of LTV to CAC. Specifically, if the LTV of a customer is $300, a CAC up to $100 is deemed efficient and sustainable. However, given the competitive nature of eCommerce, businesses often strive for even lower CAC, with figures around $20 to $40, depending on the product’s average order value (AOV) and margins.

On the flip side, a “bad” CAC for eCommerce is one that significantly erodes profit margins or, worse, exceeds the AOV. For example, a CAC of $50 in a business where the AOV is $50 signals a precarious situation, leaving no room for profit after considering the cost of goods sold (COGS) and other operating expenses. This high CAC can be a red flag, indicating inefficiencies in marketing strategies or targeting, suggesting a pressing need for review and adjustment.

eCommerce businesses must continuously monitor and optimize their CAC through efficient marketing, retargeting strategies, and enhancing customer lifetime value to maintain a healthy balance between acquisition costs and profitability.

How to Improve CAC?

  1. Targeted Marketing: Implement targeted marketing campaigns that focus on reaching out to your ideal customer base. By refining your messaging and targeting specific demographics, you can increase the conversion rate of your marketing efforts and decrease CAC.
  2. Referral Programs: Encourage your existing customers to refer your products or services to others by offering incentives or discounts. Referral programs can be a cost-effective way to acquire new customers with minimal marketing spend.
  3. Optimize Conversion Funnel: Analyze your customer journey and identify any bottlenecks or areas where potential customers drop off. By improving your website usability, streamlining the checkout process, or optimizing landing pages, you can increase conversion rates and reduce CAC.
  4. Personalization: Tailor your marketing messages and offers to each customer’s preferences and behavior. Personalization can enhance customer engagement, improve conversions, and ultimately decrease CAC.
  5. Continuously Test and Iterate: Constantly test different marketing channels, messaging, and tactics to identify what works best for your target audience. By analyzing the data and making data-driven decisions, you can refine your marketing efforts, improve customer acquisition, and lower CAC.


Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) is an indispensable metric for eCommerce businesses, serving as a crucial indicator of the efficiency and effectiveness of their marketing strategies. It represents the total cost associated with acquiring a new customer, encompassing advertising expenses, salaries of marketing teams, and any other costs directly tied to marketing and sales efforts. 

The significance of CAC lies in its direct impact on a company’s profitability and growth potential. A lower CAC means that the business is spending less to attract each customer, thereby increasing the margin of profit and enabling more sustainable growth.

Improving the CAC involves several strategic measures aimed at enhancing the efficiency of marketing campaigns and the overall customer acquisition process. 

Firstly, optimizing marketing campaigns through rigorous testing and targeting can significantly reduce wasteful expenditure and focus resources on high-converting strategies. Secondly, improving the user experience on the website or app, including simplifying the purchase process, can increase conversion rates, thereby reducing the CAC indirectly. Thirdly, leveraging organic marketing channels such as SEO, content marketing, and social media engagement can attract customers at a lower cost than paid advertising channels.

Moreover, increasing customer retention and lifetime value (LTV) plays a critical role in offsetting the initial costs of acquisition, making the overall CAC more palatable. Strategies such as loyalty programs, personalized marketing, and exceptional customer service can encourage repeat business, which not only boosts LTV but also can potentially lower the CAC over time, as the cost of retaining an existing customer is generally much lower than acquiring a new one.


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.