Definition of Customer Acquisition Cost

Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) is a digital marketing metric that calculates the overall expenses a company incurs in order to acquire a new customer. This cost typically includes marketing and sales expenses, such as advertising fees, promotions, and employee salaries. By evaluating CAC, businesses can better understand their return on investment and develop strategies to optimize their marketing efforts.


The phonetic spelling of the keyword “Customer Acquisition Cost” is:KUH-stuh-mer ak-WIZH-uhn KAWST

Key Takeaways

  1. Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) is the average expense of attracting a new customer to your business, including marketing, advertising, and sales costs.
  2. Reducing CAC is essential for long-term profitability, and can be achieved through targeting the right audience, optimizing customer targeting, and automating marketing processes.
  3. Monitoring and analyzing CAC alongside Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) allows businesses to maximize ROI and allocate resources effectively in acquiring new customers.

Importance of Customer Acquisition Cost

Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) is a crucial digital marketing term as it measures the cost of acquiring new customers, revealing the efficiency and effectiveness of a company’s marketing strategies.

By understanding the CAC, businesses can make informed decisions on budget allocation, maximize their return on investment (ROI) and maintain their financial health by keeping expenses in check.

Also, CAC helps in analyzing the profitability of individual marketing channels, which allows businesses to invest smartly in campaigns that yield better customer acquisitions.

Low CAC indicates a successful marketing strategy, while high CAC may suggest the need for optimization and adjustment to attract new customers more cost-effectively.


Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) primarily serves as a fundamental metric that aids businesses in allocating resources efficiently for their marketing and sales efforts. It quantifies the amount companies have to invest to gain a single new customer, taking into account the promotional strategies, advertising campaigns, and workforce expenses dedicated to achieving this goal. By measuring CAC, businesses can have a clearer view of how their marketing initiatives are performing, and whether their budget allocation is effective in driving growth.

An insightful evaluation of CAC helps businesses identify cost-effective marketing channels, optimize ad campaigns, and enhance overall return on investment. Moreover, the purpose of CAC extends beyond just measuring the effectiveness of marketing campaigns; it plays a crucial role in assessing a company’s long-term profitability and sustainability. Comparing CAC to the Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) provides invaluable insights into whether the organization is obtaining a customer base that generates substantial returns, which outweigh acquisition investment.

A business will thrive if the generated CLV is significantly higher than the CAC, thus justifying the customer pursuit strategies. This crucial comparison allows companies to prioritize retention efforts to maximize profit margins and develop a solid foundation for growth. Consequently, comprehending and managing CAC effectively is essential for businesses striving for sustainable growth and success in the competitive digital marketing landscape.

Examples of Customer Acquisition Cost

Example 1: Startup Mobile AppA mobile app development startup has recently launched a new payment application that helps users make transactions seamlessly. To attract new users, the startup runs a digital marketing campaign on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. They spend a total of $5,000 on the campaign which results in 500 new users. Therefore, the Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) for the startup would be: CAC = $5,000 (Advertisement Spend) / 500 (New Users) = $10 per new user.

Example 2: E-commerce StoreAn online fashion store wants to increase its customer base, and they invest $15,000 in digital marketing through a combination of SEO, Google Ads, and Email Marketing. The marketing efforts successfully bring in 300 new customers to the store. In this case, the Customer Acquisition Cost would be: CAC = $15,000 (Marketing Spend) / 300 (New Customers) = $50 per new customer.

Example 3: Online Education PlatformAn online education platform aims to attract new students by implementing a marketing strategy that includes collaborations with influencers, targeted blog posts, and YouTube video ads. They spend $20,000 on the marketing campaign and succeed in acquiring 1,000 new students. The Customer Acquisition Cost in this scenario would be: CAC = $20,000 (Marketing Investment) / 1,000 (New Students) = $20 per new student.


Customer Acquisition Cost FAQs

What is Customer Acquisition Cost?

Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) is the total cost of marketing and sales efforts to acquire a new customer. It includes expenses such as advertising, promotions, and sales team salaries divided by the number of new customers acquired during a specific period.

Why is Customer Acquisition Cost important?

Customer Acquisition Cost is a crucial metric for businesses to determine the efficiency of their marketing and sales strategies. It helps companies understand how much they need to spend to acquire new customers and allows them to optimize their budget, improve their efforts, and maintain a healthy profit margin.

How can I calculate Customer Acquisition Cost?

To calculate Customer Acquisition Cost, divide the total expenses on marketing and sales in a given period by the number of new customers acquired during that period. The formula is: CAC = (Total Marketing + Sales Expenses) / Number of New Customers.

What is a good Customer Acquisition Cost?

A good Customer Acquisition Cost depends on the industry, business model, and product or service offered. To determine a good CAC, it’s essential to compare it against the customer’s Lifetime Value (LTV) to ensure that the business is acquiring customers profitably and can achieve a substantial return on investment in the long run.

How can I reduce Customer Acquisition Cost?

You can reduce Customer Acquisition Cost by optimizing your marketing and sales strategies, focusing on targeting the right audience, improving your organic reach, making data-driven decisions, and tracking your metrics to identify areas for improvement. Additionally, investing in customer retention and referrals can also help in lowering the overall CAC.


Related Digital Marketing Terms

  • Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)
  • Conversion Rate
  • Cost Per Click (CPC)
  • Marketing Channels
  • Return on Advertising Spend (ROAS)

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