Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) - Everything You Need to Know!

Customer acquisition cost, often abbreviated as CAC, is a crucial measure for companies to evaluate the profitability of marketing efforts in acquiring new customers. These costs encompass all expenditures related to marketing, sales, advertising, and other associated costs incurred during a specific period. The calculation of CAC involves summing up all these costs and dividing by the number of customers acquired in the same period.

For online businesses, optimizing CAC is crucial. It presents a significant challenge but also offers one of the greatest opportunities, not only in terms of short-term success but also for long-term sustainability.

Reducing CAC can be achieved through the implementation of more efficient marketing strategies and diversification of marketing channels. This requires careful planning and analysis to ensure that marketing expenses are allocated to the right channels to attract potential customers and keep costs low. A balanced relationship between CAC and customer lifetime value (CLV) is a key indicator of the long-term success of a company. A low CAC compared to CLV signifies healthy and sustainable customer acquisition.

Continuous monitoring and optimization of CAC are therefore crucial to ensure that investments in customer acquisition are effective and that the company can grow in the long term.

What do Customer Acquisition Costs (CAC) mean?

Customer acquisition cost, or CAC, is a key performance indicator (KPI) that determines how much it costs your company to acquire new customers.

A company’s CAC includes the total sales and marketing costs invested to acquire a new customer within a specific period. This metric is crucial for determining your company’s profitability as it compares the amount of money you spend on acquiring customers to the number of customers actually gained. When compared to customer lifetime value (CLV), CAC provides a better understanding of how profitable your company will be in the future, after customers have been with you for some time.

Customer Acquisition Costs in Marketing

If your inbound marketing program is successful, you won’t need to allocate many resources to paid advertising to generate both high-quality and low-quality leads when your blog content generates high-quality organic leads around the clock.

Customer Acquisition Costs in Sales

Assuming your sales team is constantly looking for new potential customers and maintaining a healthy sales pipeline, you won’t need to hastily hire additional sales staff to reach your quarterly target. This is because the existing sales staff has sufficient capacity to handle the number of leads in the pipeline and close those deals.

Customer Acquisition Costs in Customer Success

Das Customer Success Team in Ihrem Unternehmen sollte glückliche Kunden betreuen und Beziehungen mit ihnen pflegen. Dadurch helfen sie dem Unternehmen, neue Kunden zu gewinnen, indem sie Testimonials und Bewertungen schreiben, als Fallstudien dienen und ihren Freunden und Familie von Ihrem Unternehmen erzählen. Wenn die Leads aus diesen Quellen Kunden werden, haben Sie sie kostenlos gewonnen, was Ihre Kundenakquisitionskosten noch weiter senkt.

Wenn Sie Ihre CAC reduzieren, bedeutet das, dass Ihr Unternehmen Geld effizienter ausgibt und höchstwahrscheinlich höhere Renditen erzielen wird. Hier erfahren Sie, wie Sie Ihren aktuellen CAC berechnen können, um sie zu reduzieren.

Reducing your CAC means that your company is spending money more efficiently and is likely to achieve higher returns. Here’s how you can calculate your current CAC to reduce it.

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How to Calculate Customer Acquisition Costs?

Step 1: Period Determination

The first step in calculating your CAC is to determine the period you want to evaluate (month, quarter, year). This helps narrow down the scope of your data.

Step 2: The Calculation

Add up the total marketing and sales expenses and divide by the number of new customers acquired in that period. The result should correspond to the estimated costs your company incurs to acquire a new customer.


The CAC formula is, therefore:

Customer Acquisition Cost = Sales and Marketing Costs / Number of New Customers Acquired

For example, if a company spends CHF 500,000 on sales and CHF 300,000 on marketing, resulting in 800 new customers acquired last quarter, the CAC for the company would be calculated as: 


(CHF 500,000 + CHF 300,000) / 800 = CHF 1,000


Therefore, the customer acquisition costs for this quarter would be CHF 1,000.

Step 3: Comparison with Key Business Metrics

Once CAC is calculated, this value can be compared with other key business metrics, providing meaningful insights into your marketing, sales, and customer service campaigns.

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