Customer Acquisition

Average Customer Acquisition Cost: Benchmark by Industry and How to Reduce It

Lets Cut The Cost & Gain Value


Qasim Farooq


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Ever wondered why some businesses seem to have a golden touch, effortlessly drawing in new customers while keeping their wallets comfortably padded? Well, it's not all magic; it's about mastering a critical equation: the Average Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC).

Today, we're unraveling this mystery with a dash of clarity and a sprinkle of wit, ensuring you won't need a finance degree to follow along.

In the grand tapestry of business, understanding your customer acquisition cost isn't just a nice-to-have; it's as essential as your morning coffee.

Whether you're in the bustling world of B2C, navigating the high seas of B2B, or pioneering the digital frontiers of the SaaS industry, getting a grip on your acquisition costs can transform your strategy from shooting stars to hitting targets.

What is Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)?

Think of customer acquisition cost as the price tag for making someone go from "just browsing" to "take my money." It's the cost of all those efforts you put in to win over a new customer, from the ads they click on to the emails that finally convince them to make a purchase. But why does this matter so much? Imagine throwing a party (your business) and considering how much each invitation (marketing efforts) costs you.

Knowing the price per guest helps ensure that you're not spending more on your invites than what each guest brings as a gift. In the realm of business, customer acquisition cost helps you measure the effectiveness of your marketing strategies, ensuring that you're investing wisely in growing your customer base without draining your resources.

How to Calculate Customer Acquisition Cost

Understanding your Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) doesn't require advanced math skills but rather a grasp of the expenses involved. Here's a straightforward guide to help you calculate it:

Add Up Your Costs

Start by totaling all the expenses tied to getting new customers. This includes money spent on marketing, advertising, salaries for sales and marketing teams, tools, and any other direct expenses.

Count Your New Customers

Figure out how many new customers you gained during the same period. Keep track of sign-ups, purchases, or contracts. You need a clear number to work with for accurate calculation

Do The Math

Now, for the simple part. Divide your total costs by the number of new customers acquired. The customer acquisition cost formula looks something like this: CAC=Total Marketing and Sales Expenses/Number of New Customers Acquired Let's put it into an example: If you spent $70,000 on your marketing and sales efforts in the first quarter and welcomed 500 new customers, your customer acquisition cost would be: CAC=$70,000/500 =$140 This means, for every new customer that walked through your door (virtually or otherwise), you spent $140.

Understanding your CAC isn't just about crunching numbers; it's about gaining insights into the health of your business.

A lower Customer Acquisition cost means you're efficiently converting your marketing efforts into new customers but also lays a strong foundation for maximizing Customer Lifetime Value (CLV).

By optimizing CAC, businesses can enhance their profitability and ensure long-term sustainability. However, it's crucial to strike a balance that not only minimizes CAC but also maximizes CLV, thus fostering a healthy growth trajectory for the business.

Differentiating Between Customer Acquisition Cost and Average Customer Acquisition Cost

At first glance, customer acquisition cost and Average CAC might appear as two sides of the same coin, but they serve different narratives in the story of your business's growth. Customer acquisition cost focuses on the cost of acquiring a single customer, painting a broad stroke of your marketing campaign effectiveness.

On the flip side, average customer acquisition cost zooms in, offering a more nuanced view by averaging out the acquisition costs over a specific period or across different marketing channels.

This differentiation helps in identifying which channels are your marketing Rockstar's and which ones might be eating more than they're bringing to the table.

Calculating Average Customer Acquisition Cost: A Step-by-Step Guide

To get a clearer view, let's walk through calculating your Average customer acquisition cost with a focus on breaking down spending across different channels.

This approach not only offers clarity but also empowers you to make informed decisions about where to allocate your marketing budget for maximum impact.

  1. List Your Channels: Start by listing out all the channels through which you acquire customers. This could range from social media ads, email marketing, SEO, to more traditional forms of advertising.

  2. Allocate Your Costs: Next, allocate your total marketing and sales expenses to each of these channels based on their use. For instance, if you spent $30,000 on social media ads, $20,000 on email marketing, and $10,000 on SEO over a quarter, you'll have a clear picture of where your money is going.

  3. Tally New Customers Acquired by each Channel: Count the number of new customers each channel brought in during the same period. Let's say social media ads brought in 250 new customers, email marketing brought in 150, and SEO brought in 100.

  4. Calculate CAC per Channel: Now, calculate the CAC for each channel using the customer acquisition cost formula discussed above.

    applying our example: Social Media CAC: $30,000 / 250 customers = $120 per customer.

    Email Marketing CAC: $20,000 / 150 customers = $133.33 per customer.

    SEO CAC: $10,000 / 100 customers = $100 per customer.

  5. Calculate Average Customer Acquisition Cost: To calculate the Average CAC, we'll consider these varied costs, providing insight into the overall efficiency of your marketing strategy.

    average customer acquisition cost

    The average customer acquisition cost gives you a holistic view of what it costs, on average, to acquire a customer. This example demonstrates that while some channels may be more cost-effective than others, the average helps gauge the overall performance of your marketing strategies.

    Understanding these nuances allows for strategic adjustments—perhaps allocating more budget to referrals or optimizing your online advertising to lower costs.This nuanced approach to calculating your Average customer acquisition costs not only sharpens your marketing strategies but also ensures every dollar spent is an investment towards sustainable growth.

Customer Acquisition Costs by Industry

Before we dive into the specifics of Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) across different industries, let's shed some light on where this data comes from. The figures you're about to explore have been meticulously collected by FirstPageSage. This data isn't just pulled out of thin air; it comes directly from client analytics accounts, ensuring its reliability and relevance.

Moreover, it's been sourced anonymously, respecting privacy while providing us with invaluable insights into the true cost of acquiring customers across various sectors.

Customer acquisition cost B2B Industry


Organic CAC

Inorganic CAC

Combined Avrg CAC

Aerospace & Defense




Addiction Treatment












B2B SaaS








Business Consulting




Commercial Insurance
























Environmental Services




Financial Services




Higher Education & College




HVAC Services




Industrial IoT




IT & Managed Services




Legal Services








Medical Device




Oil & Gas




PCB Design & Manufacturing








Real Estate




Software Development




Solar Energy




Transportation & Logistics




This table underscores the diversity and complexity inherent in B2B customer acquisition, with significant variations across different industries. Here are some insights and strategic takeaways:

Significant Industry Variances

The data reveals a broad range of CACs, highlighting how industry-specific factors like sales cycle, deal size, and customer lifetime value profoundly impact acquisition cost. Industries with high-ticket products or services, such as Aerospace & Defense, Financial Services, and Legal Services, tend to have higher CACs, reflecting the intensive resources required to secure a sale.

The Impact of Sales Strategies

The contrast between Organic CAC and Inorganic CAC across industries suggests that the mix of sales and marketing strategies can significantly affect acquisition costs. For example, B2B SaaS companies often leverage digital marketing effectively, resulting in a lower Combined Average CAC compared to more traditional sectors like Oil & Gas or Higher Education, where inorganic (paid) strategies might dominate.

Efficiency in Niche Markets

Sectors with relatively lower CACs, such as eCommerce and Pharmaceutical, might benefit from more streamlined sales processes or a stronger emphasis on digital marketing channels that offer cost efficiencies.

Customer acquisition cost B2C Industry


Average Organic CAC

Average Paid CAC

Addiction Treatment


















Electrical Contractors






Financial Services



Higher Education & College



Home Builders



Home Services



Hotels & Resorts



HVAC Services



Legal Services



Medical Device



Medical Practices



Real Estate






Solar Energy



The B2C landscape is diverse, with customer acquisition costs reflecting the unique challenges and strategies across various industries.

From the affordability of acquiring customers in the eCommerce sector to the more substantial investment required in high-stakes fields like Legal Services or Aviation, understanding these costs is pivotal to craft a winning customer acquisition plan for your business growth.

High Variation

The considerable variation between organic and paid CAC across industries like Legal Services and Real Estate underscores the importance of a balanced marketing strategy that leverages both organic and paid channels efficiently.

Efficiency in Niche Markets

Industries such as CBD and eCommerce demonstrate relatively low CACs, suggesting that niche markets with strong online presence and direct-to-consumer models can achieve efficient customer acquisition.

Investment in Quality Leads

Higher CACs in industries like Aviation and Financial Services highlight the focus on acquiring high-value customers, where the lifetime value (LTV) justifies the initial investment.

Customer acquisition cost SAAS Industry

SaaS Industry






Building Management & IoT


Chemical & Pharmaceutical


























Project Management






Staffing & HR




Transportation & Logistics


The data above showcases the diversity within the SaaS sector, with customer acquisition costs varying widely depending on the sub-industry's focus. Here are some key insights derived from this table:

High Variability in CAC

The range of CACs, from as low as $274 in eCommerce SaaS to as high as $1,450 in Fintech, highlights the diverse nature of the SaaS landscape. This variability reflects the different market conditions, sales cycles, and product complexities inherent to each sub-industry.

Impact of Niche Markets

Sub-industries with specialized offerings, such as Fintech and Insurance, tend to have higher CACs. This can be attributed to the complex nature of their products, requiring more targeted and sometimes costlier customer acquisition strategies.

Opportunities for Optimization

Sectors with relatively lower CAC, like eCommerce and Legaltech, may benefit from scalable digital marketing strategies and product-led growth, indicating room for efficiency improvements in customer acquisition processes.

What's a good customer acquisition cost? Understanding LTV to CAC ratio

When it comes to optimizing your marketing and sales efforts, knowing your average customer acquisition cost (CAC) is just the tip of the iceberg.

The true north star for assessing the health of your customer acquisition strategies is the lifetime value (LTV) to CAC ratio. This metric offers a crystal-clear insight into the sustainability and profitability of your efforts to acquire customers.

Why is the customer LTV to CAC Ratio So Critical?

Imagine you're at the helm of a SaaS company, charting a course through the competitive seas of the tech industry.

Your marketing campaigns and sales efforts are the wind in your sails, propelling you forward. But to navigate these waters successfully, you need to ensure that the treasure you're spending on acquisition—your marketing spend and sales expenses—yields a valuable return over the average customer lifespan.

A robust customer lifetime value to customer acquisition cost ratio, ideally around 3:1, signals that your marketing and sales efforts are not just bringing aboard new customers but are doing so in a way that significantly enhances customer value.

It means that the sales cycle, from the initial contact to the closing deal, is calibrated to not just reduce the average customer acquisition costs but also to maximize the revenue each customer brings over their lifetime.

Does the size of a business affect its Customer Acquisition Cost in different industries?

Diving deeper into the world of customer acquisition, it becomes evident that the size of a business plays a pivotal role in shaping its acquisition cost. Whether it's a burgeoning startup crafting marketing campaign to carve out a target market or an established enterprise refining its sales team efforts to bolster customer retention, the calculus of customer acquisition costs varies widely.

For small to medium enterprises (SMEs), the challenge often lies in optimizing marketing expenses and sales expenses to improve customer acquisition costs.

Limited by tighter marketing budgets, these companies must creatively leverage organic channels and email marketing to enhance their marketing efforts.

On the flip side, larger corporations have the leverage to deploy extensive marketing campaigns across various marketing channels, benefiting from economies of scale that can lower the average customer acquisition cost.

Their established brand and wider target audience allow for more efficient customer acquisition processes, often resulting in a lower customer acquisition cost and the ability to generate more qualified leads.

No matter the industry, from eCommerce to the high-tech realms of SaaS companies, understanding industry-specific benchmarks and calculating CAC becomes indispensable.

By analyzing industry customer acquisition cost and weaving in strategies to lower organic CAC, businesses can chart a course to not just get potential customers but to do so more effectively and sustainably.

Through targeted marketing campaigns, refining the customer acquisition process, and optimizing marketing strategies, businesses can navigate the challenges of their specific period in the market lifecycle.

The goal is to not just allocate marketing spend on acquiring customers but to invest in creating valuable relationships that stand the test of time.

A good customer acquisition cost isn't just a number—it's a reflection of strategic marketing and sales team efforts that align with the long-term value customers bring.

By focusing on the LTV to CAC ratio and understanding the nuances of CAC across different industries and business sizes, companies can ensure their journey toward growth is both profitable and sustainable.

Reducing Customer Acquisition Costs

Elevating your CAC strategy is essential for maintaining competitive edge and profitability. Here’s how you can refine your customer acquisition efforts effectively:

Optimize Marketing Channels: Continuously analyze and invest in marketing channels with the highest ROI to maximize your marketing budget efficiency.

Refine Conversion Funnels: Work on identifying and eliminating bottlenecks in your conversion funnels to smooth out the path to purchase and boost conversion rates.

A/B Testing and Continuous Optimization: Employ A/B testing across your marketing and sales strategies to identify what resonates best with your audience, enabling informed optimizations

Enhance Customer Retention: Focus on strategies that improve customer loyalty and satisfaction, as increasing customer retention rates can significantly impact your overall CAC and boost customer lifetime value.

Follow Up with Warm Leads: Re-engaging warm leads is a pivotal step in nurturing potential customers towards conversion. Tailoring your follow-up strategy with personalized email marketing can significantly boost your chances of turning these prospects into committed customers. Hyper personalization is key to capturing attention and fostering engagement, making each recipient feel uniquely valued.

Enter GoCustomer, a customer acquisition platform that streamlines the process of crafting hyper-personalized emails, enabling you to efficiently address thousands of prospects with messages that resonate on an individual level. The platform's capability to generate a vast number of unique emails quickly means you can maintain a personal touch at scale, ensuring no lead feels overlooked.

Personalize Onboarding Experiences: Customizing the onboarding experience can drastically reduce the need for further acquisition efforts by enhancing user satisfaction and product adoption from the outset.

For additional strategies on optimizing and reducing your customer acquisition costs, you might find our blog "Reduce & Improve Your Customer Acquisition Costs in 2024" helpful.


Diving into the world of Average Customer Acquisition Cost and how to trim it down across various industries has been quite the adventure. We've taken a close look at how these costs stack up from one sector to another and sifted through a bundle of strategies to bring them down to size.

From the importance of keeping an eye on the LTV to CAC ratio to understanding how the size of your business can sway your CAC, it's been a journey full of insights. We've walked through the process to calculate customer acquisition cost effectively, optimizing marketing efforts, smoothing out those conversion paths, and why knowing your audience inside out can make all the difference.

Wrapping up, let’s remember that cutting down your customer acquisition cost isn't just about tightening the purse strings. It's more about smart moves and sharp strategies. Effective customer acquisition strategies can significantly impact your bottom line by optimizing your spending and maximizing your return on investment.

Whether it's fine-tuning your customer acquisition funnel or getting personal with your email marketing, every step you take is about building a smarter, more sustainable path for growth.

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Table of Contents

    In a nutshell

    Calculating CAC involves totaling all expenses related to acquiring new customers over a specific period and then dividing this sum by the number of new customers acquired during the same timeframe.
    To calculate Average Customer Acquisition Cost, you need to list your acquisition channels, allocate costs to each channel, tally new customers acquired by each channel, calculate CAC per channel, and then determine the average.
    A good CAC varies across industries and depends on factors like business model, market conditions, and customer lifetime value. Generally, a lower CAC is desirable, but it should be balanced with the potential value each customer brings.
    Tools like GoCustomer can assist in crafting hyper-personalized emails to efficiently address prospects, maintaining a personal touch at scale. Additionally, industry-specific benchmarks and analytics tools can provide insights for optimizing marketing strategies.
    Understanding CAC enables businesses to make informed decisions about resource allocation, ensuring efficient customer acquisition and maximizing profitability over the long term. This contributes to sustainable growth by optimizing revenue generation while minimizing costs.
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