customer acquisition cost

Customer Acquisition Cost: Less CAC More LTV

“Why are you selling $1 for 90 cents ?”

“Well, profits are not great but the revenue is booming!”

To some, it may seem like a joke, but for many businesses, this is a reality that they ignore. Today we will dig deep into what is CAC and how to keep it lower than your LTV. 

Understanding Customer Acquisition Cost

When you’re running an online business, it’s crucial to know how much you’re spending to get new customers. This understanding can make or break your profitability. 

It may seem that a business it doing great if it has fantastic revenue…but if they are spending more on CAC than is their LTV…they are experiencing the joke from the introduction. 

Defining CAC

Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) is the total cost of sales and marketing efforts that are needed to acquire a new customer. It’s pretty simple when you break it down:

  • Sales Expenses: This includes salaries, commissions, or bonuses for your sales team.
  • Overhead Costs: Offices, tools, and everything else that falls under opex. 
  • Marketing Costs: Money spent on ads, content creation, and promotion. Think Google Ads, social media campaigns, and email marketing.

The formula to calculate CAC is straightforward:

CAC = Total Sales and Marketing Costs / Number of New Customers Acquired

Keep in mind that the costs may differ for various businesses. The main idea is to put together all the costs that are needed (or are associated) with acquiring a customer.

The Importance of CAC in Online Businesses

Online businesses rely heavily on maintaining an efficient CAC. It’s not just about driving traffic; it’s about converting that traffic into customers at a sustainable cost. 

Here’s why it’s important:

  • Profitability: Your profit depends on spending less to acquire a customer than the customer’s lifetime value (LTV). A lower CAC means higher profit margins.
  • ROI: High conversion rates from your marketing efforts lead to a better return on investment (ROI). You want to make sure every dollar counts.
  • Benchmarking: Knowing your CAC helps you compare your performance with industry standards and find areas for improvement.

In essence, CAC is a compass that directs your financial efforts and strategies in the online landscape. Keep your eyes on it, and you’ll navigate toward a more profitable business horizon.

Example: Calculating CAC for E-Commerce

In the context of SaaS, Marketing Expenses encompass your digital advertising spend, salaries for your sales and marketing teams, and any other expenditures directly related to acquiring new customers. 

This includes costs from online ads, content marketing efforts, and software tools used for marketing automation.

A more detailed formula takes into account various operational costs:

CAC= (Marketing Expenses+Salaries+Software Tools+Creative and Production Costs)/New Subscribers Acquired​

Example in SaaS Context

Consider that in January you spent:

  • $15,000 on ads
  • $7,000 on your sales team
  • $4,000 on marketing (visuals, videos, tools)

And you acquired 400 new subscribers. Thus, your CAC would be:


This means you spent sixty-five dollars to acquire each new customer. 

From that point on the calculation is pretty straightforward. 

  • $65 > LTV = loss
  • $65 < LTV = profit

Your margin is the difference between CAC and LTV. If you want a bigger margin, you either need to push down the CAC or improve the LTV. Simple. 

Other Factors To Consider

  • Software Development Costs: While not included directly in the CAC calculation, the cost of developing and maintaining your SaaS platform can affect overall profitability and should be considered in pricing and budgeting.
  • Profit Margin: It’s essential to track the margin after accounting for the cost to serve each customer, including hosting, support, and other operational costs. A manageable CAC is one that leaves room for a healthy profit margin.
  • Return on Investment (ROI): Beyond individual customer acquisition costs, evaluating the ROI of your marketing strategies offers insight into their overall effectiveness and sustainability.
  • Marketing Mix: Your strategy blend, from inbound marketing efforts like content creation to outbound tactics like pay-per-click ads, significantly impacts CAC. Analyzing which channels yield the best customer acquisition rates can help optimize spending.

LTV to CAC Ratio

When it comes to running an online business, knowing the ratio between your customer lifetime value (LTV) and customer acquisition cost (CAC) is crucial. 

A healthy LTV to CAC ratio indicates not only good customer retention but also profitability in the long run.

Balancing Long-Term Value and Acquisition Costs

To keep your business thriving, you’ve got to balance the money you spend snagging new customers (that’s your CAC) with the revenue they’ll bring over time (yup, the LTV). 

You want a high LTV compared to CAC, meaning your customers stick around long enough to make the cost of getting them to look like peanuts.

Ideal LTV Ratio: Generally, a 3:1 ratio is the sweet spot – your LTV is three times your CAC.

Why It Matters: A low ratio can mean you’re overspending on acquisition or underperforming on retention.

Remember: Benchmarks are a guide, not gospel. Your goal is to optimize your ratio for sustainable growth, no matter the industry average.

CAC: Why Customer Support Matters?

When you’re shelling out cash to attract new buyers to your online biz, a hefty Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) can give you the chills. 

That’s where Customer Lifetime Value (LTV) comes into play.

Groove is all about keeping your users so happy they stick around for the long haul. That’s critical because, let’s face it, finding new customers isn’t just a hustle; it’s often wallet-draining.

  • Good Support = Sticky Customers: Your top goal? Keep ’em coming back. Fine-tune that support, and your LTV might just balloon up nicely.
  • Groove’s Got Your Back: Handling a mess of customer queries? Groove sweeps in with its easy-going interface, helping you stay cool and collected.

Use Groove to:

  • Organize all your support stuff in a snap.
  • Chuck the chaos and zero in on growth.

Optimization of CAC

When you optimize your Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC), you make sure every dollar you spend converts more visitors into customers and keeps them coming back. 

Efficiencies here can directly boost your bottom line.

Boosting your conversion rates isn’t just about drawing more traffic to your website—it’s about making every visitor count. 

Here’s how you can fine-tune your website to turn visitors into buyers and keep them coming back for more.

Cranking Up Conversion Rates

  • Tailor the Experience: Analyze their behavior, then customize your website. Imagine predicting the exact product/service a customer is hunting for and placing it right in front of them. This personalized touch can significantly nudge your conversion rates upward.
  • A/B Testing: Think of your website as a laboratory. Experiment with its elements, from the color of your call-to-action buttons to the layout of your product pages. It’s these experiments that reveal the secret formula for higher conversions. Remember, sometimes it’s the smallest changes that make the biggest difference.
  • User Experience is Key: Speed and simplicity win the race in the online world. A website that loads in the blink of an eye and guides visitors smoothly from homepage to checkout is a website that sells. Don’t let slow load times or complicated navigation cost you valuable conversions.

Keeping Customers Glued: Retargeting and Retention

  • Ace the Retargeting Game: Not everyone who visits your site will make a purchase on their first visit. That’s where retargeting steps in, reminding them of what they’re missing out on. Tailor these reminders based on their browsing history for a personal touch that brings them back.
  • Elevate Customer Service: Exceptional service isn’t optional—it’s expected. Fast, friendly, and efficient answers can turn a one-time shopper into a lifelong customer. 
    • Groove’s customer support can transform your service from good (or none?) to great, making sure every customer feels valued.
  • Loyalty is the Endgame: Introduce loyalty programs that reward customers for their repeat business. Whether it’s exclusive deals or sneak peeks at new products, these perks make customers feel special and keep your brand at the forefront of their minds.

The whole topic of lower CAC and higher LTV goes far beyond the scope of this post. The core idea is – to keep optimizing and experimenting. 

Trying to grow (or just keep) the profit margins is an ongoing process, so keep testing. 

Scaling and Managing CAC

When growing your online business, efficiently managing Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) is critical. 

Your approach will evolve as your business size changes, and leveraging technology is key to scaling CAC effectively.

Impact of Business Size on CAC

As your business size increases, the complexity of managing CAC can escalate. With growth, you’re likely to have:

  • More customer segments: Tailor your marketing strategies to diverse groups.
  • Greater market reach: Costs can rise, but you have a chance to increase efficiency.
  • Higher investment in sales and marketing: Balancing spend with customer lifetime value is crucial.

For small businesses, maintaining a low CAC is often essential for survival. 

Here’s where focusing on high-impact sales and marketing tactics pays off. 

As you grow, it becomes about optimizing these strategies to keep CAC manageable even at a larger scale.


  • CAC is a combination of all costs associated with customer acquisitions divided by number of customers acquired.
  • The difference between CAC and LTV is your profit margin.
  • Try decreasing the CAC or increasing the LTV in order to improve profitability. 
  • Acquiring clients is difficult, make sure that they are happy (and increase your LTV) by using Groove

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