# How To Calculate CAC: Definition & Formula

As an investor, understanding the key metrics that determine the success and potential of a business is crucial. One such metric is the Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) ratio. The CAC ratio helps investors determine the cost of acquiring new customers and its impact on the overall business profitability. In this article, we will define the CAC ratio, how to calculate it, industry benchmarks, and strategies for improving it.

## What is the CAC ratio?

The CAC ratio is a metric that measures the cost of acquiring new customers relative to the revenue generated from those customers. To calculate the CAC ratio, a company must add up all the marketing and sales costs for a specific period, then divide the total cost by the number of new customers acquired within that period.

CAC Formula: Total Sales & Marketing Spend Divided By Total # Of New Customers Acquired Within That Period

### Definition and Importance

The CAC ratio is an essential metric for businesses, as it helps investors determine the cost associated with acquiring new customers and guides them in making sound investment decisions. It is a crucial factor in determining a business’s profitability and growth potential. A high CAC ratio may indicate that the company is overspending on marketing and sales efforts, while a low ratio could signal potential profitability and growth for the business. Generally, a lower CAC ratio is more favorable as it means that the business is acquiring customers at a lower cost, which translates to higher profitability.

Furthermore, the CAC ratio is a valuable tool for businesses to evaluate their marketing and sales strategies. By analyzing the CAC ratio, businesses can identify areas where they are overspending and make necessary adjustments to reduce costs while still acquiring new customers.

### CAC Ratio vs. LTV Ratio

The CAC ratio is typically compared to the Lifetime Value (LTV) ratio as they both play a significant role in determining a business’s profitability. The LTV ratio measures the total revenue expected from each customer over their lifetime with a business. Comparing the CAC ratio to the LTV ratio provides insight into the effectiveness of the company’s marketing and sales strategy as well as the sustainability of the business’s profitability.

For example, if a business has a high CAC ratio and a low LTV ratio, it may indicate that the company is spending too much to acquire customers who are not generating enough revenue to justify the cost. On the other hand, if a business has a low CAC ratio and a high LTV ratio, it may indicate that the company is acquiring profitable customers who will generate significant revenue over their lifetime.

### How the CAC Ratio Affects Investment Decisions

Investors consider the CAC ratio when deciding whether to invest in a business. For instance, if a business has a high CAC ratio, it may signal that the company is spending more to acquire new customers than what they are worth. Consequently, investors may be more hesitant to invest in the business. Alternatively, a low CAC ratio may signify that the company is acquiring customers profitably, indicating a higher potential for growth, and investors may be more inclined to invest.

Overall, the CAC ratio is a critical metric for businesses and investors alike. It provides valuable insights into a business’s marketing and sales strategies, profitability, and growth potential. By monitoring and analyzing the CAC ratio, businesses can make necessary adjustments to reduce costs and improve profitability, while investors can make informed investment decisions based on a company’s CAC ratio.

## Calculating the CAC Ratio

### Identifying the Components

To calculate the CAC ratio, you need to identify the marketing and sales expenses and the number of new customers acquired. Marketing expenses include the costs of advertising, events, and promotions, while sales expenses include the salaries of sales staff and commissions paid. The number of new customers acquired refers to the number of unique customers who have made their first purchase from the business over a specific period.

### Step-by-Step Calculation Process

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to calculate the CAC ratio:

1. Determine a specific period for the calculation
2. Add up all marketing and sales expenses within that period
3. Count the number of new customers acquired within that period
4. Divide the total marketing and sales expenses by the number of new customers

### Interpreting the Results

If the resulting ratio is too high, it may indicate that the business is spending more than they should on acquiring new customers, and it may be unsustainable. Conversely, a low ratio signifies that the business is acquiring new customers profitably, and the investment is likely to be more attractive to investors.

## Industry Benchmarks and Comparisons

### Average CAC Ratios by Industry

The industry benchmark for CAC ratios varies across different sectors, and it’s crucial for investors to understand the specific benchmarks for each industry. For instance, B2C businesses have a higher CAC ratio than B2B businesses due to the lower expected customer lifetime value in the B2C sector. In the software industry, companies may expect a higher CAC ratio due to the costs associated with product development and marketing.

### Factors Influencing Industry Benchmarks

The industry benchmark for CAC ratios is influenced by several factors, such as market saturation, competition, and whether the business has an established customer base. An established customer base typically results in a lower CAC ratio as the business can leverage its existing customers to acquire new ones.

### Comparing CAC Ratios of Competing Companies

Investors should also compare a business’s CAC ratio with its competitors within the same industry. Comparing CAC ratios provides a more comprehensive view of the business’s marketing and sales strategy and overall profitability compared to the rest of the industry.

## Strategies for Improving the CAC Ratio

### Reducing Customer Acquisition Costs

One way to improve the CAC ratio is by reducing customer acquisition costs. One way to reduce marketing expenses is by utilizing cheaper marketing channels, such as social media and email marketing. Additionally, optimizing landing pages and websites can result in higher conversion rates and reduce bounce rates, reducing marketing costs over time.

Another way to improve the CAC ratio is by increasing customer lifetime value. This can be achieved by offering loyalty programs, providing excellent customer service, and continually releasing new products or services. An increase in the customer lifetime value inflates the revenue per customer and subsequently reduces the cost of acquiring new ones.

### Balancing Growth and Profitability

Finally, businesses must balance growth and profitability. While the goal for most businesses is to grow by acquiring new customers, overspending on acquiring customers can result in unsustainable growth. Therefore, businesses should aim to strike a balance between acquiring new customers profitably and growing sustainably over time.

## Conclusion

Understanding the CAC ratio is essential to an investor in making sound investment decisions. The CAC ratio helps investors assess the cost of acquiring new customers and its impact on the overall business profitability. In this article, we looked at the definition of the CAC ratio, how to calculate it, industry benchmarks, and strategies for improving it. By understanding and utilizing the CAC ratio, investors can make smarter investment decisions and assess the potential profitability of a business more accurately.