What Is Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) & How to Calculate It

What Is Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) & How to Calculate It

4 Min Read

As marketers evolve their ad strategies, there are plenty of metrics used to evaluate the success of their ad campaigns. We are doing a deep dive into the data that every marketer should be tracking. With ROAS, customer lifetime value (CLV), and conversion rate under our belt, it’s time to take a look at the definition of Cost Per Acquisition (CPA), how to calculate it, and why it’s important for marketers.

What Is Cost Per Acquisition?

Cost per acquisition (CPA) is a marketing metric that measures the total cost of a customer completing a specific action. In other words, CPA indicates how much it costs to get a single customer down your sales funnel, from the first touch point to conversion.

That action can be defined as a click, purchase, lead, or a multitude of other options, and will depend on your performance marketing goals.

Why Is Cost Per Acquisition Important?

Understanding the cost per acquisition is vital for any business, especially in the world of digital marketing where every click counts. Here are four reasons why CPA is of such crucial importance:

  • Budget Management: Cost per acquisition is essential for budget management as it provides a clear metric to measure how much is spent on acquiring a customer, enabling a company to allocate its marketing budget effectively.
  • Profitability Analysis: By comparing CPA to the lifetime value of a customer, businesses can determine if their marketing strategies are profitable and make necessary adjustments.
  • Campaign Optimization: CPA aids in comparing the effectiveness of different marketing campaigns, allowing companies to focus on strategies that bring in customers at the lowest cost.
  • Investment Decisions: An understanding of CPA can guide business decisions, like whether to invest more in marketing efforts or in improving product or service quality to drive organic customer acquisition.

You should calculate CPA along with other metrics like return on investment (ROI), return on ad spend (ROAS), and conversion rate to get a full picture of how successfully your ad campaign actually is performing. If you calculate your CPA only to find it is higher than expected, this is an indicator that your strategy may need to be revised.

How to Calculate Cost Per Acquisition

To calculate cost per acquisition, divide your campaign spend by the number of customers acquired via that same campaign. The CPA formula can be broken down as:

CPA = Campaign Cost / Conversions

An Example of How It’s Used

As an example of using this cost per acquisition formula in action, let’s say your campaign cost is $10,000 and ultimately you drove 1,000 conversions. Then by plugging in 10,000 / 1,000, your CPA will be $10.

What Is a Good Cost Per Acquisition?

There is unfortunately no standard benchmark that you can measure your own cost per acquisition against. Your CPA calculation will ultimately vary based on whatever industry, products, and prices you are working in. However, the following is a good rule to abide by – the lower the cost, the better your ad campaign is doing.

Another way to know if your CPA is successful is to measure it against your own data. This could include previous campaigns, or the amount could be compared to customer lifetime value (CLV). Customer lifetime value is a marketing metric that indicates the total amount of money that a customer will likely spend over their relationship with a given company or brand. The lower your average cost per acquisition is as compared to your CLV, the better your campaign is performing.

No matter what business you’re in, we bet we can help improve your cost per acquisition. Find out how we can help improve your CPA.

Cost Per Acquisition (CPA): Final Thoughts

Cost per acquisition is an essential metric that provides key insights into the efficiency of your marketing efforts by quantifying the cost associated with acquiring a new customer. By understanding and effectively calculating CPA, businesses can optimize their marketing strategies, manage their budget more effectively, and ultimately, enhance their profitability.