Average Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) By Industry: B2B Edition
By Evan Bailyn; Edited by C. Warren Posted December 30th, 2022
When people ask me how to evaluate the ROI of their marketing campaigns, I tell them to start with their customer acquisition cost (CAC). That metric, along with Lifetime Value of a Customer (LTV) are your best friends in the world of B2B marketing. Once you understand your CAC within each marketing and advertising channel, you know two things: (1) Which channels to invest more and less in; and (2) your marketing department’s strengths and weaknesses. The latter can be ascertained by comparing your CACs against industry benchmarks.
Before we begin, let’s get definitions and clarifications out of the way.
I define Customer Acquisition Cost as: Total Marketing and Sales Spend divided by Total New Customers. This calculation is made on a channel by channel basis. For example, if you spent $1,000 acquiring 5 customers through SEM, your CAC for SEM would be $200. The formula for this is shown below.
The comparison chart below compares CACs in the 29 industries our firm has the most experience with. Within each industry, I share two types of CAC: Organic and Inorganic. (All lead generation strategies can be separated into one or the other.) By “Organic,” I mean SEO and Organic Social. By “Inorganic,” I mean PPC / SEM and Paid Social.
This analysis does not include CACs for email marketing, in-person events, direct mail, outdoor advertising or other forms of lead generation about which my firm does not have data.
All data comes from client analytics accounts, sourced anonymously. Note that our data on Organic CAC is weighted more heavily towards SEO because we are an SEO company; and our data on Inorganic CAC is weighted more heavily towards PPC / SEM than Paid Social, as our clients are primarily B2B.
I hope you find this information useful in evaluating the effectiveness of your various marketing programs.
Average Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) By Industry
Below are the average CACs in 29 industries, broken down into Organic and Inorganic for each industry. You’ll notice that most of these industries are B2B, though some are high-ticket B2C.