How to Calculate Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) in BigCommerce

7 minute read

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Running an e-commerce store can be lucrative, but it can also be quite costly. For this reason, it's important to be able to monitor your expenses and evaluate their impact on your revenue. One of the metrics that can help you do this is cost per acquisition (CPA).

Understanding Cost Per Acquisition (CPA)

Before we dive into calculating CPA for your BigCommerce store, let's first define what this metric is and why it's important.

What is Cost Per Acquisition?

Cost per acquisition (CPA) is a metric that measures the total cost of acquiring a customer. This includes all the expenses you've incurred for a specific marketing campaign, such as ad spend, agency fees, and additional costs related to the campaign. CPA differs from other marketing metrics, such as cost per click (CPC) or cost per impression (CPM), in that it focuses specifically on the cost of acquiring a customer, not just the cost of generating traffic or impressions.

It's important to note that CPA is not a one-size-fits-all metric. The cost of acquiring a customer can vary widely depending on your industry, target audience, and marketing strategy. For example, a B2B company targeting high-value clients may have a much higher CPA than a B2C company with a lower-priced product.

Why is CPA important for your BigCommerce store?

CPA can help you determine the profitability of your marketing campaigns and guide your decision-making process moving forward. By calculating CPA, you can better understand the ROI of your efforts and make informed decisions about where to allocate your marketing budget and resources.

For example, if you're running multiple marketing campaigns simultaneously, calculating CPA for each campaign can help you identify which ones are most effective at acquiring customers and which ones may need to be adjusted or discontinued. This can help you optimize your marketing budget and increase your overall ROI.

In addition to helping you make informed decisions about your marketing strategy, CPA can also help you identify areas where you may be overspending. For example, if you're spending a significant amount on ad spend for a particular campaign but the CPA is higher than your average, it may be time to reevaluate your targeting or messaging to ensure you're reaching the right audience.

Overall, understanding and tracking CPA is essential for any ecommerce business looking to maximize their marketing ROI and drive sustainable growth.

Setting up BigCommerce for CPA tracking

As an e-commerce business owner, you know that tracking your metrics is essential to the success of your business. One of the most important metrics to track is CPA, or cost per acquisition. CPA measures the cost of acquiring a new customer, and it's a key indicator of the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns. Now that you understand what CPA is and why it's important, let's dive into how to set up your BigCommerce store to track this metric.

Integrating Google Analytics with BigCommerce

The first step in tracking CPA in BigCommerce is to integrate your store with Google Analytics. Google Analytics is a free tool that provides valuable insights into your website traffic and customer behavior. Here's how you can integrate Google Analytics with your BigCommerce store:

  1. Set up a Google Analytics account, if you haven't already. This can be done by visiting the Google Analytics website and following the prompts to create an account.
  2. Go to your BigCommerce dashboard and select "Advanced Settings."
  3. Select "Google Analytics" from the drop-down menu.
  4. Enter your Google Analytics tracking code. This code can be found in your Google Analytics account under the "Admin" tab.
  5. Save your changes.

Once you've integrated Google Analytics with your BigCommerce store, you'll be able to track a variety of metrics, including CPA.

Configuring conversion tracking in BigCommerce

Now that you've integrated Google Analytics with your BigCommerce store, you can configure conversion tracking to start measuring CPA. Conversion tracking allows you to track when a customer completes a specific action on your website, such as making a purchase or filling out a contact form. Here's how to set up conversion tracking in BigCommerce:

  1. Go to your Google Analytics account and select "Admin."
  2. Select "Goals" and then "New Goal."
  3. Choose a template or create a custom goal. For example, you might create a goal for when a customer makes a purchase on your website.
  4. Follow the prompts to set up your goal and save your changes.
  5. Test your goal to make sure it's tracking properly. You can do this by completing the action yourself and checking to see if it's recorded in your Google Analytics account.

By tracking CPA in BigCommerce, you'll be able to make data-driven decisions about your marketing campaigns and optimize your efforts to acquire new customers at the lowest possible cost.

Calculating CPA for your BigCommerce store

Now that you have your tracking set up, let's move on to actually calculating CPA for your store. CPA, or cost per acquisition, is a crucial metric for any ecommerce business. It allows you to understand the cost of acquiring a new customer and can help you make informed decisions about your marketing strategy.

Identifying your marketing channels

The first step in calculating CPA is identifying the marketing channels you want to track. This may include social media ads, email marketing campaigns, content marketing efforts, or any other marketing initiatives you have in place. Each channel may have a different CPA, so it's important to track them separately.

For example, if you're running Facebook ads and Google AdWords campaigns, you'll want to track the CPA for each of those channels separately. This will allow you to see which channel is more cost-effective and adjust your budget accordingly.

Tracking costs associated with each channel

The next step is to track the costs associated with each of these channels. This may include data such as ad spend or fees paid to a marketing agency to run campaigns on your behalf. Make sure to gather all of this data and organize it in a way that's easy to reference.

It's important to note that not all costs associated with a marketing channel should be included in the CPA calculation. For example, if you're running an email marketing campaign, you wouldn't include the cost of your email service provider in the CPA calculation. Instead, you would only include the cost of creating and sending the emails.

Calculating the number of acquisitions per channel

Once you have tracked your costs, you'll need to calculate the number of acquisitions per channel. An acquisition is a user who takes a specific action, such as making a purchase or filling out a contact form. This data may be pulled from your BigCommerce dashboard or through Google Analytics.

It's important to make sure you're tracking the right actions as acquisitions. For example, if you're running a social media ad campaign, you may want to track the number of purchases made by users who clicked on the ad, rather than just the number of clicks.

Determining the CPA for each channel

Finally, you can calculate the CPA for each channel by dividing the total cost of each channel by the number of acquisitions associated with that channel. This will give you a clear understanding of the cost-effectiveness of your various marketing campaigns and help guide your future decisions.

Remember, CPA is just one metric to consider when evaluating your marketing campaigns. It's important to look at other metrics, such as conversion rate and customer lifetime value, to get a complete picture of your marketing performance.

By regularly tracking and analyzing your marketing metrics, you can make informed decisions about where to allocate your marketing budget and optimize your campaigns for maximum ROI.

Analyzing and optimizing your CPA

Now that you've calculated your CPA, it's time to analyze the data and optimize your marketing campaigns accordingly.

Comparing CPA across marketing channels

Start by comparing CPA across your various marketing channels. Identify which channels have the highest and lowest CPA, and try to isolate the factors that contribute to these differences.

Identifying areas for improvement

Once you've identified areas where your CPA is particularly high, brainstorm ways to make improvements. This may include tweaking your messaging, targeting different audiences, or experimenting with different advertising platforms.

Implementing strategies to lower CPA

Finally, implement these strategies and track their impact on CPA. Keep in mind that changes won't necessarily produce immediate results, so be patient and continue to monitor and adjust as needed.


Calculating and analyzing your CPA is an essential part of running a successful e-commerce store. By setting up your BigCommerce store for CPA tracking and regularly analyzing your data, you can make informed decisions about your marketing budget and optimize your efforts for maximum profitability.

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