Customer Acquisition Cost in the Healthcare Industry

Many healthcare practices need clarification on a reasonable customer/patient acquisition cost (CAC) for their clinic. We have compiled the average CAC by clinic type and marketing channel. This information is useful in evaluating your healthcare marketing campaigns and judging their success.

The clinic-type CAC breakdown is grouped into organic and paid marketing channels. Organic marketing channels include any medium where you are not directly paying for ad impressions such as SEO, email marketing, and organic social media. Alternatively, paid marketing channels include channels such as Google Ads, Meta Ads, TV, radio, and any other channel where marketing dollars directly purchase impressions. 

Calculating Customer Acquisition Cost

To calculate customer acquisition cost, use the following formula:

CAC = Sales/Marketing Expenses ÷ Number of New Patients Acquired

Ideally, CAC should be evaluated independently at the most precise degree possible. For example, if you are running a Meta Ad campaign and the average CAC is $100, the individual CACs of each ad could be $60, $80, $100, $120, and $140. In this case, it makes sense to turn off the ads with a higher CAC in favor of those with a lower CAC.

Here are the CACs you should expect to pay. 


Average CAC by Clinic Type

Each clinic type’s average CAC will vary due to variations in price and demand for the healthcare service. 

Clinic TypeOrganic CACPaid CAC
General Practice$294$477
Obstetrics and Gynecology$343$557
Otolaryngology (ENT)$294$477
Allergy and Immunology$176$286
Pain Management$343$557
Physical Therapy$274$445

Average CAC by Marketing Channel

The following table gives the average CAC for the most common marketing channels used by healthcare clinics. 

Marketing ChannelCAC
Radio/TV Ads$449
Organic Social Media$385
Meta Ads$577
Google Ads$513

Interpreting Your CACs

When auditing a marketing campaign, consider the customer lifetime value to customer acquisition cost (LTV:CAC) ratio. Generally, a 3:1 ratio is considered healthy. This means for every $1 spent on marketing, $3 is generated from the customer of the course of their customer lifetime.

If your ratio is too low, it means the marketing is ineffective or you are spending too much on the marketing as the market does not contain enough customers to lower your CAC. Alternatively, if your LTV:CAC ratio is much higher than 3:1, there is most likely an opportunity to spend more within the same and across marketing channels and acquire a greater amount of overall customers, thereby yielding a higher profit even if the LTV:CAC ratio is lower. 

Lowering Your CAC: Next Steps

The best way to lower your CAC is to optimize your marketing budget towards channels that result in lower CACs. Generally, organic channels such as SEO and email marketing will yield the lowest CACs. If you would like to explore launching an SEO campaign for your healthcare practice, consider reaching out to us on our contact us page.