Why Cost per Acquisition Is the Only Metric That Can Destroy Your Company

Before I became publisher of Social Media Explorer, Jason Spooner wrote a well-crafted post singling out Cost per Acquisition (CPA) as the only metric that really matters. Having witnessed two companies nearly drive themselves into the ground via their single-minded pursuit of lower CPAs, I couldn’t disagree more with Jason. Recognizing that I’m in a critical minority on this point, please read on as I rake CPA over the coals and offer an alternative metric for your consideration.

CPA is the Melisandre* of Metrics
CPA is a beautiful, irresistible monster*. In slavish devotion, 41% of businesses consider CPA their top metric (according to recent DMA study) thus making ill-advised marketing decisions that further nourish the CPA beast. Fiendish is an understatement when you consider the hypnotic power of CPA. After all, who wouldn’t, on first blush, want to determine how much it costs to acquire customers and then figure out how to minimize these costs?
[Watch out Snapchat, a Monster Is Lurking…]
Before providing proof to this thesis and suggesting an alternative metric, let me stop and pay homage to the monster’s creator. Thanks