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How to Calculate Customer Lifetime Value (LTV) for a SaaS Subscription: A Comprehensive Guide

Understanding Customer Lifetime Value (LTV) is crucial for SaaS (Software as a Service) businesses aiming to maximize profitability and enhance customer relationships. LTV measures the total revenue a business can expect from a single customer account throughout its lifespan. Calculating LTV helps SaaS businesses make informed decisions on marketing strategies, customer retention efforts, and overall business planning. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to calculate customer lifetime value effectively for a SaaS subscription model.

Why is Customer Lifetime Value Important?

Before diving into the calculation, it’s essential to understand why LTV matters. By knowing the LTV, SaaS businesses can:

  • Optimize Marketing Spend: Allocate resources to acquire customers who will bring in the most value over time.
  • Improve Customer Retention: Identify high-value customers and implement strategies to retain them.
  • Enhance Product Offerings: Tailor features and services to meet the needs of high-value customers.
  • Increase Profitability: Focus on long-term value rather than short-term gains.

Key Components of Customer Lifetime Value

To calculate LTV for a SaaS business, you need to consider several key metrics:

  1. Average Revenue Per User (ARPU): The average monthly revenue generated per user.
  2. Customer Churn Rate (CCR): The rate at which customers cancel their subscriptions.
  3. Gross Margin (GM): The percentage of revenue remaining after accounting for the cost of goods sold (COGS).

The Basic LTV Formula

The basic formula to calculate Customer Lifetime Value in a SaaS business is:


Step-by-Step Calculation

  1. Determine the Average Revenue Per User (ARPU): Calculate the total monthly revenue and divide it by the number of active users.ARPU = Total Monthly Revenue / Number of Active Users
  2. Calculate the Customer Churn Rate (CCR): Divide the number of customers lost during a month by the number of customers at the start of the month.CCR = Customers Lost in a Month / Total Customers at the Start of the Month
  3. Determine the Gross Margin (GM): Subtract the cost of goods sold (COGS) from the total revenue, then divide by total revenue and multiply by 100 to get a percentage.GM = ((Total Revenue – COGS) / Total Revenue) × 100
  4. Calculate the LTV: Finally, use the formula to find the LTV.LTV = (ARPU × GM) / CCR

Example Calculation

Let’s say you run a SaaS company. Your total monthly revenue is $50,000, with 1,000 active users. Your monthly churn rate is 5%, and your gross margin is 80%. Here’s how you’d calculate the LTV:

  1. ARPU: $50,000 / 1,000 = $50
  2. CCR: 50 / 1,000 = 0.05 or 5%
  3. GM: 80% or 0.8
  4. LTV: ($50 × 0.8) / 0.05 = $800

In this example, the average customer lifetime value is $800.

Enhancing Customer Lifetime Value

Once you’ve calculated your LTV, the next step is to enhance it. Here are some strategies:

  • Improve Customer Experience: Provide excellent customer support and regular updates with new features.
  • Implement Loyalty Programs: Encourage long-term subscriptions through discounts for annual plans.
  • Upsell and Cross-Sell: Offer premium features or additional services that complement the existing subscription.
  • Engage with Customers: Maintain regular communication through newsletters, in-app messages, and community engagement.

Lifetime Value calculator (LTV)


Calculating Customer Lifetime Value is a fundamental practice for any SaaS business aiming for long-term success. By understanding and optimizing LTV, you can make strategic decisions that boost profitability, enhance customer satisfaction, and drive sustainable growth. Use this guide to start calculating your LTV and unlock the potential of your customer relationships.

Using SaaS Insights LTV is calculated and displayed with many other metrics.

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