Customer Lifetime Value icon

What is Customer Lifetime Value?

Customer Lifetime Value is a prediction of the total value that a customer will bring to a business over the course of their relationship with the company. Customer Lifetime Value is frequently abbreviated CLTV or LTV.

To calculate Customer Lifetime Value, you need to know:

  • Expected duration of the customer’s subscription (in months or years)
  • Average revenue that the customer is expected to generate per month or year
  • Profitability or margin of the customer 

The formula for Lifetime Value is:

Customer Lifetime Value formula

If you don’t have a known value for Average Customer Duration, you can estimate it using this formula: 1 divided by Customer Churn % per month equals customer duration in months.

As an example, if a software company earns $10,000 gross margin from a customer per year and retains a customer for 5 years on average, their lifetime value will be $50,000.

Automate Customer Lifetime Value

Empower your business with real-time, automated SaaS metrics from MRR & ARR to acquisition costs and SAAS Magic Number.

How is Customer Lifetime Value is used by SaaS companies?

Lifetime Value is an important metric because it helps businesses understand the value of their customers and make informed decisions about how much they can afford to spend to acquire new ones. By comparing lifetime value to acquisition (CAC), businesses can determine the return on investment of their customer acquisition efforts and make informed decisions about how to allocate their resources. 

LTV Visualisation Example

This chart is an example of customer lifetime value, with month on month and budget comparisons, making it much easier to understand trends, improvements, even seasonality. 

Customer lifetime value visualisation

You may also be interested in

ScaleXP fully automates Lifetime Customer Value with easy customisation of definitions as well as instant links to your finance systems, allowing instant visualisation of all your data and KPIs as well as automated revenue recognition and analysis. To learn more, click here.

Customer Lifetime Value icon

Acquisition Costs

Cost to acquire one new customer.

LTV/CAC icon


Lifetime value divided by acquisition costs, indicating the margin delivered by each new customer.

Customer Lifetime Value icon

CAC Payback Period

Measures how long it takes for a company to recoup the costs of acquiring a new customer.


Read about more SaaS metrics, from ARR to Rule of 40.

Automate all your SaaS KPIs through integrated data

Connect and combine data from a wide range of accounting & sales CRM systems. Use integrated data to create a comprehensive, fully automated suite of SaaS metrics. 

Click below to understand if ScaleXP connects to your systems.