IT Outsourcing

Mastering the Numbers: Key Metrics Every SaaS Business Should Track

2 Jun 202322 min read

Marcin Kulawik

Marcin Kulawik

Mastering the Numbers: Key Metrics Every SaaS Business Should Track

In the digital economy, the mastery of metrics and analytics is a critical element of success for Software as a Service (SaaS) businesses. These tools offer a strategic compass, providing deep insights into customer behaviour, revenue flow, and overall business health.

However, most SaaS businesses have a standout advantage when it comes to measurement—their simplicity. Only a select few metrics indeed hold significance in assessing their performance.

The following article will explain to you all the important information in the area of SaaS Business. To help you better understand this topic we will introduce to you metrics such as acquisition, churn, revenue, user engagement and expansion.

Customer Acquisition Metrics

Customer acquisition metrics provide businesses with quantifiable data to assess the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of their customer acquisition activities. By tracking and analyzing these metrics, companies can gain valuable insights into the effectiveness of their marketing campaigns and channels, allowing them to refine their strategies for better results.

Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) refers to a company's total cost to acquire a new customer. This includes the prices of all marketing and sales efforts, from advertising expenses and promotional campaigns to the salaries of the marketing and sales teams.

The significance of CAC lies in its role as a key performance indicator for businesses. It's a critical metric that helps evaluate the efficiency of a company's marketing efforts and indicates how much a company is spending to gain new customers. High CAC may mean that the company's marketing strategy could be more efficient and the company is overspending to attract customers, which can impact profitability in the long run. On the other hand, a low CAC may indicate a successful and cost-effective marketing strategy.


At its simplest, CAC can be calculated by dividing the total marketing and sales expenses by the number of customers acquired in a given period.

CAC = (Total Marketing Expenses + Total Sales Expenses) / Number of New Customers Acquired In a more nuanced approach, a company might calculate different CAC values for different customer segments or channels. This method considers that not all customers are acquired through the same marketing channels or at the exact cost.

Lifetime Value Adjusted

Sometimes, companies adjust CAC based on customer lifetime value (LTV), particularly in industries where customer value can vary significantly over time. In this case, CAC might be calculated separately for high-LTV and low-LTV customers.

How to Interpret and Analyze CAC Data

  • CAC and Profitability: A high CAC can be a concern if it exceeds the Lifetime Value (LTV) of the average customer, as this means the company is losing money for every customer acquired.
  • CAC Trends Over Time: If CAC is increasing over time, the company's marketing efforts are becoming less efficient. Conversely, if CAC is decreasing, it suggests that the company is becoming more efficient at acquiring customers.
  • CAC by Channel or Segment: Analyzing CAC for different marketing channels or customer segments can reveal which areas provide the best return on investment. It can also uncover potential opportunities to reallocate the budget to more efficient channels or focus more efforts on more profitable customer segments.

The Importance of Tracking Other Customer Acquisition Metrics

  • Conversion Rate: This is the percentage of potential customers who take a desired action (like making a purchase, signing up for a trial, etc.). Understanding how effective your marketing strategies are at convincing prospects to become customers is crucial. A low conversion rate could suggest problems with your marketing message, user experience, or targeting system.
  • Cost per Lead (CPL): This is the total cost incurred to acquire a lead (a potential customer who has shown interest in your product/service). It's calculated by dividing the real marketing spend by the total number of leads generated. CPL helps gauge the cost-effectiveness of your lead generation efforts and can be a good indicator of how well your top-of-funnel strategies are working.
  • Tracking these metrics in conjunction with CAC provides a more comprehensive view of your customer acquisition process. It can help you understand the complete picture from initial interest (lead) to purchase (conversion) to customer value over time (LTV), enabling you to optimize your marketing and sales efforts for maximum efficiency and profitability.

Churn Metrics

Churn rate, also known as attrition rate, is a business metric that calculates the number of customers who leave a product over a given period, divided by the remaining number of customers. It's particularly relevant for businesses that rely on a subscription model, such as Software as a Service (SaaS) companies.

Churn rate is a critical metric for SaaS businesses because it directly impacts their recurring revenue and growth. A high churn rate indicates that a significant number of customers need help finding enough value in the service to continue their subscription, which can lead to negative revenue growth. On the other hand, a low churn rate signifies high customer retention and typically correlates with customer satisfaction, both of which are key for the long-term success and profitability of SaaS businesses.

Types of Churn

  • Voluntary Churn: This happens when a customer actively chooses to cancel their subscription or stop using the service. Reasons could include dissatisfaction with the product, finding a better or cheaper alternative, or no longer needing the product.
  • Involuntary Churn occurs when a customer's subscription ends due to reasons outside their direct control. For example, payment failure or a change in their business status, like a business closure.

Understanding the reasons behind both types of churn can provide valuable insights to improve the product, pricing strategy, and customer service and, thus, reduce the churn rate.

Calculating and interpreting churn rate

A primary way to calculate the churn rate is by dividing the number of customers lost during a given period (say, a month or a quarter) by the number of customers at the start of that period.

Churn Rate = (Number of customers at the start of the period - Number of customers at the end of period) / Number of customers at the beginning of a period

A high churn rate could indicate problems with customer satisfaction, product-market fit, or customer service, among other issues. However, what constitutes a "high" churn rate can vary widely depending on the industry, the market, and the specific business model. Comparing the churn rate against industry benchmarks or the company's historical data can provide a helpful perspective.

Strategies for Reducing Churn and Improving Customer Retention

  • Improve Customer Service and Support: Providing excellent customer service and support can significantly reduce voluntary churn. This might include offering efficient problem resolution, having a responsive support team, and providing useful resources for self-help.
  • Enhance Product Value: Regularly updating and improving the product to better meet customers' needs can enhance perceived value and reduce churn. Collecting customer feedback and monitoring usage patterns can help identify areas for improvement.
  • Customer Education: Educating customers about how to get the most out of the product can increase customer satisfaction and retention. This can be achieved through user guides, webinars, in-app guidance, and other educational resources.
  • Proactive Engagement: Regularly engaging with customers can help identify potential issues before they lead to churn. This could involve regular check-ins, satisfaction surveys, or automated alerts based on usage patterns.
  • Reduce Involuntary Churn: Implementing strategies to reduce involuntary churn, like sending reminders before credit card expiry or making the payment process more straightforward, can also help improve customer retention.

Remember, retaining existing customers is usually more cost-effective than acquiring new ones, so efforts to reduce churn rate can significantly impact a SaaS company's bottom line.

Revenue Metrics

Revenue metrics are key performance indicators (KPIs) that businesses use to assess and analyze their financial performance and the effectiveness of their revenue generation strategies. These metrics provide insights into the company's revenue streams, profitability, and overall financial health. By tracking and analyzing revenue metrics, businesses can make informed decisions to optimize their revenue-generating activities and drive sustainable growth.

Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR) as a critical metric for SaaS businesses

Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR) is a measure of a company's predictable revenue stream. For SaaS companies that operate on a subscription-based model, MRR accounts for the total predictable revenue the company can expect every month.

MRR is a critical metric as it provides insight into the company's financial health, potential for growth, and stability. It helps SaaS companies forecast future revenue and enables better strategic planning. It also aids in measuring the impact of price changes, new customers, churn, and upsells on the company's revenue.

Average Revenue Per User (ARPU

Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) is a measure of the revenue generated per user or unit. It's calculated by dividing the total income over a period by the number of users or customers during the same period.

ARPU helps a business understand the value each customer brings to the company. It provides insights into the effectiveness of the company's pricing strategy and can be used to identify trends in revenue generation. An increasing ARPU might indicate successful upselling or cross-selling strategies, while a decreasing ARPU might indicate the need for pricing or product strategy adjustments.

The Importance of Tracking Revenue Growth and Trends

Tracking revenue growth and trends is crucial for any business as it is a key indicator of financial health and the effectiveness of the business strategy. For SaaS businesses, where revenue typically comes from recurring subscriptions, it's essential to monitor revenue trends to identify patterns, forecast future performance, and understand the impact of business decisions.

Regularly monitoring revenue trends can help a company spot any potential issues, such as declining revenue growth, early on and respond proactively. It can also highlight successful strategies or areas of strength that could be leveraged for further development.

Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) and Customer Acquisition Payback Period

  • Customer Lifetime Value (CLV): This is a prediction of the net profit attributed to the entire future relationship with a customer. CLV helps businesses understand how much revenue they can expect a customer to generate throughout the business relationship. This can inform decisions about how much money to invest in acquiring new customers and retaining existing ones. A high CLV suggests a high return on investment for customer acquisition efforts.
  • Customer Acquisition Payback Period: This is the amount of time it takes for a company to earn back the CAC, the money it spent to acquire new customers, in terms of net profit. This metric helps businesses understand how quickly they can recoup their customer acquisition investment. A shorter payback period means the business can reinvest profits back into growth more quickly.

Both of these metrics provide essential insights into the financial efficiency of a company's customer acquisition efforts and the potential return on investment. They help balance the costs of acquiring new customers against the revenue those customers are expected to generate, enabling more strategic and financially sound decision-making.

User Engagement Metrics

User engagement metrics are key performance indicators (KPIs) that businesses use to measure and evaluate the level of interaction and involvement users have with their products, services, or digital platforms. These metrics provide insights into how users interact, consume, and engage with a company's offerings, allowing businesses to assess the effectiveness of their user experience, content strategies, and overall customer satisfaction.

Metrics Related to User Engagement

  • Active Users: This metric tracks the number of users who engage with a product within a specific time (daily active users - DAU, monthly active users - MAU, etc.). It's a key measure of the product's user base and overall user engagement.
  • Session Length: This measures the amount of time a user spends in a single session when using the product. A more extended session length generally indicates higher user engagement.
  • Feature Adoption: This measures the usage of specific product features. It's a good indicator of how well users understand and find value in various aspects of the product.

All of these metrics provide insights into how users interact with a product, how much value they derive from it, and how integral the product is to their routines or workflows.

Significance in Product Usage and User Satisfaction

Tracking these metrics can help businesses assess how users interact with their products and how satisfied they are with them.

Higher active users and session length typically indicate a high level of user engagement and satisfaction, suggesting that users find the product valuable and are willing to spend time using it.

High feature adoption shows that users are making full use of the product's capabilities and find the features useful for their needs.

These metrics can highlight areas where the product excels, as well as potential areas for improvement to increase user satisfaction and engagement.

Use of in-app Analytics and User Behavior Tracking Tools

In-app analytics and user behavior tracking tools allow businesses to collect data on user engagement metrics. They can track metrics like active users, session length, feature adoption, navigation patterns, and more.

These tools can provide valuable insights into user behavior, helping businesses understand how users interact with their products, what features they use the most, where they may be encountering difficulties, and so on.

These insights can be used to improve the product, enhance user experience, and drive higher engagement and satisfaction.

Tips on Improving User Engagement

  • Personalize the User Experience: Use insights from user behavior tracking to create a personalized user experience. This could involve tailoring content or recommendations based on user preferences or behavior.
  • Improve User Onboarding: Ensure new users understand how to use the product and its features effectively. A good onboarding process can drive feature adoption and user engagement.
  • Optimize Product Performance: If analytics show that users are leaving because of slow load times or frequent crashes, improving product performance can enhance user engagement.
  • Iterate Based on Feedback: Use in-app analytics and user feedback to identify areas for improvement, then make necessary changes and measure the impact on user engagement.

Remember, these metrics and strategies should not be seen in isolation but as part of a comprehensive approach to product management and customer engagement. They can provide crucial insights that, when acted upon, can significantly improve user engagement and product success.

Expansion Metrics

Expansion metrics play a vital role in evaluating a company's growth and expansion efforts beyond customer acquisition. These metrics help businesses assess their ability to retain existing customers, increase revenue from existing customers, and penetrate new markets or customer segments.

Just like Engagement Metrics, they are sets of key performance indicators (KPIs), each focusing on different aspects of a business's growth and customer.

Cross-Sell and Upsell Revenue

Cross-sell and upsell revenue measure the additional revenue generated by selling related or upgraded products or services to existing customers.

Upselling: involves selling a more expensive version of a product or adding premium features to a customer's current development. The key metric here is the additional revenue generated from upselling efforts.

Cross-selling: it involves selling additional products or services to existing customers. The metric for cross-selling is the additional revenue gained from selling these other products or services.

Expansion Revenue: This is additional revenue gained from existing customers through upselling, cross-selling, or raising prices. It's a crucial component of revenue growth for SaaS companies, as it's often more cost-effective to increase revenue from existing customers than to acquire new ones.

Importance of Measuring Expansion MRR and Expansion Rate

  • Expansion Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR): This measures the additional recurring revenue gained from existing customers, excluding any new payment from new customers. It's a vital metric for understanding how much existing customers contribute to a company's growth.
  • Expansion Rate: This is the rate at which revenue from existing customers is growing through upselling, cross-selling, or price increases. A positive expansion rate means that income from existing customers is growing faster than the revenue lost through churn, which is a strong indicator of business health and growth potential.

Both of these metrics provide valuable insights into how effectively a company is driving additional value from its existing customers. They are essential for SaaS companies, where growth is often heavily reliant on recurring revenue from a stable customer base.

Strategies for Driving Expansion Revenue and Increasing Customer Value

  • Improve Product Offering: Offer more advanced features, greater customization options, or premium support to entice customers to upgrade their plans.
  • Leverage Customer Data: Use insights from customer data to identify upselling or cross-selling opportunities. For example, suppose data shows that a customer is using a particular feature heavily. In that case, they may be a good candidate for an upgrade that offers more advanced capabilities in that area.
  • Offer Bundles: Bundle related products or services together and offer them at a discounted price to encourage customers to purchase more.
  • Provide Value-Added Services: Additional services like consulting, training, or premium support can add value to your product and encourage customers to spend more.
  • Nurture Customer Relationships: Build strong relationships with customers through excellent customer service, regular check-ins, and user communities. Customers who feel valued and engaged are more likely to consider spending more on your products or services.

Companies can significantly enhance their growth potential and profitability by effectively tracking and optimising these expansion metrics.


In the world of SaaS businesses, tracking key metrics is crucial for success and growth. This article discussed essential metrics like customer acquisition cost, churn rate, revenue metrics, user engagement metrics, and expansion metrics. By tracking and analyzing these metrics, businesses can make informed decisions, optimize resources, and enhance customer satisfaction. Implementing a robust analytics strategy is highly encouraged to drive profitability and sustainable success. Leverage these insights to propel your business forward and achieve your goals.

If you want to incorporate SaaS into your business, it's best to trust the experts in that field. Contact us here at SolveQ to get quality in your project. You can rely on our experience and skilled developers to deliver you a complete service at a reasonable price.

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Marcin Kulawik

Marcin Kulawik

Founder and CEO of SolveQ. Huge fan of building things with purpose, agility, and having fun while changing the World. Loves his family, teammates, and nature.