What is ARPU?

The Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) reports the average MRR of active customers. The best teams in SaaS use the ChartMogul Subscription Data Platform to measure, understand, and grow their recurring revenue.

Average Revenue Per User

The average revenue per user (or ARPU) is a measure of the amount of money a single customer generates for a company. This metric is also known as the average revenue per account (ARPA) and the average revenue per customer (ARPC).

🦄 Pro tip!

If your business offers a free tier, consider calculating the average revenue per paying user (ARPPU). Your ARPU and ARPPU metrics will differ.

What is ARPU

Calculating ARPU

ARPU is calculated by dividing the total revenue of a business in a given period by the (average) number of customers in that same period. The ARPU formula is the SUM of all your customers’ MRR / number of customers. If a customer has multiple subscriptions, these are combined and counted as one customer before the ARPA is calculated.

📝 Example

You have 5 customers, all paying different amounts per month. Customers 1 and 2 are paying $1 per month.Customer 3 is paying $3 per month. Customers 4 and 5 are paying $5 per month. $15 (total MRR) / 5 (number of customers) = $3 ARPA. In this scenario, the Average Revenue Per Account is $3 per month.

Calculating ARPU

ARPU vs LTV

There’s a bit of confusion when it comes to the difference between the Average Revenue per User and the Customer Lifetime Value (LTV). LTV tracks the total amount of money an average customer pays you before they churn. As such, it is a measure of how well you’re retaining customers. ARPU is better suited to evaluate the performance of factors such as your pricing, your messaging, and the effectiveness of the channels you’re using to reach customers.

This is how Buffer sustained long-term growth thanks to growing their ARPA.

ARPU is not the same as LTV
Joel Gascoigne CEO at Buffer
"I see ARPA as one of the components of MRR (ARPA * Customers = MRR). Within that formula, we consciously decided to ignore the “Customers” variable and focus entirely on the ARPA variable, to drive MRR."
Joel Gascoigne CEO at Buffer

What is a good ARPU?

A good ARPU depends on your business and the niche/industry you operate in. One way to figure out what a good number is to find the ARPU of your competitors and see how you stack against them.

You should also consider is what customers you’re after — if you’re mostly chasing mice and rabbits, then you can expect to have a lower ARPU. But if you’re after whales and elephants, then a low ARPU might be a signal that your strategy is not working as intended.

What is a good ARPU?

What is APRU used for?

ARPU is a great indication for the quality of revenue you’re generating from customers. ARPU is also a quick way to figure out how you’re performing vis-a-vis your peers.

Also, t​he average deal size allows you to split your customer base into segments and analyze how each segment is performing. Or segment customers by the channel they’ve come through and compare the average revenue generated by a customer in each segment.

🦄 Pro tip!

Most investors would expect to see a positive trend in average revenue, especially for younger companies. A falling ARPU indicator (especially in more mature companies) might signal trouble ahead.

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