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LTV – Lifetime Value

Understanding the Lifetime Value (LTV) of a customer is akin to possessing a strategic compass. LTV encapsulates the total revenue a customer is expected to generate throughout their relationship with a business. It’s a metric that not only quantifies the financial worth of a customer but also serves as a guiding principle for marketing strategies and customer retention efforts.

Understanding Lifetime Value:

At its core, LTV is a measure of profitability. It calculates the net profit attributed to the entire future relationship with a customer. This encompasses all transactions they’re anticipated to make, factoring in costs such as acquisition, retention, and servicing expenses.

Calculating LTV:

The mathematical formula for LTV is relatively straightforward:


  • ARPU (Average Revenue Per User) represents the average revenue generated by a customer in a specific period.
  • Gross Margin is the difference between revenue and the cost of goods sold.
  • Churn Rate denotes the percentage of customers who cease their relationship with the company in a given period.

Example Calculation:

Let’s consider a subscription-based streaming service. The ARPU is £10 per month, with a gross margin of 70% and a churn rate of 5% annually.

This means that, on average, each customer is expected to generate £140 in net profit over their entire tenure.

Calculating LTV in Excel:

In Excel, you can compute LTV using formulas. Assuming you have the necessary data in your spreadsheet:

  1. Calculate ARPU by dividing total revenue by the number of customers.
  2. Determine Gross Margin by subtracting the cost of goods sold from total revenue.
  3. Calculate Churn Rate by dividing the number of customers lost over a period by the total number of customers at the beginning of that period.
  4. Finally, use the LTV formula mentioned earlier to find the lifetime value of a customer.

Utilising LTV in Marketing:

Understanding LTV enables marketers to allocate resources effectively. By identifying high-LTV customers, companies can tailor marketing efforts to retain and nurture these valuable segments. For instance, offering loyalty rewards or personalized incentives can enhance customer satisfaction and prolong their relationship with the brand.

Conversely, identifying low-LTV customers allows marketers to reassess acquisition strategies. It might necessitate adjusting targeting criteria or refining product offerings to attract higher-value prospects.

Moreover, LTV serves as a benchmark for assessing the effectiveness of marketing campaigns. By comparing the acquisition cost against the projected lifetime value, marketers can gauge the return on investment and refine their strategies accordingly.

In conclusion, Lifetime Value is a pivotal metric that transcends mere financial calculations. It illuminates the trajectory of customer relationships and empowers marketers to make informed decisions that drive sustainable growth and profitability.