Also called: Recurring Revenue, Subscription Revenue, Recurring Billings, Recurring Revenues, Subscription Revenues, Recurring Billing Revenue, Subscription Billings, Subscription Billing Revenue, and Annualized Recurring Revenue (ARR)
See also: Churn
Relevant metrics: Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR), Customer Retention Rate, Average Revenue Per User (ARPU), Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC), Lifetime Value (LTV), and Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)
How to calculate Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR):
ARR = Total Annual Revenue / Number of Customers
What is Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR)
Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR) is a metric used to measure the amount of revenue that a company can expect to receive on a yearly basis from its existing customers. It is calculated by taking the total amount of revenue generated from customers over a 12-month period and dividing it by the total number of customers.
ARR is a useful metric for product managers and user experience professionals as it provides insight into the sustainability of a company’s customer base and the potential for growth. ARR is also a key indicator of a company’s financial health and can be used to compare the performance of different products or services.
What counts as recurring revenue?
Recurring revenue is a type of revenue that a company receives on a regular basis, such as monthly or annually, from its customers. It is generated from services or products that the customer subscribes to or pays for on a recurring basis, such as software subscriptions or monthly memberships.
What are the different types of recurring revenue?
There are several types of recurring revenue including subscription revenue, usage revenue, and maintenance and support revenue. Subscription revenue is generated from recurring payments for access to a service or product, such as a software subscription. Usage revenue is generated from the use of a product, such as usage-based pricing for cloud computing services. Maintenance and support revenue is generated from providing ongoing support and maintenance for a product, such as warranty services.
Why is ARR better than IRR?
ARR is a better metric than Internal Rate of Return (IRR) because ARR focuses on the recurring revenue a company generates over time, while IRR focuses on the return on investment of a specific project. ARR is a more accurate and relevant metric for businesses that generate recurring revenue, as it provides a clear and concise picture of a company’s recurring revenue stream.
Why is ARR a good metric?
ARR is a good metric because it provides a clear picture of a company’s recurring revenue stream, which is a key driver of long-term growth and stability. By focusing on recurring revenue, ARR helps companies better understand their customer base and the value they are generating from their customers over time.
What are ARR targets?
ARR targets are the goals set by a company for its annual recurring revenue. These targets are used to measure the success of a company’s recurring revenue strategy and to guide future decision-making. ARR targets are set based on market trends, competitor performance, and the company’s growth goals.
Where did Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR) come from?
The term was first coined in the early 2000s by venture capitalists and software entrepreneurs as a way to measure the success of a company’s subscription-based services. ARR is calculated by taking the total amount of revenue generated from subscription-based services over a 12-month period and dividing it by the total number of customers. This metric is used to measure the success of a company’s subscription-based services and to predict future revenue.
Why track and use the metric Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR)
Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR) is an important metric for businesses to consider when evaluating their financial performance. It is a measure of the amount of revenue that a company can expect to receive on a yearly basis from its existing customers. This metric is particularly useful for subscription-based businesses, as it provides insight into the long-term sustainability of the company.
Providing a more accurate picture of the company’s financial health than other metrics such as total revenue, it is widely used. ARR takes the fact that customers may cancel their subscriptions or switch to a different service provider into account.
ARR is also a great measure to compare the performance between different businesses. By comparing the ARR of two companies, businesses can gain a better understanding of which company is more successful in terms of customer retention and revenue growth. This can be especially useful for businesses that are considering entering a new market or expanding their existing customer base.
Integrating ARR and MRR into how you gauge the success of marketing campaigns can also yield great insights. By tracking the ARR of customers acquired through a particular campaign, businesses can gain insight into the effectiveness of their marketing efforts.
Forecasting Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR)
Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR) can be used to measure the amount of revenue that a company can expect to receive on a yearly basis from its existing customers. This metric is especially useful for subscription-based businesses, as it provides a more accurate picture of their revenue stream.
ARR provides insight into the sustainability of a company’s revenue stream. It can be used to identify areas of potential growth, as well as areas of potential decline and is especially insightful when comparing the performance of different customer segments, allowing businesses to better understand their customer base and tailor their offerings accordingly.
ARR forecasting is the process of predicting future ARR based on past performance and market trends. This allows companies to make informed decisions about their future growth and revenue potential. ARR forecasting also helps companies identify potential challenges and opportunities in their recurring revenue stream.
ARR for investors
For investors, ARR provides an indication of the company’s ability to generate consistent revenue over time. This metric can be used to assess the potential of a business and its ability to generate long-term value. Additionally, it can be used to compare the performance of different companies in the same industry, allowing investors to make more informed decisions.
Advantages of Implementing Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR)
- ARR provides a more accurate picture of a company’s financial health. It takes into account all of the revenue that is expected to be generated on a yearly basis, including subscription-based services, and provides a more accurate picture of the company’s financial performance.
- ARR helps to identify areas of growth and potential opportunities. By tracking the amount of revenue that is expected to be generated on a yearly basis, companies can identify areas of growth and potential opportunities for expansion.
- ARR helps to better manage cash flow. By tracking the amount of revenue that is expected to be generated on a yearly basis, companies can better manage their cash flow and ensure that they are able to meet their financial obligations.
- ARR helps to better plan for the future. By tracking the amount of revenue that is expected to be generated on a yearly basis, companies can better plan for the future and ensure that they are able to meet their financial goals.
Challenges of Implementing Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR)
Tracking ARR can be challenging as it requires businesses to accurately track their subscription-based revenue over a 12-month period. Additionally, businesses must be able to accurately forecast their future revenue in order to accurately calculate their ARR.
- Tracking and forecasting. Accurately tracking and forecasting ARR can be difficult, as it requires a deep understanding of customer behavior and the ability to predict future customer needs.
- Customer retention. ARR is heavily dependent on customer retention, so it’s important to have strategies in place to ensure customers remain loyal and engaged.
- Pricing. Setting the right pricing for ARR can be tricky, as it needs to be attractive enough to draw in customers but also profitable for the business.
- Scalability. As ARR grows, it can be difficult to scale the business to meet the increased demand.
- Cash flow. ARR can be unpredictable, so it’s important to have a plan in place to manage cash flow and ensure the business remains financially stable.
Strategies for incresing ARR
In order to maintain and increase their ARR, companies need to implement effective strategies that target customer acquisition and retention. Here are a few strategies that subscription companies can use to increase their ARR:
- Offer Tiered Subscription Models. Offering tiered subscription models gives customers a choice of packages with different levels of features and pricing. This not only allows for more flexibility in the customer’s subscription, but also provides an upsell opportunity for the company. By offering a higher-tier subscription, companies can increase the average revenue per user (ARPU) and ARR.
- Implement Upsells and Cross-sells. Upselling and cross-selling are strategies that offer customers additional products or services related to their current subscription. This not only increases the customer’s overall value, but also generates more revenue for the company. For example, a software company might offer a customer additional premium features for an added fee.
- Enhance the Customer Experience. Providing excellent customer experience is key to retaining customers and preventing churn. By improving the customer experience, companies can increase customer satisfaction, and in turn, their ARR. This can be achieved through better customer service, improved product features, and a user-friendly interface.
- Offer Free Trials. Free trials are an effective way to attract new customers and increase the chances of converting them into paying subscribers. By offering a free trial, companies can demonstrate the value of their product or service, and provide an opportunity for customers to experience it for themselves before committing to a subscription.
- Utilize Retention Marketing. Retention marketing focuses on retaining current customers and preventing churn. This can be achieved through targeted campaigns, personalized communications, and other tactics that keep customers engaged and interested in the company’s product or service. By reducing churn, companies can increase the lifespan of their customer base and maintain or even grow their ARR.
How ARR relates to other metrics
Apart from ARR, there are several other metrics that subscription-based businesses can track to gain insights into their performance. Some of these metrics include:
- Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR). This metric measures the monthly revenue generated from recurring payments.
- Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC). This metric measures the cost of acquiring a new customer, including all marketing and sales expenses.
- Lifetime Value (LTV). This metric calculates the total amount of revenue a customer is expected to generate during their entire subscription period.
- Churn Rate. This metric measures the percentage of subscribers who cancel or do not renew their subscriptions.
These metrics are all related and can be used together to gain a comprehensive understanding of your business performance. Here’s how:
- ARR and MRR. ARR is calculated by multiplying MRR by 12, so tracking MRR can give you a good understanding of the monthly trends in your recurring revenue.
- ARR and CAC. By tracking both ARR and CAC, you can calculate the payback period, which is the time it takes for the company to earn back its CAC from a new customer. This helps you understand the efficiency of your customer acquisition process and identify areas for improvement.
- ARR and LTV. By tracking both ARR and LTV, you can calculate the customer lifetime value to revenue (LTV:R) ratio, which measures the amount of revenue generated from each customer during their lifetime compared to the cost of acquiring them. A high LTV:R ratio is a sign of a healthy and profitable business model.
- ARR and Churn Rate. Tracking ARR and churn rate helps you understand the impact of churn on your recurring revenue. A high churn rate can negatively impact your ARR, so it’s important to keep it in check.
By tracking ARR in conjunction with other subscription-based metrics, such as MRR, CAC, LTV, and churn rate, you can get a more comprehensive understanding of your business performance and identify areas for improvement.
What is the definition of ARR?
Hint ARR stands for Annualized Rate of Return and is a measure of the rate of return on an investment over a period of time.
What is the purpose of using ARR?
Hint The purpose of using ARR is to measure the performance of an investment over a period of time. It is a useful metric for comparing investments and assessing the potential return on an investment.
How is ARR calculated?
Hint ARR is calculated by taking the total return of an investment over a period of time and dividing it by the initial investment.
What are the benefits of using ARR?
Hint The benefits of using ARR include being able to compare investments and assess the potential return on an investment.
What are the potential risks associated with using ARR?
Hint Potential risks associated with using ARR include the possibility of overestimating the return on an investment due to the use of historical data.
How does ARR compare to other metrics?
Hint ARR is similar to other metrics such as Internal Rate of Return (IRR) and Return on Investment (ROI). However, ARR is more focused on the long-term performance of an investment.
How can ARR be used to measure performance?
Hint ARR can be used to measure performance by comparing the return on an investment over a period of time.
What are the best practices for using ARR?
Hint The best practices for using ARR include using historical data to calculate the return on an investment, comparing investments using ARR, and considering the potential risks associated with using ARR.
By offering subscription-based services, Shopify has been able to generate a steady stream of revenue each year. This has allowed them to invest in new features and services, as well as expand their customer base.
By offering cloud storage services, Dropbox has been able to generate a steady stream of revenue each year. This has allowed them to invest in new features and services, as well as expand their customer base.
By offering subscriptionbased software services, Adobe has been able to generate a steady stream of revenue each year. This has allowed them to invest in new features and services, as well as expand their customer base.
You might also be interested in reading up on:
- David Skok @BostonVC
- Jason Lemkin @jasonlk
- Lincoln Murphy @lincolnmurphy
- Patrick Campbell @patticus
- David Skok @skok
- From Impossible to Inevitable : How HyperGrowth Companies Create Predictable Revenue by David Skok (2016)
- SaaS: A Guide to SaaS Business Models, Metrics & Best Practices for Internet Marketers & Entrepreneurs by Jason Lemkin (2016)
- The SaaS Edge: Leveraging the Cloud to Transform Your Business by David Skok (2018)
- The SaaS Revenue Engine: A Practical Guide to Growing Your Subscription Business by David Skok (2019)
- The SaaS Playbook: Build, Scale, and Optimize Your Subscription Business by David Skok (2020)
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