13 SaaS Metrics to Track and their Limitations


Did you know that over 73% of businesses plan to make all their systems SaaS by 2025? In the dynamic world of Software as a Service (SaaS), understanding the right metrics can be your roadmap to success. Whether you’re a startup founder, a seasoned executive, or somewhere in between, mastering SaaS metrics can profoundly influence your strategic decisions.

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on SaaS metrics, where we break down the complex data into simple, actionable insights. Here, you’ll learn not only what these metrics are but also how to use them to propel your business forward. Let’s embark on this journey together, turning data into decisions that drive your company’s growth and customer satisfaction.


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Key SaaS Metrics

Here are we have some of the key SaaS metrics:

1. Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) – What is CSAT?

Customer satisfaction, commonly abbreviated as CSAT, is like your business’s compass—it shows how happy your customers are with your services. It’s a straightforward metric derived from customer surveys asking how satisfied they were with your product or service. For example, on a scale from 1 to 5, where 5 means ‘very satisfied’, how would they rate their experience?

Why Should You Care?

In the realm of SaaS, where choices abound and switching costs are low, keeping your customers satisfied is crucial. A high CSAT score means you’re on the right path, creating value that resonates with your users. On the other hand, low scores are a wake-up call—time to investigate what might be going amiss and fix it swiftly.

The Catch

While CSAT is invaluable, it comes with its limitations. Low response rates can skew results, making it appear that you’re doing better or worse than you actually are. To combat this, ensure your surveys are concise and engaging to encourage maximum participation.

2. Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR) – What is MRR?

Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR) is exactly what it sounds like: the predictable total revenue generated by your SaaS business each month. Think of it as the heartbeat of your company. Regular, reliable, and indicative of your business’s overall health, MRR helps you gauge the financial stability and growth trajectory of your enterprise.

Why Should You Care? –

Monitoring your MRR helps you understand not just how much you’re earning, but how stable your earnings are over time. This stability can be crucial for planning, budgeting, and forecasting future growth. Whether you’re pitching to investors or making strategic business decisions, MRR provides a clear and consistent financial metric to back your moves.

The Catch

While MRR offers a great overview, it doesn’t account for one-time payments or fluctuations due to upgrades, downgrades, or churn. This can make it tricky to get a complete picture of your financial landscape without combining MRR with other SaaS metrics like ARR (Annual Recurring Revenue) or customer churn rates.

3. Burn Rate – What is Burn Rate?

Burn Rate is how quickly your SaaS company is using up its cash reserves before turning profitable. It’s a measure of negative cash flow, essentially how much money you are burning each month to keep the doors open and lights on.

Why Should You Care?

Understanding your Burn Rate is crucial for any SaaS business, especially startups. It tells you how long you can continue operating at your current spending level with the cash available. This metric is pivotal when planning for sustainability, scaling operations, or preparing for future funding rounds.

The Catch

Burn Rate can be deceptive. A low Burn Rate isn’t always good if it means you’re not investing enough in growth. Conversely, a high Burn Rate can be sustainable in the short term if it’s fueling growth and expansion that will pay off down the line. The key is finding a balance that matches your business model and growth strategy.

4. Cash Runway – What is Cash Runway?

Cash Runway is essentially the financial track your business is running on—it tells you how long your company can operate without bringing in additional income. Calculated by dividing your current cash reserves by your monthly burn rate, this metric provides a timeline: How many months can you keep flying at your current altitude?

Why Should You Care?

Knowing your Cash Runway is like having a financial GPS. It helps you plan when you might need to secure additional funding or when to tighten the belt on spending. For startups, a lengthy Cash Runway is reassuring—it means you have more time to make your business model work, to innovate, and to attract more customers without the immediate pressure of fundraising.

The Catch

While it’s a critical metric, Cash Runway can give a false sense of security if not considered alongside revenue growth and future earning projections. It’s essential to forecast accurately and manage your cash flow meticulously to avoid unexpected turbulence.

5. Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) – What is CAC?

Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) measures how much your business spends on average to acquire a new customer. This includes all marketing and sales expenses over a given period divided by the number of new customers acquired during that time.

Why Should You Care?

CAC is your investment price tag. It’s crucial for determining the effectiveness of your marketing strategies and ensuring you’re not overspending to gain new customers. Understanding your CAC helps in setting marketing budgets, predicting profitability, and scaling your business efficiently.

The Catch

The tricky part with CAC is making sure it remains balanced with the Lifetime Value (LTV) of your customers. If your CAC exceeds LTV, you’re essentially losing money with each new customer, which is unsustainable in the long run.

6. Customer Lifetime Value (LTV) – What is LTV?

Customer Lifetime Value (LTV) is the total revenue you expect from a single customer throughout their relationship with your business. It’s calculated by multiplying the average revenue per customer by the average customer lifespan.

Why Should You Care?

LTV is the crystal ball of your revenue model. It helps you understand how valuable a customer is to your business over time and dictates how much you should be willing to spend on customer acquisition. A high LTV indicates that customers find lasting value in your service, which is a good sign of product-market fit and customer satisfaction.

The Catch

Predicting LTV involves assumptions about future behavior, which can sometimes be inaccurate. Changes in your business environment, product offerings, or customer preferences can all alter LTV. It’s important to regularly update your calculations to keep them relevant and accurate.

7. CAC/LTV Ratio – What is the CAC/LTV Ratio?

The Customer Acquisition Cost to Lifetime Value (CAC/LTV) ratio is a crucial SaaS metric that compares the cost of acquiring a new customer to the revenue you can expect from that customer over their lifetime. A simple formula expresses this relationship: CAC/LTV Ratio = CAC ÷ LTV.

Why Should You Care?

This ratio provides a snapshot of your business’s profitability and sustainability. A healthy CAC/LTV ratio (typically 1:3 or better) means you’re spending an appropriate amount on acquiring customers relative to the value they bring. It’s a fine balance—a high ratio may indicate you’re spending too little to attract quality leads, while a low ratio could mean you’re overspending and harming your profitability.

The Catch

While the CAC/LTV ratio is a valuable indicator, it doesn’t operate in a vacuum. Economic shifts, market conditions, or changes in your business model can all impact this metric. Regularly revisiting and analyzing your CAC/LTV ratio will help you stay aligned with your business goals and market dynamics.

8. Conversion Rate – What is the Conversion Rate?

Conversion rate is the percentage of visitors to your website or users of your app who take a desired action, which could range from signing up for a trial to upgrading their service plan. This rate is a direct indicator of how effectively your business is converting interest into action.

Why Should You Care?

Conversion rates are the bread and butter of SaaS metrics, directly reflecting the effectiveness of your user interface, user experience, and overall marketing strategy. Optimizing your conversion rate can lead to significant revenue growth without the need to increase traffic, which is more cost-effective than boosting visitor numbers.

The Catch

High conversion rates are great, but they don’t tell the whole story. It’s important to dig deeper into what’s driving those conversions. Are you attracting the right kind of customer, or just any customer? Analyzing the quality of conversions is just as important as their quantity to ensure sustainable growth.

9. Daily Active Users (DAU) – What is DAU?

Daily Active Users (DAU) is a metric that counts the number of unique users who engage with your app or service within a 24-hour period. It’s a direct measure of your product’s stickiness and daily relevance.

Why Should You Care?

DAU gives you a clear picture of user engagement and product dependency. A high DAU indicates that your product is a regular part of your users’ daily routines, which is a strong sign of a successful user engagement strategy. Monitoring DAU can help you understand usage patterns and identify features that resonate with your users.

The Catch

While DAU offers insights into daily usage, it doesn’t account for long-term engagement or user retention. A high DAU might look promising, but if your Monthly Active Users (MAU) are not proportionally high, it could indicate that while many users try your product, they don’t stick around. Balancing DAU with other engagement metrics like MAU or retention rate provides a fuller picture of user behavior.

10. Monthly Active Users (MAU) – What is MAU?

Monthly Active Users (MAU) is a metric that counts the number of unique users who engage with your app or service at least once within a month. It provides a broader view of user engagement over a more extended period compared to Daily Active Users (DAU).

Why Should You Care?

MAU helps you gauge the long-term appeal and usability of your product. It reflects the ongoing value your service provides, capturing both new and returning users. By tracking MAU, you can assess the effectiveness of your retention strategies and monthly engagement initiatives.

The Catch

While MAU offers valuable insights into user engagement, it doesn’t differentiate between users who log in once a month and those who use your service daily. For a deeper understanding of user behavior, it’s essential to analyze MAU in conjunction with DAU and other engagement metrics.

11. DAU/MAU Ratio – What is the DAU/MAU Ratio?

The DAU/MAU ratio is a key SaaS metric that measures your product’s “stickiness” by comparing your daily active users to your monthly active users. A higher ratio indicates that a larger percentage of your monthly users are returning daily, suggesting strong user engagement and product dependency.

Why Should You Care?

This ratio provides a clear indication of how integral your product is in the daily lives of your users. A high DAU/MAU ratio means that your users find your product essential and engaging, which is critical for long-term success in the competitive SaaS landscape.

The Catch

Focusing solely on improving the DAU/MAU ratio can lead to strategies that emphasize frequent logins over genuine value creation. It’s crucial to balance efforts to increase this ratio with enhancements that improve the overall user experience and provide real benefits to your customers.

12. Net Promoter Score (NPS) – What is NPS?

Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a widely used SaaS metric that measures customer satisfaction and loyalty. It is calculated based on responses to a single question: “On a scale from 0 to 10, how likely are you to recommend our product to a friend or colleague?”

Why Should You Care?

NPS helps you understand your customers’ overall perception of your brand and their willingness to promote it. A high NPS is often associated with strong customer satisfaction and can be a powerful predictor of growth. It’s a straightforward metric that can inform various aspects of business strategy, from product development to customer service.

The Catch

While NPS provides valuable insights into customer loyalty and satisfaction, it doesn’t provide specific feedback on issues or areas for improvement. It’s important to complement NPS with other feedback mechanisms to get actionable insights.

13. Gross Margin – What is Gross Margin?

Gross Margin is a financial metric that measures the difference between revenue and the cost of goods sold (COGS), expressed as a percentage of revenue. It indicates how much money a company retains after incurring the direct costs associated with producing the goods it sells and the services it provides.

Why Should You Care?

Gross Margin is a vital indicator of your company’s financial health and operational efficiency. It shows how effectively your business is at cost management relative to its sales. A healthy gross margin is crucial for funding growth, covering operating expenses, and achieving profitability.

The Catch

High gross margins are ideal, but they must be sustainable. Sacrificing quality or customer service to maintain high margins can harm your brand and customer satisfaction in the long run.

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The Power of SaaS Metrics

SaaS metrics are more than just numbers—they are insights that can lead your business to new heights of efficiency and growth. By understanding and strategically applying metrics like MAU, DAU/MAU Ratio, NPS, and Gross Margin, you can make informed decisions that enhance user engagement, improve customer satisfaction, and drive profitability.

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