Definition of Lifetime Value (LTV)

Lifetime Value (LTV) is a digital marketing metric that estimates the total revenue a business can generate from a single customer throughout their entire relationship with the company. It takes into consideration factors such as customer acquisition costs, purchase frequency, and average purchase value. By analyzing LTV, businesses can better allocate their marketing resources and focus on retaining high-value customers.


The phonetics for “Lifetime Value (LTV)” can be represented as follows:Lifetime Value – /ˈlaɪfˌtaɪm ˈvæljuː/LTV – /ˌɛlˌtiːˈviː/

Key Takeaways

  1. Lifetime Value (LTV) measures the total profit generated from a customer during their entire relationship with the company.
  2. LTV helps businesses prioritize customer segments, focus on long-term results, and allocate marketing resources efficiently.
  3. Calculating LTV requires considering factors such as average purchase value, purchase frequency, customer lifespan, and retention rates.

Importance of Lifetime Value (LTV)

Lifetime Value (LTV) is an essential metric in digital marketing as it provides insight into the long-term financial value of a customer, enabling businesses to make more informed decisions regarding acquisition and retention strategies.

By understanding the overall revenue a customer is likely to generate over their entire relationship with a company, marketers can better allocate resources, optimize ad spend, and target the most valuable customers to maximize return on investment (ROI). Moreover, LTV allows for the evaluation of marketing campaigns and channels, helping identify which ones contribute the most to a company’s profitability.

Ultimately, a strong emphasis on LTV contributes to a company’s sustainable growth, stability, and competitiveness in the market.


Lifetime Value (LTV) is a crucial metric that assists marketers in understanding the overall worth of a customer throughout their entire relationship with a business. The primary purpose of calculating LTV is to determine how much profit a company can reasonably expect from a specific customer, ultimately guiding marketing strategies, budgets, and optimizing resource allocation.

By having an in-depth knowledge of LTV, businesses can identify high-value customers, tailor their marketing efforts to retain them, and encourage repeat business. It also aids in making informed decisions about customer acquisition costs and in determining the return on investment (ROI) of various marketing campaigns.

LTV serves as a critical tool for developing long-term marketing strategies, as it enables marketers to build more efficient audience targeting and segmentation. Furthermore, knowing the LTV of different customer segments allows businesses to prioritize their resources and investing more in those with the highest potential value, maximizing overall revenue.

Additionally, LTV provides insights into the effectiveness of varying marketing channels and helps businesses monitor and improve customer loyalty and retention. By leveraging LTV, marketers can craft personalized and relevant customer experiences, elevating the customer’s journey from acquisition to advocacy, and enhancing the sustainability and growth of the business.

Examples of Lifetime Value (LTV)

Example 1: Online Subscription ServiceAn online subscription service, such as Netflix, calculates the Lifetime Value (LTV) of its customers to better understand the revenue generated by each subscriber during their entire duration as a customer. For instance, if the average subscriber stays on the platform for 24 months and pays a monthly fee of $10, the LTV of the customer will be approximately $

This information helps Netflix in determining their marketing budget, as well as guiding them in making pricing and retention decisions.Example 2: E-commerce BusinessAn e-commerce store selling unique home decor items tracks its customers’ LTV to optimize its acquisition and retention strategies. For example, the store generates $100 average revenue per customer per year, with an average customer retention of 5 years. Based on this data, the LTV of a customer will be $

By calculating the LTV, the e-commerce store can allocate budget for acquisition campaigns (e.g., Google and Facebook ads) and implement targeted retention initiatives (e.g., email marketing and loyalty programs); thus, maximizing the value generated from each customer.Example 3: Mobile Gaming AppA mobile gaming app developer tracks the LTV of its users to quantify the monetary value generated over a user’s engagement with the app. For instance, if the average revenue generated per user is $1 per day, and the users play the game, on average, for 90 days before uninstalling, the LTV of a user will be approximately $

This information helps the developer in strategizing and optimizing its user acquisition campaigns through advertising and collaborations. Additionally, understanding the users’ LTV also guides the development of in-app purchase strategies and promotional offers to enhance user retention and monetization.

Frequently Asked Questions about Lifetime Value (LTV)

What is Lifetime Value (LTV)?

Lifetime Value (LTV) is a metric that represents the total net profit a business can expect to earn from a single customer over the entire duration of their relationship. It helps businesses understand the potential value of their customers and allocate resources accordingly, such as marketing budget or customer support services.

How is Lifetime Value (LTV) calculated?

Lifetime Value (LTV) can be calculated using a simple formula: LTV = Average Revenue per User (ARPU) * Customer Lifespan. ARPU refers to the average revenue generated by each customer, while Customer Lifespan represents the average duration of a customer’s relationship with the business. The product of these two values gives the LTV for a typical customer.

Why is Lifetime Value (LTV) important for businesses?

LTV is an important metric for businesses because it helps them make informed decisions about customer acquisition, marketing, and support efforts. By understanding a customer’s potential long-term value, businesses can strategically allocate resources to maximize profitability. Additionally, LTV can provide insights into customer retention and help identify areas for improvement within the customer journey.

What is the difference between Lifetime Value (LTV) and Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)?

Lifetime Value (LTV) and Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) are two different metrics used to evaluate the performance of a business’s marketing and customer relationship efforts. LTV represents the total value generated by a customer over their lifetime relationship, whereas CAC refers to the cost associated with acquiring a new customer. A healthy business generally has a higher LTV than CAC, indicating that the revenue generated by a customer outweighs the cost of acquiring them.

How can businesses improve their Lifetime Value (LTV)?

There are several ways businesses can work to improve their LTV, including enhancing their product or service offering, optimizing the customer journey, and providing an exceptional customer experience. By cultivating a strong and long-lasting relationship with customers, businesses can increase customer satisfaction, retention, and ultimately, their Lifetime Value.

Related Digital Marketing Terms

  • Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)
  • Retention Rate
  • Average Revenue Per User (ARPU)
  • Churn Rate
  • Customer Lifetime Profit (CLP)

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