Expansion benchmarks

By Patrick Campbell

Main Takeaways:

  • Companies with LTV:CAC of 3-5:1 earn ~20% expansion revenue. 
  • Those with LTV:CAC of at least 5:1 earn more than 30% expansion revenue. 
  • Companies in top 10% of their growth cohort make ~20% from upsells. 
  • ARPU grows 2X more for companies with at least 30% expansion revenue. 

Deeper insights into expansion revenue

Expansion revenue is the lifeblood of a successful subscription business, particularly when it comes to looking at growth.

The most efficient companies when looking at LTV to CAC ratios are fueling that efficiency mainly off expansion revenue. Note that companies who have an LTV to CAC between three and five are seeing a median of just under 20% expansion revenue as a proportion of their total revenue. Those with an LTV to CAC above five are pushing above 30% in terms of expansion revenue. 


No obligation ask: Click to share on LinkedIn and thank Fred for prompting this research (you can edit before sharing). 

Expansion revenue helping fuel growth

Efficiency doesn’t tell the whole story though. Growth is important, and if you’re efficient you’re not always investing in growth. Interestingly enough though, companies growing in the Top 40% of their cohorts are seeing at least roughly 20% of their revenue coming from expansion and a high end of nearly 40% expansion revenue. 


So to be blunt - more, more, and more is really an answer of at least 20%, and you really should be shooting for closer to 30%. 

We’ve seen a good crop of externalities for companies who have cracked the 30% threshold when it comes to expansion revenue. ARPU tends to be growing at 2x the rate as those companies with expansion below that threshold. Revenue retention is typically net negative, and even gross churn is typically half. 

Of course, this data is highly correlative, because to get proper expansion revenue at these levels, you need good pricing, good product, and ultimately to be using a value metric. Yet, 20 to 30 percent can act as a solid north star to benchmark your efforts going forward. That being said, the answer is probably still more, more, and more.

Well, that's all for now. If you have a question, ship me an email or video to pc@profitwell.com and let's also thank Fred for sparking this research by clicking this link to share on LinkedIn to give him a shoutout. We’ll see you next week. 


*** If you missed any of our previous episodes you can find them here: ***

Episode 1: Churn Benchmarks

Episode 2: CAC Benchmarks

Episode 3: Pricing Benchmarks

Episode 4: Freemium Benchmarks

Episode 5: Integration Benchmarks

Episode 6: Support Benchmarks

Episode 7: Expansion Benchmarks

Episode 8: Discounting Benchmarks

Episode 9: Value Metric Benchmarks

Episode 10: Localization Benchmarks

Episode 11: Brand Benchmarks


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Patrick Campbell

SaaS Economist

Find Patrick Campbell on twitter or linkedin

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