What Is a Churn Rate?

What Is a Churn Rate?
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What is a churn rate? It’s the rate at which customers or subscribers stop doing business with a company during a specified period. It helps you gauge the effectiveness of your customer retention practices and understand how business changes affect customers.

For most companies, churn rate is a critical metric to track. Even if you seem to be on solid financial footing, if you’re losing customers, you could be headed toward trouble. At a minimum, you need your customers to stick around long enough to recover the money you spent to acquire them (known as customer acquisition cost).

Companies typically calculate churn at least annually, although quarterly or even monthly calculations are often valuable. Since different customer groups defect at different rates, you may also need to calculate churn for various customer segments.

Common uses for churn rate

  • Assess your company’s financial health
  • Forecast potential future performance
  • Analyze whether you are retaining customers on a month-to-month basis
  • Determine the impact of a business change on customer retention
  • Quantify customer lifetime value

Churn rate calculation example

The most straightforward way to calculate churn is by dividing the number of customers who churned during a period by the number of customers you gained during that time. Multiply the result by 100 to get your rate.

Imagine you offer subscription-based software and acquired 200 new users in the past month. However, you also lost 15 existing subscribers.

Here’s how to calculate churn rate:

Churn = (Churned Customers ÷ New Customers) x 100%

Churn = (15 ÷ 200) x 100%

Churn = (0.075) x 100%

Churn = 7.5%

There are other formulas to consider if appropriate for your business needs. No matter the formula you choose, tracking churn helps you know if you must accelerate customer acquisition or retention to meet your growth targets.

What is churn rate? It's the rate at which customers stop doing business with your company. Find out more. #marketing #contentmarketing Click To Tweet

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About the author

Connie Harrington

Connie Harrington is a content strategist with expertise spanning B2B technology, customer experience, consumer products, digital marketing, and healthcare. She has created content for brands of every scale from small startups to household name companies such as eBay, Cisco, and Purple.