What is rfm analysis? | Springwood
RFM analysis
RFM Analysis

Using RFM Analysis and Customer Segmentation to Improve Retention Strategies

Learn how to use RFM analysis and customer segmentation to create targeted retention strategies that will improve customer loyalty and increase revenue. Read the article to know more!

Using RFM Analysis and Customer Segmentation to Improve Retention Strategies

In today's highly competitive business landscape, understanding your customers is paramount. Recognizing behavior patterns within your customer base can make all the difference in tailoring your services and retaining valuable customers while re-engaging those who may be dissatisfied or slipping away.

You don’t want to overspend on the customer segment that has not used your product or services in a very long time or have not actually made any significant purchase. But how do you identify and achieve these customer segments? One of the most effective strategies for achieving this is RFM analysis.

What is RFM Analysis?

RFM analysis, short for Recency, Frequency, and Monetary value analysis, is a powerful method for customer segmentation and behavioral targeting. It allows businesses to categorize and group customers based on three key metrics:

Recency: How recently has the user spent money?

Frequency: How often do they spend money?

Monetary Value: How much do they spend in each transaction?

Customers are assigned numerical ratings for each of these metrics, typically on a scale from 1 to 5, where a higher score is considered better. These individual scores, when taken together, offer a comprehensive view of customer behavior.

RFM analysis provides valuable insights into your customer base, enabling you to assess their current value, predict their future behavior, and formulate strategies for customer engagement and retention.

The beauty of the RFM analysis lies in its simplicity. The segmentation created using RFM analysis is straightforward and useful in terms of understanding who are your loyal or potentially loyal customers, and who are churning out. The RFM analysis creates an elaborate chart with multiple customer segments which are pre-named for the ease of understanding. Below is attached an image which clearly depicts how the output of RFM analysis looks like.

RFM analysis chart

The champions and loyal customers are always at the top right corner of the chart as they have high frequency and recency values. Whereas the users that are churning or have churned lies in the bottom left corner of the chart. The graphical representation of customer segmentation makes it easier for anyone to understand the action that needs to be taken for each customer segment.

Benefits of RFM Analysis

Scoring your users with an RFM model allows you to understand what drives your users, making it easier to identify valuable customers and cater to their needs.

Let's explore some of the benefits of RFM analysis in more detail:

1. Finding and Keeping Valuable Users
Identifying valuable users is crucial for any business. Users with high-frequency scores are the ones who frequently interact with your application. These users can provide valuable insights into what makes your app appealing. Engage with them, discover what keeps them coming back, and work on maintaining and improving those features.

Similarly, users with high monetary value scores are more likely to make substantial purchases. Understanding their spending patterns allows you to encourage these behaviors, which can lead to increased engagement and higher revenue. You can also promote additional offerings to keep them engaged.

Recent purchasers, with high recency scores, are more likely to return to your app. Focusing on these users and encouraging them to use your app again can boost their spending and increase customer retention.

Users with high scores in all three RFM metrics are your golden geese. By paying special attention to these users, you can pinpoint the elements that make your app engaging and reinforce the value you offer.

2. Retaining Users
Monitoring RFM scores over time helps you identify users who are gradually using your app less or spending less money. Declining frequency scores are an early warning sign that a user may be disengaging. Using the recency metric, you can encourage these users to return with targeted offers, reminders, or incentives.

3. Supporting Customer Service
RFM scores can also be a valuable resource for customer support. Support agents can use these scores to quickly identify the type of user they are dealing with. High monetary value users may be disengaging, while low-value users may need less attention. This allows support teams to prioritize effectively and tailor their interactions.

4. Getting Back Lost Users
Lost users can often be re-engaged. By grouping users who have left at different stages in your app's lifecycle, you can identify why they left and offer solutions. Reintroducing popular features that were removed in the past can rekindle interest and bring back lost users.

benefits of rfm analysis

How to Build an RFM Model

To harness the power of RFM analysis, you need to create an RFM data model. This model defines the scoring scale and ranking system for your customers.

Here's how to get started:

1. Decide on the Scale and Scoring System:
The first step in building an RFM model is choosing a scoring scale. Typically, customers are scored on a scale from 1 to 5 for each RFM component, with 1 being the lowest and 5 being the highest score. Users are divided into quintiles based on their metric scores, providing a relative value compared to other customers. The combined scores result in a three-digit RFM score, ranging from 111 to 555.

2. Testing Your Model:
Before applying your RFM model to your customer data, it's essential to validate its effectiveness. You can do this by comparing the model's results with actual sales data of your business to ensure they align with real-world interactions.

3. Adjust your model according to the audience
If your audience is spread across various geographies and uses different currencies, then you might want to adjust your model for each country/region to take the exchange rates, regional price expectations, and spending patterns into consideration.

A user in one country with high monetary value might be spending less than another customer with the same value in a different country. RFM analysis is capable of taking these into consideration and making necessary adjustments to provide an optimal customer segmentation.

RFM Score Analysis - Grouping and Segmenting Your Audience

Once you have your RFM model in place and have assigned RFM scores to your customers, you can begin segmenting your customer base. This segmentation allows you to make informed decisions about how to improve the customer experience. Here are some common customer segments:

  1. Fresh Leads - RFM Score = 511
  2. New and Promising Customers - RFM Score = 514
  3. Loyal Customers - RFM Score = 453
  4. At-Risk Customers - RFM Score = 324
  5. Cannot Lose - RFM Score = 155, 245
Once these segments are defined, you can take action to engage and retain customers based on their RFM scores and segments.

Taking Action with RFM Analysis
The power of RFM analysis is unleashed when you take action based on the insights it provides. This enables to:

  • Analyze users within different segments
  • Target specific segments with dedicated engagement campaigns
By utilizing RFM-based approaches, you can optimize your marketing efforts, target high-risk customers, offer discounts, and encourage customer retention. This data-driven approach aligns well with customer retention and growth strategies that incorporate the Net Promoter Score (NPS).

One Size Doesn't Fit All
While RFM modeling and analysis are highly effective for both subscription and product-based business models, it's crucial to recognize that these models are highly subjective. The actions that make your application profitable and sustainable may differ from those of other apps. Your RFM model should be tailored to your unique market landscape and business requirements.

Remember that RFM analysis is an iterative process, and your models should adapt to changing market conditions and evolving user expectations.

Limitations of RFM Analysis

Despite its many advantages, RFM analysis does have limitations:

  1. Not Suitable for Low-Frequency Purchases: RFM analysis may not work well for products or services that customers buy infrequently, as it relies on purchase data for insights
  2. Limited Insights into Why Users Purchase: RFM analysis provides insights into purchasing behavior but doesn't explain why users make specific purchases. To address this limitation, you can merge RFM scores with additional behavioral and demographic attributes
  3. Risk of Neglecting Lower-Ranked Customers: Some businesses may focus solely on their top-tier customers, neglecting lower-ranked customers who still hold potential value. Remember that RFM analysis should optimize marketing efforts for different customer segments and budget distribution

Variants of RFM Analysis

In addition to the standard RFM model, there are variants that can be adapted for different scenarios:

  • RFD (Recency, Frequency, Duration): This variant replaces monetary value with the duration the user pays attention to your product. It's relevant for products monetized through sponsored content viewed by an audience like Sponsored Instagram Stories, and YouTube videos
  • RFE (Recency, Frequency, Engagement): In this case, engagement replaces monetary value, with engagement being defined based on the service you offer

Final Thoughts

RFM analysis is a powerful tool for customer segmentation, engagement, and retention. By understanding the recency, frequency, and monetary value of your customers, you can tailor your strategies to effectively cater to their needs. However, it's important to remember that one size doesn't fit all in the world of RFM analysis. Your models should evolve and adapt to the unique dynamics of your market and user base.

At Springwood, we specialize in RFM analysis and customer segmentation, helping businesses leverage data to achieve exceptional results, even in challenging economic conditions. If you're looking to implement RFM analysis for your business, reach out to us, and we'll work with you to create highly effective retention strategies and targeted communication with your customer segments that reflect your specific user base, keeping them fresh, engaged, and growing.

Keywords - rfm analysis, customer segmentation, retention strategies, customer retention, customer engagement, marketing automation, automated marketing services in US

Related Readings

Here are few more good reads for you to explore.


Top 5 Alternatives for Firebase Notification Services to Consider for Push Notifications

Top 5 alternatives for push notification for your business needs.


Team Springwood

April 04, 2023


How Customer Data Platforms are Reshaping the
Banking Industry

Banking industry is adopting customer data platforms to increase customer retention and engagement.


Team Springwood

April 04, 2023


Leverage MoEngage to capture a 360-degree profile of
your Customer

MoEngage captures 360 degree customer overview and helps to improve customer retention.


Team Springwood

April 04, 2023

Subscribe Now to get
Latest Martech News via Springwood Newsletter

Only important news and sales. Never spam.