As a subscription data platform, ChartMogul uses data it obtains from your billing system to calculate the metrics you see throughout our platform.
While we primarily use invoice data to achieve this, our calculations may differ from those provided by your billing system. We explore some of the reasons why metrics in ChartMogul may differ from your billing system in another article. In this article, we focus on how to audit and examine your data.
How ChartMogul classifies and displays changes in MRR
Let’s first look at how ChartMogul classifies MRR.
ChartMogul represents changes to a subscription’s MRR as activities and categorizes them as New Business, Expansion, Contraction, Churn, or Reactivation.
The tables we display below our charts generally report the number of activities or transactions — not individual customers — contributing to the total. If a customer buys or cancels multiple subscriptions, they can contribute to different types of MRR more than once. We elaborate on this below.
Smart Activity Classification allows you to select how ChartMogul treats multiple subscription activities happening within a set time frame. For example, when a new customer purchases multiple new subscriptions at the same time.
By default, ChartMogul groups these activities together and classifies all of the resulting MRR as New Business (vs New Business followed by Expansion). Learn more about smart activity classification and how it affects the classification of New Business, Churn, and Reactivation MRR.
New Business MRR
An activity contributes to New Business MRR when it belongs to a new customer who buys their first subscription.
27 is the number of business activities — not necessarily the number of customers — contributing to the $5,265 in New Business MRR.
Expansion MRR includes activities where an existing customer has either upgraded their subscription or purchased an additional one.
Similar to Expansion, Contraction MRR includes activities where an existing customer has either downgraded their subscription or canceled one — but not all — of their subscriptions.
Similar to New Business, Reactivation MRR includes activities where a former customer reactivates a previously canceled subscription.
Churn includes activities where a customer cancels all of their subscriptions.
Note: if a customer cancels their subscription and then purchases a new, more expensive one, ChartMogul classifies the cancelations as Churn and the new subscription as Reactivation. If you prefer to have ChartMogul report this change as Expansion, you can connect the two subscriptions.
Comparing ChartMogul data to your billing system
When comparing data in ChartMogul to the data stored in your billing system, an excellent place to start is checking how the following totals are the same — or different — in both systems:
- Cash flow
- Number of customers
Differences between some of these numbers — but not others — may offer insight into how each system works with and presents your data.
For instance, if ChartMogul reports fewer active customers, this may explain why MRR is also underreported. If cash flow is still aligned between the two systems, this could indicate that some subscriptions are not yet contributing to MRR in ChartMogul. This can be the case, for example, with Stripe, which requires a successful payment for a subscription before the transaction contributes to MRR.
We recommend familiarizing yourself with these settings and selecting the best one as part of setting up ChartMogul. Changing one or both of these settings requires a complete resync of your billing system data, which can take some time to complete, depending on the volume of data stored in your billing system.
Using ChartMogul’s Data Platform to identify import issues
Some discrepancies between ChartMogul and your billing system can be accounted for by issues encountered during data import.
For instance, the data format may be invalid or be otherwise unsupported by ChartMogul. This can happen at the level of the customer data, invoices, invoice line items, or transactions.
If you are an Admin, you can find such issues in the Data platform section of ChartMogul by checking Only show rows with errors. You can also see items ChartMogul is still processing. This feature is available for all of our integrations except Stripe, Chargify, Recurly, PayPal, and Braintree.
Looking at an individual customer within ChartMogul
Looking at a specific customer record in ChartMogul and comparing it to your billing system is a great way to understand how ChartMogul uses the customer’s data to calculate metrics.
Start by finding a chart whose metrics you would like to understand better. Then use the table below the chart to drill into the data. You can see which customers are contributing to the chart and then drill down to an individual customer.
Connecting MRR to underlying transactions
There are two important things you can see on a customer's page: 1) MRR throughout their lifecycle, and 2) how this ties to their transactions history.
It’s important to note that MRR is not the same as a monthly transaction. Looking at how ChartMogul interprets an invoice payment can provide insight into how we’ve calculated MRR for that customer
Here’s a breakdown of a sample transaction:
ChartMogul correctly identifies this transaction as a subscription event (as opposed to a non-recurring line item). We then determine the service period is monthly and exclude taxes from the transaction total to calculate an MRR of $133 for the customer:
ChartMogul derives Howdy-do Corp.'s MRR from the transaction type and service period (excluding taxes).
By looking closely at the transaction, you can see how we calculate the MRR and what information we are receiving from your billing system.
For instance, if you find a payment that hasn’t contributed to MRR as expected, ChartMogul may have categorized it as a non-recurring payment. In this case, we recommend checking the settings in your billing system.
Seeing a customer's behavior across the application
Once you have looked at a specific customer — or set of customers — in detail, a useful way to see how ChartMogul uses their data to calculate metrics is by adding a custom tag to each customer record, such as "Audit." You can then use this tag to filter charts and reports across our platform.
Once you’re done, you can remove the tag you created using the tag manager.
Using filters to audit your metrics
Using filters can be useful in auditing your subscription metrics, as they will help understand how a ChartMogul treats a specific set of customers.
Below are some ideas on how to use filters in ChartMogul. Drill even further into your data by using multiple filter combinations.
Filtering by subscription status
This allows you to filter for customers who are active, past due, canceled or leads. Of these, only active or past-due customers contribute to MRR.
Filtering by data source
If you’ve connected ChartMogul to multiple billing systems, use our data source filter to see how we calculate analytics for each system. Billing systems vary in how they treat customers, which may differ from how ChartMogul interprets customers from each system.
Filtering by Subscriber since
Use this filter to focus on specific cohorts of customers, including selecting date ranges.
Filtering by tags or custom attributes
Enriching your customer data using tags and custom attributes is a great way to focus on a predetermined group of customers.
Using tags also helps you identify customers who have churned (using the delinquent subscription handling setting) or customers you’ve merged by the auto-churned-delinquent-subscription and merged customer tags, respectively.