Audience analysis

(Sarah Hawk) #1

How many of you do ongoing audience analysis?

I've been thinking back to past communities that I have been a part of and realised that I've never carried out the exercise retrospectively. I'm interested to hear whether others do.

(Jane Atkin) #2

Long time lurker, first time poster. I look after the team that looks after an online community of interest around travel. We have a dedicated forum for collecting feedback from people who use our site.

We do an annual survey as part of our ongoing audience analysis. We've run it twice, but it provides a whole lot of feedback from members that's really different to the type of stuff that people talk about on the open forum.

Invaluable qualitative information that we can't get by crunching the numbers from the database or looking at traffic numbers. 

(Sarah Hawk) #3

Hi Jane, it's great to hear from you!

It's interesting the the responses you get via the survey are so different. Why do you think that is? Is the survey anonymous?

Does the survey elicit responses directly related to the community, or is a broader exercise?

(Jane Atkin) #4

The first time we ran the survey was to sanity check some assumptions that we were making about how our community members use our forums as a product.

Our online community is 19 years old. We underwent a 'lift and shift' from a platform that was six years old into something custom built a bit over a year ago now. We wanted to sense check some of the decisions that we were making around the features we were building and understand how community members use the product. 

The survey is completely anonymous and helps us in a few areas.

  • Collecting demographic information.
  • Qualitative feedback about our platform, how it's used and the state of the community.
  • Determines priorities for future work on the platform.

I've found it very useful to have a year on year audit of how we're doing. Most of the comments in the forum dedicated to feedback come from a small handful of super-users. It's usually corrective feedback. I think the anonymous nature of the survey means that people feel more comfortable admitting what they find confusing or what they don't like.