Tools to research community potential


(Anton) #1

Is there any good tool to research and estimate potential community size based on multiple criteria?

How I see it is that it asks a lot of questions, and most of the answers you will have to dig on yourself - but then they are used to calculate and predict the possible size of a given community.

It should be based on some accepted and proven statistics, as well as the numbers I would research and feed it with.


(Darren Gough) #2

Hi @meglio,

Don’t know a tool like this myself - communities range so much in size it might be hard to get consistent data, even for communities that share common objectives and functions.

Likewise, when you say size - is that membership, engagement, amount of topics and sub topics? For example if you look at Big Boards, assuming this data is fairly accurate you can see that something like 4chan completely bucks the trend of members vs. posts.

What’s the desired outcome of having such a tool? Is it to justify a business case and get investment, or understand moderation/running costs, etc? I think knowing the objective might help us work backwards to what can be done.


(Anton) #3

The objective is developing such a tool: if it makes any sense :slight_smile:


(Sarah Hawk) #4

I like where you’re going with this, although I wonder how much value people would get from the size prediction. A tool that helped you plan and manage the community by pinpointing data anomalies would be awesome.

For instance, if I had a tool that notified me that a lot of people are signing up and reading about a particular topic (or a particular thread) and then bouncing without engaging, it might prompt me to expand on the topic, or add CTAs to channel people to relevant articles.


(Richard Millington) #5

I remember writing this a few years ago which might be relevant: https://www.feverbee.com/tfas/.

Ultimately it would be the number of people who are interested in the topic. You could probably get a rough idea of that information by mentions on Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn job titles and extrapolating to some degree.

But that would miss the obvious problem, you can’t reach most of them. Not online anyway. Nextdoor did an incredible job sending out postcards which proved amazingly effective…but that’s the exception based upon having a contact address…most of us won’t have that address.

So it’s not just about the size of the field, but how many of them you can figure out a way to reach. That’s probably a closer representation of the audience size.


(Darren Gough) #6

Tool to achieve what though? What you theoretically have this data - what do you see as the value in having it?


(christopher w) #7

Recently a colleague set out to raise funds for a new teenager focused YouTube channel. As a broadcaster by trade she’d done all the things one does when making a film/tv pitch and it all looked great and sounded very convincing. The funders agreed to put money in subject to an acceptable prediction on the number of channel subscribers. To achieve this they provided her with a spreadsheet model, much of it gleaned from research similar to this:

Virality Prediction and Community Structure in Social Networks

It’s still an art rather than a science in that results aren’t always repeatable, but it does indicate where the industry is going and the tools financiers are starting to use when assessing community projects - notably the similarities and differences between virality in social communities and those exhibited by viral infections.


(Sarah Hawk) #8

In that context it makes a lot of sense.


(christopher w) #9

Why not in the context being discussed?


(Sarah Hawk) #10

I didn’t realise that there was a context being discussed – I think that is what Darren was trying to figure out.


(christopher w) #11

I was referring to the context of the original post.


(Sarah Hawk) #12

I confused things – I wasn’t responding to the OP. I had previously asked what people considered the value of such a tool to be. Your post provided the answer, which is what I was commenting on. :slight_smile: