What KPI's accurately reflect a vibrant community?


(Amanda McNamara) #1

My team and I have been charged with establishing a reporting cadence around 3-5 KPI’s that accurately illustrate the vibrance of our community. Our platform has 2 main functions: posting a question or posting a note/story (our name for a non-question post). We haven’t had much success by way of getting users to post questions on their own (any WoW lift is definitely a result of in house efforts), and stories posted WoW sees a likewise marginal lift, however, we have outstanding success with visitor traffic to both questions & stories, as well as answers posted each week.

My question for you: if you were a higher up at our company, looking for a short weekly report on the success of our community platform, which kpi’s would you be interested in seeing?

Coming up with a community strategy after three years of procrastinating
(Sarah Hawk) #2

Hi @amandajmcn

It fills me with hope to hear that people are no longer just interested in vanity metrics (and blinding stakeholders with slews of numbers).

Generally I’d pick these three:

  • No of new members that have contributed
  • No of members users (members that have made at least one contribution)
  • Stickiness (DAU/MAU)

But if your strategic plan specifically involves building growth in your question metrics, I’d add in

  • No of members that have initiated a topic

How old is your community?

(Colleen Young) #3

Sarah, I’ve been wondering about the metric “number of members who have initiated a topic”. I’ve been measuring it, but don’t know what to do with it. Do you associate a judgement to this action? Is it preferred to have a member initiate a topic over joining in an existing topic? What provides more value to the community? Which action indicates a higher chance of integration of that member into the community fabric?

(Amanda McNamara) #4

Thanks @HAWK! All great ideas, I’m adding them to the list.

A little backstory to our community: I work at Care.com, the world’s largest online destination for finding and managing family care. We launched a beta version of our community Jan 2015, which was an answer hub based Q & A platform. It wasn’t very dynamic, nor was it very community-esque, but helped our site as a whole in terms of search traffic. We acquired a company called Kinsights in January of 2016, a community platform for parents and family members of children with special needs and rare medical disorders, and then, in April 2016, we launched the new community platform on Care.com. Our mission is to craft the community into place where people can find support, insight, and reliable advice from a network of peers and professionals alike. Things are relatively new, our community lives on www.care.com/c/, but we’re in the process of integrating the community into our users’ home page over the coming months.

(Sarah Hawk) #5

Good questions @colleenyoung – and to be frank, I’ve never specifically measured number of members who have initiated a topic, but given Amanda’s comments around a lack of success in that area, I think it would be prudent to track it in her case.

Tactically it might be a good number to focus on lifting, esp in the early days of a community, because it’s a stressful position to be in as a CM when you have to seed more topics than feels natural to do.

I also think that it does provide more value to the community in terms of overall health, if members initiate new topics. The greater the breadth of discussion, the more engaging the community is to new members, and I also think that members are more likely to visit again if they are waiting on responses to their own questions (+ the extra work that notifications usually do in that situation).

That’s anecdotal though.

Now that would be interesting to know, and it justifies your collection of that data!

That’s pretty new. How do you feel about the culture of the community? Does it feel like it provides a safe environment for people to ask questions? Perhaps you could consider reaching out to a group of power users and encouraging them to ask questions to model the behaviour for others.

(Tobias Eigen) #6

We’ve been grappling with this in our community as well, and would be glad to compare notes. Beyond the usual tracking of member numbers, which we always hope to see grow, we have approached this in two ways.

One is a net promoter score which we use to keep an eye on how happy people are with us and how likely they are to recommend us to their colleagues. It’s been a bit of a struggle to figure out the best place and the best way to ask for this, and the best way to measure and respond to it. Still a work in progress. So far http://wootric.com seems to be the slickest hosted NPS service we’ve seen but it’s expensive so we are working to replicate the essential functionality in our wordpress/gravity forms setup.

Another is active membership. We track daily website accesses and contributions (to catch active members who never log in), as well as other community activities like resource downloads, applying for learning opportunities and registering for webinars.

Based on active members data we’re tracking, we maintain a monthly and quarterly metric of yearly active membership, which we define as non-staff community members who match at least one of the conditions below so far this year:

  1. logged in and accessed website on at least 5 separate days so far this year
  2. used the resource library
  3. contributed to discussions
  4. registered for a webinar or in-person event

Edit: incidentally, if like me you use discourse, here’s a post that you may find helpful for getting at user participation data.