How to measure engagement in your Online Community

large__1427829740In my previous two posts I talked about the difficulty of calculating the ROI of your online community. I showed you the ROI Engagement Pyramid that I designed to visualize the levels of interaction that people can show during online community efforts.  How engaged people are show up in their actions: the more engaged they are, the more they will interact. I explained that the more engaged a person is and starts to act, the easier it is to identify ROI metrics. In other words,  the higher the levels in the pyramid, the easier it is to identify clear metrics to measure your ROI.

The question remains:  How do you measure engagement in your online community?

I have compared some metrics that are often used and listed the most important ones:

  • number of unique or return visits
  • number of page views
  • number of community members/fans
  • number of active users
  • number of RSS feed subscribers
  • number of comments or amount of user-generated content
  • number of relevant topics/threads
  • number of “likes” or “shares”
  • number of responses to polls, contests etc.
  • average length of time spent on the website
  • read-to-post ratio (in member-to-member interaction programs)

“Most of these metrics describe what is happening in the community, but they do not tell much about what it means to the business,” says consultant and community manager Joseph Cothrel (18). “Many people mistake these metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) for ROI. Metrics and data are not ROI. Metrics are how you show a positive or negative change in your business. Some things go up, some things go down. Metrics are numbers that describe which business indicators go up or down. Metrics alone won’t show your company’s return on investment” (Natalie Petouhoff 12). More important are the economic metrics, which measure the on-going financial value, or ROI for the community, says Joseph. He introduces two concepts that are central to thinking about community ROI: incremental value and conversion rate.

Interesting to learn more about these two concepts? Read my next post!

Until next time,

Anne-Sophie Gaspersz

Photo credit: Aureusbay via photopin cc

Photography: Aureusbay

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