Guide

Four essential community health indicators for B2C communities

  • 17 June 2021
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Four essential community health indicators for B2C communities
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With the concept of community health we determine a set of metrics that focus on essential engagement dynamics. They help us to keep a finger on the pulse of our communities and allow us to easily dial-in corrective actions. This is also why we usually touch on those in our regular business reviews with our customers.

In this article we will share four of our favorite essential health indicators that we believe every community manager should be keeping track of when running a B2C community.

 

Findability

 

Online communities are powerful because user-generated content is easily findable through search engines. By looking at the percentage of traffic that is coming via organic search (mostly Google) we get a sense of how the community is maturing in terms of findability through search engines.  

 

Calculation Source

Benchmark

What to focus on if off-track
% of traffic coming from organic search Google Analytics (Acquisition > Overview) +/- 80% for mature communities SEO optimisation, content curation, content creation

 

Note: if you are driving a lot of direct traffic through amazing integrations this % may be lower and still be perfectly healthy - always consider the broader context when looking at this metrics

 

Peer-to-peer support

 

Community members helping other members is one of the key hallmarks of a great community. By looking at the percentage of ‘best answers’ that have been marked as well as the percentage of these answers that were created by non-employees we have two of the most powerful and direct indicators of healthy peer-to-peer engagement.

 

Calculation Source

Benchmark

What to focus on if off-track

% Questions answered

% Answered by peer

Success Dashboard 

+/- 60% Questions answered

+/- 60% Answered by peer

expected for a mature community

gamification, rank notifications, engagement, superuser program. 

 

Responsiveness

 

One of the worst experiences in any community is creating a topic and not getting a reply. It would also be a huge miss for you if a potential superuser never activates cause he never got a response on her/his first activty. This is therefore also a key health marker and something to consistently keep an eye on.

 

Calculation Source

Benchmark

What to focus on if off-track
% of topics with no reply Topics export (and pivot table) < 5% topics with no reply in a mature community moderation diligence and fostering peer-to-peer engagement.

 

Aliveness

 

Everyone has experienced arriving on a community and seeing that nobody has posted in a few days (or longer!). What do you then do? You definitely won’t register or start contributing. So it’s important to track the level of daily participation in all areas of the community.  We do this by looking at the number of posts per day in each category.

 

Calculation Source

Benchmark

What to focus on if off-track
posts per day, per category Posts export (and pivot table) > 3-5 posts per day in every category drive engagement in quieter categories or reduce the number of categories.

 

Your KPIs and questions

 

What KPIs do you think are relevant for measuring community health? Please let us know so that we can all benefit from your experience! I can tell you that we even have more of those health indicators in store, so if you'd like to hear more about this, just let us know.

 


3 replies

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Nice post, @Julian - it’s good to have the benchmarks here as a reference. 

 

‘Aliveness’ was a big take home for me, when I was first shown this. We used to have dozens of categories, and we’ve reduced this right down to 6 public and 1 archive, keeping the popular ones and merging the dead ones. 

 

‘Findability’ is important, but I’d argue a x% organic traffic metric can be misleading. If forum X is not findable at all via internal touchpoints, isn’t in comms, on the main website banner, isn’t linked to anywhere etc, then your forum’s ‘findability’ is actually poor, but that forum will probably have a high % of its traffic come from organic.

 

 

Userlevel 7
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Thanks, happy to hear that this helped you to review a thing or two. :)

I totally agree with your point on integrations. As a Community Manager, you should of course be able to put these KPIs into the context of your community.

Also, I find it is important to look at the total numbers as well: Your organic traffic share might decrease after you have added some links on your homepage or in your product - but in total numbers you could even have seen more people coming from Google than in the previous period which you are comparing it with. So I learned it can be a risk to overfocus on a single KPI and it’s change and forget the bigger picture. ;)

Userlevel 5
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This is coincidental timing actually, as it’s the end of Q2, we’re looking at the numbers in more detail and refining OKPIs.

 

One of our focuses is to increase organic traffic through great content and great SEO, getting more customer sign ups via the forum (around 50% of our traffic are non customers so it’s a good opportunity to increase awareness and consideration of the brand).  The tricky thing is, the industry I work in is very seasonal. Summer is always quieter then winter. 

 

In H1 2021, we’ve seen 50% more organic traffic then the same period last year. Not bad. But how do we set a BAU target around that? I’m pretty sure this spike wasn’t all because of the great content being posted…. H1 2020 was a pretty weird time. 

 

Would an average ‘same period different year’ figure be better to base a target around? Or how about alternative SEO specific metrics like average page position, key word rankings etc

 

Thoughts from all would be welcome!

 

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