Four essential community health indicators for your community

  • 17 June 2021
  • 3 replies
Four essential community health indicators for your community
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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.




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


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


For closed communities / Bonus metric: Monthly active users / Monthly active customers

We recognize that the KPI above is not measurable if you have a closed community (set to “private”, login required). For this scenario, but also for additional indication of the reach of your community, it might be interesting to see the percentage of monthly active users (or customers). But what do we actually define as active? And which total do we compare it with? Generally speaking, we see different trends in B2B and B2C communities:


B2B Communities usually measure monthly active customers, by checking which percentage of the total amount of customers (of your company) has visited the community last month. Mostly this is not calculated on an individual user level, but rather on the company level - so if three users working for Acme visited, this counts as one active customer. Some even differentiate between key users (e.g. sys admins) and end users (using but not managing your software). While the login is the go-to event to measure it, others argue that merely browsing the community can be counted as an activity, as users actively consume content.

Calculation Source Benchmark What to focus on if off-track

% of total customers (ideally % of companies) of your company

that visited the community

Login export; Audience Dashboard,

Engagement Dashboard (Integration required)

+/- 60% for mature communities Integration into customer communication, onboarding, etc., content calendar / collaboration with other departments


B2C Communities usually measure monthly active users, mostly by comparing it to the total amount of registered users. This makes much more sense if your company has millions of end users, or when your community does not happen to play a central role in your customer lifecycle. Here Community Managers simply take the total amount of registered users and calculate the percentage of users that either logged in or visited the community.

Calculation Source Benchmark What to focus on if off-track

% of total registered users that visited / logged in

to your community

Login export; User Dashboard,

Engagement Dashboard (Integration required),

Google Analytics (returning visitor %)

+/- 6% for communities

>100k users

Community newsletter, re-engagement campaigns,

website / product integrations (links to the community),

highlight engaging content on home & topic pages



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


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. 




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


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.




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


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

Userlevel 6
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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 6
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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!