The most accomplished teams and organizations use data to inform their business decisions. You can take a similar approach to growing your user community by using metrics and the practice of community analytics.
Metrics are simply measurements or quantified values from your data. Community analytics—the deeper insights you glean from working with this data—inform the decisions and actions you’ll make to benefit your community and organization.
Together, community metrics and analytics can give you important insights into the engagement of your members and overall health of your community. They can also provide the visibility you need to activate the immense potential of community-led growth and drive meaningful results for your business.
This post will help you learn more about community analytics, why they’re essential for building a successful user community, and some ideas for where to get started.
Community analytics are the insights you get from using data to understand, measure, and improve the health and effectiveness of a community. These insights are come from:
Community analytics are the insights extracted from data while community metrics are the actual data points you collect. The two are related, but it’s important to understand the distinction.
For example, collecting metrics on membership gives you a total number of community members. Adding analytics will help you understand what percentage of that number are active members, contributors, or even champions.
While community metrics are a great starting point for measuring the health of your community, the depth of information provided by a community analytics approach can help better inform the actions you take to enhance your members’ experience in the community and its impact on your business.
Community analytics give you the actionable information you need to best serve and grow your community.
Community analytics help community teams identify and analyze trends and patterns in member behavior and activity. Because they bring together data points from across the community, these analytics also give you the information you need to understand the impact of initiatives and programs against key metrics like engagement and retention.
At the user level, community analytics can help you understand who your most important members are by identifying key contributors and advocates based on their activity and influence. This allows you to find and cultivate product champions to both recognize these members and encourage them to keep contributing, which benefits the whole community.
For go-to-market leaders, community analytics can bring together community and firmographic data to do things like source and quality new leads and improve account-based marketing performance. By connecting community data to revenue, you can also see how community engagement and activity directly impacts business results.
In this way, community analytics both support you as you scale your community as well as play a vital role in intelligent community growth.
Intelligent community growth is when you strategically leverage artificial intelligence and machine learning technology to enhance your community growth and community-led growth endeavors. Intelligent community growth can accelerate your ability to collect and act on community metrics and give you the tools you need to truly practice community analytics.
Many communities use an intelligent community growth platform to help them more quickly and confidently collect community metrics and analytics.
Growing a healthy and robust community around your product or practice starts with a solid understanding of your community metrics—especially community health metrics. Once you’ve got a handle on this data, you can use community analytics to gain deeper insights and take action.
You’ll want to look at the following types of metrics and analytics to grow and maintain a thriving community (and business).
Collecting rote membership and engagement data is not enough. It must be contextualized to deliver actionable information.
For membership, you can go beyond total member headcount to better understand who your members are and how best to engage them.
Community analytics can give you the number of community members and the mix of member types—are they influencers with broad networks and reach? Or, are they contributors who spend time teaching, answering, and helping other community members? With a community analytics approach you can find your champions through how they engage and build programs to better support them.
Avoid focusing solely on membership growth at the expense of positive community engagement. A small community that actively engages is healthier and more valuable than a large community that doesn't.
Engagement metrics should be more than just looking at the number of posts and likes.
Engagement measures can include:
Understanding the ratio of observers to active participants provides insight into how welcome, interested, and empowered members feel. Additionally, keeping a pulse on trending topics is key to knowing what’s hot (or not) in your community, which can spark content production ideas, factor into sales conversations, and inform product development.
These insights allow you to see what's trending in your community, what requires action, how your community feels, and which platforms are most active. This knowledge will inform how you grow your community—like the programs and events you run—to better foster engagement across channels.
A strong and engaged community will also lay the foundation for successful community-led growth.
Responsiveness shows you how fast and often community members are responded to when they post. It is a key measure that directly impacts satisfaction, but is difficult to unlock without community analytics.
If members aren’t getting responses or replies in a timely fashion, they may feel dissatisfied and put their time and efforts elsewhere. A new user may abandon the product and a community contributor not getting positive reinforcement from their contributions may stop posting.
Aggregate metrics from:
To get insight into:
Adjusting how you engage with your members using these insights will keep your members feeling happy and involved with the community.
Tying community activity to company goals is often the most effective way to demonstrate the power and impact of a user community.
On the most basic level, community members provide real user feedback and can drive decisions about product development pipelines and investment initiatives.
Analytics can also connect community activity to concrete company value.
Collect metrics on:
To get insight into:
While each community and the company behind it will have different goals, these sample insights should help you start to understand how community analytics will allow you to more effectively articulate the value of community to the business.
Community analytics help you make more informed and strategic decisions as you grow your community and report on its contributions to your organization, but the collecting, tracking, and analyzing of your community metrics can be a huge manual lift—and, in some cases, not possible without assistance.
When you’re early in your community analytics journey, be like Asana and start with tracking program health metrics like membership and simple engagement numbers. Then identify and grow into business metrics and take on more advanced analytics as your program matures.
If you want to level-up your analytics and unlock community as a growth engine, consider an intelligent community growth platform. This platform will help you track and take action against community metrics and analytics that span all your channels.
An intelligent community growth platform will provide:
Adding an AI and ML-powered community growth platform to your tech stack will give you the community analytics and context you need for a thriving community that benefits members and your business.
Common Room is the leading intelligent community growth platform. The platform brings together community engagement, product usage, and customer data into a single place, and uses AI and ML to surface actionable insights so teams can discover what’s most important, nurture members, collaborate more effectively, and measure outcomes.
Common Room helps you track and manage key community metrics like overall membership and engagement, while also giving you a unified view of each member across all community channels. The platform will also surface insights and trends from across the community, which are essential to understanding community health indicators—how members are engaging, what they’re saying, and how they’re feeling.
Additionally, with community analytics and intelligent insights from Common Room, you can understand the community's impact on your business and better enable community-led growth.