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How to measure community engagement
Jan 14th, 2023

How to measure community engagement

Growing and managing a thriving community begins with understanding your community metrics. As the saying goes, “You can’t manage what you can’t measure.”

In this post, we’ll look at how to measure community engagement metrics so you can deliver more value to your members and scale your community.

What is community engagement?

Community engagement is a measure of your members’ active participation and involvement in your community. Robust community engagement indicates your community is in good health, which generally means more satisfied customers.

When you monitor community engagement, you’re tracking behavioral patterns. These may include:

  • How frequently your members join community conversations, events, and programs across different channels
  • How often your members interact with each other
  • Which topics drive the most member engagement

Measuring community engagement in context

Keep in mind that engagement is only one type of community metric. To make informed decisions about your community-led growth, you should combine engagement data with other metrics, such as:

These are metrics related to the size of your community, as well as key context about members, such as where they’re located and which industries they work in.

These are metrics related to how frequently and quickly community members receive responses, either from your team or other community members.

Business impact
These are metrics related to how community influences with business goals, including product adoption, customer retention, and more.

Effectively updating, integrating, and analyzing all of this data is essential to understanding your community. It’s also extremely complex without the right tools. That’s why companies rely on purpose-built technologies to power community analytics.

Why should you measure community engagement?

When you understand how people are engaging, you’re in a better position to motivate and support them to engage more. A strong and engaged community lays the foundation for successful community-led growth.

For example, keeping a pulse on trending topics is key to knowing what’s hot (or not) in your community, which can spark content ideas, factor into sales conversations, and inform product development.

Community engagement insights also enable brands to scale product education and support beyond the capacity of internal teams. That means identifying product issues, feedback, and feature requests in real time, as well as understanding which topics are top of mind (and if any immediate action is required).

A checklist for community engagement metrics

Here are some key engagement metrics you should measure:

  • Total number of all platform activities, including posts, replies, pull requests, event attendance, and more.
  • Percentage of your community members who post or respond to posts, such as by sharing content or answering questions
  • Number of member-hosted events, as well as how they’re geographically distributed and how many members attend
  • Percentage of your community that qualifies as product champions
  • Most popular discussion topics, including feature requests, bugs, and product appreciation

4 methods for for measuring community engagement

Community engagement data enables you to confront immediate problems and work toward long-term goals. It’s just a matter of knowing how to collect the right information.

Let’s look at four approaches to measuring community data and how they can work together:

  1. Platform-specific activities
  2. Sentiment analysis and auto-categorization
  3. Frequency and distribution
  4. Contributors and champions

1. Platform-specific activities

Platform-specific activities are a great starting point.

These may include:

  • Posts and replies in Slack
  • Pull requests in GitHub
  • Comments, questions, and answers in Stack Overflow
  • Event registrations and attendance in Meetup

Monitor the total volume of your platform-specific activities. Collect this data for a quick view of how and where your members are engaging most with your community.

2. Sentiment analysis and auto-categorization

Next you can layer sentiment analysis and auto-categorization on top of your platform-specific activities. Examples include:

  • Feature requests
  • Bugs
  • Product appreciation

This will give  you actionable intelligence you can use to prioritize your time and attention. See a trending topic around a broken workflow or a bug that's blocking someone? These are signals to get in touch with your product team and get your community members help.

3. Frequency and distribution

Now you can start focusing on how often specific things occur.

Say you’re most concerned with product education and awareness. One option is measuring the frequency and geographic distribution of member-hosted events to see how engaged your community is.

4. Contributors and champions

Finally, you can concentrate on the community members who have the most influence. Track the percentage of members who are actively starting and adding to conversations, as well as those who act as your product champions.

Contributors are those who are actively answering questions, sharing content, and engaging with others. Ideally, you want your contributor population to grow at a faster rate than overall membership growth. This is a signal of greater contributions from the community overall.

Product champions are your most active, vocal, and enthusiastic users. One of the ultimate signs of positive community engagement is advocacy for your product and company. So if you’re successfully able to identify and nurture product champions through your community program, your engagement strategy is working.

Measuring engagement with Common Room

As an intelligent community growth platform, Common Room provides powerful tools to help you measure community engagement. In addition to serving up data on how frequently members interact with each other and the topics they’re most interested in, it enables you to stay on top of what your members care about and drive impactful conversations via automated alerts.

It also delivers insights into membership so you can activate your product champions and empower them to scale their advocacy. Plus, it offers information on responsiveness so you can ensure members are receiving timely responses to their questions or contributions, boosting their satisfaction and experience within your community.

With the help of machine learning, Common Room automates metrics collection and analysis, ensuring you have all the information you need to make real-time, data-backed decisions to better manage and scale your community.

Ready to intelligently engage and grow your community? Try Common Room for free or request a demo. And now that you know how to measure community engagement, check out Community analytics: why they’re important and what to measure. To chat community growth with community and DevRel professionals like you, join us in the Uncommon Community Slack.