Every year, CMX releases the Community Industry Report to summarize the experiences and challenges of community professionals across the globe. And every year there is a consistent finding - community professionals struggle to measure the impact of their work.
In 2022, 35% of community professionals said they were not able to financially quantify the business value of their community, while 55% said it is a “work in progress.”
Orbit built Reports to support community professionals with ongoing reporting requirements and ad-hoc analysis to understand how certain actions impact community trends.
If you ask a dozen community managers how they measure their community, you will get a doze different responses. It is perhaps one of the least established parts of our practice. It can be challenging to designate quantitative metrics to an otherwise extremely qualitative human-centric effort. However, it is possible to quantitatively measure community impact by asking yourself the right questions and keeping any quantitative measures in alignment with your core values as a community manager.
📚 Learn more about setting KPIs by checking out our article How to determine your community KPIs.
Reports are some of the most powerful tools we have in Orbit because of their flexibility. There are two report views you can access: Default Reports and Custom Dashboards. Let’s dive into both:
The types of metrics shared in the Overview tab are the same for every workspace you create, but the more activity and information you have, the more detail these metrics reveal. The Overview tab gives you a quick glimpse of important metrics across all communities. They include:
Understand the health of your community at a glance. The Pulse report gives you a quick view of active members, new members, and returning members over time with filters for different time periods up to a year so you can quickly correlate changes in activity to key community events, posts, and content.
Celebrate the long-term growth of your community. The totals report gives you the aggregate view of member and activity metrics so you can see how many people have interacted with your community over its entire lifespan.
Track community growth across platforms. The Growth report shows changes in new, activated, returning, and drifting members by community platform to help you make informed decisions about where to spend time with your community members.
Understand who your top contributors and the most influential members are in your community. The leaderboard stack ranks members based on activity and reach over specific time periods. This can help determine who to interview for community feedback, who to send swag to, and help you strategize who to engage to amplify your community's voice and message.
Expand the breadth of your metrics with custom dashboards. Default reports don't often provide the specific community metrics you care about—and that’s okay! Different communities have different goals. Custom dashboards help you keep track of your community-specific metrics so you can measure progress toward your community goals.
Here's how you can get started creating your first custom dashboard.
Select New under Dashboards on the left-hand panel. Select Create new dashboard and give it a name. Then determine if you want the dashboard to be shared or personal.
Now you can start building your dashboard! Navigate to the filters section in the right-hand corner and identify the variables you want to study. This can be anything from specific member tags, activity types, or properties.
💡 Tip: In the Constellation Report we found that 84% of teams use content, newsletters, or events to drive community. Get started quickly by sorting member participation by content or event activity type to understand what's resonating.
Orbit offers a large selection of charts to help you visualize the variables you want to present. You can present data as line graphs, bar charts, or a table. You can also choose how to present time intervals—by month, week, or day.
The group by feature is great for comparing multiple variables side-by-side. For example, you can analyze a member tag by city, country, or region to give you a global view of attendance to an event.
📺 Watch Orbit’s DevRel Advocate Bryan Robinson show you how to create your own custom dashboard.
Filters are not exclusive to reports, but are one of the most defining features in Orbit because of the pure flexibility and specificity of information at your fingertips. You can find filters in both default and custom dashboards in addition to the members and activities tabs.
Filters are a way to narrow information down to answer a specific question. Currently, Orbit has filters for Timeframe, Role (member vs teammate), Activity Type, Activity Property, Member Tag, Orbit Level, Location, Organization, and Job Title.
For example, you could filter down to find members who participated in your weekly learning events with an Orbit Level of 2 between the dates of February 1, 2021 and February 14, 2021 in Latin America and the Caribbean. But that's not recommended unless you're looking to answer a very specific question.
You only want to use one or two filters so you don’t risk overanalyzing your community data. When building your custom dashboard, a good rule of thumb is to filter just enough to answer the critical questions you want to answer using the KPIs you developed. It will help you stay focused and avoid analysis paralysis.
🧠 Learn more about filters in the Knowledge Base.
Here are some helpful report-related features within Orbit that you can use to make your life easier.
When you join an existing workspace, it can be useful to know how your teammates are using Orbit and the metrics they are tracking. Head to Reports and review any existing custom dashboards on the left-hand tab. If there are no custom dashboards, build the first one, share it with your teammates, and ask for feedback!
You don’t always have to create a chart from scratch, sometimes you want to iterate on an existing view. You can copy and paste charts from custom dashboards and then set the filters for your specific needs.
Sometimes you want to share your custom dashboards with a teammate without making the report public. Click the “share” button in the top right-hand corner to grab the URL and share it with a teammate.
❓ Curious about community measurement? Check out Gravity Issue 1: Analytics.