Ask a dozen community managers how they measure their community, and you will get a dozen different responses. It is perhaps one of the least established parts of our practice.
This reflects the stage of maturity community is at as a profession. Community in a business context is a relatively new, emerging practice where the ROI question looms, unlike in established areas. No one questions the ROI of Sales or Marketing, just whether they have the right strategy, tactics, or resources to be successful.
The inconsistency is also a reflection of the widely different nature of communities themselves. Salesforce’s Trailblazers, Dribbble, and a local rugby club are all communities but have little in common. As a result, the metrics used to measure them differ too. Even within product communities, it is still tricky. The cross-functional nature of community maximizes the impact of other teams but means the outcomes it drives can get lost or co-opted by other programs.
But getting to some standardization and baseline of trusted metrics progresses us toward acceptance of the value we provide and the continued investment in what we do. We asked community leaders at Mural, Iterative, and Prismic to share the metrics they track and why they follow them so you can learn from what is working for others and use them to reflect on your own measurement needs.
North Star: Conversations
- Depth of conversation (a reply ratio above 1 means a conversation is happening)
- Engagement breakdown (member to member vs. MURALista to member)
- Number of ideas that end up in the product
- Votes on ideas overtime
- Number of conversation readers
Why: “Community success at MURAL means members feel safe enough to share and valued enough that they know their voice matters, so we consider data that indicates safety, ownership, and trust. The numbers tell us a lot, but member stories tell us more in this early stage. The stories help us understand if the communication and relationship pathway is working.”
Shared by Amanda Petersen, Community Manager at MURAL
North Star: New event attendees
- New members
- Projects shared publicly
- Adoption of the flagship product
Why: “Our users are both the decision-maker and the folks who build with our tool, so we focus on giving them all the things they need to succeed. This includes education and a robust community built around generosity and knowledge sharing.”
Shared by Erik Israni, Developer Community Lead at Prismic
North Star: Monthly loyal users (those that used command line with their tools five or more times)
- Community-generated content (both quantity and quality)
- New members (across channels: Discord, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, Meetup, GitHub)
- Community Connects (half-hour user interviews)
Why: “What we want to see is members connecting with and helping other members. Looking at content created lets us gain insight into how well we communicate about our tools through our docs, blog, videos, and other channels. If people have invested the time to learn and write about our tools, it means they see the need and promise in them, and they may be willing to expand the reach by contributing in other ways. While interviews have been great for building relationships and learning the true needs of our customers.”
Shared by Jenifer De Figueiredo, Community Manager at Iterative