How Should We Define Success in Online Communities?

How can you access an accurate picture of how your online community is really performing? Confidently defining what you should be measuring and how often you should be measuring it are common stumbling blocks on the road to in-depth community data analysis.

Tracking just for the sake of tracking (or appeasing your CEO) will do you no good. And while most platforms come with built-in tracking features that analyze traffic and referrals, every community needs to define its own measures of success founded on goals unique to their organization. This is incredibly important to establish before building a community and equally as important to recognize that these goals and strategies will shift over time. So don't get too comfortable.

How we define and measure success is constantly changing. And unfortunately, a metric for success that gets tossed around a lot is number of questions asked and answered - is a misleading and unfair metric.

Simply counting the number of questions asked and answered does not paint a clear picture of how many members are truly being engaged, who is reading the answers, the quality of the content, or its reach.  It also lends itself to an inaccurate portrayal of involvement as there could be dozens of questions asked and answered in one day by the same insular group of 5 super users or association employees.

In a digital environment where everything has the potential to inspire, convert and be tracked, there are so many more meaningful ways to measure success in online communities, 3 of which are outlined below.

3 Meaningful Metrics for Online Communities

1. Time between visits

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