The Data Driven Community Manager: Managing the Numbers
While there are many ways that you could measure community health, whether your ability to successfully accomplish this task depends upon the metrics you are tracking. It is important to pay attention to metrics that relate to retention and acquisition.
Is Your Community “Churning?”
You will want to focus on “churn,” which is turnover in your community. Churn can be calculated by the following formula:
Churn = (A – B) / A
Churn = A(community members at beginning of period) – B(community members at end of period) / A(by community members at start of period)
For example, if you started with nine members in June and have only three left in August, your churn rate would be 66 percent (9 – 3) / 9 = 66%, which isn’t so great. Even if you’re gaining new members, it’s the flow of customers leaving that is killing your business!
What’s Your Member Lifetime Value?
A common assumption is that engaged community members will spend about twice as much as those who are non-engaged. One metric you should calculate to prove this assumption for your company is the Member Lifetime Value (MLV):
MLV = TC * ( MRR/ (1 + CR – MRR) )
TC = Annual Total Contributions of Member (this includes all actions from posting to liking) or you could assign a dollar value such as membership fee (for paid membership forums).
MRR = Member Retention Rate is calculated by knowing the number of users within a set time period minus new registrants.
CR = Churn Rate (see previous section)
The member lifetime value qualifies how involved each member is in your community. This is an average and can be used as a benchmark over time. As your community grows, the MLV will be essential in providing ROI to your management team.
Keeping Track of Return Visits
A good metric to track is the number of return visits members make to your community because not everyone will interact on every visit. One way to do this is to track logins or encourage your members to check in often by offering an incentive, even if it is a point-based system that offers rewards at certain levels.
Having the ability to monitor check-ins will allow you to measure community engagement and tailor marketing toward drawing members back who haven’t visited recently.
You can also track return visits with the amount of time spent in the forum and number of discussions visited or contributed to determine the value of the community to the member.
Tracking Member Satisfaction
Conducting a net promoter score (NPS) survey is a simple way to get a good picture of member satisfaction. This survey should ask the members of your community to rate the likelihood that they feel satisfied in being a member of your community. The answer is based on a scale from 1 – 10, with one being unhappy and 10 being very satisfied. Members who respond with a rating of 9 or 10 are considered promoters, while those with a rating of 6 or lower are detractors. Your NPS is calculated by subtracting the percentage number of detractors from your percentage number of promoters.
The net promoter score helps measure your members’ interaction with the brand community and how well your community management team is doing (moderators, super-users). If your members feel that they are engaged, and getting value from the community, it’s a result of the community management team providing value and a great customer experience.
By continually measuring the level of community health, you can get a better handle on what is working and what isn’t with keeping your members engaged and enthusiastic about your products or services.