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In this post we explore how you can use of your community metrics to ensure you are maintaining a thriving community and can safeguard the quality of insights you are gathering. Monitor the health of your community by measuring and tracking member expectations, perceptions and experiences, community size, churn, composition, response rates, utilization, and profiling data.

By scheduling a regular health check you can:

  • Track progress overtime
  • Spot any threats or challenges before they become an issue
  • Ensure you have the right measures in place to motivate and retain members
  • Articulate the ROI of your community
  • Provide updates to your stakeholders and boost internal engagement

The Community view in Sparq provides you with an overall picture of the health of our community.

Those reports include:

Community Size – Community Size metrics show the current size of your community, as well as growth trends over time. Use community size to monitor monthly increases or decreases, plan upcoming recruitments, and identify any anomalies in the number of members lost that need be investigated.

Monthly Activity – Monthly Activity metrics show your community's participation levels on a month-by-month basis.

Community Profile – Community profile metrics show the composition of community members across all of your key demographics, as well as which demographics are participating and under-utilized. Use community profile metrics to make strategic decisions about engaging key demographics or purging members that are not participating in activities.

Survey Statistics – A complete set of all of your activities along with the key participation statistics associated with them.

Size: Recruitment and Churn

1. Determine if there are enough members in your community to achieve sufficient responses to your planned activities and to analyze insight by relevant sub-groups.

2. Consider recruiting to top up certain groups which may have had higher churn than others. Continually recruiting to the community improves response rates and rebalances the community. 

3. Track churn over time based on past experience, including: “undeliverables” – those whose emails bounce “unsubscribes” – those who actively unsubscribed themselves from the community “purged” – those who you have removed from your community due to inactivity or for other reasons. Look for trends and sudden spikes in churn. What occurred at that time that might have caused the membership to drop? If not intentional, how can it be avoided in future?

4. Always have an insight plan. This will ensure you’re keeping members engaged and lets you plan ahead for additional recruiting if your member base doesn’t satisfy your insight needs without overburdening members.

Community Composition

1. Compare who is in the community today with the member voices you set out to hear from in the planning stage.

2. Identify any shortcomings. In particular, check for groups that may need a top up because of members leaving or being purged for inactivity.

3. Add response rates into your reviews of each segment. If you find that some groups have lower response rates, you may want to consider over-recruiting in this group to better balance the community.

Participation and Utilization

1. Review the Community Profile report in Sparq to assess: utilized vs. underutilized – what you control by the number of activities you send and who you send them to participating vs. non-participating – what members control by if they respond to the activities you send

2. How well-utilized are your community members? How does this compare to the activity plan you set for yourself and for members?

3. Are members typically receiving enough activities per month/per quarter to keep them engaged, but not so many that they are likely to become fatigued? Appropriate utilization rates vary from one community to another, depending on your audience. Some communities can run weekly activities, while others run on a monthly basis.

Troubleshooting Your Community’s Participation and Utilization 🔧

  • Utilized/Participating members are your most ideal responders.
  • Utilized/Non-Participating members are likely non-responders and should be sent a “last chance” activity to give them an opportunity to refresh their membership.
  • When members don’t respond to the “last chance” activity, these members should be purged from the Community.
  • Don’t be afraid to purge members who are no longer engaged. It’s better to free up space for new recruits and keep some ongoing recruit efforts in place to fill in the gaps than to have people receiving invitations and emails who are not engaged anymore.
  • Under-Utilized/Participating members are eager to participate but haven’t been sent enough activities yet – make sure you utilize this group more.
  • Under-Utilized/Non-Participating members are likely new recruits that haven’t been sent enough activities to classify them as good or non-responders – applying the Join Date filter will help you learn more.

Activity Cadence and Response Rates

1. Review your activity history using the Survey Statistics report, checking on variables such as:

  • Participation Rates (Started/Invited)
  • Response Rates (Complete + Disqualified + Over Quota/Invited)
  • Stop Rates (Incomplete/Started)

2. Focusing on response rates, how has the average response rate changed over time? Are there any particular segments where response rates are particularly low or high? If so, consider additional recruitment, or adjusting the distribution of activities to take this into account

3. Is the frequency of activities in the past year what was promised to members? If more frequent, is that impacting the trend in response rates? If less frequent, are members possibly becoming disengaged?

4. Some profiling data may remain relatively stable over time (e.g., gender, ethnicity, year of birth). Other data may change over time (e.g., marital status, household composition, frequency of purchase). If there are variables that need updating, consider re-running the invitation survey (formerly known as a profiling survey, profiling questionnaire or PQ) or adding key questions to successive activities to continually update member profiles.

5. If community qualification criteria have changed, or you need new profiling information, then this is another good reason to create a new invitation survey. Old data can be imported into a new invitation survey and new data can be collected.