#TipTuesday: What metrics help define a healthy community?


As a senior customer success manager at HL Vanilla, I get this particular question a lot during my many conversations.

What are some key community health metrics that I should be monitoring?

Although I feel that there can be specific key health metrics based on your specific community use case, there are a variety of universal metrics that can be used to tell a story regarding your overall community health.

Furthermore, I know that it is important to continue to have executive buy in when it comes to having a community present within your organizational tech stack. Having the ability to report on key community metrics, is a critical piece in communicating the overall value that your online community is providing to its members.

Below are some example community metrics that can assist with monitoring your overall community health:

New users – does your community continue to see membership growth over time?

Active users – # of unique log ins to your community. Comparing this number month over month is ideal.

User reactions and # of contributors– shows that users are reacting to content that you and other users are posting.

Avg time to first comment - are members quick to respond to discussions or is there a lack of timely interaction taking place?

Page views & Visit traffic - it is important to track the volume of these but to also keep tabs on where they are coming from (guests, members, admins).

Monthly number of discussions & number of comments - are members consistently posting and commenting? What is the general volume of these two metrics on a monthly or quarterly basis?

Discussions to comment ratio – This shows how many comments are generated per discussion. The higher the ratio the better the indication that users are engaging with your content and having conversations with one another.

Active users to total membership base ratio – this allows you to see what percentage of your members are taking the time to log in or if users are not returning to the community on a regular basis. It is a great best practice to filter users (this can be done in our new moderation UI) that have not logged in for some time (2-3 months for example), followed by sending an email campaign to these inactive users. In your reach out you can let them know about specific community updates or about content pieces that are worth checking out (i.e. insightful discussions, events that are taking place within the community). Getting net new users is important but also ensuring already signed up members return more regularily, is critical as well for community health.

By having clear insights on various community health metrics, it allows you to tell a data driven story while also measuring against organizational goals that you have surrounding community. It can also track your overall promotional efforts regarding community to the different parts of your business.

For example did promoting your community during recent webinars and sending email campaigns to your customer base result in overall new user growth?

As mentioned the metrics listed above are not the only metrics that one should be monitoring when it comes to community, but rather are some examples that I have seen across the variety of communities that I work with and through the many conversations that I have been a part of.

We would love to hear any feedback on the above from fellow valued community members life yourselves as well as:

What are some key metrics that you track closely within your specific community? Could you share additional metrics that are helpful to you besides the ones listed above? How often do you report on these metrics to your leadership team and in what format?

I hope you enjoyed another TipTuesday and have a great rest of the week everyone!