The One Community Metric to Rule Them All

You just took a new community job, and you’re already feeling the pressure to prove your worth. You need some quick community wins. What metric should you focus on?

Bas van Leeuwen has an answer. He is the co-founder of community metrics dashboard Community Analytics, and community measurement fills the second half of this episode. Analytics aren’t scary or difficult, you just have to know what to look for. Plus:

  • The state of community management in the Netherlands
  • Integrating community into an “inside-first” company
  • Bas’ one community metric to rule them all

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Big Quotes

“Of course, measuring is vital, but it’s not the end goal. In the end, you always want to know if the thing you’re doing makes sense. Measuring is one way. Your gut feeling is another way, and they complement each other. You shouldn’t focus on one or the other. Without metrics, you tend to follow your own ideas. They might not actually be true. It’s always good to have an objective measure of your own ideas, and your own mental model, and see if reality agrees with you.” -@LeeuwenVanBas

“Whatever the metrics tell you, it’s probably a good direction, if you want to keep on doing the same thing. If you want to change, you probably need to listen to your gut a bit more than to the metrics.” -@LeeuwenVanBas

“If you would send me into the desert with one metric to rule them all, [active members] would be the one. How many members do you have, and do they keep coming back? Are they active? Do you manage to draw more people? If that number goes down, there’s something wrong. The problem is, it’s a bit of a lagging metric, so it’s probably that something went wrong a couple months ago. But still, it’s a very, very strong indicator that something is amiss, or if it keeps rising, it’s a very strong indicator that something is going well.” -@LeeuwenVanBas

“[If you want to find a community win,] ask your boss. Seriously, they’re reporting in something, and that’s a number. If they only care about that number, make that number bigger, whatever the number is. It’s as easy as that. If you want to keep your job, if you only have two months to show that you can move things around, ask them what number they want bigger. It’s as dumb as that.” -@LeeuwenVanBas

“You’re hired for a job. That job, usually, in reports, is dumbed down to one or two numbers. This is basically true for nearly everyone. Focus on those two numbers first, but don’t forget that there’s also an actual job to do.” -@LeeuwenVanBas

“[Cohort analysis is] comparing apples to apples in that, let’s say that you want to increase the freshness of the apple or the color of the apple. You would pick an apple, you would take a photograph and then, in a year, you will pick another apple. You must compare it to the photograph. You wouldn’t compare it to that first apple because that apple now is a year old.” -@LeeuwenVanBas

About Bas van Leeuwen

Bas van Leeuwen has been working and managing communities for more than 6 years. For almost as long, he has been frustrated with the lack of tools to see and track what’s actually happening within online communities. He ran countless manual reports, organized dozens of spreadsheets and still never felt like he could fully answer, “What’s the ROI of community activity X?,” when his boss asked.

When Bas and Alle Veenstra started working together, they wanted to make tools to make community managers’ jobs easier. Bas knew what community managers needed to be effective, while Alle, a forensic data scientist, brings state-of-the-art data science methods.

Hence, the the seed for Community Analytics was born.

Essentially, the duo built the analytics tool that Bas wished he had from the get-go. This tool takes the guesswork out of the analytics process. It frees up hours of your community manager’s time on manual data collecting, so they can focus on building and executing the community strategy.

Community Analytics is loved and used by well-known companies including Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, Immediate Media Co, Udemy and Nethserver.

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