1 Reply Latest reply on Feb 9, 2012 2:30 PM by shanerogers

    How did you measure the success of your external community rollout?

    Ryan Rutan

      In talking with many customers, I found that there is noticeable uncertainty when it comes to setting adoption and growth goals for an external community roll-out.  This includes both new communities, as well as platform migrations.  As a small gesture to try address this problem, I felt it relevant to ask all of our most awesome external community managers and see if they had any goals or targets they used to measure the success of their external community roll-out.  Kudos go to those who share how well they achieved their goal, or conversely, how they missed it and the obstacles that may have intervened.


      I'm sure all members (current and future) would appreciate a hearty discussion on the topic. If i can dig up or provide any context on my personal experiences, I'll be happy to share where relevant.  As is stands, my role during the external community roll-out while I was at National Instruments was primarily technical (back in 2007); thus, any goals/targets that I set around adoption would be post-hoc at best.  My goals at the time were around, having a stable platform that was online. =)


      Any takers?

        • Re: How did you measure the success of your external community rollout?

          I didn't have any publicly stated goals or targets for our external community launch, but I did have some things in my mind. I'll admit this does suffer from some hindsight bias, but I'll give it ago anyways.


          My logic was based on:

          • Our external community is accessed from a top nav menu item from our Customer Portal (login required to our portal and SSO connection to our Community)
          • Our users/customers don't spend a lot of extra time online and don't 'surf' our Customer Portal -- very tactically focused.
          • I used some of the Community metrics I had seen from other presentations about % of members that are active, participants, creators to inform my expectations (2-5% creators/contributors, 5-10% promoters/participants)
          • I felt like attracting 10% of our target customers (target = # of users that had the opportunity to visit Community based on our rollout approach) within the first 6-8 weeks would be a Success
          • Once they visited our Community and accepted the T&C, they are considered 'members'. If we were within the range of 2-5% contributors and 5-10% participants, I would view it as another layer of Success


          Our result was that we attracted 18% of our target customers as Community members within 7 weeks (this period covered the end of year holiday period as well) for our first wave of rollout. The engagement metrics also fell within the high side my 'hoped for' range.


          The other element of 'success' was harder to measure but we've been watching it: the tone/nature of the discussions taking place. Was it Ask/Answer help questions (positive/negative tone) or was it general peer-to-peer discussions?