What Are Community Analytics & Why Are They Important?

So, you’ve either started a community of your own – or you’re still in the research stages. Regardless: it’s important to start understanding analytics from the beginning. Not only is it going to make your life much easier, but it’s also the key to building a quality, successful community.

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You may have thought things like, “How am I supposed to know what to post?” or, “How do I know what my audience will like?” That’s where community analytics comes in.

What are community analytics?

Just as you track engagement, views and likes on your social media profile to give you guidance on your strategy – your community analytics are there to help you customize the experience for optimal engagement in your community.

Community analytics systems vary depending on what you use, but they generally have the same tools to help you accomplish the same goal: tracking data

You may think that tracking data is a secondary, less important part of building a community – and maybe at the beginning, it is. You might have higher priorities on your to-do list like actually setting up the community building platform you’re using, learning how communities work, and trying to market it online to your followers.

But the truth is: learning how to manage analytics and read your audiences engagement levels are key in building a successful community even from the start. It doesn’t mean you have to be a pro, but get used to using it as being a normal part of your community management routine.

After all, it’s going to be really difficult to grow if you don’t have any kind of feedback coming in.

So… How do you actually use community analytics to help make your community experience better?

There are some key elements when it comes to using community analytics that you should keep note of if you want to create the best experience for your community: 

  1. Follow your members: look at what type of members are joining your community, what their interests are etc. Even if you have a target audience you are hoping will join your community, sometimes you might attract a whole new audience. That’s why it’s important to regularly keep track of your audience and adjust your community experience accordingly through paying attention to who’s joining, but most importantly: who’s leaving, and why.
  2. Top pages & posts: Figure out what pages in your community that people are looking at the most, how much they are engaging with these certain discussion topics you post, and what kind of overall content is the most popular amongst the group.
  3. What are people uploading: It’s also good to analyze and track what your members are uploading to communal libraries and what kind of content they are sharing between one another. This helps give you an idea of what people are interested in, and what kind of content and resources you could be providing to the group as well.
  4. Mediums of communication: Analytics also help you monitor what the main sources of communication are amongst your members. This will give you insight as to where communication is happening most frequently – like email or chat rooms for example – and what the most effective way of reaching your members would be.

As you begin tracking analytics, it’s also important to have your goals clearly laid out beforehand, and track the analytics in a way that’s going to help you achieve your ultimate goal. Whether it be performing an analysis weekly, bi-weekly or monthly, have a system in place so you can regularly track your communities data, and keep up with the latest trends. 

Why use community analytics?

You have to read the room of your community in order to keep it relevant and engaging – this is why analytics are highly important to use as a community manager. With community analytics, you can see if people are getting what they want, and if your mission in the community is being accomplished. Overall, investing your time and money into quality analytics tools are going to help you:

1. Make more informed decisions about the community 

When you track analytics for your community, you can start using a data-driven approach when you make decisions within your community, and host experiences. This means whatever you post and however you decide to manage your community, you can have the comfort of knowing you’re making a well-informed decision.

Especially when you are communicating on the proper platforms, using the proper language and sharing content that is proven to be of interest, your community is far more likely to be successful.

In fact, a report by the McKinsey Institute claimed that those who use extensive, customer-oriented data in order to improve their product or service are 23 times more likely to outperform those who don’t when it comes to gaining new customers. Not only this, but they are also 9 times more likely to outperform other companies in customer loyalty as well. 

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    Companies using big data to drive their decision-making are proven to have been able to increase their profits by 8%, and reduce their costs by 10%. It’s no secret that data is key when it comes to creating an optimal experience for your customers – and analytics are a simple way of getting this data, so you can start to create that positive, community experience. 

    2. Prove success

    If you ever need to prove your community is generating revenue – whether it be for a brand deal, collaboration, or even just for your own reports – having analytics is a surefire way to gather the data you need. 

    The more regularly you track valuable stats around your community, the more proof of success you have if the need comes. That’s why having a system to do this regularly, weekly or bi-weekly is optimal because, this way, you don’t have to scramble if someone wants to see your reports over the last six months in order to collaborate with you. 

    Tracking data regularly is especially important if you are managing a community that belongs to someone else, or if you have someone else managing your community. This is how you can prove that whatever tools you’re spending time and money on are actually generating the returns that are expected. In the long run, analytics reports can help you weed out unhelpful roles on your team, tools, subscriptions and strategies that can save your community a lot of unneeded time and money. 

    3. Better reach

    When you figure out what type of content is the most successful, and what pages are doing the best in your community – then you have a better chance of creating content and catering your marketing to the proper audience. And ultimately, you’ll have a better chance of reaching the people you need to.

    Your level of reach also depends on how much people are enjoying and talking about your community experience. If people feel encouraged and inspired to talk about your product or community, then naturally your reach is going to be higher – because now you have word-of-mouth on your side. And this goes hand-in-hand with: 

    4. Engagement

    By analyzing and tracking what’s going on in your community, you get to figure out what posts, pages or discussions get the most engagement, and which ones get the least. This way, you can focus on recreating experiences or posts that drive high engagement, and that ultimately will help you derive a better reach with the same amount of work.

    Tracking your engagement and trying out different tactics, techniques and tools and then looking at the data is key in finding a way to gain optimal engagement amongst the members of your community.

    5. Helps with intervention

    The best thing about being observant and using analytics tools is that you don’t have to wait until a visible disaster happens within your community before you intervene as the community manager. With analytics, you can see if there are any big barriers or things you’re doing that are doing absolutely nothing to help build your community, or worse – are making it a negative experience for your members.

    By tracking data and regularly looking at the big picture, you can cater your experience to your members, and try things out without letting it get too detrimental before you intervene. It can save you a lot of time and effort in cleaning up a mess that you could have stopped before it happened. 

    So where do you find community analytics tools? 

    A lot of community-building platforms will have analytics tools built into your subscription. But, sometimes, you might have to invest in a third-party app in order to really get optimal use out of it. 

    The all-in-one community analytics platform: Nas.io

    If you’re looking for a forward-thinking platform to build your community on, Nas.io is perfect for you. We are a platform that is directly committed to building functional, collaborative communities online for your brand – with built-in analytics tools.

    Our tools are built by community experts, and will help you monitor everything you need to in order to build a top community experience from the ground up. Read more and get started today at Nas.io.

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