9 Community KPIs your brand should track

Khoros Staff

To lay the foundation for a thriving online community, it’s crucial to define your community’s purpose and strategy. This involves establishing clear community KPIs, or key performance indicators that align with your brand’s overarching goals. By tracking these KPIs, you gain valuable insight into the progress of your online community initiatives.

While each organization has unique goals and metrics to gauge success, selecting the appropriate KPIs enables you to set specific, measurable targets that directly contribute to your community’s growth and effectiveness. Strategically leveraging these KPIs allows you to better understand your audience’s needs, enhance engagement, and ultimately maximize the customer lifetime value of your community members.

In this article, we’ll explore online community KPIs — including which metrics to track — and how to measure the success of your community.

Why your community needs KPIs

When building an online community, it’s essential to track KPIs that provide clear direction and measurable insights into your community’s success. Here’s why:

Quantify community value

Online communities exist so members can connect with others with similar interests, share best practices about a brand’s products and services, and troubleshoot potential problems. While these are all things that drive brand engagement — and potentially, sales — they can be difficult to quantify and, therefore, difficult to justify to leadership why the virtual community should exist in the first place.

By implementing community KPIs, you can remove that doubt and replace it with quantifiable community metrics that prove the value of your digital space and build trust with your leadership team around its efficacy. This way, when it comes time to demonstrate the value of your online community, you have relevant data to prove its worth.

Enhanced accountability

When your community's purpose and objectives are clearly defined and well-documented, it’s easier to assign specific responsibilities, set clear expectations, and hold members of your team accountable for their contributions and actions. This clarity fosters a more organized and efficient workflow, ensures alignment with overall community goals, and promotes a sense of ownership and responsibility among team members.

Informed decision making

KPIs give your online community efforts structure and purpose, and the data they generate provides a runway for more informed decision-making on your team.

For example, say one of your online community KPIs is around new member acquisition, and you want to increase new sign-ups by 20% in the next quarter. By tracking this KPI, a community marketing manager can analyze various strategies and tactics to understand which ones are most effective in attracting new members. They may discover that social media campaigns yield a higher acquisition rate than email marketing, leading them to adjust resource allocation.

The community vendor scorecard template

9 KPIs to track for your online community

1. Active members rate

Active members participate in discussions, share content, interact with other members, attend events, or contribute meaningfully to the community. Your active member rate measures this percentage of community members actively engaged and contributing within a specified time frame, typically monthly or weekly.

This is a great KPI to track because it clearly measures the percentage of users who remain active in your community rather than one-off visitors or people who sporadically participate. In addition to monitoring your active users, pay attention to your rate of inactive users. If this less-engaged group of members is growing, that’s a clear indicator that something needs to change to garner their participation again. Sending out a member survey, incentivized by a free gift card or perk, is a great way to understand why this group may be sitting out from participating in your online community.

2. New member acquisition

Monitoring the addition of new members on a weekly or monthly basis directly reflects the growth trajectory of your online community, making this an important KPI in your toolkit. A steady influx of new members indicates a healthy community expanding its reach and influence.

New members bring fresh perspectives, ideas, and contributions to the community, leading to increased engagement levels. As your community’s reach and influence grow, you’ll attract more attention, partnerships, and opportunities — benefiting your online community and its members. You can also monitor your new member acquisition rate to find where your new members came from and adjust your outreach tactics accordingly.

3. Number of product ideas or feedback submissions

Tracking the amount of product ideas and feedback submissions your brand community receives demonstrates how engaged your community is with your brand’s growth and product development. This metric not only helps refine the product or service your brand already has but can also be a gateway to gathering more ideas from your users about features to implement or content topics to cover. Of the many branded communities, the most successful ones have robust means for taking and implementing user feedback to provide even better member experiences or offerings.

4. Engagement

Engagement can be a powerful KPI to track because it measures the level of interaction and interest among community members in the form of likes, new discussion threads, comments, and shares. This metric provides insights into the content's effectiveness, member preferences, and community dynamics, helping community managers assess the overall health and vibrancy of the community. 

Additionally, it guides content strategy, identifies popular topics or discussions, and facilitates meaningful interactions that contribute to member satisfaction, retention, and the community's long-term success. Understanding this KPI can help you increase engagement on your existing content and create more that truly resonates with your audience.

5. Time on page

As the name suggests, time on page is a KPI that measures how long a member spends on a specific page, indicating their level of interest in certain topics. A longer time on page suggests that members actively interact with the content, potentially indicating its relevance, quality, or appeal to the community. 

This metric helps community managers understand which topics or types of content resonate most with members to optimize content strategies and enhance the overall user experience. By utilizing time on page as a KPI for your brand community, you can encourage prolonged engagement and return visits, ultimately contributing to a more vibrant and successful online community.

6. Total discussions

This community metric indicates the volume of ongoing conversations, exchanges of ideas, and interactions within the community, providing insights into the community's engagement and vitality. A higher number of discussions often signifies a thriving community where members actively contribute, share knowledge, and build relationships. Community managers can use this KPI to assess member engagement levels, identify popular topics or areas of interest, foster meaningful discussions, and tailor content or initiatives to meet the community's needs.

7. Subgroups

Allowing subgroups to sprout from your digital space is also a KPI worth tracking because these groups indicate the diversification and specialization of member interests and discussions within the community. Tracking the emergence or growth of subgroups can provide community managers with specific niches or topics that resonate strongly with members, leading to more targeted and relevant content, discussions, and engagement opportunities. Subgroups also promote deeper connections and interactions among members with shared interests, fostering an even greater sense of community.

8. Conversion rates

Conversion rates are another important metric when gauging the success of your online community, as they measure the effectiveness of community engagement and activities in driving desired actions or outcomes, such as sign-ups, purchases, downloads, or referrals. Tracking conversion rates can help you assess the impact of community initiatives on member behavior and decision-making, as well as help you identify successful engagement strategies, optimize conversion funnels, and ultimately improve the community's ability to achieve its objectives. High conversion rates indicate that the community effectively influences member actions and generates tangible results, showcasing its value and contribution to organizational success.

9. Community impact

Ultimately, every community prioritizes increasing its membership base, allowing you to monitor the number of individuals whose lives have been positively impacted by your community. Compile a repository of text, audio, and video testimonials illustrating how your community has facilitated personal growth journeys or provided crucial support to its members during challenging times. While these stories are invaluable for showcasing your community's external positive impact, they can also serve as a source of inspiration and motivation for the brand.

How to measure the success of a community with the help of Khoros

Now that you’ve identified the KPIs your online community needs to track, the next step is to measure their success. Khoros Communities offers a comprehensive suite of analysis tools designed to streamline the process of measuring and interpreting KPIs. Our intuitive dashboard provides access to a wealth of data, empowering brand managers, community managers, and marketing professionals to track and understand the nuances of community engagement, member retention, content effectiveness, and overall community health.

Our analytics capabilities enable you to monitor progress, make data-driven decisions, and gain insights into successful strategies and areas of improvement. By leveraging real member data, you can assess the impact of your community on business objectives such as increasing engagement, boosting customer loyalty, or driving brand awareness, 

Discover how our analytics features can transform the way you track, understand, and enhance your online community KPIs — request a demo today.

    Would you like to learn more about Khoros?