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Determining Your Metric for Engagement

The above is your ticket to determining online engagement. Simple. Something any online marketer, community manager, or social media strategist will know, right? Looks pretty daunting to me. Does determining engagement have to be this complex?

As you may have noticed, I’ve been very focused on online community engagement. While I’ve touched quite a bit on developing strategies around increasing engagement, as well as measuring engagement, I have not yet delved into an actual formula one might use to measure it. Here we’ll take a look at some different views on the equation one might use to calculate this abstract but important metric.

And by the way, the above formula isn’t a rubric for engagement. It’s actually the fourier series, completely unrelated to engagement, at least as far as I can tell. But doesn’t it look cool?

I believe there are two methodologies to consider when looking at engagement: (more…)

Measuring Online Community Engagement

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Having healthy levels of engagement is a hard nut to crack for any online community. Take note of the much-discussed 90-9-1 rule. Also called the 1% rule, or “Participation Inequality”, a term coined by Jakob Nielson, which refers to the imbalance of media creation in any online group: 90% are lurkers, 9% are editors, 1% are contributors. This concept/theory has also been similarly validated in real-world scenarios, ala the Pareto Principle. In relative terms the Pareto Principle claims an 80/20 split: 20% of the group members will contribute 80% of the content. Most community managers will say that the holy grail of engagement within a community is UGC, or User-Generated Content. If these paradigms are true, then it would seem driving higher and higher levels of engagement may be analogous to the futile uphill efforts of Sisyphus.

So if you’re kicking off a new online community, you may be asking these sorts of questions: What metrics define engagement? How can we measure those metrics? What is a healthy level of engagement and what are the ways to get there? Let’s take a look at a systematic approach in understanding the variables of engagement and developing strategies to reach your engagement goals.

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