Higher Logic’s Third Annual Community Benchmarking Study Ties Community Success to Engaging Ecosystem

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Developing an Engaging Ecosystem Depends on Community Manager’s Ability to Customize Community and Member Experience

Community Engagement Quadrant (CEQ)

Sample CEQ Analysis

What's clear is that communities must have the right community managers in place, and these managers must have the right customization and automation tools at their disposal.

Higher Logic today announced its third annual Community Benchmarking Study on trends in the evolution of online communities. The study, which includes three years of data from more than 20 million users within 348 organizations, found that a community’s success depends heavily on the community manager’s ability to create an engaging ecosystem by having the tools to customize the community and member experience. Published by Higher Logic and Marketing General, Inc. (MGI), the report also includes a new Community Engagement Quadrant (CEQ) tool that provides concrete data on how to assess, measure, and move forward with engagement strategy. The Community Benchmarking Study can be downloaded for free from the Higher Logic website.

“While ‘engagement’ remains a subjective term, the 2016 Community Benchmarking Study presents a way that communities can begin tracking what engagement success looks like for their organizations,” said Higher Logic President & Co-Founder Andy Steggles. “What’s clear is that communities must have the right community managers in place, and these managers must have the right customization and automation tools at their disposal. This is what will position them to make progress toward their specific community goals.”

Key Trends
At the highest level, the 2016 Community Benchmarking Study reveals the following key trends in online communities:

  • Community member satisfaction aligns with engagement. While engagement is a subjective metric, the right KPIs can reveal a path to member satisfaction for a specific community.
  • Automation is mainstream. The ability to automate communications and other tasks helps keep members of all types engaged, whether they are super users or more passive visitors.
  • Customization is key. The ability to customize the community and member experience is the key to increasing engagement. For example, customizations enable the creation of a “frictionless” experience to encourage more member participation.

The Community Engagement Quadrant
The Community Engagement Quadrant (CEQ) utilizes two primary metrics -- subscribers and messages -- to compare how one organization’s community performs against similar organizations along two axes:

  • Engagement Axis: Designed to represent the number of engaged messages relative to the number of subscribers.
  • Reach Axis: Shows what percentage of the total known audience is subscribed to at least one discussion group.

A CEQ analysis enables an organization to plot the relative maturity of its community across four phases that correspond to the four quadrants:

  • Early Adoption (lower left quadrant). The organization is still working on getting subscribers and messages—its message engagement score is 5 or below, and its audience penetration is less than 50 percent.
  • Active Engagement (upper left quadrant). The organization is seeing an uptick in discussion messages but little traction in subscriber rate—its message engagement score is above 5, but its audience penetration is less than 50 percent.
  • Active Members (lower right quadrant). The organization is experiencing a high member-to-subscriber ratio but messages are from a small concentration of subscribers—its message engagement score is 5 or below, and its audience penetration is above 50 percent.
  • Mature Engagement (upper right quadrant). The organization has achieved a strong member-to-subscriber ratio and broad message engagement—its message engagement score is above 5 and audience penetration is above 50 percent.

Higher Logic clients can download a new CEQ Worksheet within the study to calculate their organization’s position in the Community Engagement Quadrant.

Added Steggles, “Our observations in working with many of the organizations participating in the survey suggests that the key to successfully progressing to the upper right quadrant is based on combining three elements: creative techniques to engage a higher percentage of the target audience, a more mature approach to community management, and greater organizational buy-in.”

About Marketing General, Inc.
Marketing General Incorporated (MGI) is a membership and marketing communications firm specializing in associations. With over 39 years of experience in association marketing, and over 60 staff offering a variety of marketing services, including data analytics, creative design, copywriting, e-marketing and more, they can assist you with driving member growth and engagement. Since the company’s inception in 1978 they have recruited more than 4 million new members for hundreds of organizations resulting in billions of dollars in lifetime revenue. Learn more at http://www.marketinggeneral.com.

About Higher Logic
Higher Logic is an industry leader in cloud-based community platforms. Organizations worldwide use Higher Logic to bring people all together, by giving their community a home where they can interact, share ideas, answer questions and stay connected. Our goal is to help your organization with deeper engagement and meaningful interactions for your members, customers and prospects. Everything we do - the tools and features in our software, our services, partnerships, best practices - drives our ultimate goal of making your organization successful. Learn more at http://www.higherlogic.com.

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Amanda Orr
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