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Measuring the Success of Your Online Community: Research Report Highlights Best Practices, Issues and Advice


Best practices study finds what online community metrics and collection techniques are the most effective.

When wanting to know what works best for your online community, what is better than asking your community itself? That is exactly what Bill Johnston, Forum One Communications, set out to do with his Online Community Metrics 2007 best practices survey. Bill sent out 150 survey invitations to online community professionals within the network of executives and practitioners. The 50 completed and returned surveys had a variety of participating organizations ranging from the small to the very large- 75% representing commercial groups, the remaining representing non-profits.

The survey results provide a large amount of qualitative data that gives a greater insight into how organizations are benchmarking, collecting and reporting their online community activities. Amongst the most significant information that is published in this study, some of the most noteworthy include:

• Metrics options: a wide-ranging list of new and different metrics which respondents found valuable apart from the norm of page visits and unique visitors.
• Desired metrics: a valuable wish list that has been complied by online community professionals for online community professionals.
• Tools for collecting metrics: a highlighted graph on data collected to see what the best services, tools and techniques are for collecting and analyzing online community data.
• Demonstrating ROI: Quantifying the value of community efforts for management.
• Advice: Top tips accumulated for community managers concerning best practice metrics.

The best source for information regarding online communities continues to be other online community professionals. “Numbers tell a story, but numbers only tell part of the story. Metrics are important – page views, new threads & posts, etc all tell you hard growth facts. But part of community is organic -- how the culture is developing, how many people are forming deeper relationships with each other -- these are important things for community growth that can’t be measured.”- Online Community Metrics, Best Practices Survey, March 2007.

The full report can be downloaded from the Online Community Research Network home page:

This research study is conducted as part of the Online Community Research Network.


About Forum One Communications & The Online Community Research Network

The Online Community Research Network (OCRN)
( is a collaborative effort of online community professionals to better understand the principal challenges of building and managing online communities. The Research Network coordinates the collection, analysis and dissemination of useful information among online community professionals.

Forum One Communications ( is a web strategy and communications firm which assists organizations in using new technologies to enhance communications and collaboration. Forum One has a long and rich history in the online community space, including strategy development, product development, research and events.

For further information, or for sponsorship opportunities, please contact Bill Johnston


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