How Community Managers Can Measure Success
In 2017, CMX—a hub for professional community builders—released a white paper called Community Value and Metrics Report: Tracking Business Value and Measurement of Brand Communities.
This cross-industry report about how companies measure the success of their community efforts answers a lot of questions on value-add for communities.
Core takeaways include what teams measure in their communities and which metrics they find most valuable for showing the effect of community management.
What Do Teams Measure In Their Communities?
54% measure retention to demonstrate their community's business value
37% measure customer satisfaction ratings
24% measure sales revenue
24% measure lifetime value
What Are The Most Important Metrics?
Of all the things you can measure, the most important are retention, changes in sales revenue, and lifetime value. At least, that’s what community builders from CMX forums, tech community leads, and respondents from Fortune 500 companies had to say.
When asked what is most important for showing the effect of community management on business value, this was the top three that emerged.
The most important metric for showing the effect of community management:
Measuring retention, according to 14%
Changes in sales revenue, according to 13%
Customer lifetime value, according to 8%
Note: All the above data has been taken from the CMX Community Value and Metrics Report.
What Do Publishers Look For?
And this makes good sense. Having worked as a mobile publisher, we’ve learned to ask for some of these metrics when signing a game or measuring its success.
Key metrics mobile gaming publishers look for:
Retention (d1, d7, d14, d30, d60, and d90*)
Average revenue per daily active user (APRDAU)
Average revenue per paying user (ARPPU)
App store rating
(*Games measure retention by looking at what percentage of users come back on a given day after installation. As an example, if d1 retention is 50%, that means half of a game’s users came back one day after installing the game.)
These measures show us that a game is achieving its business goals and is worth our investment.
Why Isn’t Community Management Achieving These Goals?
The metrics mobile publishers use to measure a game’s success are almost identical to what business leaders in other industries use to quantify the effects of community management. So why are game developers not investing more in their communities as a larger way of achieving their business goals?
Most of the time, there are two simple reasons.
1. Communities are smaller than the game’s player base
Let’s say your community is an online service or forum. You’ll have to convince players, first, to leave the game, and then to sign up on and frequent this other platform in order to participate in the community. Just saying it feels tedious.
As a general rule, nonintegrated communities only attract a fraction of the player base.
A mere 111k?
Yes. Because their integrated forum has almost 8.5 million users and 85k unique threads.
These numbers show that the small percentage of users who frequent nonintegrated forums is not enough to give a representative data sample or have a significant impact on the game’s core KPIs.
If such insignificant amounts of data are all your community has to offer, it’s no surprise that it won’t be seen as a way to achieve your game’s larger goals.
2. Communities lack trackability
The brilliance of mobile games is that every single action and activity can be tracked within an app.
Traditional online forums such as Discord, Twitter, Reddit, and Facebook, however—due to their very nature of existing externally—don’t let you track user behavior.
If you can't measure the ROI of a feature in today's mobile world, why invest?
Think about other departments within a gaming company. Marketers are constantly working on new campaigns to increase downloads and improve ROI. They know what to spend money on and how to target their audience. Similarly, product managers are routinely looking at new features to improve conversion, ARPPU, and retention.
As a community manager, you should run your department in the same way: with the goal of making an impact on your core KPIs.
Close The Loop: Keep Players In-Game
How can we solve the problem of small communities with little or no trackability?
By closing the loop and keeping everybody in-game.
With integrated forums like KTPlay, you can track such things as community opens, posts, replies, and likes. With this trackability, you can correlate the direct impact of community efforts and activity on retention and monetization KPIs.
In an earlier article on the importance of game community management, we mentioned how Flare correlated 60-80% of their monthly revenue to players who were engaged in the game community.
Yodo1 made a similar discovery: that 75% of their spenders were actively engaging with the community hub. In fact, the most frequent posters were whales who had been around for over two years.
We know that being a top-grossing game is a fleeting high. In fact, the average time a game spends in the top charts is only 27.5 days. This makes it all the more important to focus on keeping your players—especially the big spenders—around for as long as possible.
Your game community can help reduce churn and keep monetization steady long after you’ve dropped off the charts.
Learn From The Best
Once you have the metrics in place to show that players in your community are staying longer and spending more, your community team can get an even bigger investment. Just ask ZGS community legend Nico Nottin or Yodo1’s very own Henry Fong.
They’re not the only ones who will tell you how much of an impact community management can have. We’ve also had Jaymee Mak of Hempire on our podcast to talk about proactively reaching out to your team and giving players what they want.
Jaymee also had some great insights on how a community manager moderates not only the player base but the in-office community as well. It certainly is important to foster a good dynamic between players and developers and give your product team the encouragement they need.
In conclusion, making a solid investment community can keep your game rating high—just like ZGS’s 4.6 or Hempire's solid 4.8—and ensure that players, developers, and investors are satisfied and want to stick around.
With the right platform and metrics, you can turn community into your game’s most fun and reliable revenue-driving vehicle.
Want to hear more about Jaymee’s community experiences and insights? Head on over to the podcast page.