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Designing Community KPIs

A key performance indicator (KPI) is a measurable value that demonstrates how effectively a company is achieving key business objectives. Organizations use KPIs to evaluate success at reaching targets.

Mar 24, 20222 Shares454 ViewsWritten By: Alastair MartinReviewed By: James Smith
Jump to
  1. Base Metrics
  2. Ratio Metrics
  3. Business Metrics
  4. Context Based Metrics
  5. Conclusion

Setting up KPIs(Key Performance Indicators)with communities is a difficult task. The majority of community platforms only provide you with rudimentary metrics. The first thing to understand about starting a community is that you must first determine which metric you are attempting to improve upon. If there is engagement, what kind of engagement is it? So, here are some reasonable metrics to keep track of:

Base Metrics

  • Posts
  • Post upvotes (similar to Reddit Karma)
  • Chat Messages sent
  • Chat messages viewed
  • Live Event attendances
  • Time Spent on Live Events
  • Time Spent speaking
  • Media interactions (views)
  • etc.

Community ratios are even more important.

Ratio Metrics

  • Ratio of post comments/post views (shows % of post lurkers)
  • Ratio of Chat messages/Chat views (shows % of post lurkers)
  • Ratio of Event speakers/Event watchers and listeners (shows % of event lurkers)
  • Ratio of community size to event attendees
  • Ratio of community size to post upvotes, chat messag- es/day, media interactions, etc.
  • Daily usage of any kind/Monthly usage of any kind, in- cluding just opening the community (DAU/MAU)
  • Viral factor (k = i *c)
  • Community LTV/CAC
  • etc.

It's important to remember that a lurker in a community is still considered an active member. Also, at any given point in time, try to optimize only one metric in order to maximize efficiency. The last metric (DAU/MAU) is excellent for a product, but it is subpar for a community of practice. To ensure that people open the community every day, you can simply create a gamified streak or run coupon codes, but this does not constitute genuine engagement. Genuine engagement is the only thing that will eventually result in financial gain.

This brings next set of metrics, which are as follows:

Business Metrics

  • % paying members/total number of community members
  • % paying members/non-lurker active members
  • Subscription renewal rate vs total subscribed base
  • % members unsubscribing from a paid plan
  • etc.

The final type of metrics is highly context-dependent and is dependent on your businessmodel.

Context Based Metrics

  • Live event retention(attended ooh ort-based course)
  • Paid E-Book downloads
  • etc.


When it comes to a community, the ratio metrics are the most important metrics to measure. They serve as a barometer of a community's health, and simply optimizing them will result in a more contented and healthy community. A number of community benchmarks are provided below, based on our experience with over 2,200 communities, as well as some Reddit community benchmarking and our own community.

It's important to note that this article makes no mention of "churn," or the number of people who leave a community. This has been done on purpose. For whatever reason (some people are pruning their social mediaapps, some aren't interested in or finding value in your content, some just hate you), if you've ever had a large Instagram account with more than 100k followers, you're probably losing 100-300 followers per day for whatever reason. An average of 10% of your entire community base will change hands in one year, according to industry standards. This is completely normal, and you shouldn't be concerned about who is leaving your community at this time.

Concentrate on growth— we'll show you how tokeep your most valuable members from leaving later on by granting them special privileges.

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