Resource Overview

In March 2015, Influitive sponsored a Demand Metric study to explore how well online communities are performing.

Online Community Performance Benchmark Report

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Introduction

Conceptually, branded, online communities seem like a great strategy for increasing prospect and customer engagement and getting all the benefits of doing that: shorter sales cycles, a better customer experience, more loyal customers, and ideally, greater revenue. Modern marketers don’t dispute these potential benefits of online communities. What is largely unknown is the degree to which online communities are delivering these benefits.

As they exist in their current form, do online communities represent more potential than kinetic energy? How well are the organizations that have online communities experiencing the benefits of having them?

Rather than serving as revenue-generating assets, many communities have become “dead zones,” rarely visited and showing no signs of life. A comment made by one survey participant reflects this “dead zone” status: “we can’t figure out how to create one [a community] that actually works.”

Online communities have reached critical mass in terms of adoption, with a majority of organizations reporting that they have one. Even a vast majority of those that don’t have an online community agree that these communities are an effective way to help drive revenue. What’s less clear is how well organizations are using online communities to drive revenue. For that to happen, communities must live in the critical path of creating the customer experience.

Furthermore, adequate participation by the right people is necessary, resulting in a steady stream of high quality content. This holistic blend of people, participation levels and content are creating results that meet expectations. This is not a difficult blend to understand, but it has proven elusive for many brands with communities.

In a study sponsored by Influitive, Demand Metric completed a survey to measure how well communities are performing. This research gathered data to learn what organizations were expecting when they implemented their online communities, and what outcomes they are getting, including who is participating in generating those outcomes. The goal of this study was to provide benchmarks that organizations can use to strengthen their online community efforts.

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Executive Summary
  3. Online Community Adoption
  4. Communities & the Buying Process
  5. Community Participation & Content
  6. Community Performance
  7. Community Participation
  8. Community Satisfaction & Support
  9. Analyst Bottom Line
  10. Acknowledgements

  11. About Influitive
  12. About Demand Metric
  13. Appendix - Survey Background

 

Research Methodology

This Online Community Performance Benchmark Study survey was administered online during the period of March 4, 2015 through March 20, 2015. During this period, 292 responses were collected, 251 of which were complete enough for inclusion in the analysis. The data was analyzed to identify insightful relationships between variables in the study and to ensure the statistical validity of the findings. The representativeness of these results depends on the similarity of the sample to environments in which this survey data is used for comparison or guidance.