A while back we began looking at how many active members a community should have.
We looked at the number of active members of a few dozen communities and began comparing them by platform, size, maturity, revenue, and a bunch of other characteristics.
Few had a statistically significant impact. But the biggest predictor, by far, was search traffic for the brand.
The more people search for the brand, the more active members a community tends to have.
There is an obvious reason why this is a far bigger predictor than company size, customers, revenue, or any other attribute; it reflects how many people need help.
A thousand customers using a complicated product are likely to have far more questions than the millions of customers eating cornflakes for breakfast every morning.
Other factors play a role too. Where else can the audience get help? Will a community add value these other channels can’t? How big is the ecosystem etc…
But we’ve found search traffic for the brand to be the best predictor by far for active members.
What this also shows is some very large communities are significantly over-performing and some are significantly underperforming.
If you’re looking for benchmarks to compare yourself to others, the relative search traffic to active members of your brand vs. others is a good place to start.