What The Promise Of Rising Engagement Numbers Means
As a community grows, the rate of growth naturally slows (no. new members / no. total members (or DAUs)).
You might get lucky in a fast-growing industry (data science etc…), but otherwise, you will at some point hit saturation*.
If you’ve set expectations (and constantly reported) on rapidly rising engagement metrics all this time, what will you do when you naturally go past the peak?
Remember that rising engagement growth is an implicit promise. That promise is future engagement = valuable outcomes. If engagement slows and you can’t see valuable outcomes, you have a problem.
At some point (hopefully today) you will stop talking about engagement metrics. Declare in the next meeting it’s time to focus on value instead. From now on, report leads generated, tickets answered, increase in CSAT scores, ideas generated/implemented etc…
You might not have much scope to increase engagement, but there’s usually plenty of scope to boost all of the above.
Yes, these too will eventually slow. But now your company can see what they get for their money. You might not be able to answer more than 50,000 tickets per month, but 50,000 tickets per month are usually valuable enough to keep funding the community.
Remember all growth of engagement metrics eventually slow. Don’t wait until they do to switch to reporting to valuable outcomes.
* Saturation is the point in the maturity phase of the community lifecycle where those most likely to join your community already have. Now you focus on replenishment (converting newcomers to the topic).