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).


  1. Alessio Fattorini says:

    Interesting approach, focusing on business values and not on engagement. I would highlight they’re often connected, in my case “developing a product together” is quite hard without a minimum participation. Engagement is not my goal, but it’s pretty hard to have a supporting community or attract devs without first having nurturing engagement. WDYT?

  2. Bas van Leeuwen says:

    Report on value

    Measure both; you use your engagement numbers as your own indicator to see if you’ll be able to increase the reported business value

  3. Sarah Hawk says:

    Agree with Bas here.

    Strategise so that your primary goal is value driven, and have a fail-safe objective which can use an engagement metric.

  4. Brooke Harper says:

    I think the best thing to do is to not solely depend on engagement numbers. Yes, you can use it as basis for future strategic planning, but it must not be the only basis on what to do next to increase product value. As for us, we give importance to engagement because we saw that it helped us improve our product and service and that resulted to keeping loyal customers with us.

  5. Piper_Wilson says:

    When I think of tickets, I picture someone filling out an email and sending it in; that’s essentially what happened at my last company.

    What are tickets as you described them, please?

  6. Sarah Hawk says:

    Rich is away for a few days so I’ll jump in here.

    He’s talking support tickets, in whatever form the organisation receives them (phone calls, Zendesk tickets, etc).

  7. Piper_Wilson says:

    Thank you, @HAWK.

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