For example, if you have 100 daily active users and 1000 monthly average users, your active members visit on average 3 days per month. 3 days per month isn’t terrible, but you would be hard pressed to say the community had become a habit for most members.
The most successful communities, apps, and websites become part of our personal or work habits. We visit them every day to see who or what is new. If we don’t visit, we worry that we might be missing out.
Of course, this stickiness metric could rise while the overall number of members falls (lower growth, losing the less interested members). Which isn’t so great. So this data alone isn’t useful. To avoid the broken thermostat problem we need to turn this data into something actionable.
Two useful ways to use this data.
1) As an overall health indicator. If this figure begins to rise, keep doing what you’re doing. If it begins to fall, stop and drill deeper into lower metrics to identify the problem. You want to discover if your triggers are the problem, if motivation is the problem, the platform is the problem or the reward is the problem.
2) To track specific interventions. If you’ve recently changed your strategy, this will be a great indicator of whether that strategy is successful. This tells you whether the new types of discussions you’re posting, events you’re creating, or content you’re writing (which seems popular) is changing habits. Very often the things that are popular don’t change habits.
There are plenty more complicated (and important) metrics out there. Fortunately, this one is easy to track and reveals an important piece of the puzzle.