What Percentage Of Our Members Should Be Active?

This is completely the wrong benchmark to use.

First, most people don’t delete their account when they stop participating. This means the older a community becomes, the worse this ratio becomes. It reflects community maturity as much as anything you can control.

Second, it’s too broad to give you any actionable insights. Let’s imagine your number is 20% and you hear the average is 30%. So what? What will you do differently? To get actionable insights you need to look at specific ratios.

Third, it varies tremendously by your community’s topic and type. A customer support community (where most people only visit to get an answer) is going to have a far lower percentage than a lifestyle community where people come to chat. Gaming communities, where new games are released frequently, have higher churn rates as people move on to the next game etc..Comparing yourselves to others on this benchmark is a bad idea.

Instead of wondering what percentage of your members should be active according to others, focus on what’s keeping people active today. I’d track:

  1. Is traffic to your community going up or down?
  2. What percentage of visitors register?
  3. What percentage of registered members participate?
  4. What percentage of those that participate are still active in 3 months time?
  5. What is the average number of contributions per month your top 1%, 9%, and 90% of members make?

Each of these are metrics you directly influence, reveal how well you’re doing, and reveal exactly what you need to work on to make changes.

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