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10 Must Knows About Online Engagement Reporting

10 Must Knows About Online Engagement Reporting

Matthew Crozier

Matthew Crozier

Matthew is a founding director and CEO of Bang the Table.

If you are using your online forum for any kind of research – including community consultation – you will need both qualitative and quantitative reports from collected data in order to garner relevant information for decision-making. Our community engagement software EngagementHQ provides online engagement reporting with both of these data inputs.

  1. Quantitative reporting of forum visitation patterns is critical. It will help compare its performance against expectations and other engagement strategies.
  2. The raw numbers from a report are useful in understanding and explaining the level of interest in a project i.e. visitor numbers, the number of comments, the number of registrations, etc.
  3. Investigate the ratios between key indicators. For example, the ratio of registrations to visitors can give you an instant feel for the level of engagement around an issue.
  4. Your IT department may try to convince you that Google Analytics (GA) can give you everything you need in the way of quantitative analytics. It can’t.
  5. GA was designed for people who are interested in making their websites commercial. While some of its features are useful, a lot aren’t and more importantly, it can’t give you the information you need to analyse your consultation outcomes.
  6. Big numbers don’t necessarily mean success. For example, if you measure success by community satisfaction with your draft policy, then large numbers of comments may point to policy failure.
  7. Small numbers don’t necessarily mean failure. For example, large numbers of visitors with very few comments can indicate a general level of satisfaction with your proposal.
  8. If you get lots of visitors but only a few who criticize your proposal, this could indicate that you’re dealing with a noisy yet vocal minority. While this doesn’t mean you should ignore their views, it does mean that they should be taken with a grain of salt into a broader social context.
  9. If you get lots of visitors, a high rate of conversion to registrations and heaps of comments, chances are you have a very “hot” issue on your hands.
  10. Tag your comments by “quality”, “learning” as well as “topics” for a richer understanding of the conversation.

See our previous articles on related online engagement tips:

10 Things To Consider When Facilitating An Online Discussion

10 Ways How Anonymity Improves Online Engagement

Part of the 100 Ideas To Help Engage Your Community Online guidebook.

2 September 2015
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