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Discourse Community Forum analytics

Hey all!

I need to prove that our community forums retain customers, acquire customers and reduce churn.

Our forum (discourse) works as a Q&A, bug/issue trackers and support.

We have a Pro and Free product, Our Pro product comes with live help, our free does not – which is how the forum helps :slightly_smiling: I also use the forums as a FAQ.

Any ideas would be awesome!!

Does anyone have examples of how they test the effect of their forums?

Basically, I need to prove how social media, our forums and meetups: community, retain, attract customers and reduce churn. The two biggest buckets for me are, 1. Churn and 2. User Acquisition. Wondering what tops metrics you all use/report on. I have an idea on a few, but would love to hear what other folks use!

To me it seems a lot of community is qualitative – which is great stiff! But right now, I am focussing on Quantitative.

FWIW, Bitergia now area able to do analytics for Discourse sites among the other community tools they support, and they have the current best-of-breed community metrics tools right now IMHO. They have helped organized the FLOSS Community Metrics workshop alongside CLS in the past; maybe they will be participating in May. @jgbarah and @jsmanrique can give you more information. :smile:

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First of all, thank you for your compliments!! :blush:

Second, of course, there’ll be a May meeting, together with CLS!

And regarding Discourse, we support it as one of data sources related with software development and community management. We have also metrics related with Q&A tools (Askbot, StackOverflow, etc.). Our current data gathering tool is Sybil, part of Metrics Grimoire toolkit.

We are moving to a new Open Development Analytics platform, in which we are currently working hard on. Check our blog for updates :wink:

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Just an small update about this: https://github.com/grimoirelab/use_cases/tree/master/simple-discourse-dashboard


@abo this is a classic question. The main thing you need to work on is understanding your company’s sales funnel (or customer journey, or whatever metaphor your company uses to describe the paths that your users take to go from not- to paying). So the first question to ask is: can you map the alias of a forum user to the identity of a customer? If you can, then all you need to do is dive into the forum’s IDs and check how many of those have become paying customers. The second question will be how can I draw this over time?
With something like this I’m sure you can easily show your management that the forums attract casual readers, who in certain % become registered forum users (user of the free version) and eventually a % turns into paying customers.

Since this has a recent comment, I’ll add some comments and ask for some extra eyeballs on my list.

I’m working on making a comprehensive list of metrics to gather for our community. We have a lot of the basics, but I’m looking for things that are more in-depth. Trying to gather as many possible data points as possible, weight them accordingly. that way, I can get a feel for things being off, and drill down when needed.

Below is my rough list of metrics to gather and monitor. Sorry, it’s an excel file, but it contains about 90 items - more than would be polite to list here.



What a bummer. No one wants to share?

So I think your list is really comprehensive and covers a lot of things - how many of these are actually important, and how many are “good to know”? For some others being used in Discourse you can see this list which is a mashup of what others are tracking from here.

I agree - there are only a few of these that are important for “at a glance” general health things. That said, if we have all the numbers at our disposal, we can do some pretty important things. We can segment different types of activity as Novice/Intermediate/Advanced Community member activity. We can track the specific activity of different ranks, to determine the types of activities they favor, and tailor permissions accordingly (for example if many users alert mods to threads that need moving, you can give them permissions to move threads - if trusted).

My vision is to have an “executive index” - some percentage that weighs and aggregates all the numbers to some standard we establish, compared to the history of that specific community (and who knows? maybe other similar communities!) From there, I want to be able to drill down into different segments and facets, capturing different types of customers and activities. If we see the index dip at the top level, we can drill down further and further until we pinpoint the problem. Maybe a spike in activity on a specific thread, or a specific topic. Maybe a new “superuser” is emerging.

Thanks to for being the kind sponsor for this forum!