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Tracking Your Members is Possible!
How Community activity and impact can be quantified today!
"Golly, I wish we had better tools to track all the ways of activity!"
I want to thank a community professional for this comment recently on LinkedIn. Why? Because it inspired this latest missive from yours truly! Also, it seems y’all love analytics nerd talk (based on my last issue), so here I am again 👋
So without further ado, let me tell you we do have great tools to track activity. And most of you are already likely using it without knowing!
Google Analytics, especially with the latest release of GA4, allows you to track folks across devices and platforms using their User ID protocol.
The link is a bit technical, so I will break it down in plain English as best as possible. Essentially what you can do with Google Analytics is include a User ID when a member of your community loads a page. The User ID tracks this community member across your company's digital footprint.
The main thing to note is the User ID should be universal. In other words, keep the user ID the same in the community and on the website. If you are using Single-sign-on (SSO), it should be simple to add this so you can keep tabs on your membership as they "travel" around your website. Even if you don't have SSO enabled, there are ways to port over this universal ID to use email or other information. However, make sure you do it properly to obfuscate their identity. Google has unambiguous guidelines on how to proceed.
Once you have the User ID enabled, you are almost there. Google will measure every event your member takes on their journey. You now need to know which are conversion events. When we mean conversion, we're really describing that a person has achieved their goal. Some example goals include signing up for a free trial, upgrading their account, and downloading an ebook. Literally, anything you need to measure is possible. Most people don't realize this, however, because data knowledge is typically siloed. It requires you to find the team's data analyst or analytics person. Some of this knowledge will help you get these conversations started.
Once you have all this lovely data, you can use Big Query or any other tool you like to slice and dice the data. You can see other suggestions from Google on how to get what you want with a User ID.
Suppose you want to have even more fun. In that case, you can start to play with attribution reports and measure the overall influence of the community on your activities.
I know not everyone uses Google. Still, I assure you every analytics tool of any value has a way to measure some form of a User ID. You can use open-source tools like Matomo to track user behaviour. If you're using a marketing automation tool, such as HubSpot, you can create lists and workflows - and sync up CRM data to measure things. The essential thing to note is that this is all possible.
So, in summary:
All activity can be tracked - and attribution of activity can be measured.
Get to know your Analytics person. Help or guide them in what you need measured. They will love the challenge!
You need the correct code in place - for Google, it's firing a User ID tag - which should be a universal customer ID.
You need to know the conversions you want to track - what are the events of value that are conversions you'd like to know about?
If you learn nothing else from this issue, everything can be tracked; it's just a matter of will, time and effort. Don't take "no" for an answer. You can measure the impact of your work more than you think. It's rarely a tool deficit. Go get 'em!
Thanks for reading this edition of my newsletter and sharing it with your friends! Here’s to your continued success!