Colleagues that are thinking of how to strategically deploy Yammer are starting to ask questions around metric packages that will provide some of the traditional measurements around online sites.
In terms of ‘measurement’ here are some of the basic criteria you could use to benchmark participation and activity within the communities based on attraction, attention and adoption:
- Total number of users
- Number of new users per week
- Number of new posts, threads (plus response), ideas, blog and other content
- What are members doing in the community?
- What are the popular trends in posts?
- What resources are being used?
We still see the benchmark of activity as something which should be measured. But the value of the activity is something which stakeholders rarely ask for.
As a Yammer network matures leadership begin to realise how it can be used strategically and the ‘ask’ for measurement begins to look at the value of the relationships and communities that are being developed. Generally, they would look for articulation around:
- Social Knowledge – this can be defined in many ways such as assets being shared around a community (and beyond) and related practices emerge.
- Relationship development – the ability to create new relationships and networks that previously didn’t exists
- What collaborative activities are emerging?
- What threads, replies, comments or connections contain referrers to potential collaborators
- What threads contain creative or innovative ideas
- Are members sharing personal stories and how much emotional support is provided
Some of the questions I ask to evaluate these items would include:
- % of members / users which make a contribution
- Members active within the past 30 days
- Contributions per active member and the value of these contributions related to the purpose of the community
- Content popularity
- Number of relationships created by individuals – look at followers and participation in threads
- Discovery of communities – have members joined communities outside their ‘physical’ or existing network
The default Yammer analytics will not provide this type of information and much of it will be antidotal evidence. Social analytics are poor within most social tools (it will be a major revenue stream for a vendor that can start to provide some of the softer metrics that articulate quality and not just quantity).
To measure the value of the relationships and transparency created by the individuals, groups and communities residing on Yammer we still need to conduct a lot of manual digging to find measurement around such artefacts as:
Over the years of working within companies here is my list of useful metrics from ‘mature’ Yammer networks that have developed from basic ‘microblogging platforms to integrated work process and social business / learning platforms (the need for ‘measurement’ moves from attraction to outputs from relationships).
You may not think these type of metrics will be useful now but fast forward 18-24 months and these will be the type of measurement leadership will be asking for:
- What % of newcomers remain members for more than a month
- Speed of replies to discussions. How quickly are discussions receiving a reply? The faster the responses, the higher the level of social presence within the community and the greater the level of participation
- The % of newcomers which initiate a discussion. This highlights whether newcomers may be unmotivated or intimidated to start discussions
- Do members’ interactions have continuity and depth. (Are members engaged in productive, on-going, interactions?)
- What collaborative activities are emerging?
- What documents, tools, resources, or other artefacts are created and utilized. (How are these useful to the members?)
- Is the community providing value for its sponsors?
- Is participants’ involvement in the community affecting their professional practices and learning
- What are the on-going practices and processes that contribute to the “life” of the community and keep members engaged?
- How is knowledge being shared within the community? Beyond the community?
- Are leaders or roles emerging in the community? In what ways? How are they being cultivated?
- How are members being supported in the community?
- How are members contributing? Posting? Replying? (When? How often?)
- What are the prevalent patterns of interactions?
- What is the proportion of new topics that get 5+ replies? The percentage of new blogs at get 5+ comments? The percentage of (video, audio, lesson plan, etc.) uploads that get 50+ downloads or 5+ comments?
- What proportions of new topics or new blog posts are un-responded to or uncommented on (an important measure of the responsiveness of the community, which in turn affects key factors like trust)?
- What is the average new (topics, replies, blog posts) created per member?
- What are the emerging benefits of the community for members?
- What is the average number of “followers” that community members list or have collected in/on their member profile pages?
- What are the proportion of topics or replies that specifically relate to the practice?
- The proportion of replies where links to potentially helpful resources or other referrals are provided
- The proportion of replies to a post in which helpful or constructive advice is directly provided
- The proportion of replies that build on previous posts (as opposed to just responding to the original poster)
- The proportion of replies that contain offers of collaboration or introductions to potential collaborators
- The proportion of replies that contain creative, novel, or innovative ideas
- The proportions of replies that summarize, distil, or synthesize prior posts/replies
- The proportion of posts in which community members show or express vulnerability, such as a lack of domain knowledge
- The proportion of posts in which community members share personal stories
- The proportion of posts in which community members are (emotionally) supportive or helpful to other members