Recently, CheckMates introduced banners aimed at encouraging our community users to log in or register. This fairly simple idea has already proved successful, so I thought it could be helpful to others. In thinking about this, it was just one stop on a much longer journey.
So first, a little history.
In 2015, a different community lived on JiveX, which became CheckMates, and migrated to the Lithium/Khoros platform in 2019.
We dialed in on tracking Member Registrations to demonstrate overall community growth to our execs. We recently started being interested in Member Entrances, but first, let’s look at the metrics we’ve been tracking consistently, Completed Registrations, as these metrics are related.
Historically, we’ve been getting roughly 1,000 registrations a month.
When this number dips below 1,000, we start looking at what we can do to encourage more registrations.
Most of our content is available without logging into the community platform.
But we have some content restricted to only logged-in users for various reasons, including ensuring users log into the platform.
In the old JiveX platform, the only way to make content available when logged in was by putting it in a space that isn’t accessible to someone not logged in. The downside to this method is content won’t be indexed by Google—an important consideration when you consider the vast majority of our traffic comes from search engines.
When we moved to the Lithium/Khoros platform in 2019, we developed a custom component to “gate” specific posts.
If users have not logged in and hit a gated post, they’ll be presented with a preview of the top-level post in the thread, and the rest is hidden.
Below is a visual of the preview, or you can see this in action here.
When we first implemented these custom components, I hard-coded the thread IDs into the components. The downside is that it requires pushing code changes through Studio anytime I wanted to gate a post.
I now use Custom Tags, which made it possible to not have to push a code change whenever we wanted to update which posts were gated.
Note that our general guidelines for gating posts are as follows:
This idea kept the numbers above 1000 a month for a while.
Earlier this year, we started noticing the numbers dipping below 1000 a month (our low was 800, I think), so we started looking for new ways to bump that back up.
So, we added a banner to remind community members to log in and encourage prospective members. Sometimes, innovation isn’t complicated.
Showing a popup on a specific page when the user is not logged in is pretty easy by including the component in relevant layouts.
We had been experimenting with a third-party service to display this popup. But I decided to roll up my sleeves and write my own. Learning how to keep it from not showing after the user has clicked on the X to close required me to understand how to work with cookies.
One thing I failed to account for in the design was that the Khoros platform doesn’t provide a way to track these clicks (Google Analytics wasn’t showing me either), so I had to route the clicks to a URL shortener. That meant the results weren’t directly tracked for a few weeks.
And the results?
Member Entrances increased noticeably, from 37k/mo in July to 42k in August and 45k in September. Completed Registrations went up from about 1,100 to about 1,200, the delta corresponding to the number of clicks received to create a new account.
These simple tactics can help maintain momentum for those using the Community product, as our early returns suggest they directly contributed to moving the needle for our community.
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