Community value grows over time: State of Community Report

The State of Community Management 2020 is the 11th edition of The State of Community Management research, organised by The Community Roundtable in Boston.

There were 324 respondents between January and March 2020, with an additional 213 collected in April 2020 to offer additional context on the impact of COVID-19 crisis on community programs. Most respondents are from North America. A mix of external and internal communities were surveyed, spanning a wide range of industries.

Rachel Happe, Co-Founder and Prinicpal of The Community Roundtable, has highlighted three key findings for this year's report:

  • Advanced communities create generative value

  • External communities elevate the customer experience

  • Internal communities reveal untapped potential

ROI and the ongoing positive financial impact of community is a focus of this year's report, with evidence that communities not only deliver both financial and cultural returns, but that these compound generously over time.

External brand communities

Historically, customer support efficiencies have been a primary driver for external facing online brand communities. This year's report suggests an important shift - with customer loyalty overtaking support as the primary goal.

Communities are uniquely suited to support the multi-dimensionality of modern customer experience, and can provide relevance and deep value across the customer lifecycle.

"Organisations supported by these communities find that customer contributions are not just helpful but essential. Being seen and heard opens the door for the development of shared valued and a positive brand impact, the “halo effect” generated by great communities."

They command a remarkable ROI of 6,130% - with advanced external communities chalking up a staggering 7,071%.

Internal communities

Internal communities are growing, yet remain less robust than their external counterparts. Their most common stated goal is organisational culture change, followed by communications efficiency.

The Community Roundtable’s model calculates the ROI of internal communities at 1,967%, strong, but lower than external communities.

64% of these communities don’t report to executives, and only 39% directly connect their performance to business results. The survey also reveals these organisational communities are often not integrated into daily or weekly workflows, and underinvest in community management.

Purposeful and strategic integration and consistent, holistic community management can unlock this latent potential, as more businesses and organisations take advantage of the new pandemic reality to launch or expand workplace communities in the cloud.

The report features detailed analysis of survey results, and specific recommendations for both executive and community leaders based on findings.

Download the 2020 State of Community Report from The Community Roundtable.


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We acknowledge the Wadawurrung people of the Kulin nations, the Traditional Owners of the land on which ACM is convened and organised. We pay our respects to the local people and to their Elders: past, present and emerging. We have much to learn from first nations cultures.