Does 'reply via email' increase engagement?


(Nick) #1

Continuing the discussion from Setup incoming emails :e-mail::

Has anyone measured the effect of the “reply via email” feature on user engagement, when it is enabled in a previously web-only community?

On the one hand, it can be expected to increase – since “reply via email” offers another, often easier means to contribute to a discussion. On the other hand, I wouldn’t be totally surprised if there was a negative effect, too – because of fewer visits to the site and, consequently, fewer opportunities to discover other interesting topics to contribute to.

So, I’m interested if anyone has been through enabling the “reply via email” on a previously web-only forum, and what were the results. Thank you.


Encouraging User Participation - Some Ideas, More welcome
(Kenny DuBose) #2

@iva I’m interested in this also. I’ve migrated a community that did not have this feature, and I’m afraid it’s provided more confusion than benefit.


(Andy Logan) #3

Personally we wouldn’t have selected discourse without this feature. My field sales teams used to be on a Google group, we split that group into multiple sub-categories owned by the product manager for that feature. Allowing them to answer via email was the norm, it reduces friction considerably and also serves as a reminder to check in on the community.

However, I haven’t published addresses to start conversations via email except on the internal side. I still want our end users coming to the community to start a question, that way the search and suggested titles can help solve the issue.


(Jeff Atwood) #4

That is very odd, because being able to reply via email opens up many worlds of new communication possibilities on so many devices. It’s essential.

Perhaps if you could elaborate on the specifics of your community audience and give some examples of why they find it “confusing”?


(Jono Bacon) #5

Have you (or others reading this) found that reply by email increases engagement?


(Adrianbblk) #6

It could be a bad ideea if you run ads and earn money from your forum, coz with every reply/post from email you lose a user visitor on your website. You won’t be able to display ads trough the email reply.


(Andy Logan) #7

I would say the vast majority of my engagement is via email, probably north of 75%.


(Kenny DuBose) #8

The answer to that question is fairly simple. The audience leans heavily to the >65 crowd and has been using a legacy forum that had only one bell and one whistle - few options and few benefits. It was the devil they knew.


(Andy Logan) #9

There is no reason you have to turn it on. If they like the web interface it’s easy enough to do it that way. For my guys they are all security sales engineers, email isn’t a technical hurdle and mailing list mode allows them to quickly jump in and answer questions.

Every community I’m on is a bit different. In your case you might want to do a write up and explain email is an optional way to participate and let people who want opt in.