During the past year my user base on my forum has gone from 1,000 to about 4,000 total users. During that same time the average number of messages per day has gone from about 250 to 600 messages per day.
What has been strange and disappointing is that the number of user logins per day has remained basically flat at about 200 people per day. This actually concerns me a lot I’ve heard that the average facebook user returns 1 time a day to the site - so our participation rate is really anemic compared to typical social media it seems, and actually getting worse over time.
Obviously the email reminders are not working too well and I’m posting here to see if we can brainstorm on some other ideas to encourage user engagement.
Some ideas I’m throwing out are the following - comments, and add-on ideas welcome. These ideas are both to increase conversions (from visitors to logged in users), and also increase the revisits and participation / engagement in the forum.
1. Slightly Random (e.g. bounded in time or triggered by usage conditions), pop-up messages/overlays to non-logged in users. Eg. If a new visitor reads more than 5 topics over a 10 or 15 minute time period they get a pop-up invite to join the forum and post their own topic - and briefly summarize the compelling reasons (customized by the admin of the group to make it specific to his / her forum) to get more involved than just reading / lurking.
2. Periodic reminders for people to like or reply to messages - for logged in users, to get them to participate more in the conversations and become more engaged - which I think might be more likely to result in more visits (the more involved users are, the more likely they are to return to the site). This would be targeted at users who have logged in more than X times over a given time period (e.g. 2 times in the past week, and who haven’t replied or liked anything more than 2 times).
3. Automatically Customized “feeds” (e.g. message topics shown to the user) based on what topics they like the most, and obviously temporal (most recent on top). The goal here is to make the message feed more relevant to each user, so they are more likely to be more engaged and to participate.
4. Mobile App Wrapper/webview app for our forums - lots has been discussed on this topic so I’ll leave it at that. I’m working on my own mobile wrapper for my forums, but it would be nice if the web version were somehow optimized to make it easier for these wrappers to do push notifications.
Other ideas - please add. No need to criticise these ideas yet - please just add to them and modify the ideas as fit. The goal here initially is to brainstorm… Thanks for your postings.