Whether you want to get a macroscopic view, suss out the nuances of the Switchboard, see what the effects of a promotion are to various aspects of the Switchboard, or something else, that data are there. It’s important to know what data to prioritize, where to find it, and how to interpret it in order to understand the health of your Switchboard. Only then can you create next steps that foster an active community that grows in membership and activity.
Data analysis and interpretation, though, can often be intimidating, but Switchboard data analysis and interpretation is as simple and intuitive as the Switchboard itself. Just use the information from this article to get your bearings around Switchboard data so you can use it efficiently and effectively.
Where can I find Switchboard data?
Switchboard data can be found in many places, but the three main repositories for Switchboard data are:
2. Interactions Directory
When would you want to search these repositories?
1. Member Directory
A) You want to create and save a segment of users, which can be used for data analysis in the Interactions Directory and Insights
B) You want to see the number of users who’ve participated in some way during some length of time (e.g. number of alumni who’ve posted an offer in the last year)
C) You want to see the number of people in a particular affiliation who have signed up in a given time period (e.g. number of GOLD alumni in the past 2 months)
2. Interactions Directory
A) You want a more detailed understanding of a specific type of activity done on the Switchboard (e.g. how many alumni have clicked on links in posts in the last month or how much private messaging has been happening in a given time frame)
B) You want to see what type of activity has been happening within specific post categories (e.g. is commenting or messaging more common in Advice posts)
A) When you want a macroscopic view of Switchboard in a given time period
B) When you want to see who is connecting with whom and around what
C) To see growth and activity for particular time periods
D) The number of different affiliations, where they are, and who the most active ones are
E) The level and rate of responses to posts
How do you analyze Switchboard data?
Analyzing Switchboard data is straightforward, and while there are many data points to consider, there are 6 pieces of data to always consider when you are analyzing Switchboard data:
Participation % - this is the total percentage of your Switchboard community that comes back to the Switchboard in a given time period and opens at least one post. Many people like to keep their finger on the pulse of the Switchboard, and this is where we can see how many people are doing that.
Response Rate % - this is the percentage of posts in a given time period that have received either a comment or message. If this percentage is low, fewer people may not be finding what they are looking for.
Latest Activity Feed - this feed shows who is connecting with whom. It ultimately is showing the people influencing the empirical data you see.
Growth section - this entire section shows data around new user adoption and the level of activity on your Switchboard in a given time period.
Content section - this entire section allows you see the responsiveness of the community in various parts of the Switchboard. You can see with more detail how active the community has been with one another around various types of posts.
Goals Section - the data here have been input by administrators, and it serves to keep administrators accountable and excited around fostering growth and activity on the Switchboard.
With these data, you can go beyond looking at a data point or two by thinking about these three questions:
How does the current time period compare to the previous time period (e.g. this month vs. last month)?
Are certain standards being met (e.g. is response rate percentage at least 80%)?
Is progress being made? This is easy to see by looking at progress with goals listed in the Goals section of Insights
How do you interpret Switchboard data?
Interpreting Switchboard data is mostly about analyzing key data points to see if your Switchboard is in a healthy place. This will depend on the age of your Switchboard and the size of your community, among many other things, but healthy Switchboards:
Have a steady stream of asks and offers each week/month (found in Growth section of Insights and by looking at main feed page).
Have at least 50% participation every month (found in Overview section of Insights)
Have a response rate of 75% and higher every month (found in Overview section of Insights)
See an increase in the number of engaged users over time (found in Growth section of Insights)
Number of active users increases over time (found in Growth section of Insights)
Have somewhere between a 2:1 to 3:1 ratio of alumni to students (found in Users section of Insights)
Steady progress towards goals in Goals section is being made (found in Goals section of Insights)
Make a recurring calendar reminder to analyze/interpret data. Once a week or twice a month is a common timeframe for admins.
Take part of a team meeting to walk team members through the basics in analyzing and interpreting Switchboard data.