ForumCon: Moderation and Management of Your Community, Patrick Clinger
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  • 1. Data Driven Insights WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TO BUILD A SUCCESSFUL FORUM © 2014 ProBoards, Inc.
  • 2. Overview  Looked at forum trends across hundreds of thousands of forums  Data came from forums hosted by ProBoards (www.proboards.com)  Identified differences between top tier forums and small to medium sized forums  Key areas we analyzed:  Desktop vs. Mobile  Forum Moderators  Requiring Guests to Login  Themes
  • 3. Worldwide Desktop vs. Mobile Traffic 73.7% 91.5% 8.5% 26.3% Source: http://gs.statcounter.com/
  • 4. Forums: Desktop vs. Mobile
  • 5. Desktop vs. Mobile Desktop 79% Mobile 21% Pageviews Data based on over 100 million pageviews from ProBoards during April & May 2014 Desktop 80% Mobile 20% Posts Data based on over 2,500,000 posts made during April & May 2014
  • 6. Mobile Browser vs. Native App Native App 26% Mobile Browser 74% Pageviews Data based on over 100 million pageviews from ProBoards during April & May 2014 Native App 31% Mobile Browser 69% Posts Data based on over 2,500,000 posts made during April & May 2014
  • 7. Posting Frequency Native App 56% Mobile Browser 44% Native app users post 12% more often than visitors using a mobile browser
  • 8. Mobile Takeaways  The majority of mobile forum traffic comes from mobile browsers  Native app users are more likely to participate in discussions  Provide your visitors with both a mobile optimized browser experience as well as support for a native app such as Tapatalk or Forum Runner for maximum engagement
  • 9. Forum Moderators  Data came from April & May 2014 from thousands of the largest ProBoards forums with active moderators  Eliminated moderators that were not online in the last 30 days  Top Forums were based on total pageviews  Looked at both Local and Global Moderators  Local Moderators only have powers in certain areas of the forum  Global Moderators have powers in all areas of the forum
  • 10. Local : Global Moderator Ratio 0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1 1.2 1-50 51-250 251-500 501-750 751-1000 1001-1250 1251-1500 1501-1750 1751-2000 Forum Rank Ratio
  • 11. Why use Local Moderators?  It’s hard for a Global Moderator to be everywhere at once  More eyes looking throughout the forum, even in areas with less activity  You can get the benefits of a strong moderator team while still limiting what powers they have across the forum  You can build trust by starting someone as a moderator with limited powers before moving them up to the more important role of Global Moderator
  • 12. Who Moderates the Most? 0 100 200 300 400 500 600 700 Top 50 Forums Top 51-250 Top 251-500 Top 501-750 Top 751-1000 Top 1001-2000 Total Number of Moderator Actions Local Mod Team Global Mod Team Forum Owner
  • 13. Who Moderates the Most? 0.0 10.0 20.0 30.0 40.0 50.0 60.0 70.0 80.0 90.0 Top 50 Forums Top 51-250 Top 251-500 Top 501-750 Top 751-1000 Top 1001-2000 Average Actions per Individual Moderator Local Mods Global Mods Forum Owner
  • 14. Moderator Takeaways  The most successful forums take advantage of using as many Local Moderators as Global Moderators to keep a better eye on every section of their forum  Having a strong Global Moderation team is essential for a successful forum  As your forum grows, more and more responsibility should shift from the owner to the Global Moderation team  The forum owner tends to do more moderation than any individual member of the moderation team  In smaller forums, on average the forum owner does 170 - 366% more moderation than individual Global Moderators  In larger forums, the forum owner only does 13% more work than individual Global Moderators
  • 15. Guests Must Login  Some forums have the option to require guests to login to the forum in order to view the content  How do the largest forums use this feature?  What impact does it have on the number of users that register on your forum?
  • 16. Guests Must Login 0.00% 10.00% 20.00% 30.00% 40.00% 50.00% 60.00% 70.00% 80.00% 90.00% 100.00% Top 1-50 Top 51-250 Top 251-500 Top 501-750 Top 751-1000 Top 1001-2000 Open Forums vs. Guests Must Login Forums Open Forums Guests Must Login
  • 17. Disabling Guests Must Login 0.00% 10.00% 20.00% 30.00% 40.00% 50.00% 60.00% 70.00% 80.00% Top 1-250 Forums Top 251-500 Top 501-750 Top 751-1000 Top 1001-2000 How Many More Users Could Your Forum Gain? Registration Boost
  • 18. Guests Must Login Takeaways  98% of the top 50 ProBoards forums don’t require guests to login  Forums will see 37 - 71% more registered users by not requiring guests to login to view forum content  Don’t require guests to login to view your content if you want to grow your forum  Many people will simply leave when being forced to register on your forum  Visitors won't have the opportunity to be hooked by your forum's great content
  • 19. Themes  What do the largest forums do in terms of theme customization?  Looked at over 1.4 million forum registrations on our top 500 forums  Broke down these forums into three categories:  Minor to no customization (simple color changes, logo change)  Medium customization (customized images or slight layout changes)  High customization (customized layout, images, etc.)
  • 20. Customization: None / Minor
  • 21. Customization: Medium
  • 22. Customization: High
  • 23. Level of Theme Customization 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 Top 50 51-100 101-150 151-200 201-250 251-300 301-350 351-400 401-450 451-500 Theme Customization on Top 500 Forums Minor to None Medium High
  • 24. Level of Theme Customization  50% of the top 500 forums kept the default theme or made only minor changes  40% of the forums did a medium amount of customization  10% of the forums created a highly customized theme  Only one out the top 100 forums had a highly customized theme
  • 25. Theme Customization vs. Registration High Medium Minor to None 0 0.5 1 1.5 2 2.5 3 Registered Users per Day
  • 26. You Are Probably Not a UX Designer
  • 27. You Are Probably Not a UX Designer  Most people aren’t designers and can make poor design choices  Bad font and color choices are common and make the forum hard to read  Poor placement of links on the page can make the forum harder to use  A fully customized theme is not necessary for a popular forum  Sticking with a professionally designed theme is generally better  UX Designers work hard to ensure your theme is both functional and aesthetically pleasing  The more you customize your theme, the more you could decrease how many users register on your forum
  • 28. Overall Takeaways  Make sure you have both a mobile theme and support for native mobile apps for maximum engagement  The top forums have active forum owners. Stay active!  Build a strong moderator team that includes both Local and Global Moderators to set your forum up for success  Keep Guests Must Login turned off unless your community requires it  Your time is better spent worrying about your forum’s content than your forum’s layout  Focus on building a great community with great content and the rest fall into place
  • 29. Thank You! Patrick Clinger pclinger@proboards.com @proboards Facebook.com/ProBoardsFreeForums