In its heyday, Tetris was considered the most addictive game of all time. Something about the way those interlocking pieces came together at increasing speeds pulled people in and kept them engaged. I remember long car rides on the backseat with my Game Boy forgetting all about the world beyond those rectangles.
When we originally came up with our notion of "the Grid," we weren't thinking about Tetris of course—we simply tried to visualize the lifecycle of community members. We've used a recency-frequency model in the past (to help ecommerce stores understand buying behavior) and figured that segmentation based on those dimensions would provide a rich insight into community that's easy to understand.
To calculate the segments in the Grid, we analyze the community engagement data by tallying up all interactions that take place. We peel away the top layer where you only see your overall community size, and we sort everyone into intuitive, color-coded segments that show you more about the quality of your relationships with them.
It's an exciting, fresh perspective on a community and individual members, and once you understand what the segments mean you quickly get addicted to watching how the relationships with your community changes over time.
In this article I will explain the different segments of the Grid, why they are shaped like Tetris pieces, and how you can act on the insights you get from this new understanding about your members.
Generally, the colors follow a traffic-light system where green is good and red is probably not good. Each colored area is a segment that represents an analysis and grouping of characteristics and behaviors that are similar among members. The purple-blue-green spectrum is the optimal as well as the desired member-lifecycle journey, because it results in the longest lifetime and highest value per community member.
This segmentation logic and shapes are defined based on recency (the horizontal axis), which is the time since the last touchpoint, and engagement (the vertical axis) which uses our algorithm for assessing relative engagement for your community. Let's go through each segment one-by-one:
The people in this segment are interesting for you, but they haven't engaged with your organization yet. In addition to finding developers using your solutions, Port finds other potential members that are active in relevant communities and topics, but Not Seen by your organization directly. You can consider these people to be prospects that you could turn into actual, active members.
The Promising segment includes members who are probably new to your community and have not been very active yet. So far they have not contributed that much, but they've shown positive signs recently. For example, they poked at your API and made a comment on Twitter about their early experience. Whether positive, neutral or negative, that means you may have an opportunity to catch their attention and pull them closer. The key here is acting on building a relationship while the engagement is fresh and their interest is closer to their top of mind.
The Engaged members are the backbone of your developer community. They drive product-led growth with their constant usage of and feedback about their experience as users and contributors, and they develop and deploy your technology on new use cases. They are a source of understanding about what works, of ideas for innovation as well as the foundation for ongoing success and profitability. The Engaged developers represent the majority of the recently active members and are an important group to work with on a regular basis – this is your basis for sustainable long term growth. Building meaningful relationships with the right people can even propel some of them into the ultimate segment of super fandom.
Your Super Fans are the most active people in your community, and have engaged with you quite recently. As long as they stay engaged, they stay in this segment. It's a relatively short segment on the timeline, so it's only for the biggest fans in your community. The high level of engagement and interest of this group can be fleeting, unless you keep feeding them fresh innovation and build their loyalty. This is where you will find your ambassadors and champions, your content and coding contributors and your project teams.
Your Fans might not have engaged with you recently, but they're among the most active people in your community and are likely to come back. That's why you can be patient with them and don't need to fear losing them after a short period of inactivity. However, do not ignore them completely. Think about projects and activities to keep them informed, that strike the right balance between timely communications, adding interesting value and not being to "marketing-ish" – developers don't like the fluff.
When Promising or Engaged members are out of touch for a while, we start regarding them to be Adrift. This segment is shaped a little different because it takes longer for Engaged members to move into it, as they're more likely to come back after a while. You probably didn't engage enough to build such loyalty with the Promising members yet, so they become Adrift a little faster. This is a great first segment to tackle if your community is growing, but member lifespan is short. This is where you can think about retention programs or a survey to understand initial developer experience and satisfaction level.
After having been Adrift for a while without engaging in your community, members become At Risk. This segment should be considered a red alert! These people are on their way out of the active part of your community, which will make it harder to re-engage with them. Try to understand what is happening with this segment by reviewing the activity feeds and conversations of individual members, and engaging them directly to bring them back.
The members in this segment were among the most engaged members in your community, but we haven't seen them in quite a while. You might want to check in with them to see if they are truly gone, or if you missed something important in supporting them. If they truly left your community, it might be valuable to understand why. Did something turn sour, or did they miss something?
Although these people are still in your community, they have likely moved on. They might have been interested at some point, but you haven't heard from them in a while. Besides, they were never very active. It is best to focus on the people with more potential, but keep an eye on the overall amount and speed with which members end up in this segment to understand your member attrition trends. It might even make sense to see if anybody with a high Port Score ended up in here.
Although these people are still in your community, there's a good chance they've abandoned your product or service. They might have been engaged at some point, but we haven't heard from them in a while, and we don't expect them back without anything big happening. Since Port goes back in time to find members who've engaged with you in the past, you can consider this the graveyard; an archive for the people you haven't seen in a while. Until they reengage and automatically pop back on the grid, it is best to focus on the members with more potential.
See your Community Grid
Though they're not as fun or addicting as Tetris, the names and the color codes of each segment convey meaning in regard to a member's lifecycle status. Most importantly, they help you quickly understand the best way to communicate with people in terms of tone and topic. The Port Community Grid is a simple but powerful tool to help you derive new insights and enact engagement strategies that are scalable, but on a more targeted level, and much more likely to produce effective results.
Are you intrigued? You can easily see the segmentation of your community for yourself, for free, with Port. It only takes a few minutes. Check it out: