Annual Benchmarking and Community Engagement Site Review Can Improve Engagement
The Bayside Council (NSW) has a strong history of online community engagement, fueled by a digital supported for many years by Bang the Table, now by Granicus.
As part of their EngagementIQ Partner Support package, our staff recently undertook a comprehensive review of their site, analyzing key performance data, as well as offering numerous insights and recommendations to further improve their use of EngagementHQ and the delivery of online engagement projects.
The second annual report compiled for Bayside Council, the latest review showed an overall improvement in Bayside’s data and a significant increase in traffic and engagement metrics. More importantly, the positive impacts in the report showed that Bayside’s engagement team took action on the recommendations given in previous reviews.
It’s a great example of how the Annual Benchmarking and Site Review can lead to positive outcomes and increased engagement. Bayside Council’s Miro Laffan and Sharon Mitchell discussed the value pf this latest report and how it has helped them to improve the way they engage with their community.
ENGAGEMENT DATA INSIGHTS
“It was a good reminder that we needed to do a general tidy-up of our site,” said Laffan of the earlier report. “And looking at the data, it encouraged us to increase our participant numbers and our reach.”
Like many other organizations, the first report showed that Bayside Council struggled a bit with “reporting back”, and Laffan explained that “the community engagement team still has to chase upmost project leads, to conclude their engagement projects.”
Not surprisingly, the report also highlighted a high reliance on the survey tool, offering a timely reminder to implement a “fit-for-purpose” approach to designing their engagement activities.
“Although we knew Council used the survey tool a lot, seeing it in a comparison graph really hit home,” said Laffan.
One of the positive takeaways from the early report was the overall engagement data and how it demonstrated that Bayside Council was engaging on a regular basis with their community and having a real impact on local decisions. Mitchell and her team decided to share this news (and data) in a year-end wrap up to all registered users, promoting the value of their involvement and celebrating their success together.
You can read their latest 2020 Community Engagement snapshot here.
AREAS FOR IMPROVEMENT
Armed with a range of insights and digital engagement recommendations, Laffan and Mitchell selected key areas from the first report to focus on for the coming year, including:
- Audit and update all current projects on Have Your Say Bayside
- Finding alternative ways to conclude engagement projects and ‘close the loop’
- Refresh and update their homepage with EngagementHQ’s new Appearance Editor
- Shift from “anonymous participation” to “registered participation,” especially for high interest and high-risk engagement projects
- Take concerted effort to increase their participant database through targeted campaigns and offering prize draw incentives
- Initiate an ongoing online conversation with their community regarding their strategic Greening Bayside project
Laffan and Mitchell took a more strategic and proactive role in managing the “Have Your Say Bayside” site, as well as implementing changes to their internal processes and how they use EngagementHQ.
THE ENGAGEMENT METRICS SPEAK FOR THEMSELVES
Based on these efforts, the latest report showed a positive increase in the overall engagement metrics and site visitation to “Have Your Say Bayside.” Not only had their engagement metrics significantly increased, but Laffan and Mitchell could also see a positive change in the key areas they were proactively trying to improve:
- Average unique daily visitors increased by 167%
- Average daily visits increased by 158%
- Average page views increased by 172%
- Annual registrations increased 116% increase
- Number of “Aware” visitors increased by 140%
- Number of “Informed” visitors increased by 150%
- Number of “Engaged” visitors increased by 29%
- Number of published projects increased by 78%
- Positive increase in using other online tools, reducing reliance on the survey tool
- Identified “Quick Polls” and “Places” tools as popular ways for residents to provide feedback
- More evidence of ‘reporting back’ engagement outcomes on individual projects
IMPROVING COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT RATES EVEN FURTHER
“The new report validated some of the updates and improvements we had already started to make, and highlighted new priorities for the year ahead,” said Laffan. “We kind of knew some stuff, but it was good to see Dan’s recommendations backed up with real evidence and data.”
While there was much to be proud of, there is always room for improvement. One of the more notable changes over the last 12 months was that Bayside had seen a 10% decrease in traffic to the site via their corporate social media accounts. With the evidence in hand, this is something that can be easily rectified by focusing on our social media presence with the communications team.
“The second report was very encouraging,” said Mitchell. “It clearly showed that we were on the right track. I was pleased to see how much our engagement rates had increased compared to last year”
The Annual Benchmarking and Site review allows the engagement team at Bayside Council to confidently measure the success of their site. They are now comparing data year-on-year to monitor and strategically grow their online community database, measure their engagement rates, and which projects and online tools are most successful.
LEARN MORE ABOUT ONLINE ENGAGEMENT BENCHMARKING
The Annual Benchmarking and Site Review is an integral part of the EngagementIQ Partner support package. However, it can also be purchased separately as a once-off or included as part of your annual license.
An individualized digital dashboard and written reports provide an evidence base for continuous improvement and is an effective way to independently measure your digital engagement.