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Every company today wants to be customer centric. From emerging upstarts to established conglomerates, brands of all sizes now recognize that getting closer to customers is key to long-term business success. In our customer-led world, the various types of online communities have become an indispensable tool to harness customer feedback and insight.

In the last decade, online communities have taken the business world by storm. The online community market is now approaching $1 billion in value, and it’s a space that’s projected to continue to grow.

If your company is considering launching a community, here are 13 useful stats that capture the rise of this space, and how you can get more out of an online community.

Online communities have measurable, proven ROI
  1. A University of Michigan study found that customers spend 19 percent more after joining a company’s online community. (TWEET THIS STAT)
  2. Seventy-seven percent of companies believe that an online community significantly improves brand exposure, awareness and credibility. (TWEET THIS STAT)
  3. DEWALT, the leader in the professional power tool market, recently revealed that it has saved close to $6 million in research costs alone since launching its insight community. (TWEET THIS STAT)
  4. After establishing its FANography insight community, sports broadcasting leader ESPN has been able to bring market research in-house, saving approximately $650,000 in one year. (TWEET THIS STAT)
The use of communities is growing
  1. The worldwide online communities market will reach $1.2 billion by 2019, according to advisory firm IDC. (TWEET THIS STAT)
  2. Twenty-three percent of marketers who have online communities indicate that the size of their communities has at least doubled in the past year. (TWEET THIS STAT)
Online communities are now mainstream business tools
  1. Seventy-four percent of large companies have established online communities. In contrast, only 40 percent of small businesses have one. (TWEET THIS STAT)
  2. Eighty-one percent of companies have an online support community in which customers can ask other customers for technical help and troubleshooting. (TWEET THIS STAT)
  3. Sixty-one percent of research companies now use online communities, according to the Q1-Q2 2016 Greenbook Industry Trends (GRIT) report. (TWEET THIS STAT)
  4. Forrester Research found that 60 percent of businesses own a branded online community, with an additional 15 percent planning to open one in the next 12 months. (TWEET THIS STAT)
Customer communities have a variety of CX, innovation and marketing applications
  1. In a recent survey, 72 percent of companies with an online community revealed that they use it to gather product feedback, while 67 percent use it to collect new product and feature ideas. (TWEET THIS STAT)
  2. Fifty-four percent of marketers launched a branded community because customers frequently gave product feedback and ideas. (TWEET THIS STAT)
  3. A 2016 study found that 86 percent of marketers believe that having a branded online community benefits core business operations, while 85 percent think it will improve the customer journey. (TWEET THIS STAT)
Get more out of online communities

Online communities can help your company build better relationships with customers while harnessing the business insight necessary to thrive in changing markets. To get more ROI out of your online communities, you must understand the benefits of each type of online community and how they complement one another.

For more on this topic, check out our e-book, The Enterprise Guide to Online Communities, which offers a comprehensive look at the types of community platforms, the pros and cons of each and the different software companies leading the charge.  

The enterprise guide to online communities

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Kelvin Claveria

Kelvin Claveria was formerly a Content Marketing Manager at Vision Critical.

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