Online communities are proving beneficial for businesses, with 77% reporting an increase in website traffic and 25% noting a rise in sales. These are the findings of a study by Leader Networks and CMX Media, which surveyed over 270 community managers and professionals. The study also revealed that 35% of businesses have experienced greater customer satisfaction due to their online communities.

Despite these positive outcomes, many businesses struggle to quantify the return on investment (ROI) from their online communities. Only 6% of the surveyed businesses could provide metrics to demonstrate the financial benefit of their communities. This lack of measurable ROI is a significant challenge, as it hinders businesses from understanding the value and impact of their online communities.

Moreover, the study highlighted that online communities are not just about sales and marketing. They also play a crucial role in product development and innovation, with 47% of businesses using them to gain customer insights. This shows that online communities can be a valuable resource for businesses, providing them with direct feedback and ideas from their customers.

In conclusion, online communities offer numerous benefits for businesses, from increased sales and website traffic to improved customer satisfaction and product innovation. However, the lack of measurable ROI remains a significant hurdle, preventing many businesses from fully realising the potential of their online communities.

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