If you are interested in communities and being part of the local scene, you’ve probably come across meetup.com by now. I like it, use it and value it as a good platform to give your group the focal point it needs to coalesce around. Again, please note this is from the perspective of the group organizer and not the attendee’s – there are more popular sites where you can read about the benefits of being a member of various meetups and I have little to add on the topic.
To an experienced online business manager, meetup.com is a new challenge in giving up control. Just like Facebook pages, your group members are not yours – you can drive them to sign up, but you don’t get their email addresses. As much as this sounds like a control freak’s confession, you don’t own your group in the same way you own a private mailing list but this does not mean you cannot extract value from it using an analytic approach.
First you should know that meetup.com allows to insert your own Google Analytics tracking code (the UA-xxxxx bit) into your group’s settings and will fire hits to your GA account when visitors browse your pages. That is great and all as it opens a new realm of possibilities when it comes to measuring interest levels, both as traffic volume (sessions/day) and engagement (pages/session, time on page). Some device and demographics data also become available, and you can monitor trends and track how traffic spikes as the event date comes nearer.
However, you soon come to realize there are massive limitations to having this basic integration as it stands today, and no amount of tinkering with your meetup options will overcome them – meetup.com themselves have to realize this feature can be massively improved.
Capture Meetup.com Site Events With Google Analytics
I suggest meetup.com setup by default to send the following to Google Analytics:
- Registration events, with actions Subscribe or Unsubcribe and the label populated with the name of the group
- RSVP events, with actions Yes or No and the label used to carry the event name and date
- User-ID, for example by sending GA the meetup.com member ID of logged visitors visiting your group pages or a hashed value of that to protect privacy.
It’s easy to see why – for example if you run one or more groups, you could track membership and measure conversion (and attrition) in aggregate, but still segment by chapter (think Friends of Bill W. with chapters in multiple cities but managed by a single group organizer). Or tracking conversion rate as number of RSVPs as a percentage of the total visits your meetup pages are receiving – great metric also if you were to send campaign traffic and drive acquisition outside of meetup.com.
The 3rd suggestion revolving around Universal Analytics could be great for stitching together sessions from multiple devices used by the same person – that would still leave room for improvement using the Measurement Protocol to send details about how they use the meetup.com mobile app as well, but if nothing else you can at least use this as an exercise of imagination for what it is like to have 360 understanding of who and how is visiting your meetup page and attending your meetings.
I plan to send a link to this to meetup.com and see what they think about it – not in the hope they listen, but someone there might have already come up with the idea but maybe lacked the user traction to make it happen. Glad if I can be of service, then!