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Measuring Online Engagement

Even though all of our ministry efforts have switched to an online platform, it is still vital that we keep track of the impact we are having as churches. While it may look different than measuring engagement in person, measuring engagement online is possible, and we encourage you to check out the tips below to find a plan that works best for your church.



Why is Measuring Engagement Important?


When tracking engagement of any kind, it is essential to note that every number represents a person. In general, we measure what matters; this means that, as churches, we must identify the things that we care about the most and find a way to measure them. 


Why? Because healthy things grow. Highlands has been tracking online engagement for years, and it has always been separate from in-person attendance numbers. However, during this time, measuring online engagement is the best way to gauge the reach of the church. 


Whether you’ve been tracking online engagement for years or are just now starting, we encourage you to find a system that works best for you to track online engagement with your church. By keeping track of engagement, you’ll be able to gauge the health of your church as your congregation makes the transition to an online platform.


What Engagement Should I Measure?


Below are some things that the team at Highlands currently measures during this season of online church:


  • Number of connections watching the live stream

  • Number of connections watching on-demand later in the week

  • Connection card responses (spiritual decisions and first-time guests)

  • Chat engagement (number of people in chat)

  • Social engagement (comments, likes, etc.)

  • Prayer requests

  • Number of people serving online

  • Giving online


When it comes to selecting a method to measure engagement, only you can decide what is best for your church. However, below are a few examples of approaches that you can take when it comes to tracking engagement. Please know that these examples have to do with tracking attendance (“views”), but they can be used for tracking other engagements as well.

What Method Should I Use to Measure?

When it comes to selecting a method to measure engagement, only you can decide what is best for your church. However, below are a few examples of approaches that you can take when it comes to tracking engagement. Please know that these examples have to do with tracking attendance (“views”), but they can be used for tracking other engagements as well.


  • Peak Live Viewers This method chooses to count the maximum (“peak”) number of views on a live stream to find the attendance count for a service. If you have more than one service, you can add your peak views together at the end of the day to determine your total Sunday attendance. This method is considered the most conservative of the three, as it does not take into account the number of individuals or the number of people who watched the live stream across the entire service.


  • Unique Connections This method chooses to count unique connections (via IP addresses) to find the attendance number for each service. Like counting peak viewers, each IP address is counted per service and then added together at the end of the day for the total Sunday attendance. This method is considered a moderate approach to measuring because it allows for more accurate tracking. Still, it also does not take into account the number of individual viewers per connection, such as a family experiencing the service together.


  • Multipliers This method consists of determining how many devices are tuning in to the live stream (through tracking IP addresses) and then multiplying that number by a “multiplier,” a factor that represents the number of people that could potentially be represented by the device. This “multiplier,” on average, is generally between 1.4 and 1.6. This average comes from churches who have polled their audience to see how many people are watching the service online. Out of the three approaches, this one is considered the most aggressive because it may result in counting more attendees than were actually present.


In the end, regardless of what or how you choose to measure your online engagement, the most important thing is that you stay consistent. We encourage you to find a plan that works for your church and stick with it, as this will yield the best and most accurate results for tracking your church’s health and growth during this time.

Our vision is to see the local church grow in every community.

© 2020 Church of the Highlands

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