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The Importance Of Leaderboards In Online Communities

Leaderboards can help you gamify your community. Here is how to make the best of them.
Written by
Duncan Elder
Last updated
October 23, 2023

Leaderboards are a popular form of community gamification in which the top performing members are displayed according to their contribution to the community. How rankings are determined depends on values and priorities of the community, but they are typically the result of various actions that have been quantified into points.

Some examples of points-worthy activities include creating, replying or engaging with a post, visiting a new community, inviting other members to a community, or receiving replies or engagements on a post the member has created. In most cases, administrators do not receive points for their activities and hence do not rank on the leaderboard.

Like badges, leaderboards can encourage community member engagement but need to be handled carefully. Community managers should confirm that scoring aligns with their organization’s goals and monitor discussion around the leaderboard closely to ensure that it is not alienating lower ranked members.

Bettermode's customer,WebinarNinja has built an active customer community and they extensively use the leaderboard to recognize members as well as foster engagement.

Ninjatown - Webinarninja community
NinjaTown, WebinarNinja's customer community

Here are some of the ways in which leaderboards can contribute to the growth and success of online communities:

1. Encourages competition

Leaderboards bring a competitive edge to online communities by creating a sense of rivalry among members. This helps to keep members active and motivated to perform better, thus increasing the level of engagement and overall activity within the community. The thrill of climbing up the ranks and being recognized as one of the top performers is a powerful motivator for many individuals, and can lead to increased contributions and participation.

Duolingo's leaderboard is an amazing example of motivating members through competition. Honestly, I personally use Duolingo and often I have spent an hour in a day just to compete with other users and move to different leagues.

Duolingo leaderboard

2. Fosters recognition and reward

Being recognized as one of the top performers on a leaderboard can be a source of pride and satisfaction for members. This recognition can act as a reward for their efforts, further increasing their motivation and drive to continue contributing to the community. Leaderboards can also help to establish a culture of recognition and reward within a community, where members are encouraged to celebrate each other’s successes and accomplishments.

3. Improves transparency

Leaderboards can also improve the transparency of online communities by providing clear and objective criteria for ranking members. This allows community leaders and members to easily track progress and see who is contributing the most to the community. This transparency can also help to build trust among members, as it ensures that everyone has a clear understanding of how their contributions are being evaluated and rewarded.

4. Increases visibility

The presence of a leaderboard can also increase the visibility of online communities, as it attracts new members and showcases the top performers. This can help to grow the community and bring in new talent, which in turn can lead to new ideas and perspectives. This increased visibility can also help to establish the community as a valuable resource and attract the attention of potential sponsors or partners.

5. Facilitates collaboration

Leaderboards can also facilitate collaboration among members, as it provides a platform for members to connect with each other and work towards a common goal. The competition for higher rankings can drive members to collaborate and support each other, leading to greater cooperation and teamwork within the community.

In conclusion, leaderboards play a crucial role in online communities, by fostering competition, recognition, transparency, visibility, and collaboration. By providing a platform for members to connect and strive for excellence, leaderboards can help to drive the growth and success of online communities.

So, if you are building an online community, consider implementing a leaderboard system to take your community to the next level.

Duncan Elder
Content writer

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