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Towards continuous engagement

One of the biggest challenges in community engagement, whether online or offline, is creating the opportunity for continuous engagement. We're already seeing exciting results from our engagement methods, but remain committed to developing creative ways to re-engage the community. 

Comment validation 

It’s important to us that respondents can contribute comments to Commonplace projects in a smooth and easy way. From exploring existing comments, to dropping a pin and leaving their own comment, the user flow should enable flexible use of the platform, including leaving multiple comments in a row. 

Previously, respondents would leave a comment and be taken through a validation loop. This would happen every time they left a comment, even on the same project. Now, when respondents want to leave multiple comments during one session they will no longer have to validate their account every time they leave a comment. In one click, users now validate all of the comments and agreements they make on a project.

By adapting this functionality, it will enable higher engagement on projects. Energy previously directed towards validating accounts, will now be focused on the purpose of Commonplace; to gather valuable local knowledge and community feedback. 

We’re exploring additional ways in which we can smooth this journey and drive the confirmation rate forward. Early in 2021, we’ll be A/B testing a new approach that uses a six digit code for immediate validation, rather than the current approach where users click on a link.

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Emails to drive continuous engagement 

Commonplace allows members of the community to quickly and easily support comments made by other members of the community by ‘agreeing’ with them.  In November 2020, we reached 1 million agreements across all Commonplace projects; a fantastic leap in the right direction for community engagement. 

We recognise that closing the loop on feedback is crucial. Not only does it help the respondent feel like their contribution is valued, but it keeps them engaged in the project for its lifetime.

Why is continuous engagement important? Because most projects go through several rounds of consultation, and it’s vital to have the community involved at every stage to guide the outcomes in the direction that’s right for the local area. The challenge is how to get those valuable contributors coming back to the project and be aware of its progress. To tackle this, we’ve developed a series of emails aimed at continuous engagement. 


Firstly, as highlighted in green in the image above, users can ‘agree’ with comments made on a Commonplace project. Now, when a user agrees with your comment, you’ll get notified. This action will bring users back to the platform to check in on the project, view any updates and stay engaged with what’s happening. 

Secondly, three days after their initial engagement, respondents will receive an email about the project to track its progress. This email will update them on how many more people have commented on the project, tempting them back to have a look and re-engage with the conversation. 

Communities want to remain engaged 

Not only is it vital for communities to be continuously engaged in order to create places that genuinely reflect local needs, communities themselves actively want to remain engaged with what's happening. Our research research report "Engaging for the Future" found that people who had contributed once, were 5 times more likely to contribute again. Indicating that once participants have the first consultation under their belt, if new opportunities are presented to them, many more should follow. 

Data from our emails corroborates this. Both sets of emails have the highest open and click rates across the platform, confirming the communities interest in engagement. We are committed to maximising this appetite for engagement at every stage of the process; creating a space for truly continuous participation. 


Amy Outterside

Amy Outterside

Content Creator - with a background in both Planning and Design, Amy is driven to help pave the way to more people centred places