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Tips and Best Practices for covering elections with CrowdTangle.
Frequently Asked Questions

Why use CrowdTangle?

Our team just adopted CrowdTangle. How are other companies using this tool, and what are some of the actions people are taking from the data they are seeing?

Newsrooms and other types of companies (including sports teams and leagues, non-profits and political organizations) are using CrowdTangle in many different and unique ways, but for the most part they break down into these main categories:

  • Tracking competitors' social performance, both at the account level and the post level. CrowdTangle makes it very easy to see any given competitor's social media strategy (how often they're posting per day, which types of posts perform better, how their accounts have grown over time), and then seeing which content is actually driving those metrics. What topics overperform with their audience? What underperforms?
  • Tracking influencers, both in regards to who is sharing your content, as well as discovering influencers around certain topics.
  • Understanding how content is framed on social. For example, what is the “second day” story angle? What headlines and captions work best? What types of stories work better as videos? How are breaking news stories framed for different, local audiences?
  • Finding outperforming content from both internal and external syndication partners to repost on social media, in order to drive engagement and growth.
  • Setting up effective alerts for tracking breaking news and trending posts in order to generate story ideas.
  • Identifying distribution partnerships through the Link Checker Chrome Extension, as well as saved search leaderboards.
  • Sharing best practices easily across an organization.
  • Improving and streamlining internal reporting, since many analysts currently pull a lot of data manually.
Get more specifics around how teams are customizing CrowdTangle to do these things here.


What's a “dashboard” vs. an “account”?
A CrowdTangle dashboard tracks one social network — either Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Reddit. Most partners will start out with these four initial dashboards, the whole of which make up a company account. Partners may want to create dashboards for different teams and verticals (for example, Content Marketing vs. Editorial; News vs. Sports). But all dashboards will belong to one overall company account. Dashboards, in most cases, are not individualized per user.

Is it a shared dashboard?
Most teams start out with shared dashboards because we find it works best for onboarding. You can invite as many users as you like to a dashboard. If you decide you want to build separate dashboards for various teams or individuals, please contact your Account Admin/Owner.

How do the logins work?
CrowdTangle uses Facebook login. When you first log in the system will prompt you to authenticate with Facebook. We do not post on your behalf and only grab your email address for the custom notifications you set up. You must have a Facebook account to use CrowdTangle.

Update your email address: Make sure your preferred email address is set by going to Settings > Update Email. You will be prompted to enter a new email address in the box.

I'm being prompted to input a password after going to CrowdTangle.com and hitting “Log In.” I've never had a password. What gives?
If this is your first time logging into CrowdTangle, you will need to be invited by an Account Admin/Owner, either with an email invitation, or they will need to provide you with a link and password. If you've already logged into CrowdTangle with Facebook and authenticated are now seeing this screen, it probably means you're using a different Facebook account. Make sure it's the same Facebook account you logged in with the first time. You may want to clear your cookies and try again. If you logged in a long time ago, please note we recently had to update our Terms of Service. If you hadn't logged in to accept them since Jan. 9, 2017, we had to remove you from the system. You will need to have your Account Admim/Owner re-invite you.

How do I invite people to the dashboard?
Click on the gear at the top of any dashboard, then use “Invite People,” or you can grab the url of your dashboard, and go to dashboard settings to find the user and read-only passwords to pass along to any member of your team.

I hit “Request Access” in my dropdown. Who is getting those?
Your Account Admin/Owner will receive these requests via email and can grant you access.

How do I delete users who have left the company?
Account & Team Admins/Owners can go to Settings > Account Users and use the “X” to the right of the person's name to permanently remove them from the Account. If you want to remove someone from one specific dashboard, go to Settings > User Management, and use the X next to their name to remove them.

Where can I find help documentation?
Click on the question mark at the top of any dashboard or come here to resources. You can find how-tos and video tutorials specific to each feature of CrowdTangle. You can also view past webinars.

Do you host training webinars?
Yes, we do. We do both basic trainings and feature-specific tutorials. RSVP at here.


What is a list?
Lists appear on the left hand side of the dashboard. With lists, you can track specific accounts, subreddits, or Pages. CrowdTangle dashboards are preloaded with some stock lists that might be useful to you, but you can customize further by using the Explore section on the left hand side of the dashboard. Lists are fully customizable and can be deleted, expanded or cut down. You can also import any Twitter list into your CrowdTangle dashboard, and the same with the accounts you follow on Instagram. (Create the List, then go to Manage > Advanced Settings and scroll down until you see “Import from Twitter” or “Import from Instagram”).

How does search work?
Search is a powerful part of CrowdTangle. It not only looks at the Pages/accounts you follow, but CrowdTangle’s full database. Currently, that includes every local media outlet in the United States, any Page with >750K fans, and thousands of brands, athletes, sports teams, media outlets, politicians and nonprofit organizations. We're tracking more than 10K subreddits, and more than 800K Instagram and Twitter accounts.

Search allows you to find posts containing certain keywords or urls, so you can follow what's happening around major events, breaking news, or keywords specific to an issue or interest. You can also track adjectives like “crazy” or “inspiring” to surface interesting content.

Do a deep dive on Search here.

How do I set up referral tracking for my website?
To set up referral tracking for your website (or any website), create a new saved search and type in your URL (e.g. crowdtangle.com). Remember to enter your own account or set of accounts in the "Exclude Pages/Accounts“ field so you filter out your own posts.

How do you populate the Explore section?
Our team is updating Explore with new lists and accounts all the time. We typically add lists around big events, such as Awards Shows and big sports games, as well as continue to build out general lists in topic areas like news, sports, politics, local and more. Our team manually puts these together — if you have suggestions or see something missing, let us know!

What's a Live Display?
Live Displays are a Hootsuite/Tweetdeck-esque view for your CrowdTangle dashboard. It updates in realtime, and you can pull in post streams, leaderboards, Facebook's Trending Topics and Google Trends. They can be made touchscreen, and there's a TV Version you can use on big screens around the office. Create a new one by going to Settings > Visualizations.

How to create and edit your Live Display.

What is CrowdTangle's Intelligence product?
Intelligence gives media publishers a quick way to see the performance of a social channel over time, as well as directly benchmark it against other accounts. Long-term performance numbers can help publishers understand overall trends and more easily analyze what content is working and what's not.

Intelligence lets you put in up to 5 social accounts (on any of our platforms including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Reddit) and see overall account level statistics over time with graphs and charts. You can also easily compare the accounts next to each other and export everything. Find it by going to Settings > Intelligence.

Does CrowdTangle have an API? How can I get access?
Yes! Ask your Account Manager to turn on API access for you. You can find the documentation here.

Can I view two or more posts side by side to compare them?
You can do this using Saved Posts, found on the left sidenav. Create a Saved Posts list, then drag and drop the posts you want to compare into it. You can also export them.

Can I see the “life” of a post, or its “peak” overperformance score?
Yes. Use the little carrot at the top of each post and use the post export there. That will give you data for the entire “life” of the post, every step of the way. (Note our system pulls post data every ~10 minutes.) The little graphs on the bottom of each post will also show you this data more broadly.

What is CrowdTangle tracking?
It's different per platform. Our ultimate goal is to track every “influential” account on these platforms, including all Verified users, and accounts like celebrities, athletes, sports teams, politicians, non-profits, CEOs, journalists, media and publishers, public figures and the like. CrowdTangle is *not *meant to track “regular” people, like Dan down the street who just took a picture of a fire. It's also not capable of tracking overall usage and impressions for hashtags. The system is not on the firehose for any of the platforms we track.

Here's what we cover now:

  • Facebook: More than 820K Facebook Pages. This includes all Facebook Pages with more than 125K fans (new Pages are added automatically via an API), as well as all Verified Facebook Pages.
  • Instagram: More than 280K public Instagram accounts. This includes all verified Instagram accounts. And if an account in our system *tags* another account with more than 50K fans in a caption, that account will be automatically added to our system via an API.
  • Twitter: More than 490K public Twitter accounts. This includes all verified accounts (as of March 2017).
  • Reddit: More than 10K of the most active sub-reddits. Built and maintained in partnership with Reddit.


How is overperforming calculated?
We take the last 100 posts from a given account and of a given post type (link post, image post, etc.), calculate the average number of interactions all those posts have at each age (5 minutes old, 30 minutes told, 5 hours old, etc., etc.), then when a new post comes in from that account, we compare it to that average and multiply the difference by the weights in each dashboard (the scores on the bottom left) and that's the over/underperforming score.

What does underperforming mean?
Underperforming is a relative score as to how posts for that Page or account normally perform. If it’s red, it's performing below average.

How is interaction rate calculated?
The average number of interactions per post, divided by the size of the account.

How come the benchmarks seem off after I initially start following a new Page?
If a Page or account isn't in our database currently, that just means it will take a little bit of time for the system to pull the post history and calculate the benchmark for an average post. We’ll have its post averages after a couple of hours and the numbers will normalize.

Who can change weighting?
Everyone. When you change the scoring for a dashboard, it applies just for you and just for that session. Only Admins & Users can save default weights settings for the whole dashboard.

I weighted to all hahas, why didn't my weight remain when I came back the next day?
Likely because you didn't hit “Save as Default” which would retain those settings. Note: Read-only users do not have permission to save defaults.

Where did likes go?
They're still there! We've just added in haha, wow, sad, angry, and love. If you want to go back to just counting likes, simply turn likes weights on, and turn every other reaction off.

Why did you remove scores?
We didn't, we just changed how they were named, for clarity's sake. This section of the dashboard is now called "Weights" and includes increased functionality.

Can reactions be pulled in historical data?
You bet! Reactions data can be pulled in CrowdTangle's historical data as far back as February 2016, when reactions were launched.

Who can weight notifications?
Everyone can save, except for read-only users.

Why did my email digest start as only hahas one day and change to only likes the next?
Digests and viral alerts will default to the weight settings of the shared dashboard. Someone else may have changed the settings on you. If you want your email to remain associated with specific scoring, go to Advanced Options → Custom Weights.

How do I only see the most shared content in my viral alerts?
In the Advanced Options settings, make sure you weight by shares only (turn all the others off). Now this viral alert will only show posts based on shares. You can do the same for all other interaction types. You can then rank by total shares, overperformance based on share, etc.

Can I get these notifications in my Slack channel?
Yep! Viral Alerts can funnel into a Slack channel. The Advanced Options weights settings of that alert will apply.

What is the leaderboard?
A leaderboard allows you to see how a single account or a group of Pages/accounts are performing over a set period of time. This feature is helpful for reporting purposes, and for competitive intelligence. Additionally, when you hover over an account or Page you can glean insight and trends from that account about what types of content were posted.

Do interactions correlate to clicks?
It depends on the account. We have found that, in general, the more folks interact with a post, the more likely it is that they are also clicking through to it. However, that's not always the case (sometimes people like a post that they don't click through, and sometimes people click through to a post they don’t like). In general, shares are probably the best proxy. The social network APIs currently don’t give public access to clicks or reach, so they will not be displayed within the dashboard.

How does Link Checker work?
CrowdTangle's link checker feature and Chrome Extension is useful in figuring out where your traffic is generated. Some analytics tools will tell you broadly that your traffic is coming from Facebook or Twitter, but the Link Checker lets you see which Pages or accounts have actually shared the specific link in question. It can even find posts that were changed into a bit.ly or included a UTM code.


Explore is our exclusive section of curated lists and searches.

How do you decide which lists and searches go into Explore?
Our team maintains and creates new lists based on needs and asks from our partners, as well as lists we think might be helpful around global events, such as the Oscars, the Olympics and the World Cup. If you have suggestions, please let us know at support@crowdtangle.com.

How do you decide which social accounts get added to the lists in Explore?
Our team builds these lists manually, the same way users create lists in their own dashboards. One exception is our Reddit Explore section, which was built via a special partnership with Reddit. The lists there are the most active sub-reddits in each of those categories. (Thanks Reddit team!) While we use our best judgment, do the research, and try to be as comprehensive as we can, these lists are by no means perfect. If you see any glaring errors or think something is missing, please let us know. We welcome your help in creating and maintaining these publics lists, so if you feel comfortable sharing one you've made that you think might be helpful for others, we'd love to add it. For example, one of our partners recently helped us create a public list of weather reporters on Instagram. Another partner helped us find more local news outlets for our New Jersey list. Shoot us a note at support@crowdtangle.com if you'd like to contribute or have ideas.

How to the searches get populated?
Searches in Explore look for specific keywords across the entire CrowdTangle database. CrowdTangle is tracking more than 1 million social media accounts, across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Reddit.


Can emails go to different people?
Absolutely. If you go to notifications, you can add as many different people as you want to any notification, and you can create as many notifications as you want. Users that have access to the dashboard will show up with automatically, but you can also add an email subscriber only, eg. someone that doesn’t have dashboard access, but can receive notifications via email.

Can I get a combined email alert or notification from all platforms? Ex. Overperforming content from all of my Facebook, Instagram, Twitter accounts in one email? Not currently at this time.

How do I set up Slack alerts in my dashboard?
Click on the gear icon at the top of any dashboard, then go to “Dashboard Settings” and add your Slack webhook. Go to “Notifications,” expand the settings for any viral alert you want to integrate with Slack, click advance options, and then “Yes” to “Enable Slack.” Finally, add the #channel you would like to post alerts too.

Use Case Specific

We don’t care about breaking news, trending or “viral” stories. How and why would we use this?
Our system also makes it incredibly easy to see what content did the best over the last week, last month, last six months, etc., both for your own accounts, but also for your competitors. Moreover, our leaderboards are a great way to have a sense of where you stand in your industry, and our referral leaderboards will show you who your influencers are. The Link Checker can be incredible helpful to understand who is sharing your content.

Can you see who’s mentioning us right now?
We're not pulling from the firehose on any of the platforms, so we can't tell you if Sarah, who has five Twitter followers, mentions you. But we're tracking more than a million important and influential accounts and we can tell you if any of those mention you. For instance, we're tracking every verified Facebook Page or any page with more than 750K Page Likes (and tracking more and more every day) and we can tell you when, how often and in what context they mention you.

Can this help us discover influencers around certain topics? How?
Yes. Create a saved search for the keywords you want to find influencers around, then click "Leaderboard." It will populate and show you the Pages/accounts driving the most interactions around those terms in the last week or month.

Platform Specific Questions

Does covering trending topics on Facebook directly increase traffic?
Yes. We've found over and over that part of being successful on social media is participating in the conversation. That means posting content that is relevant and timely, as well as simply participating in those huge viral moments where a story or topic explodes.

How can you see if a post is boosted?
At this point in time, Instagram’s Feeds API, Twitter’s Accounts API, and Facebook’s Pages API do not allow us to show whether or not a post is promoted.

Can you separate Facebook boosted posts or non-boosted when looking at performance?

How far back can I get historical data for the various social accounts?
Within the dashboard you can go back to any custom date range. We’ll have the data as long as those accounts were in our system at the time, and you’ll be able to see a maximum of three months at a time. You can see the best posts from the last world cup, what your competitors did for Christmas, or which keywords were mentioned the most in April.

If you want exportable data, use the Historical Interface. You can export the history of any account going back to the very first post they made. *Twitter allows the last 3,200 tweets.