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How attn: Uses CrowdTangle to Build its Brand and Develop Branded Content Partnerships
How attn: Uses CrowdTangle to Build its Brand and Develop Branded Content Partnerships

Learn attn:'s best CrowdTangle tips

Written by Tess
Updated over a week ago

“The beauty of CrowdTangle’s reporting is that it gives us multiple ways to easily analyze different data points and makes it simple for us to share actionable insights with our sales and creative teams.” — Craig Carilli, director of content insights and strategy

Founded in 2014 as a voter registration group, attn has evolved into a sophisticated video publisher focused on making difficult issues and topics more digestible. As far as their business model, attn: drives revenue primarily via brand partnerships and creating awareness campaigns. To build these partnerships, attn relies on CrowdTangle to tell their numbers story to brands. 

So far this year, attn’s main Facebook and Instagram accounts have driven 75 million views on branded content with major advertisers such as Clorox, T-Mobile, Geico, State Farm, Amazon Prime Video, and Adidas. It’s up to the Content Strategy and Insights team to provide the sales team with stats that are going to stand out to these brands and set them apart from the competition.


  • Use Saved Search Leaderboards to arm your sales team with numbers that show your brands can deliver against a vertical or topic.

  • Enable the sales team with weekly digest Notifications, so they’re always up to date on what the competition is doing, and what advertisers they’re working with.

  • Identify long-term content trends and algorithm shifts by analyzing historical data.

  • If a brand is looking for a certain length of video, use the video length capabilities to understand how video length affects performance, and make sure sales is aware.

We spoke with Craig Carilli, director of content insights and strategy, to hear attn’s strategy for using CrowdTangle to tell their brand story.

Use CrowdTangle to arm your sales team with numbers that show you can deliver against a vertical or topic

“As we're going out into the marketplace and talking to different potential partners, we really want to be able to tell not only the best story of attn, but tailor it to the specific partner and what they're looking for,” Carilli says. “Isolating specific terms allows us to see how we stack up competitively within a vertical,” says Carilli. “We can highlight our Interaction Rate at the post or aggregate level and make a case for being the ideal fit to drive home a message.”

Take “plastic” for example. attn set up a saved search for the term within their competitive set, and was able to show that in a given period of time, their post from their We Need This page had the highest interaction rate — thereby showing advertisers their audience is highly engaged on their posts around that term. In particular, they focus on the love reaction — signaling that this is something that’s not only highly-engaging, but also eliciting a positive reaction.

What metrics attn: looks at:

  • Interaction Rate - "Are we engaging communities?"

  • Reactions (Like/Love) - "Are we driving Love?"

  • Shares - "Is this a sharable vertical for us?”

“Once you get narrowed down into certain topics and keywords, CrowdTangle is invaluable for us as a resource, both from the branded and the originals editorial side,” Carilli says. “For example, starting at “plastic” gets you that high level view, but once you're in there you can also narrow it down. We could filter to look at innovation around plastic specifically, or environmental impact, or recycling.”

Here’s how Carilli recommends setting it up in CrowdTangle:

Step 1. Isolate the platform you would like to analyze (Facebook, Instagram, etc.).

Step 2. Create a “list” of competitors you want to look at and save the “list” for future analysis.

Step 3. Select the term / phrase you want to analyze.

Step 4. Decide whether you want to look at individual posts or the leaderboard. Leaderboards are great for a top-line look.

Step 5. Select a custom date (recency matters).

Step 6. Select the type of post you want to analyze (photos, videos, etc.). 

Step 7. Select ALL Content or BRANDED Content.

Step 8. Analyze.

Enable the sales team with Notifications, so they know the competition

“Notifications allow us to see what type of content our competitors are producing on a weekly basis,” Carilli says. “It gives us a top-line view of video content performance without having to do an extensive deep dive. We’ll get an alert if a video is overperforming on social. Plus, not everyone on the team is going to be going into CrowdTangle all the time. We have a Slack channel setup where we've incorporated different notifications around partner shares and overperforming content around certain topics — that way you don't have to go searching for it all the time.”

“As for digests, there are those that are better on a weekly basis. We're not in breaking news, but getting it weekly helps keep everyone on sales informed. Things change so quickly, it's good to be aware. If it's been a month, has there been any drastic shifts? It's an easy way to get a sense of that.”

Identify long-term trends and stay ahead of the competition by downloading Historical Data

“Historical Data exports allow us to do quick deep dives into content performance for attn’s Facebook and Instagram accounts and for competitors’ accounts,” Carilli says. “By being able to stay on top of emerging content trends and verticals over time, the Insights team can stay ahead of what’s engaging audiences, and what stories or verticals may be ripe for an advertiser pitch. A lot of times we might start at a wider time range, depending on what the topic is, say, within the last year. If it's more recent, or if we've honed in on something around a certain issue in the last three months, then we might want to highlight that. Once you're in there, it gives you that flexibility to be able to fine-tune what story you're trying to tell.”

“It’s probably something I use, if not daily, certainly a few times a week. It's also a great way to see a whole lot of different types of posts and content over different time periods, to really get a sense of things, especially with the platforms and algorithms changing all the time.

There's a tendency to freak out when there's been a big shift, but we'll approach it like, ‘Is our Page changing? Is everyone else changing?’ We'll pull it for the three weeks prior to when an algorithm change happened, and then the three weeks since it happened. Comparing those two data sets is really valuable.”

Understand how video length affects performance

Additionally, CrowdTangle’s video length feature allows attn to see how length affects performance. “Retention is always important, and it's always been really important to us, but to see how much our longer videos are actually overperforming, so you don’t make a quick shift to one direction or another, is key,” Carilli says.

“For the sales use case, if a brand wants a video of a certain length, or we think a video should be longer or shorter, it’s important to be  able to pinpoint ‘Here's what we're seeing on performance for this sort of length in general.’ From there, we can dive into specific examples, and really fine-tune our pitch to a partner based off of 60 second -to-1 minute to 2-minute videos, and really hone in on the handful that were massive overperformers. When you can find out what’s the driving force behind your videos, then you can really tell a more robust story.”

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