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Common Misconceptions About CrowdTangle Data
Common Misconceptions About CrowdTangle Data
Written by Tess
Updated over a week ago

CrowdTangle exclusively tracks public content. Since we focus on public Instagram accounts, Facebook Pages, public Facebook groups, and don’t include data like reach or impressions, there can often be misconceptions about what CrowdTangle data is showing. We wanted to lay out some of the most common misconceptions and help make sure CrowdTangle data is reported on accurately.

When thinking about CrowdTangle as a tool for explaining the Facebook ecosystem, it’s important to remember that engagement data is imperfect. Engagement data is only one lens into what’s happening on Facebook and Instagram, and it’s important to look at a variety of metrics to get a holistic picture.

This article describes other tools that give insight into the Facebook ecosystem, but below, we’ll discuss correctly interpreting and describing CrowdTangle data.


Does CrowdTangle show the posts with the most engagement on the Facebook platform?

Not necessarily. CrowdTangle only tracks public posts and accounts. Because CrowdTangle doesn’t track private profiles or private posts, we can’t be sure there aren’t private accounts or posts getting more engagement. CrowdTangle does give an accurate view of which public posts from large and influential accounts are getting the most engagement.

Post views

Can I say that a post or video reached a certain number of people using CrowdTangle data?

No, you can't. CrowdTangle only shows interaction data.

Reach is a metric that shows the number of people that saw a specific piece of content, regardless of whether they engaged with it or not. CrowdTangle currently does not have Reach data. The number of likes or followers a page has, or the number of members a group has, is not the same as the reach of a page or group.

CrowdTangle only has interaction and video view data, and does not track reach or impressions.

  • Interactions/engagement: The total number of reactions, comments and shares made on a post. This does not include clicks on links, or the post itself.

  • Reach: The unique number of people who saw a post at least once. We do not track this.

  • Impressions: The number of times a post was seen. We do not track this.

For example, if one person sees a post three times and likes it, and comments on it, the number of interactions = 2, reach = 1, and impressions = 3.

The Facebook Ads Library does contain impression data. You can access the Facebook Ads Library here.

Suggested citation: “[Post or Video X] was shared with the Page’s [Y number] followers”

Can I use CrowdTangle data to say that a specific link or photo post from Facebook or Instagram was the most viewed in a given timeframe?

No. CrowdTangle doesn't have information on how many people viewed a post except for Facebook videos that have been viewed for 3+ seconds. We look at post interactions, which means the number of reactions, comments and shares for Facebook posts, and the number of likes and comments for Instagram posts.

Location data

Can I say that a post or video received the most interactions from the US (or any other country) if I filter by country in CrowdTangle Search?

No. CrowdTangle doesn't have information on where the interactions came from. You can use the filter to narrow down your search to Pages managed from a specific country, but that doesn't mean the interactions happened in that country. You can say that the post or video had the most interactions on posts made by Pages managed in the US, for example.

Suggested Citation: “According to CrowdTangle, an analytics tool from Facebook, the most interacted with public posts from Pages with admins primarily located in [X country] on [X date] are:”

Video views

Can I say that a specific video had the most video views in a given timeframe?

Yes, as long as you add a disclaimer that you are only looking at public posts from CrowdTangle's database. Make sure to use the "Total views" number, not the "Post views" number.

Suggested Citation: “[Video X] received [Y number] views in [Z timeframe].”

Can I use CrowdTangle data to say what Pages or accounts had more video watch time?

No, CrowdTangle doesn't measure video watch time. CrowdTangle will show you the number of Facebook videos posted by a Page, the total number of 3-second views for each, and the total amount of hours for all uploaded videos (for example, if a Page uploads 10 videos that are each 3 minutes long, the Page’s total video time will be 30 minutes.)

Organic vs. Paid

Since CrowdTangle doesn't track ads, can I say that all interactions on a post are organic?

No. If a post was published by a Page/account and then boosted, we will have the post in our system, but we cannot differentiate between organic and paid interactions. You can check active Ads using the Facebook Ad Library to see if a post is being boosted.

We recommend that you cite total interactions, without framing them as organic or paid engagement.

Suggested citation: “[Post X] got [Y number] interactions.”

Is there a difference between an Ad and a boosted post?

Yes. A boosted post is a post made on your Page's timeline that you can apply money to in order to boost it to an audience of your choosing. A boosted post will always appear on the Page or account timeline.

Facebook Ads are not posted in the timeline. You can read more about the difference here.

Interactions over time

Can I cite the number of interactions made in a given timeframe using Intelligence?

No. Intelligence measures interactions on posts published in a given timeframe -- it does not account for when the interactions were made.

When you are reporting on total interactions or total videos using Intelligence, please make sure that you include "on posts made in XX timeframe". For example, if you filter for the month of February, and a Page had 50,000 interactions, you should say: "Page XX had 50,000 interactions on posts made in February."

Suggested citation: “[Page X] had [Y number] interactions on posts published in [Z timeframe].”

Where can I find the number of interactions made in a given timeframe?

Use the Leaderboard for a list to see interactions in a given timeframe. Unlike Intelligence, leaderboards show the interactions when the interactions were made, not when the posts were made.

Page Growth

How can I measure Page growth most accurately using Intelligence?

When calculating the growth of Page likes, please pay attention to the grouping of selected data. If you filter from Jan-01 to June-30 and group the data by month, Intelligence will calculate the growth comparing the number of Page likes from the last day of the first month (January 31) with the last day of the last month (June 30). If you want to measure the growth from the first day of the first month (January 1) to the last day of the last month (June 30), make sure to group by day.

Accurately representing data

When using CrowdTangle data, please always:

Disclose important data information:

  • Always make a disclaimer saying that CrowdTangle only tracks public content.

  • Always include the timeframe you are looking at.

  • If you are reporting on account rankings using Leaderboard and Intelligence, please make sure you say which accounts you are looking at.

  • If you are doing a keyword search, let readers know what words you used.

  • If you are narrowing your search by post type, language, verification status or any other parameter, please include it in your article, tweet, or post.

Please also keep in mind:

  • CrowdTangle does not track all content from Facebook and Instagram. We are looking at the most prominent public pages, groups and accounts. You can learn more about our database here:

  • CrowdTangle does not include activity on private accounts, or posts made visible only to specific groups of followers.

  • CrowdTangle does not track ads/dark posts.

  • CrowdTangle does not retain deleted posts.

Here are some articles you can read to learn more about our data:

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