FAQ: Local Relevance Filter

Refine CrowdTangle Search results to see posts from Pages or public groups that are highly relevant to a specific city, state or country.

Written by Tess
Updated over a week ago

What is the Local Relevance filter?

Local Relevance helps you discover which Facebook Pages and public groups are relevant to communities in specific areas. We determine the location(s) for a Facebook Page or public group by looking at the geographic distribution and density of the page/group’s followers on Facebook.

By choosing a city or town, eg ”Pages/groups relevant to Venice, Italy” you will find posts from Pages or public groups that are predominantly local to that area -- local newspapers, restaurants, music venues, sports teams. By choosing a state, region or country, eg “Pages/groups relevant to Brazil,” you’ll see posts from Pages/groups with a relatively high proportion of followers in that area.

Local Relevance does not include all of the “most popular” content for a location and shouldn't be used as a definitive measure of popularity.

To explain why, consider this example:

  • More people in Tampa, Florida might follow and engage with BuzzFeed than with their local music venue, in absolute terms. But BuzzFeed’s followers are not highly concentrated in Tampa, relative to other locations. Therefore, posts by BuzzFeed will not appear when filtering for Pages relevant to Tampa, but posts by the local music venue will because its followers are concentrated in Tampa.

  • Going the opposite way, if you look for posts in the United States, it will include BuzzFeed but not the Tampa local music venue, even if that venue has a post that goes viral. That local venue is very relevant to Tampa, but not relevant anywhere else in the US. BuzzFeed, on the other hand, is relevant across the US and not more or less in any particular location. Looking for “United States” will find national brands, not the top posts in the US.

Continue reading this FAQ to understand more about the results you’ll see when you use the Local Relevance filter, how they can be used for your work and claims you can make using the data. It’s more nuanced than you might think!

Where is this filter available?

You can find this filter on CrowdTangle’s Search feature and Dashboard. This is available for Facebook Pages and public groups only. Currently, there are no plans to add this for Instagram or Reddit.

What Location types can I filter by?

  • Country (e.g. United Kingdom)

  • Region (e.g. Southwest Finland)

  • County (e.g. Orange County)

  • City (e.g. Buenos Aires)

  • State (e.g.Queensland)

How do you determine the location of Pages?

We determine the areas where a Page or public group is relevant by looking at the geographic distribution and density of their followers on Facebook. If a Page or group's audience is concentrated in certain cities, counties, states, regions or countries, we determine that the Page or group is relevant to those areas.

If a Page or public group’s audience isn’t relevant to any specific city/county/state/region/country, it won’t appear in the city/county/state/region/country results. For instance, a more national media organization like NBC’s audience is evenly distributed throughout the U.S. compared with other countries. That means the relevant location determined for NBC will be the United States, but not a specific city.

There are some Pages whose followers are so evenly distributed across the globe that they will not appear at all. A team like FC Barcelona has fans globally in equal proportions. Therefore that Page will not appear as relevant for any one location.

Here’s an example:

Let's start at the city level and expand out to show how results change.

Pages relevant to Bangor, Maine:

YES - Bangor Daily News, Dysart's Restaurant, Bangor Historical Society

NO - Maine Governor Janet Mills, NESN (News England Sports Network), NBC

Explanation: People in Bangor, Maine follow Pages for the local paper, restaurant and historical society at a much higher rate than those from other locations. While many people from Bangor, Maine likely follow their governor, NESN (News England Sports Network), and NBC, those Pages are not more relevant to people in Bangor than to people in other cities in Maine. Therefore, those Pages are not specifically relevant to Bangor and will not appear in the results for that location.

Pages relevant to the state of Maine:

YES - Bangor Daily News, Governor Janet Mills, NESN (News England Sports Network)

NO - NBC, Dysart's Restaurant, Bangor Historical Society

Explanation: Because the Bangor Daily News covers news for the entire state, there is also a concentrated audience distributribution across Maine for that Page. Therefore, the audience 'clusters' for Bangor Daily News are Bangor, as well as the whole state. Governor Janet Mills and NESN (News England Sports Network) have audiences evenly distributed across the state, but there are no audience ‘clusters’ for specific cities/counties for those pages, so posts from those pages are only relevant to results for the state of Maine. Meanwhile, people in Maine engage with NBC, but not significantly more than any other state. So, posts from NBC will not appear in results for the state of Maine.

Pages relevant to the United States:


NO - Bangor Daily News, Governor Janet Mills, NESN (News England Sports Network)

Explanation: Because NBC covers news across the United States, the audience for the Page is more evenly distributed across the entire country. However, there isn't a broad audience across the United States for the Bangor Daily News (too local to Maine), Governor Janet Mills, or NESN.

Can one page have multiple locations?

Yes, a page can be relevant to more than one location. For example, a local Philadelphia Television station, 6abc Action News, has dense follower distribution in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Therefore, posts from 6abc Action News are highly relevant to audiences in Pennsylvania and New Jersey and will appear in results for both states. Another example is the UC Berkeley Page. Based on the distribution and density of its Followers, the page can appear in results for Berkeley, CA; Alameda County; San Francisco; San Francisco County; and the United States. The more hyperlocal you make your search (like city level) the less likely you'll have pages that are relevant to multiple locations.

Am I seeing the top or “most popular” posts overall for the location?

No, you’re seeing top posts from Pages or groups highly relevant to specific areas, but not the overall top posts for that area. Therefore, Local Relevance cannot be used to determine top posts for a location, overall. As we explain throughout this FAQ, Local Relevance is based on audience concentration in specific locations, so it excludes posts from Pages and groups more relevant to other locations. Therefore, it should not be used as a definitive measure of popularity.

What are some of the use cases for this feature?

Here are just some of the ways you can use Local Relevance:

👍 Identify overperforming posts from Pages or groups highly relevant to specific areas.

👍 Find social content and posts relevant to specific locations about any topic from local businesses, news organizations, first responders, politicians and more.

👍 Surface local Pages and groups posting about news, cultural topics, community events, neighborhood issues and other areas of coverage.

👍 Localize national stories (e.g. “Black Lives Matter” in Atlanta, GA).

👍 Search terms like “breaking,” “happening now” by specific locations to surface breaking news and information in certain areas.

👍 Find and create lists of influential community Pages and groups based on specific locations.

👍 Narrow in on Groups from your country of interest. For example, if you want to find posts about the COVID vaccine in UK Groups, or posts about bushfires in Portuguese Groups. This was not possible before because CrowdTangle’s page admin country filter only works for Pages. Local Relevance opens up country search to Groups now, too!

👍 Understand which information is circulating in Pages or groups relevant to specific localities, and how the same stories are being recycled across pages/groups in different locations.

What claims does this data support, or not support?

Claims you CAN make with this data include:

✅ The top posts from public Pages or groups highly relevant to area X are...

✅ These Pages or groups are highly relevant to audiences in area X.

✅ A post from this page/group, which is relevant to area X based on its followers, overperformed/received high engagement from users on Facebook.

✅ This post/content about X topic is relevant to location Y based on the geographic distribution and density of the Page/group’s followers.

Claims you CANNOT make with this data include:

🚫 This is the most popular post/content for area X.

🚫 The top posts from area X are...

🚫 This is the top post/content for area X.

🚫 These are the most relevant posts for area X.

🚫 The majority of users who like this page/are members of this group are from X

🚫 The majority of users who like this post are from area X.

🚫 The pages that appear when using the relevance filter appear in order of relevance.

🚫 A noticeably high amount of users from area X interacted with posts on this page/group.

How should we cite this data in stories and research?

Local Relevance in CrowdTangle shows posts from pages or groups that are relevant to audiences in specific locations. The location(s) for a Facebook Page or public group is determined by looking at the geographic distribution and density of the page/group’s followers on Facebook.

I'm not seeing a local city as a place to filter by. Why is that?

Our system is tracking millions of pages, but not everything across Facebook, Instagram and Reddit. Locations that are not relevant to any pages or groups in our system are disabled, which means some locations will not have results.

Can I search using multiple locations at once?

Yes, you can put in many locations. This will expand the number of pages or groups that will turn up in your results.

How is this different from your "Page Admin Country" filter?

Our page admin country filter is determined by the country location of the majority of Page admins. The Local Relevance filter is determined by the location of the followers of the page or members of a public group.

CrowdTangle’s Page Admin country filter only works for Pages. Local Relevance opens up country search to Groups now, too!

A Page came up in my results that's a national brand and I don’t think it’s relevant to my location. Why is that?

Just like small businesses have dense followings in specific locations, national brands may as well. A good example of this could be a regional brand chain, like the U.S. fuel-service food chain, Wawa. It may appear in results in New Jersey, Pennsylvania or Delaware because it's relevant in all of those locations. Popular clothing brands, chain restaurants and more may fall into this pattern as well.

Do Page/group location classifications usually remain constant over time or are there frequent shifts in the balance of geographic composition for a page/group’s followers?

Location classifications for Pages/groups usually remain constant over time, but there are shifts. Currently, the Follower scores for Pages/groups are updated every week, which could impact the balance of the geographic composition of some Pages/groups over time. However, frequent flips in a Page/group’s relevance to a specific location aren’t likely.

Is Local Relevance included in the CrowdTangle API?

Not at this time.

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