Spotlight on Local News: How Patch, the Hyperlocal News Platform, Tracks 1,200 Towns Across America Using CrowdTangle

By Christopher Miles and Amber Burgess, News Partnerships at CrowdTangle 

Patch has a hyperlocal presence in over 1,200 towns across America. Every town has a Facebook and Twitter account. For Liana Messina, Patch’s social media editor, managing these thousands of pages is a feat.

“We’re the only publisher with that many social accounts,” Liana says. “CrowdTangle is by far the best solution for tracking social performance at this scale without having to pull thousands of individual reports.”

The CrowdTangle platform allows Patch to track all of their thousands of pages in a single glimpse, as well as give their editors an edge in sourcing news in smaller locales across America.

“CrowdTangle has given us the ability to track follower growth and interactions by page, by region, and by state, which has been key to identifying our most successful social media practitioners in the field,” Patch editor-in-chief Dennis Robaugh says.

Dennis explains that engagement and growth drive Patch’s social strategy. CrowdTangle has helped consolidate and execute that strategy.

Here are four ways Patch is using CrowdTangle to succeed on social media.


What Vox Learned from Building Groups and Creating Communities on Facebook

By Meghan Peters, News Partnerships

In November 2016, when it became clear the future of the Affordable Care Act was in doubt, journalist Sarah Kliff, and members of Vox’s social team wanted to build a community for Americans most impacted by a possible repeal of the law. So they started the Facebook group “What’s Next? A Community for Obamacare Enrollees by Vox.”

Over the next several months, the group of nearly 3,000 members grew and evolved in ways Vox didn’t expect. It became a place where people who didn’t otherwise know each other would debate, engage, commiserate, seek advice, and organize in constructive ways. Kliff was able to use the group to develop sources, engage directly with readers, start in-depth policy book clubs, meet with members in person, and even help field questions for a Facebook Live with President Obama. After months of engaging with the group, Kliff says, “It’s what I always hoped the internet would be.”

With the success of What’s Next, Vox launched a new group for listeners of The Weeds, a policy podcast Kliff hosts with fellow Vox journalists Ezra Klein and Matthew Yglesias. There, the group’s 8,600 members can do deeper dives into policy covered by the show, and the three hosts can interact directly with listeners.

We talked with Kliff as well as Lauren Katz, the Senior Engagement Manager who manages What’s Next?, and Allison Rockey, the Director of Programming, about how the groups have evolved and what observations they’ve had since starting these communities.


Introducing Updates to the Live API

By Supratik Lahiri, Product Manager and Chris Tiutan, Product Marketing Manager

Since launch, we’ve seen many publishers use the Live API to deliver professional-quality live video experiences to their audiences.

As we work to improve the Live API experience, today we’re introducing new tools that help publishers and developers create more seamless Facebook Live broadcasts.



Standards and Guidelines for Earning Money from Your Content on Facebook

By Nick Grudin, VP of Media Partnerships

Every day, people come to Facebook to connect with stories from creators and publishers they love. Fostering an ecosystem where creators and publishers of all sizes can connect with their fans and earn money for their work is a critical part of creating these connections and experiences for our community.

We want to support a diverse range of creators and publishers, which is why we’ve introduced a range of monetization options, including Branded Content and Instant Articles. More recently, we’ve been testing Ad Breaks with a group of publishers, and we’re working on opening it up more broadly.



How is Benefitting From ‘Extreme Engagement’ Using Groups

By Josh Mabry and Dorrine Mendoza, News Partnerships

Journalists have long invested in audience engagement. Especially in local newsrooms, attracting the right audience is often more important than risking attracting big, but unengaged audiences.

The team at took up this challenge and thinks they’ve hit on something other newsrooms can learn from. In a Medium post about the launch of their statewide brand with a purely social focus called Reckon, VP of Content Michelle Holmes wrote that their mission is to create accountability journalism specifically for the Facebook feeds of Alabamians.



Spotlight on Local News: Covering Harvey and the Aftermath

By Josh Mabry, Local News Partnerships; Amber Burgess, CrowdTangle; and Dorrine Mendoza, News Partnerships

As waters rose in Houston, local news outlets were on the scene not just reporting vital news but actively helping the community. Poynter has showcased several great stories about local news journalists, newspapers and TV stations going above and beyond. They reported on a veteran journalist with a side project called Space City Weather that has became a vital source of information; how KHOU, a CBS affiliate, managed to stay on air while they were being evacuated from their building; the conditions that forced The Victoria Advocate to camp out in the office over several days and report without power; the story behind an already iconic photo; how the Houston Chronicle is covering the storm; and three journalists that forecasted the impact of a hurricane like Harvey in 2016.

Here are some other examples of how local news outlets are telling the story across Facebook. There are so many incredible ways local news outlets have played a vital role in keeping people safe and alert; here are some stand out moments before, during, and after the storm.



Spotlight on Local News: Eclipse Edition

By Josh Mabry, Local News Partnerships and Amber Burgess, CrowdTangle

If your News Feed was flooded with people talking about the eclipse this past week, you weren’t alone. 66 million people had 240 million interactions around the solar eclipse, making it a bigger event on Facebook than the 2017 Super Bowl. There were 129,000 Facebook Live broadcasts, and videos related to the eclipse (both live and non-live) were viewed over 365 million times.

With viewing parties happening across the country, it became a great topic for local news outlets to report on throughout the day. Using CrowdTangle, we discovered some ways local publishers connected with their communities and covered the eclipse around the U.S.



Showing Publisher Logos in Trending and Search

By: Andrew Anker, Product Manager

Today, we will begin introducing publisher logos next to articles in Trending and Search surfaces on Facebook, as part of our ongoing efforts to enhance people’s recognition of the sources of news distributed on our platform. Publishers will now be able to upload multiple versions of their logos through a new Brand Asset Library, so that the logos can appear next to their content on Facebook. We built this in close collaboration with a number of partners, as part of the Facebook Journalism Project, and are now rolling this out more broadly to all publishers.


How USA TODAY NETWORK’s Arizona Republic Found a Mega Story Using CrowdTangle — “Like Viral, Viral”

By Chris Miles, Strategic Partner Manager, CrowdTangle 

On a recent afternoon, the CrowdTangle team received this message from Louie Villalobos, who runs the social media team for the Arizona Republic:

“My social reporter at in Phoenix reported this story after I spotted it through CrowdTangle. We were the first to report on [it] and the story went viral across the globe … All from a scanning session on CrowdTangle.” 

Talk about a #win. As of early August the story, about an Army veteran’s dying wish, has surpassed 220,000 page views, according to Louie.