CrowdTangle University LA February 7 2019
A diverse group of publishers attended CrowdTangle University in Los Angeles in February.

More than 2,000 U.S. local news organizations and 13,000 local journalists use CrowdTangle, a social monitoring tool that is free for newsrooms. It pulls public engagement data from social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Reddit so that local media can use it for discovering stories, benchmarking performance and understanding audience.

Facebook acquired CrowdTangle in 2017 and opened the tool for free access for local news publishers as a part of the Facebook Journalism Project. In February 2019 hosted CrowdTangle University in Los Angeles. Opened to a diverse group of publishers and broadcasters, CrowdTangle University is an immersive, educational workshop. Participants in various roles at their local media companies dive deep into social media data and find ways to more efficiently and thoughtfully distribute and discover news online. Additionally, publishers learn valuable insights about competitors, the latest content trends and engagement tactics from throughout social media.

The Sarasota Herald used CrowdTangle to break controversial news about a local representative.

Our top takeaways from CrowdTangle University showcase how publishers—both experienced and new adopters the tool—can use CrowdTangle to build business value, digital literacy and a centralized social strategy. Local media staffers across the company, from reporters to C-suite executives, can learn from these tips.

Reporters and newsroom staffers

  • Build newsgathering notifications for quick snapshots of the top content from sources. Set up a digest email to show posts from local agencies, such as police departments, libraries, zoos, nonprofits and local businesses. Learn what’s resonating with local readers throughout the community, and better inform what stories reporters cover.
  • Don’t want to wait for the digest? Create a live display to see what’s happening around town in real time. Use the live display as a service to newsrooms, showcasing your own social streams, competitor content, and trendsetting pages from local organizations.
  • Get notified about emerging viral content and breaking news. Connect notifications about overperforming posts to Slack to get immediate alerts about viral content that could push resources and reporters out to the scene and give a competitive reporting edge.

Sales and agency

  • Salespeople can use Intelligence reports from CrowdTangle to understand clients’ standings on social media before a sales call. It can be a smart and simple way to track client and prospective client performance and activity on social media.
  • Bring added value to clients by setting up automatic emailed benchmark reporting from CrowdTangle that shows how their social presence compares to their competitors. Local news companies can retain advertisers with this valuable data and competitive intel.
  • Use the branded content filter on Facebook or Instagram dashboards to review overperforming and underperforming branded content. See which local businesses are spending with advertising partners on social, and how effective their campaigns have been.

[Related case study: How CrowdTangle helped Townsquare Media’s sales team increase revenue by more than $100k]

Directors, managers, editors and audience engagement roles

  • Understand which pages are driving social engagement and talking about your brand by tracking referrals for your website domain. Get an email alert with public page mentions of your brand name or website.
  • Maintain staff performance analytics with a daily, weekly, and monthly cadence of reports for talent pages. See how posts are performing over time, as well as how they compare to each other. Track post frequency and interaction rate in easily digested emails, or explore more in Intelligence.
  • Root out unnecessary posts and wasted effort with digest reports for underperforming posts. Pinpoint trends in categories, messaging or post types with low engagement, and use that data to better inform newsgathering and social media decisions.
The live displays in CrowdTangle show real-time posts.


  • Keep up with how all properties are performing on social media through monthly digest emails with leaderboard stats. Identify the fastest-growing properties to model the best social media practices.
  • Initiate subscription acquisition campaigns around top-performing stories. Use the data from CrowdTangle to serve special offers, CTAs and targeted ad campaigns on specific content pieces.
  • Tap into CrowdTangle’s API to integrate the wealth of public data with your company’s custom dashboard. For example, the Philidelphia Enquirer is currently road mapping plans to create a centralized display for total social engagements by URL using the CrowdTangle API.
Graduates of CrowdTangle University in LA show off their diplomas.

Questions about how to do all of this in CrowdTangle? Check out CrowdTangle training resources for the team. Log in to the dashboard and chat with support anytime. Don’t have CrowdTangle yet? Contact the Local News Resource Center here.

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