By Emilie Lutostanski • Local News Resource Center
Digital news site Long Beach Post has harnessed CrowdTangle to realize hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue and grow an engaged audience as part of a multi-pronged approach to digital growth.
CrowdTangle is a social media public insights tool, owned and operated by Facebook. Insights gained through CrowdTangle have become a cornerstone of strategy and brought significant value to Long Beach Post, said Publisher David Sommers.
“We live in this beneficial spot locally where we have a strong local social media following that CrowdTangle reveals, and then we can take that to our advertisers, and we do that in a couple of different ways,” Sommers said. “There was a time last year, we just had hundreds of pages of CrowdTangle data print outs on the wall to try and find what’s the story and the opportunity for [a] client. CrowdTangle has helped us form a unique strategy.”
Here’s how Long Beach Post is using CrowdTangle for business development and strategy.
The Post adds value to advertiser relationships by using CrowdTangle for prospects and clients.
“We found that for one of our clients, their largest growth was happening on Instagram,” Sommers said. “It was a very specific type of photo that they would post that resonated the best with their audience. Because we were showing them that through the CrowdTangle lens, where you see the interactions in the engagements, that was an eye-opener for them.”
The Post is using CrowdTangle data as the foundation for building unique products for some clients.
“CrowdTangle is doing hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue for us a year now because we’re able to build these specific, highly tailored products to our local market,” Sommers said.
The Post showed its client, the Long Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau, that scenic photos of local places around the city were among the highest performing for the CVB Instagram and pitched an audience-growth strategy.
“They commissioned us to build a platform for a photo and video contest so that they could continue to grow their Instagram audience,” Sommers said. “This is not a Post product. It’s a product that we built for the CVB because they commissioned us to do it after we did a deep dive into what’s working with their social media audience.”
The Post achieves high engagement by limiting the number of posts and explains this exclusivity to content sponsors.
With strong interaction rates, number of interactions, and positive interaction types compared to some other local media, the Post uses CrowdTangle to frame a new audience potential for advertisers.
“Our business strategy has been showing that, if you partner with us for sponsored social media posts, for example, you’re going to get access to a larger audience but also a much more engaged audience,” Sommers said. “We limit the frequency and number of our [sponsored] social posts to one per day because we don’t want to utilize the trust in our brand to just push advertising out all day long.”
The Post uses CrowdTangle to frame its competitive advantage in being fast-growing and reaching a distinct, loyal audience.
The Post monitors the social media performance of every story from across every newsroom in the city and shares that information with clients.
“One of the great benefits of CrowdTangle for us is [overcoming] the mindset that … the legacy newsrooms are always going to be the most powerful because the brand names have been around forever,” Sommers said. “When you actually start to drill down into the data, you see that may be the case for a certain audience demographic, in a certain part of town, for a certain age, but that’s not the full picture. We’ve been able to take advantage of that and use that as a foundation to show we have a much broader audience.”
The Post grows its audience broadly as well as for individual influential staff journalists using CrowdTangle.
In addition to its comprehensive approach to using CrowdTangle for business development, Sommers said the Post editorial department finds the tool equally valuable. It’s used in editorial planning to evaluate underperforming and overperforming posts, compare coverage with that of other local publications, and track growth of the Long Beach Post and its individual journalists’ pages.
“Sometimes, it is just as important to us to have them tweet out and post their own stories, and then we share those from our branded accounts, versus natively posting them on the brand account,” he said. “What we’ve seen through CrowdTangle is there’s an initial spike that happens when it comes from the individual rather than the brand.”
CrowdTangle is available at no cost to local news publishers thanks to support from the Facebook Journalism Project. Contact the Local News Resource Center to learn more.
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