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Published November 29th 2017

Amy Collins on Data: 5 Exciting Announcements about our Facebook Data

We've made some updates to our Facebook data coverage. Find out all the details in our blog post and how Brandwatch is improving.

Facebook data remains the most coveted data amongst our customer base and speaking to many of you, your thirst for it is unquenchable.

In today’s Data Blog, I have a number of really exciting innovations to share on our Facebook data coverage. You may remember that I wrote a blog talking about how Facebook data collection works and hinting at some upcoming Facebook changes a few months ago and this is the culmination of that project.

1. Higher performing Owned Channel coverage

In the past, we treated pages you own and other organizations Facebook pages more or less the same when crawling them. But this was missing a trick. If you own a page, your Facebook account gets special access to it; You get a “token” attached to your account which enables a high rate limit and more privileged access to the API.

Rolling out today, you will be able to declare the page as Owned and we’ve made it super simple to add the page admin account:

Authenticating with the Page Admin account is now simple. It features an invitation system leveraging a powerful 1990s era technology called email, so it works even if the Facebook page admin is in another office or if you’re an agency, one of your clients.

Furthermore, if you have one user that is the admin of all your pages you don’t have to keep inviting them over and over as you configure all your channels; inviting them once will be enough, we’ll unlock the higher rate limit on all the other pages you own too.

2. Non Owned Channels – Helping you to maximize data coverage

Many organizations want to track Non-Owned channels too. They want to benchmark against their competition and monitor what they’re saying. We heard you – this capability isn’t going away.

However, since you don’t own the page, we can’t use the page admin token that we use for owned pages. We can, however, get regular users to authenticate. This gives us increased API capacity that we can use to pull down the data on channels you don’t own. In the past, this has been a clunky process.

Today we’re rolling out the email invite system to allow you add users from across your team or the wider organization to boost your Facebook coverage.

By the way…. if you don’t use email to communicate, no problem. As you can see above, you can copy a unique auth link and just then paste it into a Slack channel, Skype chat or print it out and send it by carrier raven. However you communicate: We’ve got you covered.

And there’s a super friendly landing page to explain what they’re doing when they connect to improve your coverage:

3. Feedback on Channel coverage

We also heard from you that you wanted more transparency about what was required to get the best possible coverage.

So we’ve also added a new interface to show the Brandwatch admin for your company how many channels have tokens:

4. SLAs

This whole conversation started nearly a year ago. I asked one of the engineers what would be required to have a more predictable, explainable system for our customers.

I was told we didn’t have enough API capacity. So we agreed we’d solve that problem through the authentication system (above).

I was then told, we need far more compute power, so we agreed that they could build a shiny new infrastructure.

At the end of that conversation, we agreed that if they could have those things, they’d provide a service that operated within a Service Level Agreement. We agreed some really low targets for the SLA, but they committed to delivering a system that would do the job reliably.

However a month or so ago, the engineers came back and said: “You know those SLAs…? …actually we think we can do better”. I’m really pleased with what they proposed.

Owned Channel Non Owned Basic Coverage
Latency Posts will be retrieved within an hour Posts will be retrieved within 2 hours Posts will be retrieved within 12 hours
Number of posts 1,000 every visit 300 every visit 300 every visit
Number of comments 1,000 per post each visit 100 per post each visit 100 per post each visit
Revisit old content Every 6 hours for 30 days Every 6 hours for 30 days Every 24 hours for 30 days

I really hope that we can continue to improve these numbers as the weeks and months progress but these should be good for all but the highest traffic posts.

This is documented in the help center.

5. One more thing…

If you watched the detective TV show, Columbo, you’ll remember he was famous for “just one more thing…” at the end of his innocuous conversation with the suspect. Admit it, you totally thought I was going to mention Steve Jobs. Anyway, I digress.

Some of you create Facebook Channels for industry publications and other mainstream media because you want that data to flow through into your regular brand Queries.

For example, a mobile phone company might create channels to follow The Verge, Engadget and Android Central Facebook pages, not because they want the whole channels data, but because they want any mentions of their phone or brand to appear in their Brandwatch query & dashboards. This is an expensive solution for both you and us.

You have to pay for lots of unused data and we have to do really deep complex Channel crawling to get lots of data that they don’t want.

It can’t have escaped your attention that we recently acquired the top content marketing intelligence company out there: Buzzsumo. Those guys crawl 5 million Facebook pages and pull back all the posts. I’m going to write that again: Five. Million. Pages.

We’re in the process of figuring out how we can integrate and pull their data into Brandwatch, so it’ll just be there to match your queries. I will share more in an upcoming blog.

As always – please submit questions below and I’ll try my best to answer transparently.


P.S. Everything in 1-4 is live in your account now. Go try it out.

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