When either newly starting or optimising your existing activities on Facebook, it is worthwhile gathering solid data on the activities of similar or competitive fan pages first. In this article, I will present how to perform a quick and easy analysis that will enable you to know the different types of content and frequency of posts added by the competition and check what reactions they cause among users.

 

From this, you will obtain a greater knowledge of what is going on in your field.
I will present you with a basic solution that will require no prior knowledge of programming languages. All you will need are good intentions and an account on Facebook.

 

What you need to do:

1. ACCESS TOKEN

The first thing we need to do is download an access token. The easiest way is to generate a “key” using the Facebook Graph API.

To do this, go to https://developers.facebook.com/tools/explorer, and then log in to your FB account. After logging in, a “number of characters” will appear in the “Access Token” window, which will be needed for the following activities.

 

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Photo 1 Facebook For Developers – token download. Source: https://developers.facebook.com/tools/explorer

 

It must be remembered that the token generated in this way is not a one-off. Its “vitality” lasts for two hours, after which it should be refreshed (and retrieved in exactly the same way).

I will introduce the next steps based on the fan page I selected. You can work through my example first, or take the same process and get down into your own competition analysis right away. As an example, I chose the Runmageddon fan page. After all, sport is healthy! 🙂

 

2. ID ACCOUNT

Downloading data from any Facebook account first requires you to enter its unique ID. To get the ID of a competitive account, we’ll use the following URL:

https://graph.facebook.com/{fan-page-name}?access_token={access-token}
{fan-page-name} – This is the name of the fan page itself. The name will be visible in the URL, i.e. https://www.facebook.com/RunmageddonPL.
{access-token} – Here use the previously generated token

It therefore looks like this:
https://graph.facebook.com/RunmageddonPL?access_token=Your token

We then paste the obtained URL into the browser’s bar and in this way we obtain the relevant ID.

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Photo 2 Generating the ID. Source: own study

 

3. DOWNLOAD DATA

In this step, we’ll go over how to download the data from the chosen account. This time, we’ll use the following URL:

https://graph.facebook.com/v2.12/{fan-page-ID} /posts/?fields=message,link,permalink_url,created_time,type,name,id,comcom.limit (0).summary(true), shares,likes.limit(0).summary (true),reactions.limit (0) .summary(true)&{date}&limit=100 & access_token={access-token}

{fan-page-ID} – This is the generated ID
{access-token} – Here use the previously generated token
{date} – This is the date range of published posts (until = yyyy-mm-dd & since = yyyy-mm-dd)

An example link for a fan page therefore looks like this:

https://graph.facebook.com/v2.12/571737379539934/posts/?fields=message,link,permalink_url,created_time,type,name,id,comments.limit(0).summary(true),shares,likes.limit(0).summary(true),reactions.limit(0).summary(true)&until=2018-04-15&since=2018-01-01&limit=100&access_token=Your token

 

We then paste the obtained URL into the browser, this time we will receive all the information we need about the competition’s posts.

 

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Photo 3 Downloading data from a competitive FB account. Source: own study

 

For better readability and transparency, we can use the free online converter https://konklone.io/json/ – thanks to which we can exchange data from the JSON to the far more readable CSV format.

To do this, we mark all the data generated by the URL above:
(CTRL + A) -> copy (CTRL + C) -> paste into the converter (CTRL + V).

Once we have completed all of the above activities, we will see an ordered table with a list of the published posts that are assigned into the following categories:

  • Content
  • URL
  • Date of publication
  • Type (photo, video, event)
  • ID
  • Number of shares
  • Title
  • Number of all reactions
  • Number of likes
  • Number of comments

 

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Photo 4 Converting FB data – user activities. Source: https://konklone.io/json/

 

4. ANALYSIS OF COMMENTS

At the end I will show one more opportunity available with this technique, for those of you who are more inquisitive. In a very similar way to the above process, we can also download comments on posts that interest us.

To download comments, we use the URL:

https://graph.facebook.com/{post-ID}/comments?limit=1000&access_token={access-token}

Which then looks like this:
https://graph.facebook.com/571737379539934_1651918374855157/comments?limit=1000&access_token=Your token
We obtained the IDs for the posts in the previous step. Just copy and paste these in the designated areas in the link.

In order to obtain a clear set of data, we do exactly the same steps as in the process above. As a result, we should receive such a result:

 

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Photo 5 Converting FB data – comments. Source: https://konklone.io/json/

 

5. CLEARING DATA

The generated data can then be exported to a CSV file (the link “Download the entire CSV” table). Then open up a new Excel file, go to the Data tab -> From a text file / CSV -> select the file -> Import.

In the File origin field, select Unicode (UTF-8), then click Load and then it is done.
Now, we have nothing else to do but analyse the results obtained.

For me, they look like this:

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Photo 6 Aggregation of downloaded FB information. Source: own study

 

And that’s all for now 😊 Soon there will be an article in which I will show you a completely different, more advanced solution. Basic knowledge of the R program, including the RStudio editor will be useful for that occasion 🙂

Be cautious!

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