Quickpost: Digging into the new Facebook ‘Trending Topics’ feature

Yesterday, ‘Facebook trending topics’ feature showed up on my personal Facebook profile, as it might have on some/all of yours as well.

Here are some observation about the ‘Facebook Trending Topics’ feature I want to share:

1. The trending topics do not seem to be tailored by regions (unlike Twitter) – this will probably mean that if a video goes viral in countries like Brazil or India, it will show up on your list of trending topics in other countries (whether or not you are interested in that content). Here is a snapshot of a video going viral in India becoming a trending topic all over the world?!

2. The trends seem to be highly influenced by the link posts – A large part of all the posts in the ‘Trending Topics’ feed is links. Also, it appears that the part where it says ‘Why a topic is trending‘ is just the title of the most shared link post. (I don’t know why I was expecting more from the ‘Why’ part of ‘Trending Topics’ feature when it was announced – maybe I was looking for some application of text mining technologies)

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3. A brand can get into the ‘trending topics’ feed (not the list, but the feed) by mentioning the topic in their statuses or by posting a link related to the trending topic. This, in a way, calls for real time online marketing – if I see Warren Buffett trending and (suppose) I am managing  some Financial Firm’s social media, I can post a blog about Warren Buffett and get into the trending feed. Or I can just make a Facebook post mentioning Warren Buffett and try to gain some engagement/new fans from there.

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4. The ‘New Stories’ button – unlike your personal new feed, the ‘trending topics’ feed has a ‘New Stories’ button. – It leads you back to the top for the newly updated posts revolving around the topic.

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If you have observed something more or new about this feature, please do share it in your comments!

I am now trying to find ways to leverage this feature to help brands increase their ‘reach’ – the question is, even if we succeed in increasing the ‘reach’ and ‘engagement’ using this feature, is the Facebook Insights ready to trace and measure engagement/reach gained through this feature? – do share your thoughts!

PS. An achievement for Facebook would be a ‘Personalized Trending Topics’ list/feed based on the Pages I ‘Like’ and the content I ‘share’. – I think it would be more relevant and of value to me as a user.


After reading more about the feature, I realized that the trending topics are actually personal to each person and that everyone will see different topics based on his/her interest – that is actually cool! Check out this link for further read.

Facebook (Page) Insights Dashboard with Tableau

Here is an attempt at creating a Facebook Insights dashboard using Tableau. The objective of creating this dashboard was to help the content creator with scheduling the content.  To accomplish this, I simply used the ‘Page level’ data exported from one of my experimental Facebook pages’ insights. (You can access the insights dashboard for your pages here.)

The dashboard gives an insight into which day of the week works best for the page. You can click on different weekdays to monitor the performance of your content strategy on those days. As an extension to this dashboard, I now want to try to blend the ‘Post Level’ data and get better insight into ‘what type of posts work best for the brand’ on top of ‘what days of the week work better’. Also, if you have access to the demographic data (what I call ‘People level’ data), you can dig deeper into metrics like ‘engagement’ and ‘reach’ for each post based on more meaningful segments like country, age and gender.

Dashboard 1

Related Articles:

DIY: Analytics Driven Social Media (Facebook) [Parth Acharya - Blog]

Brand New Excel Add-in: Data Explorer (And How to: Social Media Analytics) [Parth Acharya - Blog]

Tableau DataViz: World Travel Visa Requirements

Have you ever wondered how great it can be to be able to travel to any country, without any kind of visa requirements?! :)

Today, I came across a data visualization created in the Open Data track of the 2013 Mozilla Festival from this dataset.

I wanted to see if Tableau can add more value to the visualization or at least bring some improvement. Here it is!
Click on any country to see the number of different countries their citizen can visit without visa. Turns out Finland citizens have the highest freedom and can travel to 173 different countries without any kind of visa requirements! :)

Dashboard 1

Microsoft Excel Add-in: GeoFlow… and Data Visualization

In October 2012, I wrote a blog post on how to use Google Fusion table for Data Visualization. The data used in the example is from my Facebook Page Librans when the page fan count had reached number 100. The visualization (in mentioned blog) portrays how those 100 Librans are placed on World map with the help of Google Fusion Table.

A few weeks back, the page reached number 200 and I was thinking how else can I place those fans on global map, if I don’t use Google Fusion Table. That was essentially the time when Microsoft launched an Excel Add-in, GeoFlow (with other new features like one more Excel add-in Data Explorer) in PASS Business Analytics Conference 2013.

Here is what I was able to do with GeoFlow

(Fundamentally, GeoFlow let me create a virtual journey through all the countries ‘Librans’ on my Facebook page are from. Later, I recorded a video of it to make the journey presentable on social platforms.)

On visualization front, you can try different themes to change the way globe looks; you can change the way your data points look; you can also change the speed at which the globe rotates.

GeoFlow can prove to be useful when you have data that can be sliced based on location.

I would be glad to discuss other use cases or domains GeoFlow can be used in. Please feel free to share your thoughts.

Download GeoFlow here.


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