If you have used the News Feed tool as part of a project, it's important to consider how you are going to interpret and present the data you have collected.

In this article we look at how to use data collected via this tool for reporting on your consultation. Detailed below are options to either view the tool report on screen or download the detailed report or use a comment analysis report.

Before you begin

Before you begin reporting on your activity you should ensure that you've archived the tool so you are certain that you are working with the final dataset.
Of course if you choose, you can begin working on your data before the end of the consultation period, you just need to be aware that you may not be working with the final data set. Looking at your data before the consultation ends can be a good thing to do if you would like to pull out some preliminary insights.

In order to archive your Ideas tool in preparation for reporting, visit the project page where you have setup the Ideas tool.

  • Click on Tools > News Feed to reveal a list of all the Idea topics you have created.
  • Use the dropdown menu next to the topic you would like to archive and select Archive.
  • If you would like to include a custom archival message write it in the Archival Message dialogue box and click Archive to confirm.

You have now ensured that your News Feed is closed from further contributions and you can begin to analyse the data.

Using the Detailed Report

One of the best ways to explore and work with the data collected from your Guestbook activity is to use the Detailed Excel Report download.

To generate this report simple visit the Analytics > Reports section of your site.

  • Select the project and time period to filter the data for your report. If your consultation has been archived you can use the All Time option to select the whole period of your consultation. Click on Update.
  • Next click on Download Reports and select the Excel option for the Detailed Reports section. If the button is not clickable, ensure that you have not selected more than 5 projects for the report.
  • Open the downloaded folder and open the excel file of the project you wish to analyse. The detailed report downloaded, will have a separate file for each project selected.
  • Locate the tab at the bottom of the excel sheet which corresponds to the News Feed activity you would like to analyse. You may have several tools activated on this project so each tab will represent a different tool instance on your project.
  • There are three main sections for exploring excel data; 

Summary information about your activity. You can see this pane on the left hand side in blue. This gives you an overview of participation and a breakdown of the user status of participants. eg. Registered, Unverified, Anonymous.

Contribution information is displayed in the green section. This information includes the following; The contributors details (Date and time, Login and Contributor Summary) and the actual comment made by the participant.

Sign up form questions are shown in the blue section and allow you to filter through your responses based on sign-up form questions. This information will only be complete for participants who have signed-in to make a News Feed comment. Sign-up form information won't be available in the excel sheet if you have selected unverified participation.

Using the Detailed Report is the best way to look at your data as a whole and begin to explore your data.

Using the Tools report

Another way to explore the feedback collected is to use the Tool Insights section of reporting. This will allow you to generate some useful graphs and further explore your News Feed data.

To begin using Tool Insights go to the Analytics > Reports section of your site. Click on News Feed on the left panel in the Tools section.

  • Use the filters to select the project you would like to look at and also select the data date range. Click on Update to generate your report.

The page will be refreshed with the newly generated report for the projects and time period selected. Below is a description of the data represented in each of the sections seen on the report.


Use the overview section of the Tool Insights page to compare different news feeds.

As you can see in the image above, the overview section presents your data as a scatter bubble, allowing you to easily compare amounts of engagement between each News Feed.

  • To filter your data use the dropdown Select a News Feed to view it's data option to select the guestbook you would like to look at in detail. 
  • This section also displays the unique summary information about the activity in the call-out box on the right hand side. Here you can see the amount of visitors, number of unique contributors and contributions as well as information about whether the participants were registered. Read our article on How site visits and visitors are captured to understand this number further.
  • You can easily export this graph to include in your report by clicking on the hamburger icon. (see below) Simply choose the format for your export and download your selected option.

Using the overview section is a great way to quickly check your guestbook, compare it to other activities and quickly download a chart.


Using the demographics section is an easy way to quickly report on who was involved in your News Feed activity.

The demographics information presented is gathered from your sites sign-up form so it's important this form reflects the demographic questions you require for reporting.

For more information read our article on Developing a registration form.

The sign up form questions are used to show the demographic insights. Any of the sign up form questions can be selected from the dropdown box.

The button on the left can be used to print or download the graph.

Demographics information is useful for reporting as it helps you better explain the profile of people who contributed to your News Feed.

Visitor Statistics

Using the visitor statics panel allows you to easily compare your activities in a table.
This information is particularly useful for comparing the amount of contributors to an activity.

This section shows the detail for each Guestbook tool from each project selected for reporting. It details the number of visitors, the number of contributors and the number of entries for each of the guestbooks.

News Feed Insights

Insights will display the News Feed comments from the participant along with any votes received.

 You can select which of the News Feed you would like to view by selecting it from the drop down list.

You can also filter the Guestbook entries displayed based on the sign up form questions. 

Using the text analysis report

Since the newsfeed comments are free form text it will be useful to analyse the topic discussion using the text analysis tool and then extract a report. Read our article on Text Analysis to get detailed instructions.

What's Next?

Why not circle back and take another look at our article on how to add news articles.

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