All you need to know if you want to export your Facebook Fans

Posted on February 6, 2013 by

There’s a lot of misunderstanding out there regarding what you can (or can’t) do, why you should or should not export Facebook fans and their data. This topic has been discussed a lot on Quora and elsewhere but the responses are kind of outdated. It’s time to set the record straight!


1 – There is no magic “trick” to download your fanbase

There used to be a way to programatically download your fanbase for free (see here), but that party is over, Facebook shut this loophole down a while ago. So, unless you want to spend the next decade copying and pasting, you won’t be able to get all your 10,000 fans in a well organized Excel spreadsheet.


2 – Some (paying) third party software can help you, but they have limitations

We’re one of them!  Yes, Agorapulse can help you export Facebook fans. But, Facebook’s API limits third party tools. Yes, all of them, and it will not publicly expose your fans’ data. Even you, the page admin, are considered the public when it comes to individual data.

Remember, your fans are not yours. They are just lent to you, under certain conditions. And Facebook sets the conditions.

That means that you’ll never have access to all your fans’ data. A third party tool (including Agorapulse) can only extract data from fans that have interacted with your page at least once according to Facebook’s TOS.

A fan that has never posted on your page or liked/commented one of your posts will not be “visible” to your software’s eyes.

I know, it’s a shame, Facebook is pain, Mark doesn’t care about us poor marketers craving for data, but that’s the way it is, so we’d better get used to it…


3 – What good does it do anyway?

Well now that you know that you need a third party tool to get those fans into your Excel spreadsheet AND that you’ll only get a small portion of them, the next question should be, “Should I really care?

Unless you’ve gathered qualified data about these fans, no. Their data isn’t worth a peanut.  All you’ll have is a first name, last name, a gender and a profile picture (sometimes a cat, a kid or a muscle car!). What good will that do to your bottom line? None.

At Agorapulse, we’ve focused our efforts on gathering qualified data (email, age, client status, etc.) that provides real value to you. We’ve built our applications (sweepstakes, contests, coupons, and so on) to gather the real data you need, so the next time you’ll want to download your fan base into Excel using our Facebook Page Management Software, you’ll get something of value.

Otherwise, there is no value in downloading your fan base.

If you want to download your fanbase, use Agorapulse to gain qualified data first.

Disagree (or agree) with me?  Let me know, I’d love to change my mind if I’ve been a jerk here.

Emeric is the co-founder of AgoraPulse, a Social Media Marketing Software company launched in 2011 and based in Paris and San Francisco. AgoraPulse is currently being used by more than 5,000 businesses across 180 countries.   Since 2000, he has been one of the European pioneers in the field of Social Media Marketing. He has advised French and international brands such as Virgin, FIA and Microsoft.   He is a regular speaker at International conferences such as the AllFAcebook Marketing Conference, Facebook Success Summit and BOLO. He is also an accredited instructor at the Online Marketing Institute.