•  2 min read

What is Data Backfilling and How Far Back Does it Go?

This process is sometimes known as historical data collection. It involves going to each platform that is set up and filling in holes in your data. Those holes might be there due to some factors that we cover in the article Why is there missing data in reports and when will it be there?

Why is Data Backfilling important?

The short answer is that the more data you have, the better the quality of answer that can be gained from that data. For example, to identify trends vs anomalies, you need a base to compare that against. This is where historical data comes in.

Also, the more data you have, the more accurate the insights gained from it are. Again, looking at old data can really help you home in on things that regularly drive your page’s content performance.

This goes for any kind of data. Be it on Social Media page, such as a Facebook page, or a Twitter Social Profile. Or perhaps some page information such as Google Analytics for a website.

How does Data Backfilling it work

For new signups, backfilling happens as soon as you connect a page to your account. As soon as that is set up, our data collectors will go out and start to gather as much information as they can.

Likewise, if you add a new page, the same process occurs, and our collectors will go about gathering enough information to give you the best insights they can.

And if there’s a glitch in the matrix, such a hole appears due to one of the many issues outlined in that earlier article, our collectors will keep trying to fill in those holes as soon as they can. You don’t need to do anything.

As for the order of collection, the Metigy Collectors always start with the most recent data first and work backwards from there. The reason is that the most important insights come from your recent data. Then, with the historical data is then used to help identify long-term trends and anomalies – and potential opportunities.

What are the Limitations of Data Backfilling

The biggest limitation is time to collect. The Metigy Data Backfilling collectors are limited by the amount of request that the various data APIs let us make. As explained in the article Facebook and Twitter Token Request Limits, there is only so much that can be collected.

And there is no way to prioritise a backfill either. This, again, is due to the limits of the token. We have to use the tokens you provide for pages to access the data, and we have to treat them very carefully. If we ask for too much, we won’t get anything.

But trust us. When Data Backfilling is required, we do it as fast as possible!