How to create a new monitoring topic

How to write a search query, how to use boolean operators and set up topic-level filters

Kateryna Gordienko avatar
Written by Kateryna Gordienko
Updated over a week ago

What is a topic?

A topic is a search query that contains a string of keywords (variations on the spelling and other common search terms that frequently appear together with your monitoring subject). YouScan will use these keywords to search for mentions on social media. 

The monitoring subject can be a brand name, a company, a person, an ad campaign, an entire field (for example, to find out what people say about the dairy industry online), etc. Every monitoring topic will contain a separate mention stream, a collection of metrics and analytics, send email notifications, etc. 

Different topics can be compared and contrasted with one another. 

How to create a new topic: video guide

How to start writing a search query?

Select «Create topic» in the menu located above your list of topics.

  1. Define your research question(s). Before you start writing a query, you should think about what answers you want to find with your analysis. What do you want to answer with your query? What is your use case?

  2. Add keywords. Don't forget common typos and misspellings or relevant hashtags, account handles, websites, and products.

  3. Add context. Use boolean operators such as /N and AND to add context to your keywords.

  4. Add stop words. Exclude keywords, hashtags, sites, etc., irrelevant to your search.

  5. Test and repeat. Test your query for relevance and adjust your search string. This might include setting the /n (distance between words) operator to a lower number or adding more exclusions.

Basic boolean operators

Boolean operators are simple words or symbols that, in this case, give a computer some criteria to use when searching.

To get the most accurate and complete results, use YouScan's search query language, which consists of basic and advanced operators.

Basic operators include:

OR - used to list the different spelling of your keywords;
AND - used for conjunctions of several keywords or search terms;
/n (distance between words) - used to set the parameters for the distance between words (n is substituted with the number of spaces you'd like to add, so /1, /2, and so on);
Stop words - used to exclude mentions that contain certain words;
"Quotation marks" - used to search for an exact word or phrase as it appears inside the quotation marks;
(Brackets) - used to group together words under the same operator. 

Let's consider the most important boolean operators for writing queries on the example of the VISA payment system brand.

💡 To get the best results, include the different spelling of keywords in different languages, common mistakes, adjectives, and hashtags that appear alongside the word using the OR operator:

If the keywords are not unique, include helper words to narrow down your search using the AND operator or /n and brackets to group several words together:

💡 Spaces for the /n operator are chosen through trial and error. For example, if the name of your monitoring subject contains two words or more, use /1 between the words. For example: Burger /1 King.

You have the ability to preview how many mentions are collected for your monitoring subject at the topic creation stage. You can use these preliminary results to edit your search query and choose your stop words.

A good selection of stop words will ensure the cleanest results and simplify the subsequent work with mentions.

Once you're happy with the results in the preview and you have finished setting up the query, press «Next».

Advanced operators

You may use advanced operators if you would like to refine your query and apply filters only to its specific part.
☝️ To make it easier to find the necessary advanced operators, we have added hints that can be activated by pressing CTRL + Space for Windows or Option + Space for macOS.

Advanced operators include:

Country: - collects mentions only from a specific country;

Language: - collects mentions in a specific language only;

Source: - helps you monitor only certain sources (e.g.: Facebook, Instagram, TikTok etc);

SourceType: - helps you monitor specific types of sources (e.g.: social networks, news, blogs, forums etc);

PostType: - helps you collect only specific types of posts (e.g.: comments, posts, reposts, extended reposts);

ContentType: - helps you collect only specific type of content (e.g.: images).

Read more about boolean operators and the search query language here.

For example, you are interested in collecting mentions about Visa. The task is:

  • you need to monitor only TikTok, but not the rest of the social networks;

  • you also want to collect every review from various platforms.

In this case, you need to use the source: operator to define the exact social network you want to monitor (TikTok) and sourceType: operator to let the system know you need to collect reviews from various platforms:

Another case:

  • you would like to collect all the mentions about Visa from Instagram, they need to be in French.

  • at the same time, all the mentions from France need to be in English.

The challenge here is that to collect mentions from Instagram (or Telegram), you should always turn off any geography filters. At the same time, you need to define the geography for the second part of the query. In this case, to collect necessary mentions, you should combine country: and language: operators

Check the preview, and if you're happy with the results you have finished setting up the query, press «Next».

Topic-level filters

☝️ These basic filters are applied to the entire query. If you want to apply filters only to a specific part of the query to refine it, use the advanced operators.

You can select preferred languages, countries, sources and post types.

☝️ Note that users often don't specify their location in their social media profiles. This is why we recommend selecting the "Not defined" filter in the Country filter, so you don't miss out on important mentions.

The language of a mention can be difficult to detect, so we recommend adding "Undefined" (Latin) or "Undefined" (Cyrillic) to your preferred language, depending on your needs.

All filters you have selected can be seen in the thread of topics. To do this, hover over the filters icon.

A search query for monitoring images

At the «Text Recognition» step, set up a search query for monitoring images for the relevant text.

At the «Logo» step:
1. Click the «Configure logo» button;
2. Select the logo you wish to monitor;
3. Click «Apply».

☝️ Text and Logo recognition is available as an add-on, which you can purchase for a fee. To learn more about the features and possibilities of your pricing plan, contact your personal manager or write to

When everything is ready, press «Create topic».

🎉 Success! Your monitoring topic has been created. New mentions, as well as mentions published within the past 30 days, will be collected automatically.

If you need to collect older mentions, please feel free to launch historical data collection in the topic settings.

Start practicing, and soon you will master the art of query writing.

Happy monitoring with YouScan! 

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