How do I preview a Listening Topic?

This tool is only available for Social Listening customers.

After constructing a Topic, verify that it's returning relevant results. You can preview your Topic at any time by clicking the Preview button at the top of the page. 

The preview panel updates with a sampling of messages that meet the search parameters.


Clicking Preview only shows X results. If X isn’t a big part of your social strategy, you might not see a lot of results here. Once you click Start Listening, the rest of the networks you selected get pulled in. 

The preview panel shows you the approximate number of matching messages that show up per day, so you can determine if the dataset is too small or large to provide relevant insights. If a certain hashtag is returning a ton of results that don’t apply to you, remove that hashtag from your query.

Some expected filters/exclusions may show, but once your Topic is saved, message collection will begin across your selected networks and the expected exclusions will be filtered out.

It’s also important to exclude yourself from your Listening results so your results aren’t skewed. You want to hear what others are saying about you, not what you’re saying about yourself, so add your own X profile to the Exclude keyword box using the From User operator.

You can also use the Exclude keyword box to remove messages that don’t pertain to you. If messages that don’t belong show up, use Exclude keywords to remove them. For example, while we’re focused on our #SCCHolidayDrink, messages in the preview are bringing up messages for Seattle Coffee Corp. Enter Seattle Coffee Corp. in the Exclude keyword box to remove these results from your query.

If you notice multiple messages showing up with specific keywords, you can double-click on any word in a message to include ( + ) or exclude ( - ) that word in your query.

Once you’re happy with your query, click Start Listening in the upper-right corner.


Continue to review the preview and use Exclude keywords to remove messages that add noise to your query.

If you’re adding Themes to your Topic, preview messages that match your Theme by clicking the preview icon :preview: next to the theme ruleset’s name. Remember, Themes are only a grouping within your Topic and don't determine which messages get collected.

Additional considerations:

  • X posts found where Keywords match the URL on the message are currently ingested in the preview, but we don't search the link descriptions on the real ingestion.
  • Accents aren't respected under the preview, so you'll see more variations and X posts show up in the Preview than will ultimately be matched on the topic itself.   
  • Punctuation when searching for a phrase will be respected on the preview.  For example, if the phrase you are searching for is "Sprout is Awesome!" and the message is "Sprout is Awesome" it won't be matched in the preview but may show up in the Topic. 

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