Listening Topic Themes

This feature is only available for Social Listening customers.

Topics Themes are additional groupings you can apply to your Listening Topic’s messages in order to compare, filter, analyze and monitor data over time. Themes help you identify patterns in messages and let you distinctly categorize your Topic data. While Themes don’t dictate the messages coming into your Topic, it does categorize the messages you receive and can help you dive into hypotheses you make about trends in your messages. 

This article contains the following sections:

Theme Groups

Theme Groups help organize related Themes for comparing. Theme Groups should contain themes that you want to compare with each other. Theme Groups are optional to use, but can be helpful if you’re working with a lot of different Themes. You should use Theme Groups when you’re comparing apples to apples, not apples to oranges. It’s important to note that Sprout doesn’t report on Theme Groups as these serve as a way to categorize your Themes for better organization.

Topic Themes scenario

Let’s take a look at a Topic Themes scenario.

You work for Sprout Coffee Co. and you created a Brand Health Topic to gauge how audiences are feeling about your brand on social. You notice a lot of the messages you’re capturing through your Listening Topic are focused on the types of drinks you sell. You want to compare how audiences are talking about your lattes versus your mochas and how audiences are talking about your new Americano and Cappuccino options. Instead of creating a new Listening Topic, you can apply Topic Themes to easily compare the messages talking specifically about your drink categories.

You navigate to your Brand Health Listening Topic in Sprout. You navigate to Edit the Topic and the Topic Builder opens.

Scroll down to the Add Optional Themes area. Here is where you create the rulesets that categorize your Topic’s messages into Themes.

Click Add New Theme, and then enter Lattes for the theme name. Because your Topic already contains terms focused on your brand, your Theme should be purely about the product category. Similar to creating your Listening Query, you select to match messages containing ANY of the following words or phrases. For your latte Theme, Queries by AI Assist suggests up to 5 keywords based on the title Latte. You can also enter additional keywords, like variations of latte (latté or lattè) and "steamed milk and coffee" as a phrase. 


You repeat this process to add Themes for mochas, Americanos and Cappuccinos. Now, your Brand Health Topic will categorize the messages specifically about the categories of drinks you sell.

Adding Topic Themes

You can either add Topic Themes to your existing Listening Topics or you can add Themes as you’re building out a query.

To add Topic Themes:

  1. Navigate to your Listening Query.
  2. Scroll down to the Add Themes (Optional) dropdown.
    Screenshot 2023-11-20 at 11.42.57 AM.png
  3. Click Add New Theme. A new Theme line appears.
  4. Enter a descriptive name for the Theme, up to 30 characters. The name you enter appears on your Listening Topic and in your Topic Insights.
  5. Select whether to include any or all of the words, phrases, hashtags or users you enter. Selecting any expands your Theme, while selecting all narrows your Theme.
    • Imagine a coffee product Theme that finds content for ANY discussion mentioning a type of coffee using keywords like latte, mocha and straight. With ANY as an operator, any message containing those terms matches the Theme. 
    • Imagine a bubble chai Theme that finds content for discussions mentioning bubble AND chai. With ALL as an operator, any message containing BOTH terms matches the Theme.
  6. You can enter the keywords you want to include in the keyword box. Queries by AI Assist automatically generates up to 5 keywords based on the Theme title. Note that messages will get a Topic Theme applied only if the message matches the keywords you enter EXACTLY.
  7. (Optional) Add Inclusions or Add Exclusions to refine your search. Click Add Inclusions or Add Exclusions to further refine your Theme.
    • Select for messages to also include any or all of the keywords you enter.
    • Select for messages that cannot include any or all of the keywords you enter.
  8. (Optional) Select a Theme Group to organize your Themes that are related to one another.
  9. Click Screen_Shot_2020-12-10_at_2.51.44_PM.png to see a preview of the Themes with Twitter data. 
  10. Make any modifications you need.
  11. Repeat this process if you want to add multiple Themes to your Topic. You can add up to 50 Themes.
  12. Click Save Changes or Start Listening to apply your Themes. 

You might see some messages show up in different Topic Themes. This is expected behavior as messages might be relevant to one or more of your Topic Themes.

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