Latest Research: The Best Brands and Industries for Customer Experience 2020

Blending 200 million online conversations with 9,000 global survey responses, we found out how brands can get CX right

Read the report

Latest Research: The Best Brands and Industries for Customer Experience 2020

Blending 200 million online conversations with 9,000 global survey responses, we found out how brands can get CX right

Read the report

Published August 16th 2013

3 Time Saver Tips and Tricks for Optimizing Queries in Brandwatch

When it comes to social media monitoring tools, there are a number of players in the market who’re looking to gain insights from the vast volume of data. Brandwatch is one of the few players who understand that gathering data doesn’t have to be complicated and can also be accurate.

About a month ago, I was asked to briefly present at our #brandwatchers Client Event at the wonderful Soho Hotel in London, where we were given the opportunity to welcome our clients. All whilst sipping on sparkly and munching on chips.

There were a few talks held during the event, within one of which I shared a few top tips and tricks with our clients on how to write powerful queries (search strings used to find mentions of your brand). Following positive feedback, I thought it would be rude not to share my recipe with anyone out there interested in social listening.

1.       Always Do Your Research

As much as the point I’m about to make might sound simple, it’s important to stress the importance of doing your research before writing queries. Why?

To begin with, you might find new ways in which people refer to your brand that you’re currently not aware of.  If you’re searching for conversation around an unambiguous brand name, you might get away with a very basic query string, but it’s always worth checking whether it has any disambiguation.

In many cases, brand names also have a meaning outside their brand domain. Take Ferrari, for instance, the famous sports car manufacturer. Ferrari is also a common Italian surname, given to a famous film director, screenwriter, singer, footballer, painter, composer, gymnast and other celebrities. You will want to add those people to your query string as exclusions.


So my advice is to always run a background check on at least 3 sources:

  • Corporate website for details about the brand, products, key events, trending news, etc.
  • Twitter, Facebook and other brand profiles on social channels to look for any trending #tags and hot topics around the brand.
  • Wikipedia to look for additional background information and whether the brand has any disambiguation.

2.       Find Out How Language Is Structured Around the Brand

As many of you may already know, Channel 4 is British public-service television broadcaster usually referred to as Ch4 or C4.  Specifying CH4 and C4 in your search, however, will return many irrelevant results as it’s a commonly used abbreviation for all sorts of things (methane, chapter 4 …).

Perhaps you could try to solve this problem using the proximity operator and searching for CH4 NEAR/n context terms, such as television, show, film, broadcast, cable, etc. Even then our expert analysts found that the data was not accurate enough.

So they did more research to figure out how language is structured around the brand and they discovered that, quite often, people use the preposition ‘on’ just before mentioning the TV channel.


For finding the best results, Channel 4 is better off including “on CH4” OR “on C4”, rather than wasting a lot of time creating an endless list of context terms.

3.       Consider Slang and Misspellings

A final tip to remember when creating your query is to find every possible version of a brand name, including common local slang versions and misspellings.

What’s in a name? Apparently, a lot of complications. Walmart, for instance, is a frequently misspelled brand name:

Walmart, Wallmart, Wal-Mart, Wall-Mart, Wal*Mart, Walmart*, Waltmart, Walamart, Walmmart …

In this case, you could save yourself some effort by using the replacement operator (symbol ?) in Brandwatch, which will find mentions where the question mark can be replaced by another letter. Specifying wal?mart will include mentions where Walmart is spelled with a double L, M or any letter in between wal and mart.


Before saving your query, make sure to go through a good proportion of the results to see if it is returning the kinds of results that you want.

If any of this post made you want to try new things in Brandwatch, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch or request a demo.

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Crimson Hexagon has merged with Brandwatch. You’re in the right place!

From May 8th, all Crimson Hexagon products are now on the Brandwatch website. You’ll find them under ‘Products’ in the navigation. If you’re an existing customer and you want to know more, your account manager will be happy to help.