Using exclusions to improve your search queries

When you’re dealing with social data, especially for something as high volume as Twitter data, it’s particularly important that you find only the posts you’re looking for. Part of that is making sure you’ve got the right search queries.

In many cases, you’ll need to add exclusions to your search queries to get the right posts. Maybe there are certain accounts you don’t want to include, or a particular keywords or phrases you know aren’t relevant. Or sometimes, you’re trying to monitor a brand that has a fairly common word in its name. There are a number of reasons you can use exclusions to refine your search queries to be sure you’re pulling in only the most relevant social posts. Here are a few quick tips for how to use exclusions across all our Union Metrics reporting.

In snapshot reports

For our snapshot reports (on or on, you can add exclusion terms directly to your search query with a minus sign (-). For example, let’s say you want to search for Gap jeans and exclude mentions of their baby brand. You would search for this:

gap jeans -baby

You can add in multiple exclusions, as well, so you could also exclude mention of kids or other terms.

gap jeans -baby -kids

That’s it – it’s dead simple, and it means you’ll find only the tweets you’re interested in. Try it now! Run a snapshot report here.

In Trackers

In our Twitter Trackers (available through a Union Metrics subscription), you have a few options for using exclusions in your search queries. Our Trackers support global and in-line exclusions. So you can get very, very specific with your queries to find exact the posts you’re looking for.

You might want to use global exclusions when you know you don’t want any instance of a particular word, phrase, hashtag or username. For example, if you’re monitoring for mentions of Macy’s, but you want to remove any posts about the Thanksgiving parade. In-line exclusions can help you remove terms from an individual query when you don’t need to exclude it from all your queries. For example, if we’re looking for mentions of the Macy’s in Herald Square, New York, a number of tweets include job postings from that store. But since we’re more interested in how customers are talking about the store, we can just exclude that from the specific Herald Square query. Take a look:

Tracker queries
Have questions? We’re happy to help you craft better search queries. Just ask!